There was a time in the 60s and 70s when I thought I was a good cook. Of course, those were the days when gourmet cooking meant using canned soups to thicken your sauces, or as the sauce itself. You can argue with me, but I have a cookbook, called “Gourmet Cooking” which includes a recipe for pork chops covered in a sauce made from tomato soup and Worcestershire sauce. Just writing it makes me shiver. It was also the era of salads and desserts made with Jello. Some of us remember the enticing ads that had the voice of Sterling Holloways tricking you into wanting layers of Jello, molded Jello, blocks of Jello, or a mousse created from Jello and whipped topping that came in a box . More chills….
Of course, you can pair Ed Herlihy’s Velvet Invitation Jello ads with Kraft cheese dishes that have made Velveeta an enticing all-purpose cheese substitute. Remember the famous dip created by mixing melted Velveeta and a can of diced tomatoes with chili peppers?
To be completely transparent, I have Jello in my pantry. My grandsons love it, and last summer I resurrected a Jello fruit salad from a recipe my neighbor gave me when we moved into this house a million years ago. years.
So here I am, led to the feeling that I’m not a particularly good cook. Ok, there are few items that I’m not ashamed to serve to my family and friends, but I’m no longer drawn to the need to excel at new, exciting recipes that require weird ingredients. The challenge of glossy magazines or the scrumptious offerings of Food TV can no longer entice me to try the latest culinary trends.
However, I print recipes from the Internet, perhaps too often. I have hundreds of them stashed on a bookcase in the kitchen. I use about 10 with some regularity. The rest? Well, it’s one of those “it looked good back then” things.
I also read and save recipes from a few periodicals, much less these days, as many of them now rely on herbs and spices that I don’t have, and I find that most of the stores I do my groceries don’t have them either. One of these spices, sumac, is derived from sumac shrubs that grow along our roads, but I also know that there are two types of sumac and only one can end all tests of recipes and breathing, so I didn’t try to harvest mine in order to concoct one of the most popular recipes. I still haven’t figured out what to do with leftover xawaash, a spice that goes with one of those pre-prepared meals that are delivered to your door. By the way, these meals are not bad at all. A bit pricey, but the few I bought were considered mini vacations for me… very mini since I still had to cook and clean. Here I am again deviating from the subject.
Yesterday I received my last Living magazine by mail. On page 13 Martha has a picture of the sandwich she is making with eggs. I, too, make a sandwich that uses eggs.
There are several differences between Martha’s sandwich and mine. First, she uses eggs from her chickens. I don’t have any chickens. Five cats is more than I can handle. She prepares a delicate pastry cream for the entrails of the sandwich. I boil, peel and mash two eggs mixed with mayonnaise, salt and pepper as garnish. She adds hand-picked watercress while I use the green leaf that’s in the crisper (and still crispy).
And the bread? I use Heidleberg peasant bread (from Nojaims to Marcellus) She uses Japanese milk bread. Are you kidding? Where does anyone or anyone find Japanese milk bread? I know Nojaim doesn’t wear it. Neither is Walmart, Aldi’s, Tops or Wegmans. I can only imagine what this bread costs.
My family and friends will have to make do with the very ordinary single edibles, lost in the past, which are reflected in my pantry, which is basically the same as my mother’s – no canned soups, sumac or bread Japanese milk.
Of course, there is this xawaash. How long does it take before you can throw a spice?
Learn about Jello… my students should remember this. The product named Jello, a fruit dessert, was created by Pearle Wait in 1897, but the process of using gelatin (don’t ask how it’s made) to solidify liquids was created by Peter Cooper in the 1990s. 1850. Mr. Cooper was also the designer of “Tom Thumb”, the first steam locomotive in the United States, and he ran for President in 1876.