TALK ABOUT heirloom recipes. Elizabeth Gilbert, the Frenchtown, N.J., resident best known as author of Eat, Pray, Love, came upon her great-grandmother's cookbook, At Home on the Range (McSweeney's, $24), while unpacking boxes of family books. Written in 1947 by Margaret Yardley Potter, a well-heeled socialite raised in refined Chestnut Hill, the book offers recipes folded into tart prose.
"More Dorothy Parker than Betty Crocker," Gilbert said in one interview. Potter, known affectionately as Gima, writes about entertaining adventures and using fresh ingredients purchased from the Italian Market. Bracketed by Gilbert's affectionate commentary, At Home is a warm and witty memoir that captures Potter's spirited approach to cooking and just about everything else. With chapters like "Egg Yourself on in Emergencies" and "Painless Party Giving and Effortless Entertaining," this is a book for all ages. What a gem.