Modern Living: Mr. Pots and Pans

There is no accounting for tastemakers. To Craig Claiborne (The New York Times Cook Book), "Fred Bridge is the enormously kind Mr. Pots and Pans." To James Beard (Beard on Bread), "Fred Bridge is a son of a bitch. I won't set foot in his place."

Then again, there is no accounting for the Bridge Kitchenware Corp. The Manhattan emporium contains enough implements to satisfy all the descendants of Brillat-Savarin. Yet its owner, Fred Bridge, keeps the store looking more like a warehouse than a house of wares, and when nonbuying shoppers browse through...

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