A cookbook far ahead of its time, Margaret Yardley Potter's At Home on the Range, originally published in 1947, was rediscovered by the author Elizabeth Gilbert--who just so happens to be the author's great-granddaughter. Gilbert's "Gima" was no ordinary housewife: at a time when the American dinner table was hurtling towards homogeny, Potter espoused the importance of farmers' markets and ethnic food (when pizza was considered ethnic), derided preservatives and culinary shortcuts, and lustily celebrated her epicurean adventures. Part scholar, part crusader, and always throwing parties, Potter could not but be a source of Gilbert's own love of food, and her warm, infectious prose.
While moving into a new house, Elizabeth Gilbert unpacked some boxes of family books and among the old, dusty hardcovers was a book called At Home on the Range (or, How To Make Friends with Your Stove) by Gilbert's great-grandmother, Margaret Yardley Potter. In her workaday cookbook, Potter espoused the importance of farmer's markets and ethnic food (Italian, Jewish, and German), derided preservatives and culinary shortcuts, and celebrated a devotion to seeking out new epicurean adventures. Part scholar, it's not hard to see from where Elizabeth Gilbert inherited both her love of food, and her warm, infectious prose.