Wine and Food. A Gastronomical Quarterly, edited by André L. Simon. Numbers 1 to 118, Spring 1934 to Summer 1963, missing four numbers – 82 & 83 (Summer & Autumn 1954) and 91 & 92 (Autumn & Winter 1956). Published for the Wine and Food Society by Simpkin Marshall, 1934. [Published for the Wine and Food Society by The Field Press (1930) Ltd., 1935-1941]. [Published by the Wine and Food Society, 1942 to #115 Autumn 1962]. [Published in conjunction with the Wine and Food Society by Wine & Food Publications (Condé Nast), #117 & 118, Spring & Summer 1963].
London: 1934-1963. Printed at the Curwen Press. 22.5 (to 1941) and 21.5 cm. [1934-1937]: 79-102 pages + 14-22 pages of ads each issue; [1938-1963]: 210-456 pages each year + a number of ad pages each issue. The fattest year was 1938, the leanest 1941. Number 28 has viii pages of index to articles by author (#1-28) and number 80 has xv pages of index for #1-80. Number 100 has iv pages of index for #81-100. Illustrations.
This ground-breaking wine quarterly was a labor of love on the part of André Simon. Although both he and A.J.A. Symons jointly founded the Wine and Food Society, Simon organized the dinners and was editor of this, its quarterly magazine, through most of its – and much of his – life. A.J.A. Symons' obituary, written by Simon, appeared in the Autumn 1941 issue (#31), and more tributes to "Ayjay" followed in issues 32 and 35. In the first issue, Simon said that the first object of the society was to raise the standard of cooking in the country, a subject that was close to his heart from the time he arrived in England from France quite a few years earlier. An equally important goal of the society was to raise the level of awareness and appreciation of wine, which was accomplished partly through the publication of more books on wine – Simon on Port, Gwynn on Burgundy, Rudd on Hocks & Moselles, Berry's In Search of Wine, and many more. Almost every issue of Wine & Food saw a review of a book or two on wine as well as food. Simon carried his campaign to the US and in the Autumn 1935 number, the listing of Wine & Food Society chapters included New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Itineraries of Simon's trips to the US over the years were recorded in Wine and Food. About his whirlwind tour of the US in 1946, Simon reports that he was "none the worse for those five weeks during which my American friends had done their best to kill me with kindness." [#51]. The progress of the Society in other parts of the world as well can be traced in the reports of the activities of the various branches. By dint of perseverance, Simon was able to keep the flame of gastronomy alive even during the war years. In some of the early war years there is a note, almost of envy, of the Americans who were still enjoying the good life until Pearl Harbor finally ended it. The last issue of 1941 (#32) had a review of the Complete Wine Book by Schoonmaker and Marvel. In 1940, Grossman had published his Guide to Wines, Spirits …, reviewed in the Winter 1940 issue, together with Healy's Stay Me With Flagons, the plates of which were destroyed in a bombing raid, and which was the last of English wine books until after the war. In 1942, Tom Marvel wrote a letter in defense of vitis labrusca (#35). Lt. Amerine wrote a letter from Algiers in 1944, taking advantage of his stopover to report on the vineyards [#41].
In addition to the many, many reviews of wine books in these pages, not to mention contributions by writers well known to collectors, there is also a useful checklist of "English and American Books on Wine, Wine Glasses and Vessels" [#41, 1944, pages 52-68]. Obituaries of writers on wine include Frank Gray Griswold [#14-1937] by Simon, Edward Bunyard [#24-1939] by Healy, Maurice Healy [#38-1943] by Simon, and Crosby Gaige [#62-1949]. Also reprinted in the quarterly are a few previously published writings, such as Belloc's An Heroic Poem in Praise of Wine [#8-1935], and Longfellow's Catawba Wine [#36-1942]. All aspects of wine and food, in fact, are well represented through reports on dinner menus, interesting foods, wine areas off the beaten trail. A few articles that caught my eye: report on a Moselle tasting [#2-1934], ten articles on the sausage in one issue [#32-1941], account of a visit, shortly after World War One, to a Warsaw restaurant that had California wine from the Spanish Mission period, some 150 years old [#61-1949]. Among articles in issues not covered by the indexes [#101-118], there are two more by Warner Allen, and three by Roy Brady, one on "Old Madeira," another a review of the Tadich Grill in San Francisco.
In 1963, because of financial constraints, Wine and Food was turned over to Condé Nast Publications. The same format, with added illustrations, was retained for the first two issues of 1963, and a new one adopted with issue #119. After another change to a new larger format with issue 135, in mid-1967, it continued publication through issue number 149 (July 1970), shortly before Simon's death. The old order, with its gracious wine dinners had primed the wine sluices for the new order, with its more aggressive, market-oriented and ever more high-tech wine and food experiences.