New York: Viking Press, 1944. First Edition. SIGNED "Gastronomically, George Markikian". 8vo. 150 pp. Index. Green cloth in color illustrated dustjacket. A fine copy in very good dustjacket (wear to extremities with small loss at spine ends; tape repairs on rear jacket verso); an uncommon SIGNED first edition. Item #21282
A book of home cooking for America - based on the food of the Near East. George Magar Mardikian (1903 – 1977) was an Armenian-American restaurateur, chef, author and philanthropist who opened Omar Khayyam's restaurant and revolutionized Middle Eastern cuisine in America by introducing masses to the spices and flavors of a far away, unfamiliar world. But his journey to renowned restaurateur as well as philanthropist was an arduous one, marred with trauma and hardship in his home town of Constantinople before he reached the gates of Ellis Island to begin his new life. “I washed away the grime, and I washed away all the hatred and injustice and cruelty I had known, all the hunger, all the weeping, all the pain,” Mardikian writes. “It was as though I had been reborn, as though I were a completely new human being, a taller, stronger, prouder man - an American.” He lived a long, full life of sharing his love of Middle Eastern food through his restaurants, entertaining local and international dignitaries alike (including Dwight Eisenhower and Eleanor Roosevelt), and even catering for a San Francisco conference which would end up establishing the United Nations.