Cooking the Books

Edible Type, a new Chicago-based cookbook seller

"We know where to find the good stuff," says Laura Maye of Edible Type Books.

For Maye, this means a rare copy of Roma in Bocca–a quirky limited edition Italian-English cookbook published in 1976 ($450)–or the Encyclopedia of Cooking, published in Evanston in 1960 ($95).

These, and hundreds more from her eclectic and impressive library, which numbers over 1,500 in total, are now available on her just-launched retail website.

Maye is a cookbook cognoscente: Her father has been in the bookselling business for over 30 years. She began subscribing to Gourmet at age 13, and has spent her adult life working in food–from catering to cookbook writing.

The French Chef Cookbook signed by Julia and Paul Child ($750)

The Chicago resident doesn't have a storefront (yet), but the new collection is the city's finest. (You can browse it in-person, for one day only, at Saturday's Tasting Table Open Market.)

Keep an eye out for The Bon Vivant's Companion... or How to Mix Drinks ($150) by Professor Jerry Thomas, published in 1929, and American Gastronomy: An Illustrated Portfolio of Recipes and Culinary History ($15) by famed Chicago chef Louis Szathmary, who ran the iconic The Bakery in the 1970s.

A pristine 1988 copy of one of our all-time Spanish favorites, Penelope Casas' The Foods and Wines of Spain, can be procured for a steal at $12.

Chicago still needs its own Kitchen Arts & Letters or Omnivore Books. Until that day comes, we'll be browsing the virtual shelves at Edible Type.