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Cookbook Saturday November 17, 2007

Posted by Jim Berkin in Books, Cooking, Food.
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Despite a very short list of yardsales in the area this morning, I managed to do pretty well at a rummage sale held to benefit the cheerleading squad of one of the local high schools. Unfortunately, this sale was run by the advisors and parents rather than the cheerleaders themselves, denying eye-candy to this old perv (Remember that PBS show? Where they remodeled a different perv every week? Don’t know about you, but I learned a lot.) but someone’s mother had donated a dozen boxes of books that were either crafts/needlework, dogs, or cooking.

So after a thorough search and evaluation, I got the following for fifty cents a pop: A wonderful collection of easy traditional American recipes are found in Christopher Kimball’s The Yellow Farm House Cookbook which will go nicely with his other general-themed The Cook’s Bible which I picked up some months back. Kimball runs what I think is the best cooking magazine out there. Cook’s Illustrated, which dedicates itself to perfecting recipes that you’d actually cook at home on a regular basis. What a concept!

While most of this woman’s taste in cooking was blander than mine, I also found two nice French cookbooks (now that they’ve elected Sarkozy, I suppose I can cook French again): The Provence Cookbook by Patricia Wells, which offers an abundance of easy seafood and herb-y soup type stuff from my first skimming of it, as well as a TON of wine in every recipe, which means there’ll be plenty to look forward to. And there was also Cuisine Rapide by Pierre Freney, from a late ’80s PBS cooking show I vaguely remember. The recipes here are also of the quick ‘n’ simple variety, though from my quick examination, will be pretty tasty.

Tastiest of all, however, might be the material from Wok Every Day, a beautifully designed book of assorted fusion recipes, mixing Chinese with Indian with European with damn near anything, all stir-fried, steamed and even baked in a wok. I randomly found recipes for Indian-spiced potato pancakes and Thai-seasoned angel hair pasta with seafood in my first flip-through, and then discovered a recipe for a steamed chocolate cake that I’ll have to try, since even if it comes out “Gooey Chocolate Disaster Mess” it’ll still be worth eating.

The other highlight was petting a 22 year old cat at another sale. The little gray tiger cat was skin and bones – I could feel every vertebrae in its back when petting him – but he moved around just fine and was a happy guy. The owner told me he ate six times a day and was deaf, and maybe nearly blind (though he clearly saw me call him over by my kneeling down, and trotted over for some big-time petting action). If this calculator is to be believed, he was the equivalent of a 91 year old man. So, we have a lot in common. We BOTH need a nap.

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