The Gay Cookbook.Los Angeles: Sherbourne Press 1965 Stock Code: 144661
First edition, first printing, of the first gay cookbook, well represented institutionally - albeit almost entirely in the US, the exceptions being New Zealand and Monash, with no copies recorded in British and Irish libraries but remarkably scarce on the open market.
Stephen Vider, Assistant Professor of History at Cornell, writes, "Published in 1965 and promoted in mainstream and gay media, Hogan's cookbook presented a style of camp humour that challenged popular representations of gay life as lonely and "seedy," as well as early gay rights activists' emphasis on gender-normative self-presentation. The cookbook was also emblematic of an expanding gay print and consumer culture, which increasingly located the home as a site of consumption and social and sexual connection" ("'Oh Hell, May, Why Don't You People Have a Cookbook?': Camp Humor and Gay Domesticity," American Quarterly 65.4, 2013). Hogan, real name Louis Randall, was a native of California who, after an unsuccessful career in show business, in 1936 began work as a steward and cook on the new luxury Matson cruise ship line. "The career move was opportune: In a short memoir, Hogan estimated that the vast majority of the stewards employed by Matson were gay. Not only was Hogan learning about the high-class continental cuisine that he would later describe in The Gay Cookbook, he also was immersed in "camp" culture" (Ewbank).
As Ewbank points out, Hogan peppers his text "with the jokes and innuendo of his time," noting that the recipes are "lengthy and chatty," and although a number are "complex and cosmopolitan," including French and American classics alongside Mexican, Southeast Asian, and Hawaiian recipes, much of the book is "concerned with economical cooking, suitable for gay men living and entertaining solo". Beginning in 1970 and until his death in 1976, Hogan wrote the "Auntie Lou Cooks" column for The Advocate, a gay publication based in California. Although certain aspects of Hogan's "gleeful camp" were outmoded for a younger generation of LGBT people, The Gay Cookbook "was ahead of its time especially in its depiction of gay men living joyful lives in an era of repression" (ibid.).
Large octavo. Original white textured boards, spine and covers lettered in red and black, cover artwork by David Costain.
Title page illustration and line drawings throughout by David Costain.
Splash stains to spine and partly to both covers, which are also slightly discoloured at head, top edge dusty, otherwise a sound, clean "kitchen copy".
Anne Ewbank, "Years Before Stonewall, a Chef Published the First Gay Cookbook," atlasobscura.com (7 May 2018, retrieved 9 November 2020).
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