Friday, October 28, 2016

Paid advertisement

I feel like I need to post something here today, but I'm also trying to actively weed out cookbooks today.  So why don't you click that link up to the top right and see if you'd like to take it off my hands? I've got a couple of real goodies coming up.
No, seriously.

Paid advertisement.

You need these books more than I do.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

1971 Reviews of 2016 restaurants in the Twin Cities and area

An Uncommon Dining Guide to the Twin Cities (1971), by Nina McGuire and Barbara Budd

There aren't too many of the restaurants listed in here that are still around in one form or another. Off the top of my head, this is it.  I tried to keep spelling and punctuation intact.  And yes, I know I'm cheating more than a little by including Fuji-Ya.

"Many years ago a man and his wife and their sons opened a small restaurant in the Northeastern section of Minneapolis. From that humble beginning, has grown the wonderful Jax Café. In the summertime, dine in the Old World Garden. It is outdoor dining at its best in the Twin Cities. The menu features lobster, prime ribs, fresh-caught rainbow trout (in season only), and a super-secret, super-delicious Roquefort dressing. The menu is extensive. The food and atmosphere are delightful."
"Jax Café periodically offers a Pheasant Night. It is but slightly advertised and is sold out almost immediately. And no wonder! The dinner is priced at $6.50. It includes soup, Caesar salad, pheasant served with wild rice, vegetables, rolls, coffee and a flaming dessert. Not only is this meal delicious, Jax makes it a fun evening at very fair prices."
"Although they are scheduled somewhat infrequently, watch for a small notice in your newspaper that Jax Café is planning a Cape Cod Night. The dinner is served in an upstairs room and begins with a magnificent seafood buffet. The main course, of course, is boiled lobster with all the Cape Cod trimmings. Dessert and coffee follow. This is a colorful and appealing meal. It is priced at $8.95 per person."

Jax Cafe

"We sometimes forget how very close the rolling farmland is to our metropolitan Twin Cities and always look forward to a leisurely drive to the Chanhassen Dinner Theater. Here, within a small town, is a highly sophisticated complex of shops, restaurants, night clubs and theaters. All together these compromise [sic] the Chanhassen Frontier.

We particularly enjoy entering the Dinner Theater early and seeing those tiers of beautifully set tables waiting. The crystal and silver gleam in the diffused lighting, the linen is stiffly starched and the room is most attractive.

The menu is varied with four entrées featured within the ticket price. The service is fast and efficient with waitresses carefully trained to anticipate the pace of your dining.

Prices, including entrée (but not appetizer, dessert, or drinks), range from $6.75 to $9.95 depending upon seat location and performance date."

The Chanhassen Frontier Dinner Theater

"Mayslack’s makes the best rare roast beef sandwich we have ever eaten! Within the walls of this ‘Nordeast’ bar, crowds stand in line to sample the sandwich. It is so big and so good that it must be tried. We urge and implore you to drive to colorful Northeast Minneapolis (near the breweries) and find this Polish bar.

Park your car and stand in line to join the people salivating for a Mayslack’s sandwich. As you might imagine, draft beer and other spirits are available. Sandwiches served only at lunch!"


"Murray's is a very well-known steakhouse. We particularly enjoyed the Silver Butter Knife Steak for two (which is priced at $15.50 including a bottle of wine)."


"If you like a dark wood panelled room with a view of Lake Minnetonka, come to the Lord Fletcher. This location is so popular that there is often a short wait for a table. Step downstairs, if you must wait, and either have a drink or step outside to the lower pavilion and a close look at the lake.

The buffet is ample. We always enjoy the eggs Benedict and the breakfast steaks. Waitresses keep your coffee cup filled and the waiters keep the buffet table filled for those who wish seconds.

Brunch is served on Sundays only from noon to 2 PM. It is priced at $2.95 for adults and $1.25 for children under 12. It is excellent!"

Lord Fletcher's of the Lake

"Borscht, corned beef, potato latkes, home baked rolls and bread, great pickles and pasteries combine to make a visit to Cecil's Deli and Restaurant a fun stop in St. Paul."

Cecil's Deli and Restaurant

"The college crowd at the University first made us aware of the Black Forest Inn. Is it popular! And, is the food GOOD!

All the delicious German specialties are provided in huge servings. The dining room is colorful and cheerful. Try the Black Forest Inn and realize what fun inexpensive dining can be!"

The Black Forest Inn

"Another of the favorites with in Dinkeytown is the Vescio Italian Café. The servings are ample, the food is good and the prices are reasonable! No wonder it's so busy!"

Vescio's Italian Cafe

"A large portion of our Mexican community resides in St. Paul. The Boca Chica is always busy! This would be a fun spot for the entire family to enjoy authentic Mexican dining."

Boca Chica

"The Fuji-Ya is perched above the Mississippi River. From the moment you were met at the door by a kimono clad hostess until you again leave the restaurant, the mood is reminiscent of the fine restaurants on the outskirts of Tokyo.

Plan a dinner here and phone for reservations if you wish to be seated in the Japanese manner. However, whether you select American or Japanese seating, the same supper menu awaits your dining pleasure. It hardly matters what you order. Everything is first rate. The authentic menu features tempura, sukiyaki and a steak teriyaki.

The food at the Fuji-Ya is so well-known that for years people have been trying to interest the management in permitting more people to enjoy these treats. Shortly, a ‘takeout service’ will be available from a separate location. We wish them success!

However, we hope you will plan your first taste of the Fuji-Ya’s marvelous food in an authentic atmosphere."

The Fuji-Ya

Monday, October 24, 2016

Friday, October 21, 2016


My current food book distraction.  Yes, it is as good as everybody is saying it is. Tasty-sounding recipes, lovely pictures, and text that ties food and people together.  Devouring....

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

More library fun!

My goodness!  How did I miss Michigan State University's Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project?

