SO being at home with The Mom, who really deserves a better nickname than The Mom, is fantastic. Really, it’s like holding up a mirror into the future because she and I are a lot alike. It’s quite funny. I’ve actually been spending the day looking at photos in the basement and there are quite a few photos where I’m under 2 and already starting to mimic my mother’s gestures and actions. It’s funny, people who knew my Dad, used to tell me that I reminded them of him, people who know my Mom, tend to think I’m her clone. The weird thing is, I see it too.
Anyway, aside from our love of entertaining- and The Runner will attest that I like cooking but I LOVE entertaining- my Mom and I share a love of kitchen utensils. Seriously, neither of us have ever met a kitchen gadget that we wouldn’t buy- cherry pitter- she has one, butter cutter- yep one of those too, milk frother- got it, vacuum wine sealer- check, melon baller- don’t make me laugh- of course she has one! So if you can imagine being a small child growing up in the land of 1,000 kitchen accessories, it does shape your outlook on life- in a great way. The Mom is literally the only person I know with more kitchen stuff than I do. I’m a total girl- I like shoes and handbags and make up and jewellery, but I salivate- sal-i-vate over Williams-Sonoma……Mmmmmmmm. It’s not normal, I know, but I’ve come by it honestly. So I’m really excited to do a He Runs, I Cook from The Mom’s House—although I feel like I should do a 12 course, butter cutting, melon balling extravaganza while I’m here—and I probably would have if Thanksgiving weren’t last week. Instead, I’ll be cooking from THE MOST EXPENSIVE COOKBOOK I’VE EVER COOKED FROM….(not that I’ve gotten my grubby mitts on lots of expensive cookbooks), “Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine.”
I wrote a little about it in my previous post, but I actually sat down last night and read it—that’s right read it from start to finish. The book itself isn’t just a book of recipes, it actually tells the story of each family member from grandparents to parents to aunts and uncles, and possibly even a few others. It’s written by two sisters who were living in New York and seriously, what a gem! I started off looking for a recipe but by the end, I was enthralled by the family history. It’s seriously, such a great idea and I can’t think of another cookbook that I own that does the same. It’s small enough to read as a novel, yet the recipes are simple and sound tasty enough to use as a cookbook. I’m sold! Not quite sold enough to cough up $350 for a new one on Amazon.com, but I am bidding on one on Ebay at the moment so fingers crossed. It’s only new, and the opening bid was $5… I’m not overly optimistic!
Anyway, this book is fantastic- and not just because the first chapter based on the Grandfather is all about making homemade wine……yessssssssssssss! Unfortunately, I don’t have the facilities or the patience to make wine, and thanks to our lovely friends in the Hunter Valley, The Runner and I have a seemingly endless supply of fantastic wine. If we didn’t, the idea of testing out a recipe for strawberry wine is vaguely appealing, but I am extremely thankful that we live in the 21st century where liquor stores are ubiquitous and you can order wine over the internet. The book also has recipes for canning, jamming, and making marmalades. None of which do I have any interest in. What’s the point of buying 3 pounds of tomatoes and spending hours coring, blanching, peeling and boiling them when you can buy Canned tomatoes in the store for 99 cents. Anyway, wine making and tomato canning are things I’ll do One Day….as in One Day/Some day/Never!
The book also has some delicious ice cream recipes—and if there’s one thing that The Mom and I have in common—ice cream is our favourite food. Legend has it that The Mom had ice cream sundaes every single day that she was pregnant with me, and I don’t doubt it’s true—I LOVE Ice Cream. No, really. I LOVE it. Seriously, I’m like Cookie Monster’s long lost human twin, Ice Cream Monster. Love it, love it, love it, love it. Always have, always will. In high school, I used to have a bowl of ice cream every day after school- mint chocolate chip or cookies and cream. It’s actually a miracle that I’m not morbidly obese…. (and yes, Ben and Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Cookie is pretty much the best thing ever). Anyway, another vote for Spoonbread being awesome, it has awesome ice cream recipes.
So to recap, the book has recipes for two of my three favourite things- Ice cream and wine. I think I might increase my Ebay bid. I understand why it caused a phenomena in the 70s. It’s causing a slight moral dilemma for me, I really want to quietly and secretly slip the book back to Sydney so I can delight in its yummy-ness on a longer term basis. I know it’s wrong because The Mom loves The Book, but would she miss it? Yes. And she reads the blog…..hmmmm, let’s increase the Ebay bid.
Anyway, aside from all this, it does have some really amazing recipes- Peach gingerbread upside down cake, made with fresh, homemade gingerbread, baked steaks, white potato and cheese casserole, like 8 different ways to make sweet potatoes, southern fried corn, pineapple upside down cupcakes, eggnog pie. The list goes on…. Of course, there are some low points like scrambled brains- and yes, they mean actual brains not eggs, and of course squirrel, rabbit, opossum and other road kill delights- but that’s only one part of one chapter. The hardest thing is that I don’t know what to make for dinner tonight- and I made a list of possibilities. Do I make The Mom’s favourite macaroni and cheese or crab meatloaf or a classic fried chicken? Do I go out on a limb with Ginger Ale Salad or Chicken in the Pot or Tipsy Cake? Is it more of a Stuffed Eggplant occasion? Whatever it is, the recipes all seem to be really simple with pretty simple ingredients and they sound pretty tasty….. Overall, this cookbook is a winner. No, I don’t know first hand, but The Mom and her friends can’t possibly be wrong!