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Tessman, L.H. (2016). A review of Grete Bibring: A Culinary Biography: by Daniel Jacobs with Olga Umanski. Newton Centre, MA: Boston Psychoanalytic Society & Institute, 2015. 125 pp.. Contemp. Psychoanal., 52(1):172-178.
A review of Grete Bibring: A Culinary Biography: by Daniel Jacobs with Olga Umanski. Newton Centre, MA: Boston Psychoanalytic Society & Institute, 2015. 125 pp.
Lora Heims Tessman, Ph.D.
GreteBibring: A Culinary Biography is an entrancing book, hard to put down. It emerged from the wise epiphany that one key to
emotional life may be found in one's guest lists, and the elaboration of menus planned for them over changing time. Jacobs tells us
The record of her [Grete's] dinner parties, put in context, tell the story of a life lived with others. They tell us how Grete held onto old friendship while accommodating new ones, and the part these friendships played both in managing the enormous disruptions in her life, while also helping her make important contributions in our field. Her entertainments, the food she provided, the company she kept and the discussions she stimulated were expressions of who she was and what she most valued in life. (p. 6)
Grete's handwritten notes, in small black booklets containing records of her dinner parties from 1927 to 1977, were discovered after her death by her colleague Dr. Helen Tartakoff, who donated them to the BPSI Archives. There, after 40 years of being unnoticed, librarian Olga Umansky brought them to the attention of Dan Jacobs, library director, and provided further research. The book became a collaborative venture of the members of the library committee of BPSI (Drs. James Barron, Ellen Goldberg, Malkah Notman, Marcia Smith-Hutton, Rita Teutsch, Shari Thurer, Anna Wolff), some of whom contributed their own memories of Grete Bibring. The culinary diaries spanned Grete's entertaining in three very different settings.
[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]