Food for Thought

Food for Thought
Photograph by Cara Dolan

A Biddeford bookshop specializes in rare orders.

By Joel Crabtree

[dropcap letter=”D”]on and Samantha Lindgren moved from New York to Maine 15 years ago. Over a pizza lunch in the Old Port, Don, a rare-books dealer, and Samantha, a pastry chef, hashed out a business plan on a napkin, and soon they had a bookshop, Rabelais, devoted to food, drink, and cooking. Last year, the Lindgrens announced a shift away from new titles, focusing instead on rare materials — they’ve built up quite an archive over the years, and antiquarian items can fetch a pretty price. “But often the most exciting and satisfying book is not that expensive,” Don says. “Rather, it’s something that just has a really great story.” North Dam Mill, 2 Main St., Biddeford. 207-602-6246.


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1

Lump of ambergris to flavor whipped cream in Amelia Simmons’s American Cookery. Ambergris comes from sperm whales’ intestinal secretions.
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6,643

Miles between Biddeford and Tokyo, home of the most distant client the Lindgrens regularly work with.
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1,600

Community cookbooks, from all 50 states, by church groups, Junior Leagues, and school parents.
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30,000

Approximate number of books and ephemera, including 3,200 depictions of pigs on old postcards, trade cards, and the like. “Every type of image of a pig you could imagine,” Don says.
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$40,000

Price tag on a first edition of Susannah Carter’s The Frugal House Wife: or, Complete Woman Cook, published in Dublin in the 1760s. It’s one of two known copies.
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484

Age (in years) of Rabelais’s copy of the Deipnosophistae, a 16th-century run of an ancient Greek account of Roman banqueting. It’s the oldest book in the shop.
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