Or the Nicole Di Bona Peterson Collection of Advertising Cookbooks at Duke University?

Or Service Through Sponge Cake, a collection of cookbooks at Indiana University/Purdue University Indianapolis?

And Kitchen Historic has a list of links to cookbooks that makes me drool.

As if I didn't already have enough reading to do!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Libraries are your friend!

Okay, first...I'm alive.

Second...libraries are your friend.  I expect you knew that already.  However, over the weekend I was reminded of the joys that are University libraries. A couple of librarians from the University of Iowa were speaking at a conference/convention I was at, and mid-way through their presentation a lightbulb went on over my head.  Louis Szathmary...University of Iowa special collections.  I asked and was told that yes, they had his collection. The best part?  Some of it is digitized.

Louis Szathmary was a Hungarian chef and bibliophile who emigrated to the United States in 1951 and became one of the early celebrity chefs, though his television appearances were limited to other peoples' shows.  He amassed a collection of 18,000 or so food and cookery books,  pamphlets, manuscripts and menus.

Szathmary's collection, in his own words, with links

While looking at the UI special collections, I was pleased to see that they also have Evelyn Birkby's papers. Evelyn Birkby was "Iowa's Best-Known Homemaker"...she had a radio program starting in 1950, and continued on the radio until 1991. During that time she also wrote newspaper columns and books.

A link to the digitized portions of her collection

Other University collections that might be of interest (but who don't seem to be quite as into digitizing and sharing online -- I may be wrong, I haven't poked around as much as I should have before writing this) are

Kansas State University, Clementine Paddleford collection

University of Michigan, Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive

Have any other suggestions for me?

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook


Stop right there.  Forget everything you think you might know about Alice B. Toklas and cooking.*

First, the elephant in the room.  At least at one point in time, if you asked people what they knew about Alice B. Toklas, one of the first responses you would get would be "Brownies!"  For that, the Hollywood marketing engines deserve at least part of the blame.  Are you a 1960's counterculture wanna-be? Come see our movie!

Yeah. And no. I think it is interesting to note that she died in 1967 and the movie came out in 1968.  *cough* Anyway, this is what I'm talking about.

Alice Babette Toklas was born in San Francisco in 1877 but left there for Paris after the earthquake of 1906, where she met the bigger-than-life Gertrude Stein.  From that time until Gertrude's death in 1946, she was "Stein's confidante, lover, cook, secretary, muse, editor, critic, and general organizer" (Wikipedia).  A publisher asked her to write a memoir and she demurred, but did agree to write a cookbook, adding that it would contain remembrances. And does it ever! Cooking for Picasso, driving through France...if I can find a website that has excerpts of the chapter "Murder in the Kitchen" I will post a link here.  It is wonderful, but I don't want to type it all out.  (AHA!  Google books saves the day.)

According to a Scientific American article, the chapter "Recipes From Friends" was a last-minute inclusion, as she was getting close to her deadline and was short on material. Apparently she put out the call to friends and they responded, some of them with quite a few recipes.  The only names I recognize are Brion GysinCecil BeatonCarl Van Vechten, and the "chef of the Algonquin Hotel".  Brion Gysin is the one responsible for the "Haschish Fudge" recipe (see? Not even brownies!), and if you feel the need for that recipe, it is on the Scientific American website.

Of course, attempting to publish that recipe in the US in 1954 caused a bit of a kerfuffle, causing Alice to say she hadn't realized what was there.  I'm inclined to believe it, as most of the "Recipes From Friends" chapter does read like a bunch up recipes were stuffed into the manuscript with a minimum of editing. In the edition I have, M.F.K. Fisher wrote the forward and she points out that not only do they not read like the rest of the book, but a few of the recipes sound positively ghastly.

This, on the other hand, sounds delicious, but I am partial to Bavarian cream.

Bavarian Cream Perfect Love

Mix 2 cups sugar and 8 yolks of eggs until lemon-coloured. Slowly add 2 cups hot milk in which 6 cloves have been heated. Put in saucepan over lowest heat. With a wooden spoon stir continuously in the same direction until the spoon remains thickly covered. Do not allow to boil. Remove from heat and pour over 1/2 tablespoon powdered gelatine that has been soaked for 5 minutes in 1/4 cup cold water. Stir in the same direction until the gelatine is completely dissolved, then strain and stir from time to time in the same direction until cool. When cold, mix with 3 cups whipped cream to which the grated zest of 2 lemons have been added. Pour into lightly oiled mould and place in refrigerator for 4 hours. Remove from mould to serving dish. The cream may be flavored with fruit purée. Two and a half cups purée and 1 tablespoon lemon juice are mixed with 1/2 cup icing sugar.

A chocolate cream is made by melting 3 ozs. chocolate in the milk; a coffee cream, by substituting 2 cups strong coffee for the 2 cups milk. For the rest, proceed as above.

*Okay, if I'm being fair, you might know plenty about Alice B. Toklas and/or her cookbook.  I'm old, and reacting to things from at least a couple of decades ago. Do people still talk about "Toklas brownies"?

The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook on Amazon

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen

When I think about Laurie Colwin, I think about her tiny apartment in New York, the Meissen soup plate she would eat eggplant out of, and the time she went into her volunteer job in the kitchen of a women's shelter only to discover that she was the only cook there.  (Also, the fact that she was making sandwiches at Columbia during the upheaval that James Simon Kunen talks about in his book, The Strawberry Statement. Not a cookbook.) (Also, yeah, there was a movie. We don't discuss that, even with Bruce Davison in it. Read the book.) (Did you know that if you hit a glass Coke bottle against a toilet, the toilet will break and not the Coke bottle? Okay, I'll stop now.)

I don't think about these things because I knew her, but because she wrote about them so memorably that they've stuck with me. If you look at the cover of Home Cooking up there, you will see the quote from the New York Times Book Review, "As much memoir as cookbook and as much about eating as cooking."  For me, she hit the perfect balance.

