Wednesday, June 28, 2017

I do declare! More recipes from the dubious south

After the recent "trip" to Arizona, I decided to stay in the south and/or west with The Southern and Southwestern Cookbook (Culinary Arts Institute home economists directed by Melanie de Proft, 1956).

The cover looks more like a nod to the southwest than to the south with its avocado-and-grapefruit salad and big bowl of chili, but the book covers more ground than it lets on. (The fried chicken recipe has a variation for Maryland fried chicken-- not the most southern and/or western variation!)

Today I'm going the "weird menu" route, so prepare yourself for a series of recipes that only sort of go together.

For the main course, something "spicy":

Of course, I'm not sure how Spicy Beef Stew got labeled spicy. It looks like... well... plain old beef stew. Are the MSG and "few grains cloves" enough to make it spicy? Are we supposed to think that a can of sieved tomatoes or a bit of bell pepper will liven things up? Is the recipe's proximity to other recipes claiming to be from the southwest enough to give it an edge? I have looked this recipe up and down a dozen times, and I still have no idea what makes it anything other than the staid beef stew that't the staple of heartland family dinners.

Speaking of things that don't exactly scream southern or western, let's serve our stew over slices of this:

Yes, scrapple, that hallmark of Pennsylvania Dutch cooking, is somehow southern and/or western if it's made with a mixture of vegetables and peanuts instead of hog offal. I can see where they're coming from on this one since it's full of those southern staples cornmeal and peanuts, but I kind of wonder why they went with the name scrapple. Why not Vegetable Fried Grits or Veggie Grit Cakes?

In any case, I'd be more willing to try this version of scrapple than the traditional one, but I digress.

Now on to dessert:

Sopa Capirotada finally presents something that seems like it belongs in this book! I did a little research, and apparently this is a bread pudding traditionally served during Lent in Latin American households. (Don't tell anyone that I pulled it out for mid-summer!)

It's loaded with piñon nuts, which are apparently special pine nuts most popular in New Mexico. It's also full of the brown sugar and cinnamon common to bread puddings, and layered with novel to me, but apparently not to Capirotada fans, Cheddar cheese.

I'm guessing this sounds exciting to those of you who love a slice of cheese in their apple pie, and scary to those who have never figured out why anyone would do that to an innocent slice of pie that was minding its own business.

I couldn't make up my mind, so you have your choice of beverages.

If you want the worst variant of breakfast in a glass, have some of this:

Grapefruit Cooler handily combines the most vomit-y tasting of breakfast beverages with the potentially salmonella-laced glory of raw eggs! The whites are even whipped, so it's likely to be thick and sludgy as well!

If you'd rather go the the sweet-sweet-sweet route, I'll take you to Texas:

Texas Sparkler mixes a can of frozen juice with extra sugar, then dilutes it with nothing but ginger ale. Even if it's "dry" ginger ale, I imagine a glass or two could send imbibers into a diabetic coma. (I am totally in love with those grape tumblers, though.)

So there you have it-- a weird thrown-together meal with varying degrees of south/western credibility. Not sure how I want to end this, so I'll just throw in a line drawing of a proper southern family waiting on the butler to serve them dinner.

I was going to say that I hoped their cook had better taste than I in choosing their meals, but they all look like they're probably racist anyway. I hope the cook made them exactly what they deserve.


  1. Grapefruit Cooler sounds like a "healthy" version of an Orange Julius. Hmmmm, Orange Julius!

    1. I'm sure Orange Julius is muuuuuch better!