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The Father Of Gastronomy Essay

1197 words - 5 pages

The Life of James Beard"I believe that if I ever had to practice cannibalism, I might manage if there were enough tarragon around." This quote, by James Beard, is an example of his wit and personality. My interest in James Beard started in my very first culinary class, a mention of his name, and I was reminiscing of days spent working for Carmine Spiro . Prior to coming to school I was I floor manager in a family owned and operated restaurant called Carmine's, in Albany, NY. The owner has numerous plaques and pictures on the walls of the restaurant, one of them being from the James Beard foundation. James Beard's life has had a major influence in the culinary field in many ways.On May 5, 1903, in Portland Oregon, James Andrew Beard was born to Mary Elizabeth Jones and John Beard. At birth, 'little' James weighed between 13 - 14 lbs.Mary was very passionate about food, and she ran her own boarding house. John was a buyer for local drug company, called Portland Customs House. James started his education in culinary preparation at a very young age, helping his mother run the boarding house. However, after starting school, he grew interested in theater. Focusing in vocals and acting, James would daydream of a day when he would be rich and famous, on Broadway or on the big screen. While on organized outings every summer, James would join his family on the beaches in Gearhart, Oregon, and they would cook outdoors things that they caught or collected during their stay.After high school, James attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Despite the fact that James was very popular, after six months, he was expelled from Reed. This may have been due either to Reed College's intolerance for same sex interests (homosexuals), or James may have been expelled because he actually had homosexual relations with other men while in Reed. With the support of his mother, James decided that joining a traveling theater group might be of interest to him. In 1923, focusing in song and theater, he studied aboard, from New York to London, and he returned to the U.S. in 1927. Gaining employment in the theaters was difficult for James, and, in an effort to supplement income, James turned to a skill that he had from childhood, and he opened a catering business in 1935. Eventually, upon realizing that his future would be in the food industry, Beard set aside his dreams of the theater, and, in 1937, he opened a small restaurant called Hors d'Oeuvre, serving mainly cocktail food.Between 1940 and 1942 James wrote two books. The first book was titled Hors d'Oeuvre and Canapés and was devoted to cocktail food. Beard's second book was the very first book ever written on cooking outdoors and was called Cook it Outdoors. During the war years James attempted to enlist in the service, but due to his weight he was rejected. In august of 42' James was drafted and stationed in Fort Dix, New Jersey from September to December. Once again, because of his personal interests...

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