Simplicité de la Cuisine ne Doit pas Exclure la Qualité- Henri-Paul Pellaprat (Plain Cooking does not Preclude Quality)
My history with the American Association of University Women – Buffalo Chapter goes back well before I discovered the sale. I was part of a team pursuing an employment discrimination/tenure denial case that was partly underwritten by the AAUW. They even hosted a luncheon in our honor. Little did I know then that their major annual fundraiser was a book sale. Would have spent more time making friends.
They rent (get donated?) a currently unused, decent sized storefront. The community donates unwanted books and resells them. The vast majority are a buck a piece, with a special section for rare or unusual – and more recently new books – priced accordingly. It was in that section that I acquired the oldest book in my collection: an 1875 copy of Practical Cooking and Dinner Giving by Mrs. Mary F. Henderson.
The sale starts on a Wednesday morning and ends Sunday. Thursday through Sunday admission is free; there is a charge on Wednesday. Traditionally it’s been $10 before noon, and $5 thereafter. The line would form early, a couple of hours early. I usually got there early enough to be 20 or 30th in line. Did hard bibliophile, craning their berks to peer through the windows to find their target location. (More recently they have handed out maps when you check in.)
I always came out with a nice haul - nice additions to my collection and a lot of fun. What good is an addiction if you can't enjoy it. Things changed a few years ago, and the enjoyment dissipated. The dealers moved in.
The local used bookshop owners had always been there, familiar faces at the front of the line. These were strangers, who came in pairs or threes. With boxes, they didn’t pick and choose, but swept them full all but indiscriminately. I found this offensive, disappointing, and frankly unfair.
I complained, and wasn't alone, but while the response was compassionate, no remedy seemed forthcoming. So,I stopped going.
This year I couldn't resist. The rented location was right around the corner from work. Walking distance. I also couldn't line up like the old days. I had to work.At least I wouldn't blow the full admission fee.
I was pleasantly surprised. They had addressed the issue in part by splitting the day into three, rather than two, segments and upped the fee to $20 for the first segment. When I got there it was part three, a $5 charge. It was a larger space than in the past, well organized and with a good selection of books remaining when I arrived.
I was home again, so to speak. Ready to bring my family back Sunday for “Bag Day” – but more about that later.
Two books came from the Special Section: Ad Hoc and a nice David Burke. Both nicely priced. The rest were a buck apiece. Just some interesting additions to my collection. The Pelleprat volume which gives this post its title is hidden, but there under the textbook.
The gardening section was right behind the cookbooks, and the Jefferson book just jumped out at me. It will fit in nicely with other works on Jefferson and food. (Hey, I’m a Historian too!)