I just discovered your blog on Tuesday when a saw an obituary for Bernard Clayton in a news feed. I have a personal story that I thought you might enjoy.
Around 1994, I was living in Shah Alam, Malaysia and doing original cataloging for a library there. I happened to get to catalog his book, “Cooking Across America” and as soon as it was processed, I checked it out. What great stories (and recipes) were in this book. Living in Malaysia, prawns were plentiful and cheap. The first recipe I tried was a shrimp salad with a spicy peanut dressing. (The cookbook opens automatically at the page for that recipe). I immediately tried Amazon to order a copy to be shipped home to Athens, Ohio. No luck. Out of Print. I contemplated telling the library I lost it, but felt too guilty to do that. I checked online for a phone number for him and found one in Bloomington, IN where he was living at the time and called him. I began the call with, “You don’t know me, but my name is Edie Luce and I am calling you from Malaysia.” I asked if he knew where I might get a copy of the book to which he replied “I have 4 copies and would be happy to sell you one” which he did. It was shipped to our home in Athens, Ohio. Inside the book he had written “I’m happy to be a part of your private library, Bernard Clayton”.
Thank you, Edie, for sharing your story, and letting us know the kindness of Bernard. He loved his readers and wanted to share his joy of cooking with us. If you google Bernard, you will find pages of information on his extraordinary life.
To honor Bernard, I would like to give away a copy of his book, The Complete Book of Breads, which is considered by many to be the greatest cookbook ever written on the subject of breads. This is one of the early copies of the book, from 1973. If you would like to be entered in a random drawing for this book, please send me your name and email address by 11:59 pm CST, this Saturday, April 16th, to [email protected] and I will randomly select a name to win the book. It is a treasure for one lucky person.