I discovered Laurie Colwin when I acquired a boyfriend with a subscription to Gourmet magazine.  I loved her pieces, and I would look for them eagerly with each new issue.  When they stopped abruptly, it took me a while to find out why.  She died of a heart attack at age 48, much too soon.  But we do have her books -- five novels, three short story collections, and Home Cooking and More Home Cooking, made up (at least partially) of those columns from Gourmet.

I've never actually cooked anything from these books.  For me, they have been the sort of cookbooks I curl up with when I need to read an old friend.  Literary comfort food.  Here I give you not a recipe I have cooked, but one I should.

Creamed Spinach with Jalapeño Peppers

(Serves eight)

1. Cook two packages of frozen spinach. Drain, reserving one cup of liquid, and chop fine.
2. Melt four tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan and add two tablespoons of flour. Blend and cook a little. Do not brown.
3. Add two tablespoons of chopped onion and one clove of minced garlic.
4. Add one cup of spinach liquid slowly, then add 1/2 cup of evaporated milk, some fresh black pepper, 3/4 teaspoon of celery salt and six ounces of Monterey Jack cheese cut into cubes. Add one or more chopped jalapeño pepper (how many is a question of taste as well as what kind. I myself use the pickled kind, from a jar) and then the spinach. Cook until all is blended.
5. Turn into a buttered casserole topped with buttered bread crumbs and bake for about forty-five minutes at 300°.

Home Cooking at
More Home Cooking at

Friday, July 29, 2016

Masters of American Cookery as a speed bump

So I have this website....

On this website, I'm supposed to be talking about things I have collected over the years. And I'm supposed to do it regularly.  This requires a bit of focus and organization, and I'm...SQUIRREL!  Um...yeah, I'm not the most focused and organized person in the world.  But it shouldn't be too hard.  Pick a book off the shelf, come up with a couple of paragraphs about it, piece of cake!


Those darned, insidious public libraries!  The first one's free...heck, all of them are free!  And now I get distracted by books NOT IN MY HOUSE.  And library books take up reading time!  And then I think about buying them (or, occasionally, flinging them across the room)!

I come before you today to complain about Betty Fussell's Masters of American Cookery.  I stumbled across the title while looking around for information on Mrs. Rasmussen's Book of One-Armed Cookery.  Google said it was mentioned a few times in the text, so I thought I'd take a look at it.  The library obliged me by finding a copy, and from the cover, I thought it was just a four part biography on Fisher, Beard, Claiborne and Child, but it's not.  Oh, it is so much more!  Yes, she starts out by giving each of the four their own chapter.  This takes up less than one-fourth of the book. Then she goes on and tackles American Cookery itself, over 300 pages of classic (more or less) recipes and discussion on each one of them, talking about the history of the recipes, the variants that have been done (frequently accompanied by quotes from one or more of our four "masters"), and finishes by giving her preferred recipe.  For me this is not a fast read, but a slow, delicious one.  I think I'm going to have to make space on my shelf for this one.

Masters of American Cookery on Amazon

Thursday, July 28, 2016

George "Bull Cook" Herter in the Star Tribune

As some of you seem interested in George Herter and his Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices, I thought I should share with you this piece that was in the Minneapolis Star Tribune this Sunday.

Celebrating Waseca's Outsized Outdoorsman and Bamboozler

Here is the website for the Waseca Historical Society, although there isn't much to it.

And here is the New York Times piece from 2008 that is mentioned in the Star Tribune article.
The Oddball Know-it-all

And here's a link to the most recent edition, on

Monday, July 25, 2016

Teen Cuisine: A Beginner's Guide to French Cooking

Wow.  Just look at that cover.  You can tell what caught my eye, can't you?  I probably shouldn't have made the picture quite so large, but I couldn't resist.  That's about half the actual size of the book right now.  It's soooooooo pretty!

Yup, I like Peter Max.  And this book came out when Peter Max was HUGE.  1969, when he was featured on the cover of Life magazine with the heading "Peter Max: Portrait of the artist as a very rich man." (Thank you, Wikipedia.)  So how did Peter Max wind up doing the cover and some interior art for a so-so (but perfectly serviceable) French cookbook aimed at teens, published by Parents' Magazine Press?  My guess?  Somebody knew somebody. Exciting, huh?

According to the back cover, Abby Gail Hirsch was operating a cooking school and living in Chappaqua, New York, having attended at least two colleges and three cooking schools. According to the Library of Congress and a review by Poppy Cannon, she collaborated on a 1970 release, A Cookbook for Lovers.  And a couple of advertisements I found online say that she had the Abby Gail Hirsch Gourmet Center, Ltd., at least in 1973-4. 

Our other author, Sandra Bangilsdorf Klein is also well-educated, graduating from Cornell having spent her junior year at the Sorbonne (in Paris, as the cover text explains). "She has worked for several advertising agencies, writing copy for teen-age cosmetics."  At the time of release, she was living in Connecticut.  So...French connection, can speak to the kids...not much else.  Nada that I could find online.

Honestly, of the three collaborators here, Peter Max steals the show.  Yes, you have all of the basic French recipes you would expect in a 1969 cookbook.  And they've written them in a way that anyone could follow.  But....  "I'm sure the recipes are fine but what's really awesome are Max's saturated, full-bleed gradient silk screened pages. They're not all printed this way, but when they're not, and it's a white page, the type is silkscreened in gradient. Wow." (Link to WaryMeyers, whose words I'm borrowing. They have better photos too.)

Check these out!

The interior illustrations are not as fine as the cover, but the way the book has been printed to suit his style really makes it pretty.  Funky. Groovy. Trippy. Marketable toward the youth of 1969.

I think the only recipe in here that I have used was their recipe for crêpes, which gives a long and detailed description of the method.  So instead, I give you their recipe for one of my husband's favorite sandwiches as a kid. Whether this bears any resemblance to what he had in 1970's Wisconsin, I have no idea.

