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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ruth Eleanor "Peg" Bracken (February 25, 1918[1] – October 20, 2007) was an American author of humorous books on cooking, housekeeping, etiquette and travel.



Born in Filer, Idaho, Bracken grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and graduated from Antioch College in 1940. She married and moved to Portland, Oregon, where she worked as an advertising copywriter along with Homer Groening, father of Matt Groening.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Bracken's writing reassured women that they did not have to be perfect to have a happy, well-managed home. Her best-known book is "The I Hate to Cook Book", written in 1960. The book came about when she and some other working-women friends "pooled their ignorance" and came up with a core of recipes strong on ease of preparation. It was followed by "The I Hate to Housekeep Book" and "The Appendix to the I Hate to Cook Book". The two cookbooks were later published together as The Compleat I Hate to Cook Book. All are illustrated with amusing line drawings by Hilary Knight (best known for illustrating Eloise by Kay Thompson). The recipes are distinguished by unusual names and peppered with sardonic comments. For example, one recipe is for "Wolfe Eggs," which are for eggs the way the fictional Nero Wolfe would cook them. "Stayabed Stew" could be left to cook by itself and was perfect "for those days when you are en neglige, en bed, with a murder story and a box of bonbons". She went on to write books in a similar vein on housekeeping, etiquette and travel. She also wrote humorous pieces for women's magazines.

Bracken continued writing into her 70s, publishing her last book, "On Getting Old for the First Time", in 1997.

Partial bibliography

  • "The 9-Months' Wonder" (with Helen Berry Moore)
  • "The I Hate to Cook Book" (1960)
  • "I Try to Behave Myself" (1960), an etiquette guide
  • "The I Hate to Housekeep Book" (1962), a book of household hints
  • "Appendix to the I Hate to Cook Book" (1966)
  • "I Still Hate to Cook Book" (1967) UK edition
  • "I Didn't Come Here to Argue" (1969)
  • "Instant Etiquette" (1969) UK edition
  • "But I Wouldn't Have Missed It for the World" (1973) described as "the pleasures and perils of an unseasoned traveller"
  • "The I Hate to Cook Book of the Year: A Book of Days" (1977) UK edition
  • "The I Hate to Cook Almanack" (1980)
  • "A Window Over the Sink" (1986) "a mainly affectionate memoir" ISBN 0151969868
  • "The Compleat I Hate to Cook Book" (1988) ISBN 055327130X
  • "On Getting Old for the First Time" (1997)ISBN 1885221533
  • (collected in) American Food Writing: An Anthology with Classic Recipes, ed. Molly O'Neill (Library of America, 2007) ISBN 1598530054

External links


  1. ^ Margalit Fox, "Peg Bracken, ‘I Hate to Cook’ Author, Dies at 89", New York Times, Oct. 23, 2007


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Ruth Eleanor "Peg" Bracken (February 25, 1918October 20, 2007) was an American author.


  • When people say it's a funny thing about them, you will probably be able to control your hysterics. They are only getting readyto announce the shattering fact that they don't like something. And it's not going to be something that's really quite awful, like suttee or apartheid; it's going to be something small.
  • Some people collect paperweights, or pre-Columbian figures, or old masters, or young mistresses, or tombstone rubbings, or five-minute recipes, or any of a thousand other things including bruises, most of them satisfying, depending on the genes and the bank account and where the heart lies.
    My own collection is sunrises; and I find that they have their advantages. Sunrises are usually handsome, they can't possibly be dusted, and they take only a little room, so long as it has a window to see them from. Moreover, I can't give way to the urge to show off my collection to my friends. I can only talk about it, and they needn't listen.
    • I Didn't Come Here to Argue, "The Sunrise Collector: What to Do till Your Horoscope Gets There," page 37.
  • When I finally gathered, invented, stole, simplified, borrowed, and found a publisher for a clutch of reasonably foolproof recipes, I learned I had friends I hadn't known about—more proof that a mutual dislike can be quite as sound a basis for friendship as a mutual devotion.
    • I Didn't Come Here to Argue, "My Feud With Food," page 22.
  • There are worse things than being fat, and one of them is worrying about it all the time.
    • But I Wouldn't Have Missed It for the World! by Peg Bracken.
  • It isn't surprising that many children consider their parents to be a little dim, and that they sometimes try to update them. The fact that they don't usually try to hard is just as well; a thoroughly updated parent is an unappetizing sight.
    • I Didn't Come Here to Argue, "The Sunrise Collector: Don't Trust Anybody over Fifteen or Talk To Anybody under Forty," page 93.


  • The subject of men and women is absolutely fraught with sex, which is as it should be.

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