Tuesday, February 17, 2009

For the love of casseroles and apple pie (Day 23)

You know these cookbooks. (You know you do.) Your mom or your granny has contributed a recipe for a church fundraiser or has one tucked away on her shelf...
I love them. I collect them. A second-hand bookstore fella once told me they get tons of them and, usually, toss 'em.
I love food, the culture of food, the eating of food. These cookbooks represent America's culinary history from bog-standard American kitchens. There's the casseroles, the pies, and the quick breads...Tuna casserole? It's probably in there. Pumpkin bread? Sure. Apple pie? My word, you have to ask?
Then, there are the recipes that have gone out of style. Off the top of my head. I have a beautiful buttermilk bread recipe from a 1920's cookbook, but lordy if I can find anything similar in a modern American cookbook. Why? Oh...Just not in vogue, I suppose.
But holding them, reading them, there's a simple folksy charm that always cheers me and reminds me of home. My mom's pumpkin bread. My mom's tuna casserole. (And, btw, yuck.)
I was reminded of my old-timey cookbook collection when a friend lent me a lovely handmade cookbook, given to her by her mother. Full of the recipes of her childhood. The good, the bad, the tuna casserole's...
And, from it, I made a swiss cheese chicken casserole with canned cream of celery and Stovetop in a box. It was simple. It was artery-clogging delicious. And it reminded me a little of home.
The good parts.


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