Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Some Florida sunshine for mid-February blahs

Winter had mostly been kind this year-- I was walking outside in light spring jackets earlier this month!-- but now it really feels like winter. Ugh! So I'm warming up today with the Debbie-Rand Cook Book (compiled by the Debbie-Rand* Memorial Service League for Boca Raton Community Hospital, 1973).

Just the colors should warm you up. The whole book is pink. For serious.

But it also has plenty of tropical-ish recipes to make you think of warm weather. This first one had me a bit perplexed:
What is a calamondin? I had no idea when I spotted this recipe. It's a hybrid between mandarin oranges and kumquats-- sour fruit, sweet edible peel-- used for marmalade, a lemonade-like drink, and apparently cakes with lemon Jell-O in them! Just look at that recipe and tell me you don't feel at least a little warmer.

There are plenty of chilly desserts to make you think of summer on the patio, too. A few are surprisingly modern-seeming:

Okay, you're probably more likely to see all sugar or sugar and agave syrup rather than corn syrup today, but avocado desserts are definitely popular right now. I'm not sure anyone has ever found a better way to describe avocado sherbet than Missy Engel, though, as her version "is pale, jade green..... smooth..... unctuous..... witty..... but never forward..... a delightful, unusual dessert, served with champagne." Makes me wish I could have avocado sherbet and champagne on the patio (okay, it's actually back porch so small I can't fully open my cheap folding chaise lounge on it) without shoveling the snow off first.

Other cold desserts are a bit more puzzling:

I'm not sure what makes a mix of (dairy-free!) bananas, orange juice, lemon juice, eggs, sugar, water, and pineapple into "double three cream," but at least now I know a google search for the term will bring up discussions of the difference between double- and triple-creme cheeses and ads for K-Y Touch 2-in-1. (Not sure how personal lubricant is related, but I'm not going to dig too deep on that one.)

The recipes are not all sweetness and light, though. Some look distinctively mid-western:

I thought only someone from Minnesota could imagine chicken breasts wrapped in bacon and baked on a bed of chipped beef under a blanket of cream of mushroom soup mixed with sour cream to be "elegant," but apparently Floridians are subject to this delusion as well.

And of course, Floridians are also well known for sometimes being a bit... ummm... shall we say, unbalanced, and it shows through even here:

Most yeast bread recipes are a little violent, asking bakers to punch down the dough between risings. Shredded Wheat Bread is the first I've seen that asks us to "knife down" the bread. I wonder if Lydie Wakefield had a few issues to work through and baking bread was cheaper than going into therapy....

Happy Wednesday, and think warm thoughts! If you're not in Florida, feel free to wish you were and/or be really glad you're not.

*And just in case you're wondering, the name "Debbie-Rand" is in memory of siblings (Debra Ann and James Randall Drummond) who died of poisoning in 1962 but may have been saved if there had been a closer hospital. The initial money for the new medical center was raised in their memory. Sorry-- I can't let your cold winter day get too cheery with thoughts of fresh citrus and avocado! You've gotta think of dead kids too. That's just how it works at Grannie Pantries: Bringing You Down Since 2013!


  1. What a great cookbook!
    I want to make the avocado sherbet!

    1. I should have listed this before the Super Bowl. Avocados were on sale then.

  2. I'm not going to say you've out done yourself with this post, Poppy but, you most certainly came close!

    Warm feeling is not exactly what I get when I see any of these recipes. Take for instance that avocado sherbet, ferociously mash?!?!

    Winter has arrived here too but I find myself actually enjoying it. Of course, if it gets any colder or snowy, I'll be wishing to be warmer:)

    Thanks for sharing, Poppy...

    1. Our winter seems to have disappeared for this weekend! I'm not sad about that, although I am sad that it's my big weekend for grading.... I wish the weather would work around my schedule. ;-)

    2. Oh Poppy, you have to take at least an hour to enjoy the weather. Before you know it, Winter will arrive, AGAIN!

    3. Don't tell anybody, but I couldn't resist the nice afternoon! ;-)