Croque Monsieur
French Toasted Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
(Makes six servings)

3/4 cup butter or margarine
12 thin slices white bread
6 thin slices cooked ham
6 thin slices Gruyère or Swiss cheese
2 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons milk

Use half the butter to spread on one side of each slice of bread after removing the crusts. Make six sandwiches using 1 slice each of the ham and cheese for each sandwich. Be sure the buttered sides of the bread are inside.

Beat the milk and eggs together. Cut the sandwiches in half and dip in the egg-milk mixture.

Melt remaining butter in a large skillet and sauté the sandwich halves over medium heat until golden brown on both sides. Serve hot. To Serve: Garnish with ripe olives and sprigs of watercress.

Teen Cuisine at

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Domesticity: A Gastronomic Interpretation of Love

I suppose that in some ways, it doesn't surprise me that this book and its author, Bob Shacochis, are overlooked when people are talking about food writing.  I mean, the guy was a novelist and former Peace Corps volunteer when he fell into the role of food writer for GQ Magazine.  Since the publication of this book, he has been a journalist, war correspondent, and is now teaching creative writing.  Who is this guy?  And how did he get a job as a food writer?  I have to give you the answer in his own words.

The offer from GQ was actually a matter of coincidence: the fiction editor at the magazine had invited me to send him some of my novel then in progress. The chapter I submitted contained a scene in which the male character cooks an elaborate dinner, highlighted by a planked striped bass roasted over an open fire, for the woman he's romancing. At the same time, GQ's former Dining In columnist threw in his apron, and  word went out around the editorial offices, “Does anyone know anybody who can write about food?"
The fiction editor believed he did. My dinner scene was photocopied and passed around; in desperation, the senior editors agreed the column was mine, if I wanted it. One of them telephoned to see what I'd say. I said, not quite emphatically, No. I said I probably wasn't the person they were looking for. The writing I had read about food, unless authored by the likes of Fisher or A.J. Liebling or Calvin Trillin, struck me as exceedingly boring, pea-brained, pretentious, faddish, rife with the worst sort of classism, devoted to the most anemic forms of joie de vivre, etc. It wasn't even lovely enough, on its own terms, to turn my stomach.
The editor said, Fine. She said, write about anything you want, in any style you fancy, only tag a recipe on to the end of it.

And eventually he agreed. Boy, can this guy write about food. But like some of the best food writers, much of what he's writing is about everything around the food.  The people, the places, why the food is being cooked, why that food is being cooked.  The book is in some ways a journal of his life, with the central (non-food) focus being his "common law wife", Miss F.  The writing is romantic, it is upsetting, it is hysterically funny and it is beautiful.  Actually, the writing is so good that the recipes do frequently feel tacked on, as an afterthought.  And, if I was going to be very critical, the recipes do feel like they were mostly written on the east coast in the 80's.  Lots of seafood and bottles of wine were consumed in the making of this book.  But it all sounds so good, and you never question whether the food was as good as he makes it sound.

The recipe is one I read and started drooling over, until I started thinking about how much 2 pounds of good scallops were going to cost me.  One of these days we will make this in celebration of something, but I can't bring myself to make it in celebration of, say, Tuesday just yet.

Miss F's Champagne Scallops

2 pounds scallops
2 cloves garlic, halved 
4 chives, chopped 
1/2 teaspoon parsley 
1/2 teaspoon thyme 
2 whole cloves 
1 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon pepper 
2 cups champagne 
1 cup onion, diced 
4 egg yolks 
2 tablespoons half-and-half 
1 teaspoon arrowroot starch

In a large pot, simmer scallops for four minutes with parsley, thyme, chives, onion, cloves, salt, pepper, and champagne. Remove scallops and boil the remaining broth for eight minutes. Remove and discard garlic and cloves. In a mixing bowl, beat remaining ingredients. Pour contents into broth and cook at low heat, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens. Serve scallops on rice, smothered with the champagne sauce and sprinkle with paprika.  

Serves 4.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Links for 17 July 2016

Whoever Heard of Vegetable Offal? from the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery.

'A Super Upsetting Book About Sandwiches' is a Tasty Break From Tradition from Epicurious.

In the Queer Kitchen: 'Food That Takes Pleasure Seriously' from NPR.

The Original Master Chefs from the Guardian.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Tempt Me: The Fine Art of Minnesota Cooking

Just a quickie here, as this isn't my book.  It's a recent release from the Minnesota Historical Society Press, and I got it out of the library.  Very pretty, but the focus is more on the literal art of the food -- seed catalogues, labels, promotional cookbooks -- than on the food itself.  But there are recipes, and I wanted to hold onto one, so I thought I'd share.  I'll let you guess which recipe it is.

Tempt Me: The Fine Art of Minnesota Cooking at

Friday, July 15, 2016

Links for 15 July 2016

The History of the Croissant from Lucky Peach.

Step Inside One of the World's Most Beautiful Knife Shops from Saveur.

Turn Your Pasta Into Ramen With Baking Soda from Serious Eats.

In 'Ingredienti', Victor Hazan Channels Late Wife Marcella from the Washington Post.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Visit to the Red Wing Pottery Museum and the Watkins Museum in Winona

Over the weekend we took a short road trip down to Winona, and stopped in Red Wing for lunch.  The place we stopped was right near the Pottery Museum, so we took a look.  Some very beautiful pottery, which I took no photos of.  However, this caught my eye.

The thing that caused me the most amusement though, was this.

For whatever reason, they decided to set up a little general store scene. As we passed by, there were two girls in their early teens quizzing their grandmother about details, as though they expected her to respond from personal experience.  She did her best, mind, but as their grandmother was younger than my mother, I was getting the giggles.

