My area has reverted from being so warm in February and March that I was hoping I could spot some super-early snakes sneaking out of their holes this year (Yep-- looking for snakes is one of my hobbies.) to seeing April as a good spot to dump all that unused winter weather. Ugh!
That's the long way of saying today is devoted to a cold-weather classic: Savory Stews (Mary Savage, 1969).
Have to love the subtitle: "Captured, begged, and borrowed recipes for stews-- from around the block and around the world." I like the idea of the "captured" recipe. I guess the hunting grounds would depend on the type of recipe one wants... You might be able to set a live trap in a church potluck or the corner of a busy restaurant without attracting too much notice, but try setting one up in a modest Appalachian kitchen and you might end up on the wrong end of a shotgun.
I guess the bait would depend on the type of recipe, too. Set out a little cup full of cream of mushroom soup, some red wine, or court bouillon and see what turns up. Just hope the trap springs before the recipe skitters away.
There aren't all that many pictures in this book, but I really love some of the line drawings at the chapter beginnings:
If you don't love the young chicken in a mini skirt with a "Love" sign prancing in front of the old chicken with his cane, bow tie, and 23 skidoo pin, then there is something seriously wrong with your humor gland, and you should get it checked immediately. (Just a little public service announcement.)
The stews themselves tend not to be too surprising, so to represent the chickens, here is a recipe I chose because the description says this is the sort of stew to be "eaten in quantity, praised seldom, and quickly forgotten." Mary Savage certainly didn't believe in overselling her recipes-- or, apparently, in leaving anything out of the cookbook, even if it wasn't particularly impressive:
The seafood section gives us some more fun characters:
I don't know about you, but I cannot resist a lobster with a telescope and a pirate's hat or a crab in a sailor's cap! I want to warn the little guys that their "boat" is really a stew pot and their paddle is a spoon, but they just seem so damn excited that I can't quite bring myself to do it. (Besides, they're probably pretty safe since they seem to be in the ocean rather than on a burner...)
Savage has other plans for the ocean-dwellers, though:
Seafood is not at all my thing, but I always thought Shrimp Creole consisted primarily of the holy trinity (onion, celery, and green pepper) with tomatoes, spices, and, of course, shrimp. This version doesn't have much in the way of spice, instead throwing in barbecue sauce and canned tuna, which just seems... odd. You can correct me if I'm wrong on this one, but I suspect Creole cooks would consider this recipe merde.
The recipe that horrified me the most, though, has a title that says it all:
And here I am ready to pack up and go too! It must really work.
Happy Cookbook Wednesday! Thanks to Louise of Months of Edible Celebrations for hosting.