For the last Cookbook Wednesday, I wanted a book with a classy cover. Specifically, a seriously '70s classy cover. I'm not sure I could do much better than this:
Now this is a kitchen you can set your watch by!
The rust-colored flooring!
The wood accents!
The bright orange canisters, colander, and pans!
The intricately-designed gold ceiling!
The glowing yellow countertop!
I honestly bought this for the cover alone. I could blow it up and use it as wallpaper in my house. Of course it would look funny to apparently have a '70s kitchen in my living room, but it would certainly be a conversation piece if I ever had anyone else over.
I'm not even sure what to call this book. The cover claims it's Favorite Recipes from Our Best Cooks Cook Book, but the inside cover claims it's A Book of Favorite Recipes. Either way, it was compiled by the Cleveland chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in 1976, and it has some really... classy... recipes. Here's one example:
The ingredients themselves sound pretty standard for a casserole of the time-- condensed mushroom soup, onion soup mix, rice, chicken, mushrooms. Nothing too great or terrible or surprising, just salty. It's the name that gets to me. "Chicken Undergrowth"? It sounds like it should be a recipe for a hippie chicken that never shaved its wingpits. If it were a hippie recipe, though, it would be full of nonfat dry milk powder, prunes, and wheat germ, so I guess this is a step up?
If the Chicken Undergrowth isn't elegant enough but you still have a can of mushroom soup burning a hole in your pantry, maybe you'd prefer this:
Add the soup to Stouffers mac and cheese, slightly thawed, along with sherry and tiny canned shrimp! So dainty and delicate for a rainy afternoon with the women's club. Plus it will give you an excuse to finish off the sherry, regardless of whether anyone actually touches the Elegant "Rainy Day" Casserole. (I'm a little sad that Mrs. Sally Maritt didn't understand scare quotes, as they clearly belong around "Elegant" rather than "Rainy Day.")
After all of these canned/ frozen/ super-processed casseroles, I'm ready for something more straightforward, earthy, honest. There should be something like that in this cookbook. After all, Ohio has a pretty sizable Amish population. Maybe the writers got some inspiration from their plain and simple neighbors.
Or...not? I have no idea what to think of this. I associate handcrafted cheeses and home baked breads with Amish cooking, but did they really spend the '70s eating casseroles made with four cans of soup and half a pound of Velveeta, just like everybody else except the health nuts? Did they just give non-Amish neighbors the recipe to see if they could pass it off as a genuine Amish delicacy? Did Dorothy Klemm make this recipe up and say it was Amish because people seemed to be so interested in Amish food, even if she had no idea of what Amish meant? There are so many possibilities, but they all make me laugh!
I hope you've enjoyed our Cookbook Wednesdays, courtesy of Months of Edible Celebrations.