Charles H. Baker Jr.

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Charles H. Baker Jr.
Born December 25, 1895
Zellwood, Florida
Died November 11, 1987
Naples, Florida
Occupation Writer
Spouse(s) Pauline Elizabeth Paulsen
Children Pamela Baker Johnson, Diane DeHaven Baker, Charles Henry Baker III
Parent(s) Jane Blackwell Baker (nee Paul) (1859-1916)
Charles Henry Baker Sr. (1848-1924)

Charles Henry Baker Jr. (December 25, 1895 – November 11, 1987) was an American author best known for his culinary and cocktail writings. These books have become highly collectible among cocktail aficionados and culinary historians.[1][2]

We are still heartily of the opinion that decent libation supports as many million lives as it threatens; donates pleasure and sparkle to more lives than it shadows; inspires more brilliance in the world of art, music, letters, and common ordinary intelligent conversation, than it dims.[1]

— Charles Henry Baker Jr.

Biography[edit]

He was born on Christmas Day in 1895 in Zellwood, Florida to Jane Paul Baker (1859-1916) and Charles Henry Baker Sr. (1848-1924). Both of his parents were from Pennsylvania.[3] He later attended Trinity College.[1] By 1918, he was working at Norton Abrasives as a grinder in Worcester, Massachusetts;[4] he later worked as a district sales manager.[5] He moved to New York City, where he worked as a magazine editor and submitted stories to small publications. In 1932, Baker met Pauline Elizabeth Paulsen, an heiress to the Paulsen mining fortune, on a world cruise where he had signed on as the cruise line's publicist.[6] After they were married they had built for them an art deco house called Java Head in Coconut Grove, Florida in which they lived for thirty years.[7] They built a second house in Coconut Grove called Java Head East, where they lived in the 1960s. They later moved to Naples, Florida.[8]

Baker spent much of his life traveling the world and chronicling food and drink recipes for magazines like Esquire, Town & Country, and Gourmet, for which he wrote a column during the 1940s called "Here's How".[1] Baker collected many of those recipes in his two-volume set The Gentleman's Companion: Being an Exotic Cookery and Drinking Book, originally published in 1939 by Derrydale Press.[9] John J. Poister in 1983 wrote, "Volume II of The Gentleman's Companion, by Charles H. Baker Jr., is the best book on exotic drinks I have ever encountered".[10] Condé Nast contributing writer St. John Frizell wrote, "It's his prose, not his recipes, that deserves a place in the canon of culinary literature ... at times humorously grandiloquent, at times intimate and familiar, Baker fills his stories with colorful details about his environment and his drinking companions — Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner among them".[1] While his culinary nonfiction garnered Baker much praise, he was less well regarded as a novelist. His only novel, Blood of the Lamb, was published in 1946 by Rinehart & Company. About it, a Time reviewer wrote in the magazine's April 22, 1946, issue, "Blood of the Lamb is not much of a novel, but it is long on local color, loud piety, snuff, 'stump liquor' and local talk"[11]

Words to the Wise No. VII. Offering up an earnest plea for recentness in all eggs to be used in cocktails or drinks of any kind, for that matter. A stale or storage egg in a decent mixed drink is like a stale or storage joke in critical and intelligent company. Eschew them rabidly. If really fresh eggs can't be had, mix other type drinks, for the result will reflect no merit round the hearth, no matter how hospitable it may be.[12]

— Charles H. Baker Jr. in The Gentlemen's Companion: Around the World with Jigger, Beaker and Flask

Some of Baker's exotic and often esoteric drink recipes from The Gentleman's Companion are once again finding favor at modern cocktail bars specializing in classic drinks, such as Manhattan's Pegu Club, where Baker's "Jimmie Roosevelt"—a mixture of champagne, cognac, and Chartreuse liqueur—was found on the menu.[1]

He died on November 11, 1987, in Naples, Florida.[13][14]

Publications[edit]

