While I sometimes thought of A Chef & His Library as my own exhibit, it bears the imprint of many others, chief of whom is Chef Fritz Blank, who gave me unfettered access to his library. His insight, generosity, and hospitality broadened not only my knowledge, but my girth as well. Except where explicitly noted, all the materials in this exhibit are drawn from Chef Blank’s personal library.

My colleague Michael Ryan, Director of the Annenberg Rare Books and Manuscript Library at the University of Pennsylvania bears the onus of allowing me to mount this exhibit. He redeemed himself by offering help at every turn and for introducing me to his colleague Ellen DeMarinis, an immeasurable help in preparing this exhibit. The support and technical assistance of Greg Bear and Andrea Gottschalk at Penn finally brought A Chef & His Library to fruition.

Special thanks goes to the late Phyllis Bray Bober of Bryn Mawr College. Professor Bober’s insightful reading and input framed my understanding of Vittorio Lancellotti and curbed my blazing penchant for wordplay. At the Culinary Archives and Museum of Johnson and Wales University, Barbara Kuck’s unstinting support was a great help. Thanks also to Susan Drinan and Jeffrey Ray of the Atwater Kent Museum, to Barbara Ketcham Wheaton of Radcliffe College, to Jane Pap at Please Touch Museum and to Ronni Lundy for their input, inspiration and clarifications.

The founders of Stichting Gastronomische Bibliotheek in Amsterdam – Johannes van Dam, Joop Witteveen and Bart Cuperus – tolerated all my charcuterie and book-collecting inquiries in good humor. Over the course of the September 11th tragedies, they fed me well in Amsterdam and opened their homes and combined monumental cookbook collection to me, forever shattering a reputation the Dutch hold for aloofness.

The collected and contradictory wisdom about cookbook collectors from their dealers -- Daniel Longone, Dirk Meuleman, Matt Sartwell, Bonnie Slotnick and Nach Waxman – was enlightening and amusing.

I must also extend a special thanks to the kitchen and wait staff of Deux Cheminées restaurant who suffered my presence for months before, one by one, beginning to ask “just what the hell are you doing here?”

And, finally, heartfelt thanks to Timothy “Hans” Furnish, who knew all along what I was doing.

Matthew B. Rowley
Curator
June 5, 2002

 

 

A Chef’s Curator

Matthew Rowley, MHA, lives and writes in Philadelphia. He sits on the board of the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture and had been known to polish off an entire platter of Arthur Bryant’s beef & fries with extra burnt ends in one sitting.

 

 

Home | Exhibit Introduction | A Chef and His Library | Someone's in the Kitchen with Fritz | Standing in the Stockpots of Giants

Great Composers | Victus Populi | A Fine Mess | My Dear Heinrich | Cattail City | May I Take Your Menu? | Guten Appetit

Acknowledgements | Fritz Blank Biography

© 2002 University of Pennyslvanian Library Trustees