Archive for April, 2017

A cookbook from the creator of Los Angeles’ Eutropheons

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

[Vera M. Richter]. Mrs. Richter’s Cook-Less Book, With Scientific Food Chart. [By] Vera M. Richter. Seventh edition.  Los Angeles,  California: Published by Los Angeles Service and Supply Co. and Eutropheon, 1925.  Octavo (18.5 x 13.5 cm.), 59, [v] pages. Ads. “Index” is actually a table of contents. FIRST EDITION.

A pioneering work by an original contributor to American food and restaurant history, an advocate of raw foods as a fundamental component of healthy living. Of the one hundred seventy recipes, a considerable number will not likely surface elsewhere: Turnip-Olive Salad (with dried olives), Sorrel Salad (with watercress), Cabbage-Cocoanut Salad (with cucumbers), Tangerine Salad (with sweet peppers), Prune Whip (with pine nuts), Herbade (with beet greens), Carob Bread (with dates), Flaxseed Pemiken (with almonds), Celery Cream Pie (with apples), Chop Sticks (with dried bananas).

Vera Richter compiled her Cook-Less Book from recipes developed for The Eutropheons, at first simply called Raw Food Dining Rooms, which she and her husband John Richter, Doctor of Naturopathy, had launched in 1917 at two locations, on West Second and West Sixth Streets in Los Angeles. By 1925, possibly earlier, they had moved to addresses advertised as 833 South Olive Street and 209-11 South Hill Street. The restaurants – cafeterias, probably – used no salt, refined sugar, vinegar, alcohol, or prepared condiments, and above all, became known as the only restaurants in the country to operate “without the aid of a cook stove” (according to a zealous patron, the newspaper columnist and health-food writer Phillip Lovell [1895-1978]).  In 1932, Lee Shippey of The Los Angeles Times reported on an eponymous food club – The Trophers – evidently with thousands of members (and in fact founded two years before on Dr. Richter’s birthday, according to the February 1930 issue of Vegetarian and Fruitarian). By 1941, according to the California Health News Magazine, The Eutropheons were meeting places for celebrities and tourists, able to boast of testimonials from Leopold Stokowski and his wife Greta Garbo to William Pester (sometimes called the first hippie), the athletic coach Paul Bragg, and the so-called “nature-boy” Gypsy Boots.

Not only restaurants, then, but also distribution and information centers, The Eutropheons are among the earliest documented institutions heralding the natural and health foods fixations taking root in California between the two World Wars. Los Angeles would shortly become a magnet for natural diet advocates of various stripes, among them Otto Carque, Mildred Lager, Frank McCoy, and Clarke Irvine – all of them known to or influenced by the “raw-fooders” (a term apparently coined by the Richters, although earlier raw food movements are known). The Richters themselves packaged solar-baked breads, dried-fruit confections, and raw pie crusts for sale, and invited the public to lectures and diet courses at their dining halls. The “scientific food chart” that concludes the Cook-Less Book – in essence, a list of raw foods and their attributes – derives from the content of their evangelizing, as does Dr. Richter’s informal collection of informal talks,Nature, the Healer, published in 1936. Apart from birth and death dates from census records – 1884-1960 – little is known of Vera Richter’s background, or indeed of any details relating to her formative years, including her full name. It is thought she became the second wife of Theophilus John Richter (1863-1949) in 1917, before their move from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. John Richter had already espoused a diet of “live” (that is, uncooked) foods in his naturopathic practice, attaching the letters N.D. and Al. D. to his name (presumably Doctor of Naturopathy and Doctor of Alementaria) in advertisements for his lectures on food in its relation to disease. In blue cardstock wrappers; decorated in black and gilt. Edges worn and rubbed. Good. Scarce.

[OCLC locates ten copies of all editions and printings of 1924-1925 (variously styled 2nd through 10th editions), with various pagination; Brown 146 (10th edition); not in Cagle].



“Died in an attic of the Quatier Grenelle”

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017
”Father la Loque died in an attic of the Quatier Grenelle, Paris, leaving a long array of corks inscribed with the names of false friends, who had helped him dissipate his fortune.”

Fin-Bec, in The Epicure’s Year Book of 1869.