I'm trying to thin out my cookbook collection as well as some other things. If you're curious, you can check what I have for sale at Friday's Child Books. Thanks!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Aquavit (2003) by Marcus Samuelsson

Ouch. Okay, first of all, let me apologize for the photo. I thought the worst thing about it was going to be the lighting. But since I have downloaded it onto my computer, every method by which I look at is has it oriented normally...except this. For some reason, it wants to stay rotated 90 degrees.  But enough of that.

So...Aquavit.  I like Marcus Samuelsson on TV, and I had the good fortune to eat at Aquavit here in Minneapolis a couple of times.  The food was delicious.  But I have to admit to not being a big fan of the coffee-table book cookbooks, with lots of expensive glossy photos and not a lot of text. So when our cookbook dinner group (every two months someone hosts and picks the cookbook) chose this as our cookbook for this month, I didn't have it and had to get it from the library.  It's big, it's beautiful, and I have to admit that the food was all quite good.

Our menu (if I remember everything): Cured Tenderloin of Beef with Mango Ketchup and Fruit and Berry Chutney
Gravlax Club Sandwiches
Swedish Meatballs
Honey-Glazed Pork Ribs
Roasted Caramelized Root Vegetables
Quick Pickled Cucumbers
Spicy Sauerkraut
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Blueberry Soup
Carrot Parsnip Cake

Delish. And while I love my mother's not-terribly-Swedish Swedish Meatballs recipe*, I thought these were great and could have made a whole meal out of the mashed potatoes and meatballs. Much better than Ikea. I haven't decided yet whether or not I'm going to buy us a copy of this cookbook (originally $45, but I think it's OP), but I'm definitely copying a few of the recipes for later use.

*I don't know the origins of my mother's meatball recipe, but I'd love to find out. Have any of you run across an all-beef meatball recipe that includes chopped up dill pickle? Let me know!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Attempting to turn my Facebook page into a proper shop, but it's slow. If you see anything you're interested in, just drop me a line there, here or

Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Diners' Club Cookbook by Myra Waldo (1959)

The Diners' Club Card was the first independent credit card in the world, created in 1950. It started as a group that allowed patrons to charge a meal at a participating group of restaurants. It had 20,000 members by the end of 1950, and more than doubled in 1951. It wasn't until the late 1960's when the cards that would become VISA and MasterCard challenged its dominance.

It makes sense then that in 1959 they would come out with a Diners' Club Cookbook. Advertising and product both! Myra Waldo was an experienced cookbook author (her Pan American's Complete Round-The-World Cookbook had come out in 1954), and they pulled in recipes from Diners' Club restaurants all over the US.

As a cookbook...well, it really is a classic list-of-recipes cookbook. There is a long introduction from the Vice President of Diners' Club, Inc., and then a short author's note, and then the recipes. "Great Recipes from Great Restaurants."  They sound just fine. Myra Waldo did her job and made sure that they are laid out correctly and are easy to follow. But that's it.

Personally, I like cookbooks that give me a little more to chew on. The restaurants are credited -- what kind of restaurants were they? Why this recipe?  I can understand why the recipe that represents Pea Soup Andersen's is the Pea Soup, but why is Michael's in Minneapolis represented by Curried Shrimp?  This may be best as a history reference. I don't believe that the two restaurants mentioned as being in Minneapolis, Michael's and Country House, were still here when I arrived in 1987.  Searching online I can find a Michael's in *Rochester* that was old enough but closed in 2014. The only reference I can find to Country House is in a comment to an MPR News blog in 2011.

It's a nice little cookbook, and I might even try a recipe or two. But it doesn't have enough going for it for me to put it on a "Must Have" list.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Open letter to the asshat on eBay (yes, language warnings)

I collect cookbooks. And sometimes as well as trying to sell them on eBay I look at big lots of cookbooks, mostly for fun. So one day I see someone selling a lot of 50 cookbooks, and I decide to look. That's a huge lot.