On to Winona!  The Watkins museum wasn't any larger than the Pottery Museum, but I took a few more photos.  There was all sorts of beautiful packaging from through the years, like this

but what interested me the most was the display of WWII-era items.  Dried eggs!

And boxes for Servicemen.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Joyce Lamont's Favorite Minnesota Recipes and Radio Memories

Joyce Lamont was a fixture of Minnesota radio from 1946 until she retired from radio in 2003.  She was at WCCO, the local Minneapolis CBS affiliate from 1946 until 1989, at which point she moved to KLBB, which is where I heard her for the first time. Over the years she did a lot of what they referred to as "women's programming". In that time she collected many recipes. 

In 1978 she published a book titled Joyce Lamont's Favorite Recipes.  I don't know anything about that one, but in 2008 Joyce Lamont's Favorite Minnesota Recipes and Radio Memories came out.  It's primarily a recipe book, but it does contain a short piece about her time on the air and quite a few photos.

I've tried several of her recipes and found it a very inviting cookbook. The Chicken Broccoli Hot Dish didn't go over so well, but the Beef-Cottage Cheese Pie was good, as was the Apple-Gingersnap Pie. But the big winner was the Chocolate Marble Bar recipe, which is similar to the classic rice crispie treat. If you need a reasonably easy dessert for a decent-sized crowd this is a good one. Everybody likes rice crispy treats and this is a truly decadent version.

Chocolate Marble Bars

This easy bar cookie is a take-off on the popular marshmallow cereal bars, but it doesn't use marshmallows. A combination of corn syrup, sugar, and peanut butter coats cereal, which is marbled with chocolate. All I can say is yum!

1 cup corn syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
5 cups rice cereal flakes
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In large microwave-safe bowl, combine corn syrup and brown sugar. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Remove from microwave and stir. Return mixture to microwave and cook on high for 2 minutes longer. Rinse off spoon in hot water.

Stir in peanut butter until mixture is smooth. Add cereal flakes and stir until coated. Then add the chocolate chips and stir just until mixture is marbled.

Press mixture into buttered 13 x 9-inch pan. Let stand until firm, then cut into bars to serve. Yields about 48 bars.

JOYCE LAMONT from Pavek Museum on Vimeo.

KLBB tribute to Joyce Lamont

Joyce Lamont's Favorite Minnesota Recipes and Radio Memories on

Monday, July 11, 2016

Links for 11 July 2016

Eating Dim Sum in Hong Kong With C.B. Cebulski from Lucky Peach.

Magic Out of Mould: Inside the World's Wildest Restaurant from the Guardian.

Eight Foods So Scottish You Probably Haven't Heard of Them from STV News

Nothing Says 'Hip' Like Ancient Wheat from NPR

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Links for 9 July 2016

Citizen Khan: Zarif Khan's Tamales and the Muslims of Sheridan, Wyoming from the New Yorker.

I Cook to Talk About Some of the Things We Don't Want to Acknowledge from the Boston Globe.

What is "American" Food? from Cynthia D. Bertelsen's Gherkins & Tomatoes

Sushi Chef Makes Star Wars Vegetable Figures from Kotaku.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Mrs. Rasmussen's Book of One-Arm Cookery

Who is Mrs. Rasmussen and why does she only have one arm? I hear you ask.  Well, she actually has two arms, although they're both fictional.  Let me explain.

In 1942, Mrs. Rasmussen was introduced to the world in the pages of the book Suds in Your Eye, by Mary Lasswell.  It's a book about three women of a certain age who find themselves somewhat down on their luck in San Diego, California during World War II and wind up living together.  Here's a fuller description, on the Neglected Books page.

So, yes.  It's one-arm cookery so that the other one can hold your beer!

In 1944 Mary Lasswell published a second book about the same characters, High Time.  After the second book came out, she was apparently inundated by requests for "Mrs. Rasmussen" to put out a cookbook.  So says the introduction to the cookbook, and also this review (?) from The Lewiston (Maine) Daily Sun.

And so Mrs. Rasmussen's Book of One-Arm Cookery was born.

It's a fairly simple cookbook with good food, and the occasional comment from Mrs. Rasmussen or her friends Mrs. Feeley and Miss Tinkham. It was followed by four more books about the same characters, and in 1970 by a revised edition, Mrs. Rasmussen's Book of One-Arm Cookery with Second Helpings.  The main change was that more recipes were added, and the cover isn't as delightful.

In 2006, in a piece called "Save These Books!" for the New York Times Book Review, Betty Fussell spoke up for Mrs. Rasmussen: What first put me in the kitchen was "Mrs. Rasmussen's Book of One-Arm Cookery," written by Mary Lasswell in 1946 and illustrated by George Price. One arm was all you needed for cooking if your other held a schooner of suds. Lasswell's popular novel, "Suds in Your Eye," had immortalized a trio of beer-drinking elderly women, one of whom could really cook — beer-friendly dishes like chicken-fried steak, Mexican tripe, pasta fazoola, oyster loaf, huevos rancheros. This was wartime America, when food was not supposed to be fun. To a college kid, Lasswell's instructions were heaven-sent: "Take a bottle of cold beer out of the icebox. Place an ashtray handy to the stove." No surprise to me that Lasswell's book was one of James Beard's favorites.

And other folks speak out for Mrs. Rasmussen.

The recipe I'm going to give you, though, is for something that jumped out at me when I read Suds in Your Eye.  I could just taste them!

Fried Chicken Loaves

1 small French loaf for each person
3 large pieces of chicken for each person
Salt and pepper
1 c. pork lard
Melted butter
Dill pickles, sliced thin
Green onions
Potato chips
Lemon slices

Only large pieces of chicken are suitable for frying. Buy the pieces at a chicken-part store, or use cut-up fryers, reserving backs, wings, and necks for soup or chicken and noodles. One three-pound fryer will make fried chicken for two loaves.

