Saturday, January 06, 2007

conversations over holiday gifts

Cookbooks can be fun. Cooking new things is exciting, of course, but simply reading the book can be interesting, too.
While reading the brand new Good Home Cookbook:
"Did you know that Thomas Jefferson's cousin was the first to publish a recipe for mac & cheese?"
"Cool. I'll add it to my Trivia file."
"Mmm. Here's one for goulash."
"But do they have booyah?"
"Well, not by name, but there are several good ethnic soups. Let's plant lots of tomatoes in the spring so I can make a good minestrone. Maybe extra beans, too."
I like this cookbook. It has basic instructions and fancy recipes and everything in between. Of course, the trivia scattered throughout guarantees that it'll sit on my top shlf for a long time.
Reading The Favre Family Cookbook: by the Favre family was an entirely different experience. Instead of instructions for basic midwestern recipes of my family and friends, it features "three generations of Cajun and Creole cooking from the Gulf Coast." This is not your mama's chili; it's Brett Favre's mama's gumbo, and more.
"Honey, do you think you'd like Crawfish Bread? I wonder if it would work in my breadmaker."
"Don't ask me to go fishing for the main ingredient."
"Okay. Wow, this one uses three pounds of alligator meat."
"Alligator? Where would you buy that?"
"I know where I can buy buffalo meat. Do you suppose that would work?"
This cookbook has fascinating recipes. Some I could make (Leslie's Potato Soup), and some, no matter how delicious, I'm sure I won't (Rotten Bayou Alligator Broiled with Lemon Butter Sauce). Between the recipes, there are great family pictures of all three generations. I could browse this one for hours.
Cookbooks are fun. The recipes are at their hearts, but the other little details are what makes them special and keeps me reading and cooking.

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