Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Censorship, cacti, and beans in unexpected places...

It's not the heat! It's the humidity! As much as I hate hearing people say this in a self-congratulatory way, as if proclaiming the humidity the real enemy makes a hot day any better, I am taking their idea. Today we are going somewhere hot and (usually) dry: Arizona!

Yes, it's the Arizona Cook Book (compiled by Al and Mildred Fischer, sixth printing, 1979).

This book has a diverse cast of recipes: Indian, Mexican, and Western food, with plenty of recipes for Arizona crops and outdoor cooking.

What's with the little green bar off to the side? It's the first instance of censorship in Grannie Pantries history! Whoever owned this before me was a racist, and they penned epithets for Indians and Mexicans right on the cover. Very thoughtful, asshole.

I decided "cowpatty" didn't rise to the same level of offense, so I left it there so you could get a taste of this person's rapier wit.

The book itself boasts "more than 350 authentic Arizona recipes," but I'm never quite sure what that means. Authentic to what? Some seem to be authentic to 1970s-style cooking, which is not a boast many cookbooks make.

I kind of doubt an authentic Mexican recipe calls for a pound-sized can of roast beef and another of Rosarita refried beans, or wrapping the whole shebang in a package of Rosarita tortillas. Granted, I have zero expertise in authentic Mexican food, but I feel pretty confident making this call anyway.

Same thing for the Chicken Enchiladas:

A recipe calling for a can of cream of chicken soup and a jar of boned chicken (and more Rosarita tortillas-- and yes, the acknowledgements page does thank Rosarita Mexican Foods, in case you were wondering...) seems to have more in common with an authentic midwestern church cookbook recipe than anything else.

Some recipes do seem specific to the region, though. I love a good marmalade, and this one would seem authentically southwestern:

I'm not sure what prickly pears taste like, but I'd be willing to try them this way! And if you can't get enough Arizona-specific sweets, here's another with a lovely little drawing to illustrate it:

Again, I'm not sure what it would taste like, but any candy recipe that begins with a warning about the legality of making it and instructions to remove spines is pretty exciting.

The book is definitely committed to providing recipes for other Arizona staples, like sourdough (not just for California, apparently!) and pinto beans.

The book lists plenty of expected recipes for sourdough bread and pancakes, but I was a little surprised to find this among them:

Sourdough drop cookies!

The biggest surprise had to be in the pinto bean recipes, though. Nestled in among the variations of baked beans and soups was this little gem:

Pinto bean fudge does not use the pinto beans as a thickener, as I thought it might. Beans are add-ins, just like the chopped nuts!

Now I'm starting to imagine a mashup of the old Velveeta Fudge recipe with this one... It could be dessert, or heat it up for a very weird bean queso dip! At least the thought has gotten my mind off the damn heat and humidity.


  1. Velveeta fudge, pinto bean fudge, now I'm afraid that there is a salsa fudge recipe out there somewhere.