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Letter from the President: The Quotable James Beard

Susan Ungaro

Susan Ungaro

January 08, 2014


James Beard

James Beard may be known most famously for saying, “Food is our common ground,” but his two dozen cookbooks are peppered with wonderful one-liners that illustrate his wit and underscore his love of food. You could call these Beard quotes “words to live by” for the coming year. We thought we’d share our favorites, one for each month of 2014!


“Don’t be the type of host who has to be put to bed by the guests.”


“With all of my restaurant experience I have come to learn one thing... There are great restaurants, good restaurants, and poor restaurants, but no restaurant is better than the performance you can exact from it by knowing the chef.”


“Good bread and good butter go together. They are one of the perfect marriages in gastronomy, and they never fail to cheer me.”


“How much more satisfactory it is to indulge in the pleasures of your own packed lunch than to depend on the grim mercies of the fast-food stand.”


“Season well anything you do with the boon of love and hospitality and you need have no fears for the success of the affair.”


“Grilling, broiling, barbecuing—whatever you want to call it—is an art, not just a matter of building a pyre and throwing on a piece of meat as a sacrifice to the gods of the stomach.”


“Wherever it is done, picnicking can be one of the supreme pleasures of outdoor life.”


“One of summer's greatest joys is to pick a sun-warmed, sun-ripened tomato from the vine, dust it off on your sleeve, and eat it like an apple.”


“When you cook, you never stop learning. That’s the fascination of it.”


“If we really believe in food we must do something about it, for our voices should be raised above the rest.”


“Certainly there are few things worse than an overcooked turkey, except perhaps an undercooked one.”


“We could recapture some of the happiness of Christmas past if we just took the trouble to make, rather than to buy, a few of the presents we give each year. My mother believed in making all of her Christmas foods.”