A remembrance and reconsideration of Dione Lucas (1909–1971), one of America's first television-cooking-show hosts. Credited with being the first to introduce the techniques and traditions of French cuisine to the American home kitchen in the late 1940s, Lucas was superseded by Julia Child and today has been largely forgotten. Worse, food-world insiders who do remember her don't often have kind things to say. Working with her papers, donated to the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and in extensive interviews with her elder son, Mark Lucas, the author sets straight many questions about one of our first culinary celebrities, a woman who saw cooking as an art and believed herself to be an artist—a stance distinctly at odds with the idea of television's mass appeal and with the approach of many of her colleagues. Yet, the author argues Lucas deserves her modest place in culinary history and was, in Mark's words, “an extraordinarily complex person, but essentially unsophisticated in the best sense of the term.”

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