Monday, January 25, 2010

Found in Michigan . . .

It seems that lately I'm spending more time in Michigan than here in Virginia . . . wonder why . . . lol.  After my last posting, I went back to visit Bobby that week because his birthday was on Friday, 15 January.  We had a very nice time and did lots of stuff together.  One of the things we've been doing lately--and enjoy a lot--is going to the Salvation Army thrift stores.  I usually look for cat figurines, collectible boxes, kitchen thing-a-ma-jigs . . . and cooking books!  On our last "scouring" I found three books worth taking home:
  1. "The Perfect Dinner Party Cookbook" by Ceil Dyer
  2. "Food Editors' Hometown Favorites-American Regional and Local Specialties" by Barbara Gibbs Ostmann and Jane Baker
  3. "World Wide Cook Book-Menus and Recipes of 75 Nations" by Pearl V. Metzelthin
I'm very picky about cooking books--specially old ones--so, they really have to be "extra special" to catch my attention . . . and these three did!  Book number 1 attracted me because of its unusual recipes--not your average weekday meals.  It dwells more on the lost art of giving dinner parties and even suggests the right wine for every menu.  "Anyone who has ever read Booth Tarkington's unforgettable Alice Adams knows that the overelaborate menus and the fussily decorated table are the twin evils of preasurable dining. However, simplicity does not mean starkness."  The book is also full of interesting tips for menu and party planning.  A formal Spring dinner serving eight--which "caught my eyes"--proposes the following menu:

Crabmeat Florentine
Chicken Breasts à l'Anglaise
Broccoli Ring with Fresh Peas, Tiny White Onions, and Pimentos
Watercress and Bibb Lettuce Salad with Crouton Dressing
Strawberries au Kirsch
Pecan Wafers
Wine: White Burgundy Meursault, lightly chilled

Book number 2 got my curiosity because I've always been interested in getting to know more about true american regional recipes.  Every time I've asked around about typical dishes, people hasn't been able to name things other than meatloaf, barbecue ribs or southern fried chicken.  And I knew there had to be more than that!  Of course, along the years I got acquainted with things like New England clam chowder (love it!), fried catfish or walleye, key lime pie, potato salad, chicken-fried steak, red velvet cake, crab cakes, Cioppino, or Buffalo chicken wings, to name just a few.  But . . . had you ever heard of recipes such as "Chicken Booyah" from Wisconsin, "Devonshire sandwiches" from Pittsburgh, or "Alligator rolls" from Missouri???  Not me, at least!

And, finally, book number 3 . . . for starters, it's a very old book--from 1944.  I've always wanted to have cooking books from all over the world, and this book simply gave my taste buds a treat:  recipes from 75 different countries or territories!  I found recipes from Turkey--a country close to my heart because of my paternal grandmother--Japan, Bulgaria, Denmark, Brazil, Cuba, Egypt, Polynesia, Australia, Indo-China, "The Dark Continent" (Africa), Albania and many, many, many more places!  The author tells that she got the idea for a book about the world's cookery and eating habits when she was a young bride stationed with a diplomat-husband in China (any resemblance to Julia Child's story?).  How can you not like a book like this?

Well, it's almost midnight and I better get in bed now or, otherwise, I will never get up in time tomorrow for work!!! :)



sandi said...

I can get you the recipe for a Norwegian sheep's head if you want. :)

SusyCS said...

We have that kind of recipe in the Andes in Peru, it's a soup done with sheep's head. My taste buds are not particularly interested in such a dish! :P