Sheila Lukins, co-author of The Silver Palate Cookbook and The New Basics Cookbook, and author Celebrate!, Ten and other cookbooks, died yesterday. The cause was brain cancer, diagnosed three months ago. Lukins was 66.
Workman published The Silver Palate Cookbook, which Lukins co-authored with Julee Rosso, in 1982. It has sold more than two and a half million copies. The cookbook introduced readers to dishes like Chicken Marbella, which, in classic Silver Palate style, used everyday ingredients—capers, olives and prunes—to add new, refined flavors to a dish. Lukins went on to publish six other books with Workman. Her books have collectively sold more than seven million copies.
Workman editor Suzanne Rafer worked with Lukins on seven cookbooks. She called Lukins "a woman who changed the way the home cook cooks," noting that Lukins excelled at "taking what restaurant cooks were starting to do, and picking up on the new flavors that people were starting to enjoy in restaurants, and translating them into vibrant, interesting, easy to make dishes. This is a woman who glorified the noble prune and had us all eating Chicken Marbella—still." Rafer said Lukins was a Workman house author: "We were fortunate to be the beneficiary of all her cookbooks. She was a great friend. She’ll be so missed. We are so fortunate that she was part of the Workman family, and she will remain part of the Workman family."
A memorial for Lukins will be held tomorrow, September 1, at 2:30 PM at Riverside Memorial Chapel in New York City.