"By the end of the decade, they had become part of the atmosphere hanging over American society, like a giant cloud of Aqua Net holding up so many teased bangs. Many loved these foods; many others derided them as pretentious yuppie garbage. But the source of their popularity, at least in home kitchens, was all but undisputed: The Silver Palate Cookbook
, originally published in 1982, more than 2.5 million copies sold. The cookbook was a product of its time and place: New York’s Upper West Side in the late 1970s and early ’80s. A world synonymous (at least in the mind of the average moviegoer) with Woody Allen and then Nora Ephron. You can bet that before they were forced to play Pictionary at that dinner party, Harry and Sally were fed salmon mousse and chicken Marbella or maybe osso bucco. (Ephron was a Silver Palate
From "‘The Silver Palate Cookbook’ Changed Home Cooking (and Pesto Consumption) As We Know It/Published in 1982, it brought verve to entertaining and taught a generation of American cooks to trust in bold flavors, fresh herbs, and the joys of improvisation" (Eater).
Yeah, I had 2 "Silver Palate" cookbooks on my kitchen cookbook shelf for more than 30 years. In fact, they made such a permanent impression on my eyeballs that I just went over to look at them. But no, they're gone. Some time in the last 10 years, I realized I hadn't opened them in more than 15 years and gave them the heave-ho. Maybe it was back in that year when we were all looking at things and asking if they "sparked joy." You can ask if it's time yet to oust that sparking-joy book, but that was never anything but a Kindle text.
Here's the Kindle text of the "Silver Palate Cookbook." It's only $3. Eat like the 80s.
Back to the Eater article:
The authors were eager to explain what, exactly, arugula and pesto were and offered many simple suggestions for how to use them. Sure, they made excellent garnishes, but why not try serving the arugula with a simple garlic-anchovy dressing or scrambling pesto into eggs?
Although some recipes, like the cassoulet, ventured into Julia Child territory (has there ever been a cassoulet that doesn’t take at least three days to prepare?), the abundant marginal notes, along with Lukins’s doodle-like line drawings and quotes from sources as varied as Shakespeare and Kay Thompson’s Eloise, gave — and still give — the book a tone that reads as friendly rather than instructional....
[T]he recipes were novel and aspirational, but not entirely out of reach for the average American cook.... They were unafraid of booze, butter, cream, and olive oil. They adored mousses and mayonnaise, both Hellmann’s and homemade. They could not resist the urge to dress every piece of meat with fruit, or at the very least, a fruity vinaigrette and some fresh herbs. Their favorite appliance was the food processor. They also clearly loved dinner parties...
Food processors! Dinner parties! We thought we'd eat like that forever.