  • Rejections of 1927. (1928. Edited by Baker).[15]
  • The Gentleman's Companion (two volumes, 1939 edition).[16][17][18]
  • Blood of the Lamb (1946).[11][19][20]
  • The Gentleman's Companion: Being an Exotic Drinking Book or Around the World with Jigger, Beaker and Flask (1946 edition).
  • The Gentleman's Companion: Being an Exotic Cookery Book or Around the World with Knife, Fork, and Spoon (1946 edition).[21]
  • The Gentleman's Companion: Being an Exotic Cookery/Drinking Book (combined volume I and II) (1946 edition)[22]
  • Knife, Fork, and Spoon: Eating Around the World (1992).[23]
  • The Esquire Culinary Companion (1959).[24][25]
  • The South American Gentleman's Companion (1951).[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Epicurious
  2. ^ Fichtner, Margaria (March 18, 2002). "Gentleman's Gentleman". Miami Herald. Oh, he was grand, and rightly so - yachtsman, raconteur, amateur botanist, friend of the famous, famous himself in certain circles, a small-town Florida Cracker who knew (or smoothly could find) his way around the world. "He was tall, dark and handsome, with an Errol Flynn moustache,' says his daughter, Pamela Baker Johnson. 'And he was just as charming as his books.' His name was Charles H. Baker Jr. Friends called him Bake. 
  3. ^ Bakers in the 1900 US Census in Zellwood, Florida
  4. ^ World War I draft registration.
  5. ^ Trinity College Alumni Records.[clarification needed]
  6. ^ Baker, Charles H. Jr., The Gentleman's Companion, Volume II.
  7. ^ Dunlop, Beth, Miami: Trends and Traditions; New York: The Montacelli Press, 1996, page 104
  8. ^ Johnson, Pamela Baker.[clarification needed]
  9. ^ "Latin-American Food". Los Angeles Times. July 11, 1951. Several years ago Charles H. Baker Jr. brought out a two volume cookbook called The Gentleman's Companion. First published in a luxurious edition by, as I recall it, the Derrydale Press at a high price, it was later issued by Crown ... 
  10. ^ John J. Poister; Wine Lover's Drink Book; page 71
  11. ^ a b "Florida Flatwoods". Time. April 22, 1946. Retrieved 2007-05-21. Florida tourist literature, understandably, keeps pretty mum about this kind of folk, but Novelist Baker claims to have known them all his life and makes out a good case for their being a particularly cussed and ornery lot. Blood of the Lamb is not much of a novel, but it is long on local color, loud piety, snuff, 'stump liquor' and local talk. 
  12. ^ Hedonista
  13. ^ Social Security Death Index.[clarification needed]
  14. ^ Florida Death Index.[clarification needed]
  15. ^ Worldcat
  16. ^ Tinker, Edward Larocque (August 25, 1940). "New editions, fine or otherwise". New York Times. Sound and practical in its directions, Mr. Baker seasons his subject with a great deal of gaiety and gusto. 
  17. ^ The New York Public Library
  18. ^ "The Eclectic Epicure". Washington Post. November 19, 1939. With whimsicality and an extraordinary fidelity to detail, Mr. Charles H. Baker Jr. has done The Gentleman's Companion, a two-volume work on fine drinking and eating. Years of world-wide research are in these splendid books with the strong implication that Mr. Baker's liver never let him down. 
  19. ^ Poore, Charles (April 20, 1946). "Books of the Times; Powerful Nemesis Is Abandoned Time Is Early in This Century". New York Times. There seems to be almost as many Souths as there are writers about it, ranging from the chain-gang to the daisy-chain schools, realists and romantics and mysticists and folklorists and such practically unclassifiable writers as Charles H. Baker Jr., whose Blood of the Lamb fits neatly into no category whatever. 
  20. ^ ASIN B000OEHEPQ
  21. ^ ASIN B000KTPRPO
  22. ^ "Review". Virginia Quarterly Review. August 1982. p. 138. ; ASIN B000E0XQZW
  23. ^ ISBN 1-58667-049-2
  24. ^ ASIN B000FD7KLO
  25. ^ Claiborne, Craig (August 2, 1959). "Recipe for Pleasure; The Esquire Culinary Companion". New York Times Book Review. Caviar is not for all palates and The Esquire Culinary Companion will not be for the universal kitchen shelf. It is a fascinating work, however; an excellent compendium of recipes culled from many of the best kitchens in Europe. 
  26. ^ OCLC 588195

External links[edit]