Food Writer Cecily Brownstone

Associated Press
Monday, September 5, 2005

Cecily Brownstone, 96, a cuisine maven who wrote cookbooks and articles about food for the Associated Press for 39 years, died Aug. 30 at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York. She had pneumonia.

Ms. Brownstone, a native of the hamlet of Plum Coulee, Manitoba, became interested in food at an early age and devoted most of her life to writing about it.

She became a leading figure in New York's circle of cookbook authors and restaurant critics, and was one of the nation's most widely published food writers. From 1947 until retiring in 1986, Ms. Brownstone submitted two cuisine columns and five recipes a week for the Associated Press.

She also was food editor of Parents magazine and child-care editor of Family Circle magazine. Her cookbooks included "Cecily Brownstone's Associated Press Cookbook" (1972), as well as "Classic Cakes and Other Great Cuisinart Desserts" (1994), co-authored with Carl Sontheimer, founder of the Cuisinart company.

Ms. Brownstone lived in a rowhouse in Manhattan's Greenwich Village, where she hosted frequent social gatherings at which food was the primary subject.

Although Ms. Brownstone's main interest was American food, her favorite recipe was Country Captain, a chicken dish of Indian origin. As published by the New York Times, the recipe called for "one cup of pepper." The typographical error caused one reader to complain that he "nearly died," said a nephew, author Jonathan Ned Katz.

Ms. Brownstone amassed a collection of 8,000 cookbooks, 5,000 food pamphlets and hundreds of letters, which she donated in 2002 to the Fales collection at New York University.

A separate collection of photos and other personal items was at Katz's downtown Manhattan office and lost in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist destruction of the World Trade Center, Katz said.

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