Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Stuart Simmers its Wildlife

I have a weird little book for you today. It's such an obscure treasure that when I tried to do an internet search to find out if the estimated "1970s" date assigned to it by the antiques dealer was accurate, I couldn't find any results at all. I present to you The Stuart Simmers Cook Book, published by The Pine Needles Mothers' Association of The Pine School in Stuart, Florida:

While I couldn't find anything about the cookbook, I did learn the school was founded in 1969 and changed its name in 1975, so this cookbook is indeed probably from the early '70s.

I got it mostly because I loved the cartoony cover. The witches sure seem delighted by whatever they're simmering up. The two on the left seem to think the cooking process is going pretty well, but the one on the right looks a little too excited by it all. I think Hazel expects a scantily-clad prince or princess or toad (hey, don't judge!) to leap out of the steaming cauldron and kiss her right on the end of her enormous nose. (James Hutchinson, a well-regarded Florida artist, made the cover. I'm learning all kinds of things from this one!)

The most telling bit of the book may be the subtitle on the inside cover: A Potpourri of South Florida Cookery. The recipes definitely have more than a bit of Florida about them.

Have some Florida road kill?

Just start out by cleaning that armadillo. (Helpful hint: it isn't easy. This is not a Betty Crocker picture cookbook with step-by-step instructions, for which I am entirely grateful.) And if you need to know what "Pig Sauce" is, it's way less exotic:

Just salt, pepper, garlic, and oregano in oil. When armadillo is the lead, apparently the supporting cast shouldn't try to steal the show.

Dick Hupfel was apparently a real specialist in cooking wild game, also contributing this recipe:

It must have been great fun to rummage through this guy's freezer, knowing you could come across a skinless, coiled-up rattlesnake, always ready for whenever rattlesnake salad or creamed rattlesnake might be needed.

Other recipes are tamer, but still clearly Floridian. Swamp Cabbage, anyone?

It's just hearts of palm with salt pork and onions, but the name makes me think of cabbage that has been boiled long enough to make the entire building stink.

The book isn't all swamp cabbage and armadillo. It shows some southwestern influences, too. For those of you who thought chalupas were a Taco Bell invention:

I love that this recipe is in the "Vegetables" chapter, so that gives you an excuse to say you're just eating your vegetables whenever you have a chalupa.

I'll top this all off with a citrus-y dessert:

If you always thought shortcake was just for summer, try piping-hot grapefruit shortcake with nutmeg sauce! I would just as soon eat battery acid as grapefruit, so I will leave you to judge just how tempting this recipe sounds. (At least it calls for biscuit-style shortcakes. I am not on team sponge cake or team angel food.)

Happy Wednesday! And remember, no matter how tempting that armadillo may look, it is NOT easy to clean.


  1. Now that book is what I would say is a real find, Poppy. I did a quick check in my cookbook reference books and it wasn't in them either. So many local books get un-noticed unfortunately.

    Okay, the recipes you have chosen to share may seem a bit outlandish but when you look at that cover, it seems they are symbolic of the contents, lol...

    The Grapefruit Shortcake isn't my "style" either but, the nutmeg sauce, well, I suppose it would do:)

    Thanks for sharing, Poppy...I can't wait for Cookbook Wednesdays!!!

    1. I'm looking forward to Cookbook Wednesday's return too!

  2. Ok, I got it! Dick Hupfel & "Butch" McKinney are simmering away in that calderon