December 18, 2008

A Tribute to George Herter

Yes, I already knew that the Virgin Mary was fond of spinach.

I learned to cook partly from George Herter, as my tattered copy of Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices will attest. I think about Herter now and then.

Herter never acknowledges — not once — that his facts are any less sturdy and real than his Herter’s Famous No. 153 Saskatchewan Goose Call. No, sir: Herter facts are the finest, the most famous, specially selected and custom-made by only the oldest and most experienced craftsmen — even more factual than is necessary. No sooner do you digest his account of drinking with Hemingway in Key West (where Papa recommends a mixture of three parts light rum to one ounce of port wine as “great for dandruff”) than you come across a chapter called “Milking Scorpions Brings You $150 or More a Week.”

Thanks to Steve Bodio for the catch on this Herter review essay. Read the whole thing.

2 comments:

J.R. Absher said...

Thanks to both you and Bodio for the NYT story link. I've always been fascinated with the eccentricities of George Herter and his operation in Waseca. I knew a fellow who built bows and archery equipment for Herter's back in its heyday, and he told me some wonderful stories about the man and the place. Once, an inexperienced order clerk took a phone call inquiry about the availability of Herter's "genuine antique" duck decoys. She politely explained they were temporarily out of stock, but "would be making more soon."

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