Clean and pick over chicken carefully. Put flour, salt, and plenty of pepper in a paper bag. Drop the chicken in and shake the bag well to cover evenly. Have one cup of pure pork lard  —Crisco if you must — heated in a big deep frying-pan.  The fat must send up blue smoke before the chicken is put in. The hotter the fat, the more brown and crisp the chicken will be, with all the juice inside. As soon as the pieces are all red-brown, turn often and move them about keep the color even, reduce the heat and finish cooking over moderate flame. Chicken, like all white meat, must be well and thoroughly done, no red around the bone. Chicken cooked this way will be crisp, red-brown outside and juicy inside. When the chicken is nearly done, scoop out the center of the French loaves, spread with melted butter and heat in the oven. Pile of pieces of chicken in each loaf; garnish with dill pickles, green onions, radishes, potato chips, and lemon slices. Serve in small individual wicker baskets with big paper napkins and no knives and forks.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Links for 5 July 2016

Food and Drink on the Somme Frontline: A Soldier's Experience from History Extra

How to Make Pancakes from the New York Times.

Murder and Motherhood from Lucky Peach.

The Story of London's First Indian Restaurant from Londonist.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices by George Herter (a quote)

I'm not actually writing about this book at the moment, but I do have it and love its craziness.  But while looking for information on another book, I stumbled across this comment by Jonathan Miles, from the New York Times Sunday Book Review back in 2006.  I figured I would share it now, in case I lose the quote before I get around to the book.

Modern cookbook writers rarely take the time to address the origins of women's panties, the best time of year for eating robins and meadowlarks, the effects of menstruation on mayonnaise-making and the unheralded kitchen pioneering of Genghis Khan, the Virgin Mary and Stonewall Jackson. George Herter's bombastic comic-culinary masterpiece, "Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices," self-published in 1960, did all that and more, as the opening lines attest: "I will start with meats, fish, eggs, soups and sauces, sandwiches, vegetables, the art of French frying, desserts, how to dress game, how to properly sharpen a knife, how to make wines and beer, how to make French soap and also what to do in case of hydrogen or cobalt bomb attack. Keeping as much in alphabetical order as possible." Imagine the "Joy of Cooking" in the early stages of dementia.

Whee!  And that's such a good description, too!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Links for 30 June 2016

The Great British Mistake from Edible Geography.

The Story of India as Told by a Humble Street Snack from the BBC.

Chop Suey Nation: Small-town Chinese-Canadian Food from the Globe and Mail.

Nita Nita: The Life and Death of a Neighborhood Bar from Serious Eats.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Craig Claiborne's Favorites From the New York Times Volume 3

Even with a name like Craig Claiborne attached, this is not the sort of cookbook I usually pick up. Favorites from the New York Times? Volume three? Actually, the biggest mark it has against it is that it is a mass-market paperback. I generally don't like to get cookbooks in mass-market paperback form because they're just difficult to work with. They won't stay open by themselves, you can't leave them open on the counter. It won't hold itself open on the desk for you to type out the recipe. So why I actually got the whole three volume set I'm not sure, but I did and I can't argue that there's some quality stuff in here. It is made up of columns he did for the New York Times so this isn't just a cookbook, it is food writing as well as the recipes. Generally it is a short column, followed by several recipes.

At this point I've only tried a few of the recipes, but wow! The shrimp baked with feta cheese was excellent, and while I don't normally keep capers around I might make an exception for that. But the recipe I'm going to give you that I highly recommend is a lentil vinaigrette salad. It's not difficult to make, can be served room temperature or cold, is good for picnics and sit down dinners, however you want to serve it. Because it's now June I'm going to be getting into the refrigerated salad making industry simply because cold salads are great for summer and this is one of them that I'm going to be keeping around on a regular basis. You can make a nice light meal with this salad and some bread and butter.

Salad de Lentilles Vinaigrette

1# lentils
1 onion stuck with 2 cloves
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 t. dried
1 whole clove garlic, peeled and lightly crushed   
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground pepper
6 cups water
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
5 T. finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 T. red wine vinegar or more to taste   
6 T. peanut, vegetable or corn oil

1.  Empty the lentils into a saucepan and add the onion, thyme, whole clove of garlic, bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste and water.  Bring to the boil and simmer about 20 minutes or until lentils are tender without being mushy.  Drain well into a mixing bowl and let stand at room temperature.  There should be about 7 cups.

2.  Add the remaining ingredients and toss well.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Craig Claiborne's Favorites from the New York Times Vol. 3
Craig Claiborne's Favorites from the New York Times (Hardcover)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Links for 26 June 2016

The Minnesota State Fair unveils its new foods for the 2016 season.

In Praise of the Ramadan Power Breakfast at Saveur.

Cooking the World's Oldest Known Curry at BBC News.

Winkles, Loneliness and Treats in Nineteenth Century London from Adventures in Archaeology, Human Paleoecology, and the Internet.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Links for 24 June 2016

It's 8 a.m. Somewhere: Japan from Lucky Peach.

A Recipe for Ghanaian Chichinga Beef With a Bright, Tropical Salad from The Guardian.

The Secret to District Saigon's Broths: Slow Cooking from The New York Times.

Japan's Secret Love of a Breakfast Loaf from The Japan Times

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

I just found this image...

I know nothing about the book, but I love the cover!  Do any of you know anything about it?

Links for 22 June 2016

The Japanese Way to Make Potato Salad at Serious Eats.

Voulez-Vent, ah-ha! at Keep Calm and Fanny On.

A Brief History of Bog Butter from the Smithsonian.

I Love Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts and I'm Not Afraid to Say It from Epicurious.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Links for 20 June 2016

'Making an 18th-Century Potato Pudding' from The John Carter Brown Library.

'Colour' from Bee Wilson's Forgotten Kitchen series at Borough Market.

Rhode Island Clamcakes at

'Celery: Why?' at

Friday, June 17, 2016

Links for 17 June 2016

Blood, Controversy and Puddings in the Early English Atlantic from The Recipes Project.

