To commemorate the 74th anniversary of V-J Day on August 15, herewith, a couple of family recipes for War Cake a more-or-less appetizing (de gustibus, and all that) sop to the sweet tooth of the war-weary denizens from the Old and New Worlds. One is from 1942 and was shared with me by a friend in the early 1970s, and the other we found handwritten on a slip of paper that fell out of my grandmother’s favorite cookbook when we were sorting out her stuff after she died. It and the paper it’s written on are of sufficient antiquity that it’s quite possible this one is from WWI. Our guess is that it was sent to Granny by the branch of the family that emigrated to British Columbia; hence its name, Canadian Cake (click to embiggen):More
When it comes to chocolate, I’ve always been a Cadbury girl. At my childhood UK home, the cows in the field below our garden used to send their milk off to the Cadbury factory at Bournville near Birmingham, and whenever I took a bite of the lovely stuff, I used to wonder if any of “my” cows had contributed to it. Perhaps it tasted the better, for that reason alone.
Cadbury’s, and most modern, mass-produced chocolate, owes its existence to two processes developed in the early 19th-century by Dutch chocolate maker Casparus van Houten and his son Coenraad. They are ubiquitous enough that the industry has been divided into “Dutched” chocolate, and all the rest, ever since.More
Well, Spring is making an effort, but today is gray, and cold and wet, and I think I’d like a good bowl of some sort of comfort food for dinner tonight. I vote for stew! More
I don’t really like olives all that much. But I adore the idea of olives. And olive groves. And the Mediterranean. The stories by Peter Mayle and Carol Drinkwater. The presence of olive trees, olive oil, olive wood, and of course “olive branches” in our mythological, literary and cultural traditions. And the history of an ancient industry that has survived, in many cases relatively unchanged, for thousands of years.
The idea of olives is so very different from my own chilly and pedestrian life at the moment. The idea of olives is beautiful, and soft and warm. (Important as I write this because, even on the third day of Spring, the view from my window is dreary, the wind is bitter cold, and nasty, little chippy bits of frozen something are falling from the sky.) So I’m thinking about temperate breezes from warmer climes, and the joys of olive farming.More
Well, I couldn’t sleep. Woke up at about 4 AM and realized I hadn’t had much dinner last night, long story involving goats, dogs (Levi’s surgery went fine, thanks for asking) and preparations in the expectation of a sleet/ice/snow storm all day Thursday. (There’s already a glaze of ice on the porch steps, as I discovered when I stepped outside to put the dog out and measured my length on the ground immediately thereafter. Ouch). That was the point at which I abandoned the idea of a quick trip to the Giant Eagle to pick up some supplies before “things get bad.” They already are. Even with the weather.
So. Mother Hubbard’s cupboard isn’t quite bare, but there’s not much quick and easy to be found. I’ve always loved potato soup, though (good comfort food on a day like this), and I thought I’d see if I could make that work. Results are surprisingly and spectacularly delicious. Here’s the recipe, before I forget it. (Note that you could add other things. Celery springs to mind. But “springing” was the last thing the remaining two stalks of celery in my fridge were doing yesterday when I threw them in the compost. “Flopping” was more the order of the day. So, no celery for me, this time round.) But you could. Anyway, here we go:More
A day spent in the kitchen is a day well spent. I will never be as great a cook as my Mom was, but I do love to cook, and I manage to do a pretty good job. Even though I have a couple of bookcases full of recipe books, I still like to look at recipes on the internet to see if there is something new, or to get ideas for adding to old recipes. A couple of nights ago a recipe for a carrot, zucchini, and apple cake showed up in my Facebook time line, so I clicked on it.
After reading the recipe, I decided to look at the comments on the post (I should never do that). One gal said, “Just because it has veggies in it doesn’t mean it is good for you. Don’t make this.” And, another gal shrieked, “Flour and sugar will kill you!” (Emphasis added) Wow. I’ll bet the neighborhood potlucks with Debbie Downer and Morticia are a real hoot.More
I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review here on the following Sunday. More
Most of the posts dealing with food at this time of year deal with Christmas food. There are cookie posts, and posts on how to cook turkeys, and what to do with leftovers, and what to do when you’re eating with relatives of different political persuasions. (Ignore them? Mock them? Burn them at the stake?) […]
I’m a sucker for eggnog. I can even tolerate (I know, this is terrible) the soy-based non-fat stuff. When it’s on sale. But I would like to whip up a custom batch for all the folks coming over Christmas afternoon. What recipes do you like? Got any good Tom & Jerry recipes? Other ideas? And […]
No politics in this one. Let’s talk food. For those of you who like to cook, what are your favorite recipes, or what of your recipes are the favorites of your family and friends? Do you have these written down, or can you wing it? I’ll start: Turnips and Caramelized Leeks Au Gratin:This one scales […]
Hello, friends. Warning: This post is about food; most of my posts are about food. I am finally on my “use it or lose it” two weeks of vacation left over from 2014. I’ve spent the weekend decompressing and tamping down stray, manic “time to have fun now, must have fun now” impulses. I hit the Walmart first thing this morning to lay in enough provisions to keep three growing and ravenous young men from starving while they enjoy their school break.
Here are a few things Walmart was completely out of: Libby’s canned pumpkin (for pumpkin muffins); dried cherries (for cherry chocolate-chunk oatmeal cookies); mild Italian sausage links (for the Christmas lasagna; of course); um, Christmas candy (for the stockings) — a little bit of picked-over stuff was left, but the Valentine’s Day candy has already horned in on the Christmas candy display area.More
In my post about snow I mentioned that I like a Tom & Jerry about this time of year. In the Wikipedia page just linked, I was intrigued to learn that this is a regional treat, and quite a circumscribed region at that. So even though the local bakery here sells tubs of Tom & Jerry […]
Inspired by Guru For Hire’s many excellent cookery posts, may I present King George I’s Christmas Pudding recipe? Because if you’re going to make it for this year, you need to start now! Legend has it that King George I, known as the “Pudding King,” ate this pudding at six o’clock on December 25, 1714—his […]
Thanks to rosegarden sj dad’s recent post on the demise of the home-cooked meal, I am now starving. It is finally cool enough here to make pot roast, so that is what we are having tonight. I use a recipe very much like this one, from the Pioneer Woman. The meat is always perfectly tender and […]
I picked up The New York Times Cook Book, by Craig Claiborne, (Harper & Row, New York, 1961) on a whim twenty-five years ago on a sale table at a small bookstore, and I have enjoyed it immensely ever since. First of all, it is one of the most beautiful book jackets I’ve ever seen. […]
When my wife and I were engaged to be married, she confessed, some months before the Big Day, that she had a concern. “I really am not sure that I am ready to sit down with cornflakes every morning in front of the same man for the rest of my life.” More
Alright, barbecue is one of those subjects that can really rile people up. I used to have a boss from South Carolina who was of the opinion that only a mustard-based sauce would do. I’ve known some who said the meat had to fall off the bone, and others who liked it sticking to the […]
Things have gotten a little tense over on another thread, but per usual, the conversation drifted- to food. Some asked, “Is this a food thread yet?” I thought that was a great idea. Let’s have a recipe thread. Food is near and dear to my heart. I grew up in the kitchen helping my Lebanese […]