Saturday, November 30, 2013

Showing Ted some love

You know the feeling you get from a happy surprise? Maybe you're going through the pockets in a coat you haven't worn in months and find money you don't remember leaving there. Maybe you discover a playful friend hid a toy skull to stare at you as you wash dishes. (I'm guessing more of you can identify with the first scenario....)

Sometimes just such a happy surprise ensures I will have to buy a vintage cookbook before I've even bothered to look at the recipes. Marion Howells' 1972 Popular Italian Cookery got swept out of the thrift shop based on the inscription alone:

Okay, I know it's the wrong holiday for this time of year, but I didn't want to wait until Valentine's day and risk losing this in the stack....

Ted seems like such a thoughtful guy. Whoever received this could be in for some embarrassment when friends, parents, children, or (significant?) others wanted to try out a recipe. Plus, I feel a hint of "now you can fix me something decent when I come over" in this gift. Getting a gift that Ted actually bought for himself must have been a real thrill.

With the right recipe selecting skills, however, one could quite properly thank Ted. I think I would make pizza.

If you like the more genuinely Italian no-cheese-and-plenty-of-anchovies style, then this may not look too bad. I would warn you to look in the background, though.

The pizza topping recipe starts with frying onions and dessert pears in the oil drained from canned tuna. Just in case the gravity of this situation is lost on you: The pizza topping recipe starts with frying onions and dessert pears in the oil drained from canned tuna.

Then add the canned tuna, tomatoes, and seasoning. Put on top of the crust with anchovies and black olives or pickled walnuts. Prove, bake, and serve hot to Ted in the hopes that he will think more carefully about his gift choices in the future.

Bonus: If you are interested in the basic pizza dough recipe, here it is:

There are no baking directions because they are included at the end of the recipe above.


  1. What a treasure, Poppy. Not so much the recipe but certainly the book:) I love cookbooks with inscriptions. They add so much more personality.

    These recipes though seem more likely to be candidates for that Regrettable Food Book I have on my shelf. Gee, I should check, maybe they are in there!

    Thank you so much for sharing, Poppy...

    1. I do love looking for inscriptions and for notes in the margins. It's fun to see which recipes previous owners liked or how they tweaked them.

    2. Me too Poppy. I've often thought it would be fun to put together a book of notes found in cookbooks, lol...Some of those margin notes are simply priceless:)