The Teeny-tiny Market Stall Making Some of Rome's Best Fast Food from Saveur.

The American Way of Drinking from the New York Times.

The Strange-But-True Story of Montreal Steak Seasoning from Epicurious.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Links for 15 June 2016

The Victorian Poor -- Street Food and Philanthropy from UKFoodHistory at Blogspot.

Behind Japan's (and America's) Ramen Obsession from

Lip-puckering Kvass is One of Several Eastern European Beverages on the Rise from The

What is "American" Food? from Gherkins & Tomatoes

Monday, June 13, 2016

Links for 13 June 2016

Who Owns Southern Food? from

How to Become Shamelessly Obsessed With Honey from

There's No Drunk Food like Disco Fries from

Lugaw, a Filipino Porridge With a Chicago Accent from

Friday, June 10, 2016

Links for 10 June 2016

FYI: I'm in a wrist brace at the moment, and it makes extended typing difficult.  Expect lots of links for another week or so.

Bacon, and reflecting on the lives of enslaved African-Americans over at

A guide to the hot dogs of the world, from

Jungle Jim's, the "country's biggest weirdo supermarket" from (I've never been there, but I have friends who make it a regular stop.)

How lessons from the Black Panthers could change the food movement from

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Links for 8 June 2016

In Bangladesh, where do you go for the perfect mishti? For that matter, what is it?  Saveur will tell you:THE FOURTH-GENERATION MISHTI MASTER WINNING OVER BANGLADESH'S INSATIABLE SWEET TOOTH

And from NPR, how Russia's shared kitchens helped shape Soviet politics.  It's an older link, but I just stumbled across it and thought it was good.

Russia's shared kitchens and Soviet politics

Monday, June 6, 2016

Links for 6 June 2016

What food-related podcasts do you listen to?  One of my favorites is the Food Programme from BBC 4 (available via iTunes).  They tackle one subject each week, and range all over.  Here's the description of the most recent episode:

"In the British Library there is an archive of life story sound recordings which tells the true story of how our food has changed over the past century. Until now, this collection has been accessible only by visiting the British Library. Now, for the first time, the 'National Life Stories project' is being made public online. Featuring hundreds of voices, and thousands of hours of interviews, it is one of the most comprehensive and revealing resources we have on food in the UK. Contributors range from chefs like Shaun Hill and Albert Roux, to biscuit factory managers, from butchers to apple growers.

In this edition, The Food Programme is collaborating with the British Library to bring you highlights from the 'National Life Stories' archive. Historian Polly Russell picks voices which shed light on hidden parts of the food industry, from restaurant kitchens to the high street. And in recounting these histories to today's chefs, restaurateurs and shop owners, she finds how working in British food has changed."
Here's a link, if you'd like to take a listen: BBC 4 Food Programme

And for something different, a tour of the World of Coke with Lucky Peach.  And they do mean the *world*....  Around the World in Eighty Cokes

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Pea Soup Andersen's Cookbook

Andersen's Restaurant was founded in Buellton, California in 1924 by Anton Andersen, from Denmark, and his wife Juliette, from France.  The original name was "Andersen's Electric Cafe", for their new electric stove.  It was a popular stop near a busy highway and they expanded regularly, adding a hotel and dining room.  In 1947 the name was changed to Pea Soup Andersen's, after the all-you-can-eat soup that had been in demand since they put it on the menu, 3 months after they opened the cafe.

The restaurant stayed in the family until 1965, but it still exists today in Buellton and another location in Santa Nella.  They have a website.

The cookbook came out in 1988, when I found it in a local gift shop.  I'm not sure why that particular shop was carrying it, but there it was. Maybe the "Scandinavian-American" connection? It's a pleasant little cookbook, with the story of the restaurant and odd facts and ephemera scattered between the recipes, along with plenty of pictures of Hap-Pea and Pea-Wee, who have been representing the restaurant since 1946.

With all this talk about their pea soup, I must have tried the recipe, right?  Well,  It's in here, and I'll gladly give it to you in either the 6-8 bowl or 850 bowl form.  Or if you'd like, you can order it from Amazon, as Andersen's has been selling it canned for a long time.

Andersen's Split Pea Soup at Amazon

Instead, Chicken with Creamy Mustard Sauce!

Chicken with Creamy Mustard Sauce

2 whole chicken breasts, boned and skinned (4 halves)
3 tablespoons butter
3 to 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon shallots or onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 pint heavy cream
Flour for dredging
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon (1/2 teaspoon dried, crumbled)
Fresh parsley for garnish

Pound the chicken breasts between sheets of waxed paper until they are about 1/2 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper and spread about half the mustard on each side of the breasts. Dredge in flour.

In a large skillet, heat the butter, add the chicken, and brown over moderately high heat, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side.

Add shallots to the skillet, sauté briefly, and add wine.

Cook until liquid is nearly evaporated, scraping lose any bits of meat stuck to the skillet.

Add the rest of the mustard, tarragon, and heavy cream. Simmer for 1 to 2 more minutes. Add more mustard if necessary, and adjust seasonings. Garnish with parsley when served.

Four servings.

For a completely different taste but equally as good a dish, omit mustard and tarragon and use 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder instead.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Fake Food know those fake food displays in front of Japanese restaurants?  You don't?  Hmm.  It occurs to me I haven't seen them in a long time, but it was mainly one restaurant that caused to me marvel at them, and they've closed.  Well, even if you don't know what I'm talking about here in the U.S., they're big in Japan, and Saveur has collected some great videos on how the food displays are made.  Enjoy!

Japanese model food

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Pigtails and Frog Legs: A Family Cookbook from Neiman Marcus

Once upon a time, I was strolling through Neiman Marcus (we used to have one in downtown Minneapolis) with my husband and this caught my eye.

