Thursday, May 23, 2024




A new edition of “Cooking for Crowds” is getting some hoopla, with the latest being author Merry White’s turn at the Harvard Book Store tonight at 7.

White was a single mother and grad student when she studying sociology when she landed a catering job at Harvard’s Center for European Studies – where she returns Friday as something of a dignitary (with the Order of the Rising Sun from the government of Japan, yet). Her work there was collected in a book called Cooking for Crowds that is now reissued by Princeton University Press.

The feat of “Cooking for Crowds” (the “without going broke” part is left unsaid) is that it takes the “crowds” part very seriously: The recipes include measurements to serve six, 12, 20, and 50.

The amazing 40th Anniversary Edition of “Cooking for Crowds,” still with great cartoons by the New Yorker’s Ed Koren, gets a new foreword by Darra Goldstein and a new introduction by the author; it has already been graced with a Boston Globe article with six recipes from the book.

The publisher’s blurb:

In this delightful cookbook, White shares all the ingenious tricks she learned as a young Harvard graduate student earning her way through school as a caterer to European scholars, heads of state, and cosmopolitans like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. With the help of her friend Julia Child, the cook just down the block in Cambridge, White surmounted unforeseen obstacles and epic-sized crises in the kitchen, along the way developing the surefire strategies described here. All of these recipes can be prepared in your kitchen using ordinary pots, pans, and utensils.

White leads a discussion at 7 tonight at Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Ave., Harvard Square.