At first look, it wasn't impressive. A lot of books, sure, but the photos make it look like somebody was going to estate sales and buying them in bulk, or cleaning out old houses. A lot of them address specific dietary issues, most of them aren't that old, and at least one of them clearly isn't a cookbook at all. But then, looking at the more detailed photos, I spot two words....  Crap. Do I really want to get 49 books I don't want for one I do? How much is this going to cost me? And it's an auction....

I win the auction. One person bidding against me, price (+shipping) got kind of high, but I wanted that book. They notify me, I respond via PayPal, all is copacetic. They send me the tracking number, which I check every day. A week goes by and the package finally makes it to the post office. Eventually a very unhappy postman delivers a very large box to our door. I make a note as to why most book lots are not this large. HEAVY box!

I open it up to see with some dismay that the box is probably 20% larger than the stack of books inside, and no packing material was put in with them to keep them from bouncing around. I start taking them out and realize that they all feel cruddy. Not "30 years in a basement" cruddy, more like "a week in an open box in the back of a pickup truck" cruddy. But I dig down and find the book. Hurrah! It's intact. And it's what I thought it was. I clean up all the books so I can evaluate them and give the makeup book to a friend of my daughter's.  Yay. 48 cookbooks of varying sorts to get rid of.

Oh -- eBay wants me to give feedback on the transaction. Hmmm. Yes, the one item out of 50 that I had been wanting came through okay, but the whole box was cruddy and it was a bad way to treat the books. I decide to give neutral feedback.  I get a response from the seller that they wish I had contacted them before doing the feedback, and that they'd "ate ten dollars on the shipping". Okay, not my fault, wasn't complaining about the price.

So while we are exchanging e-mails on that, they order something from me. Cookbooks, just a couple of bucks. A little voice in the back of my head wonders about this, but I decide to send off the order anyway.  A few days letter they lodge a complaint, saying that there were pages missing from one of the cookbooks. Now that little voice is yelling at me. I am human, I can miss things, but I really doubt there were pages missing when it left here.  I call eBay and talk to them about it. The woman I talk to suggests I report the other person. I'm too nice. Instead, I do a full refund of their money, but block them so that they can no longer do transactions with me. Done.

Or so I thought.  *Six weeks later* they leave feedback on the transaction. Negative, of course. "Never inspected the item just assumed it was in good condition poor".  This from the guy who included a makeup book in a cookbook lot.  I responded with "This is incorrect. However, I issued you a full refund on March 15th." (a.k.a. six weeks ago)  Sadly, eBay doesn't give you much room for response.

I HATE all of this. I like everything to run smoothly, and for people to be nice to each other. I don't like the rating system on eBay. Some folks getting their money back for an error and getting to keep the books would actually give a positive rating as I responded promptly and dealt with it. I feel this is a spiteful response because I gave them neutral feedback on the other order. But this time I contacted eBay and reported the guy. I still have the e-mails, and I hope they have some record of my call. And I really hate to say this, but I hope I'm not the only person he's done this to because guy, fuck you and the horse you rode in on. This sort of dickish behavior is why I am hesitant to post things on eBay, because it opens me up to having to deal with assholes. Seven weeks I was off eBay after the initial exchange, and I come back only to find his feedback. 

I'm done with you, asshole. I'm writing this to put it behind me. I'm going to HTFU and go back on eBay. I'm going to keep that book next to my desk and smile at it every day, knowing that I have a thing of beauty and that you are stuck being an asshole. And even if I had nothing to do with it, some day your asshole ways will get you kicked off of eBay and I still have a book that was worth all of more ways than one.

Besides, I still have 48 cookbooks to get rid of. *groan*

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cookery For Men Only by Wilson Midgley, 1948

More filler, I'm afraid. Consider this part of my wish list. Image from a box of 100 Cookery Postcards, from Penguin Books.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Good Food From Sweden by Anna Olsson Coombs, 1955

More filler, I'm afraid. Consider this part of my wish list. Image from a box of 100 Cookery Postcards, from Penguin Books.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Catherine Ives' Cookery Book by Catherine Ives, 1951

More filler, I'm afraid. Consider this part of my wish list. Image from a box of 100 Cookery Postcards, from Penguin Books.