Cooking: the books


Italian cookbookOne of the more mundane tasks set aside for our family this summer is small area at a time. It is the only way I know to maintain any semblence of good humor. Today, the spouse and I tackled the print cookbooks.  Many were “handed down” or gifted from family and friends decades ago. Moreso, there are recipes with handwritten notes and dates – or even a drawing of a “skull & crossbones”  next to a particular cookie recipe (which I will not share with you).  We sit and reminisce, laugh, and sigh. It is time to let someone else find their memories here.

250 Irish Recipes: Traditional and Modern. Dublin: Mount Salus, 1962. Print.
This was given to us by my in-laws. My father-in-law always envied those of Irish descent. So when they traveled to Ireland, this little books was carried back by my mother-in-law.  She was a fabulous cook who studied with James Beard and others. Why we have this book, I have no idea as neither my husband or I even cooked one recipe.  Perhaps it was just a reminder – a link to our parents – a time gone by, and “Garlic Cough Syrup” should we ever need it!

Allen, Ida Bailey. Food For Two. Garden City: Country Life, 1947. Print.
In excllent condition with beautifully sturdy sewn binding, I found this in a used book store.  I kept it for so many years in the kitchen cupboard thinking that I would give this as a gift to my children and their significant others. The recipes are historical windows into the gastronomy of everyday households during the late 1940s. Some of these are such fun to read, such as “Saladettes.”
Baking Is Fun. Vol. 1. Mississauga, Ont.: Oekter, 1983. Print.
There was a time when a local store nearby sold Oekter ingredients. A German friend introduced me to this particular European baking book with her fantastic “Cold Dog” dessert. Frankly, I am one lazy American, as I could never spend the time translating the mL. to oz., so alas! I never actually used it. Yet, everytime I picked it up, I was reminded of this dear friend who lives so far away!
Le Miglioro Ricette Della Cucina Mediterranea. Verona: Arnoldo Mondadori, 1994. Print.
During my Italian heyday when I was studying the language, my personal heritage, immersing my family in everything Italian, my sister gave this cookbook to me as a challenge. It is in Italian. Needless to tell you, I did not rise to the occasion.  Not only are the measurements in grams, but all the text is in Italian. Heaven knows what the end result would have been!
Three Rivers Cookbook: “the Good Taste of Pittsburgh” Sewickley, Pa.: Child Health Association of Sewickley, 1973. Print.

There is a sweetspot for the spouse and I for this book. After college we lived in Pittsburgh, in a third floor walk-up on almost no money. We cooked alot that year in a kitchen that was pitiful, but large. My favorite recipe is the “gingerbread cookies” which are soft…umm….it is amazing that I lost weight that year!  You can tell the love of this book from all the food stains on the pages.

Three Rivers Cookbook

Thank you, Mrs. Cochrane…we love this dish!


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