Now, I don't usually pay full price for new cookbooks, but I had to get it.  A cookbook illustrated by Chuck Jones?  How could I resist?

Okay...there may be one or two people out there...somewhere...who have no idea who Chuck Jones was.  Luckily, our local history center has an exhibit right now and I can show you this.  Take a minute.  (Thanks, Dave!)

And now that we're all on the same page, I'll go on.  So, a cookbook illustrated by Chuck Jones.  Apparently Neiman Marcus solicited recipes from its "InCircle Members" (no clue!) to do a fundraising cookbook for several children's charities.  Somebody found out Chuck Jones was one of their members and they asked him to do the illustrations. Unlike many fundraising cookbooks, the recipes in this book passed a panel of professional chefs.  And then they got Michael Jackson to write the forward.  (1993)

I like this cookbook a lot.  It's a great family cookbook, and I really need to dig into it more.  I love the recipe for Green Enchiladas, but best of all is The Á La King.

I don't think I had ever had chicken á la king made from scratch before.  I'd had cafeteria versions, and boil-in-bag versions, frozen dinner versions, and I *think* somewhere way in my past I had encountered a canned version.  My reaction to those was basically "it's okay".  But I tried this, and suddenly I knew why people had spent so much time attempting to make a quick and easy version.  But this is fairly quick and it's certainly easy, although you might have to buy an ingredient or two that you don't normally keep at hand.  Here's the recipe -- stick around for my notes on it afterwards.
The Á La King

1/2 cup green pepper, diced
1 jar (4.5 oz) sliced mushrooms, reserve 1/4 cup liquid
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup milk
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup frozen peas, cooked
2 to 3 cups chicken, cooked and cubed
1 4 oz jar pimentos, chopped
1 pkg (6-count) PEPPERIDGE FARM puff pastry shells

In large skillet, sauté green pepper and mushrooms in butter for 5 minutes. Blend in flour, salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring until mixture is bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in half-and-half, milk, broth and reserved mushroom liquid. Heat to boiling. Stirring constantly, boil for 1 minute. Add peas, chicken and pimentos. Cook 4 more minutes. Serve in pastry shells.
Serves 6

To start, I should say that I have never even purchased Pepperidge Farms puff pastry shells. I have no idea if you can even still buy them. But this is a flexible recipe (another one!  I like those) and it can easily be served on rice, refrigerator biscuits, drop biscuits...oh, probably mashed potatoes too if you want. What else?  Canned mushrooms are fine.  Half a cup of cream and 1 1/2 cups (sweet) pepper instead of pimiento.  Even the original recipe is very flexible on the amount of chicken involved.  And it tastes soooooo good!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The History of Pho

Lucky Peach published an excerpt of Andrea Nguyen's The Pho Cookbook (should I be italicizing all titles?) in their magazine and posted it online as well.  Here is her take on the history of pho.

Oh, and if you've never had pho, ask around, find the enthusiast, and go where they tell you.  Don't be afraid of the word "fatty".  Put everything in, and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

In Defence of English Cooking

Let's talk about George Orwell.

Everybody knows 1984.  If you went through the American public school system, there's a pretty good chance that you had to read it.  Or maybe you saw one of the movie versions. But did you know he was actually considered one of the truly great British writers and had several other books to his credit, both fiction and nonfiction?

I had to read 1984 for school. I didn't care for it.  However, some years later I wound up listening to an audiobook version of his Down and Out in Paris and London and I thought it was wonderful.  In it, he talks about living poor in Paris and London (hence the title) and doing a LOT of dishwashing.  In the accounts of his time in restaurant kitchens, he is writing a predecessor to Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential.  I found it absolutely fascinating.

So when I saw a listing for In Defence of English Cooking by George Orwell (Penguin Books, 2005) I snapped it up.



Well, I'm blaming Penguin Books for this one.  This was published as one of the "Pocket Penguins" done for their 70th Anniversary.  It's a slim volume, only 58 pages, and it consists of four essays.  "In Defense of English Cooking" begins on page 54.  The last two pages are a list of all 70 Pocket Penguins.  Yes, I bought it for three pages.  It reads like a newspaper opinion piece on the ideal British foods. So...not quite what I was hoping for.

Now, maybe this is still the book for you.  But I'd recommend getting a copy of Down and Out in Paris and London instead.

Essay: In Defence of English Cooking

In Defence of English Cooking at Amazon

Down and Out in Paris and London at Amazon

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Peanuts Cookbook

The Peanuts Cookbook.  It came out in 1969, which is probably about when my sister got it.  I went through a phase of liking anything Peanuts, as many kids did, and for a while this was great.  In reality, it's a cutesy little book that was put out to capitalize on the fact that somebody had gotten the license from Charles Schulz to do a Peanuts cookbook.  It's cute, it is very pink and green (the interior sticks with the same color scheme as the cover, a pink panel in a green border), and there is a recipe on the left-hand page and a four-panel comic (which may have a tie in to the recipe, or not) on the right.

The recipe selection?  Meh.  They found some things that would tie in to the comics. Doughnuts, macaroni and cheese, and a steak tartare recipe for Snoopy (only to be fed to dogs, or maybe cats).  Mostly they took kid-friendly recipes and changed the names.  Sally's Scrambled Eggs, Lucy's Lemon Lollipops, Charlie Brown's get the idea.

The one recipe I remember making, and making more than once, is Great Pumpkin Cookies.

Great Pumpkin Cookies

1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 lb. can pumpkin
2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 cup raisins
1 cup pecans, chopped

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix sugar, shortening, eggs and pumpkin thoroughly. Sift dry ingredients and add to pumpkin mixture. Blend well. Add raisins and pecans. Drop batter by teaspoonful on uncreased baking sheets. Bake 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes about 6 dozen

A delicious snack while you're waiting for the "Great Pumpkin."

I don't remember the pecans ever being used in ours.

Amazon link to The Peanuts Cookbook