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Cookbooks, I crave them

April 21, 2010

I have a serious issue with cookbooks. I read them like  novels and have entire fantasies about dinner parties and menus and all that.   I’m a foodie.

Seriously, who else do you know that would have a whole chicken in her fridge and plenty of ingredients to make a basic roasted chicken dinner but, instead, upon finding a magnificent recipe which calls for 90% of what she does NOT have on hand will run to the store for aubergines, fennel and red peppers SIMPLY because the “mediterranean” menu would be so much more interesting than a boring chicken/rice/broccoli dinner.

Yep.  That’s me.   Btw, aubergines are eggplants for anyone who didn’t know.   Aubergines sound so much more elegant and edible than “eggplant”.  Aubergine, as a word, is a tiny mental vacation to places with people who have accents different from mine and where every street corner is drenched in the smell of garlic.   Where sunshine and terracotta roofs mingle under a cloudless sky.

Somewhere else.

But here comes the giggle of the day.    I have cookbooks from all over the world.  India, Spain,  Israel,  Japan,  Germany…  Mexico.

And all of the authors tout the inherent superiority of their cuisine with the following words, “Only the finest and freshest ingredients go into the preparation of ….(name that culinary,gastronomical fabulosity)”

Point 1…   What doesn’t taste better when made with “finest & freshest”?

Point 2…  Traditional American (USA) cookbooks NEVER start with that.  And rarely are those words found.  Unless it’s a hybrid type cookbook (think TexMex, or So. Cal “Mexican” food).

I think a Deep South cookbook would start like… “Ya’ll head out to the store and getcha some shortening and butter.  Cuz, ya’ll know that everthang tastes better basted, fried, coated and dripping with butter.   And shortening fries so much better than all that there other awls.”

MidWest?  “First you’ll need 2 lbs of ground beef and a can of cream of mushroom soup”.   Endless varieties on this base method.

Northwest?  “Only the freshest bean curd should be used when making your own TVP…  But if you must sacrifice by using lesser quality.   Take three turns around the ash tree and throw three clumps of compost over your left shoulder while asking Gaia for her forgiveness.”

East Coast?  Now that one depends…  The big cities are such metropolitan areas that “down home” tends to look like whatever suburb or district you live in.  Country folk, however, seem to have some affinity to the deep-down NEED for fried badness.

Anyhow.   I was cracking myself up and thought we’d take a break from the maudlin to giggle.

🙂

  • Joelle

    Too true! (And funny!) 😀

    I love eggplant. Though I’ve heard my mom made a raw eggplant pizza back in her raw days that was the “worst thing EVER” and still gets talked about by those who suffered through it! lol I suffered through the raw potato salad, so I sympathize.

    I love cookbooks, too. When other people use them. *grin*

  • Joelle

    Too true! (And funny!) 😀

    I love eggplant. Though I’ve heard my mom made a raw eggplant pizza back in her raw days that was the “worst thing EVER” and still gets talked about by those who suffered through it! lol I suffered through the raw potato salad, so I sympathize.

    I love cookbooks, too. When other people use them. *grin*

  • Spacebunny

    I LOVE cookbooks and also read them like novels. I have great intentions, but don’t follow through as often as you do. Good for you!

    BTW- the Church cookbook from a Methodist church in a teensy WI town where my grandparents live is EXACTLY like that. Now, can anyone tell me the difference between a hot dish and a casserole?

  • Serena

    Now she tells my aubergine failures but not my ongoing success – I make a mean Aubergine Parmesan. Can you tell I like that new word? Anyway, I have 2 kinds of aubergine that I’m planting in my garden this year – Casper[http://rareseeds.com/cart/products/Casper_Eggplant-1164-114.html], which is a long white one that is more mild tasting – very yummy! I’m trying Ping Tung[http://rareseeds.com/cart/products/Ping_Tung_Eggplant-1175-114.html] this year. I have not had it before. The flea beetles took my aubergine last year before they had a chance. I’m just hoping that I won’t have that kind of problem this year. It was really hard to choose what variety when I got those seeds (little plants are growing nicely right now) and there are others I’d love to try that Baker Creek sells. I’d have to have a humongous garden to grow all the stuff I’d love to try.

  • Serena

    As far as I know there is not much difference between a casserole and a hot dish, though a hot dish may not be a casserole (think soup, meatloaf, roast and veggies, etc) but when used to say what to bring to a community meal (potluck) they are essentially the same – just different vernaculars for different regions. Casserole would be more common in the midwest, but here in the south hot dish would be more commonly used.

  • Giraffe

    I scored a whole box full of cookbooks a couple weeks ago. An older friend’s mother in law was going to assisted living so I got all of hers.

    Mrs. G loved them.