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Dining on the B&O

, 208 pages

16 color illus., 25 halftones

November 2009



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Dining on the B&O

Recipes and Sidelights from a Bygone Age

Third Place, Nonfiction Jacket Design, 2010 New York Book Show, Bookbinders' Guild of New York

Passengers who dined on the Baltimore and Ohio during the heyday of American railroading received five-star service: white tablecloths, china, and silver; food cooked from scratch; and the undivided attention of skilled waiters. The B&O's cuisine won wide acclaim as the finest railway food in the country. Passengers enjoyed it as the slightly swaying dining car clicked along over the rails.

Captivated by the romance of the subject, Thomas J. Greco and Karl D. Spence combine many of the B&O's best recipes with historical photos to capture the elegance and charm of the dining car experience.

Greco and Spence made a quest of uncovering the original sources of these recipes, revisiting America’s first institutional cookbook, The Culinary Handbook, by Charles Fellows, and researching the B&O’s own specialty collections of the 1940s and 1950s, the Old Standard B&O Recipes, What’s Cooking on the B&O? and B&O Chef's Notes. Along with the original recipes and modern interpretations, they supply captivating photographs of the dining cars, patrons, and staff; commentary describing the technical aspects of cooking on a moving train; examples of "service notes" used by chefs, stewards, and waiters; and a glossary of cooking terms.

With Dining on the B&O, Greco and Spence preserve for future generations the singular experience of dining in high style on this iconic railway. The recipes collected here invite readers to prepare the dishes enjoyed by thousands of rail passengers in years gone by. Just open the book and start cooking the B&O way!

Thomas J. Greco worked for 13 years on the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Karl D. Spence is a retired naval reserve commander and federal safety and health manager.

"If you really want to understand passion, look to a train enthusiast. If you really want to see passion in action, look to a chef. Combine the two and you end up with 'Dining on the B&O'... This isn't just a spread for the eyes."

"A powerful dose of nostalgia for the days when travel involved dressing for dinner, relaxing in a comfortable setting and sitting back while others solved any minor inconveniences that you might anticipate."

"Greco and Spence must be praised for the diligence and determination of their research in locating every possible B&O recipe extant from a plethora of sources, or so it seems... The B&O might be no more, but it lives on in fine books like this one."

"A railfan's and epicure's delight... it delivers a first-class look at a first-class operation."

"This is a handsome, well-thought-out book that strikes me as the ideal creation."

"An excellent window into the dining habits of Americans before they wised up... Oh yum."

"Anyone nostalgic for the classic days of train travel will love this book of memories, photographs, and, above all, recipes from the dining cars of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad."

"This book is chock full of interesting facts."

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