"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Culinary Windfall

So, you've all heard of White Elephant parties, right? The kind of holiday occasion where everyone brings a "gift" something you have lying around the house that you don't want anymore (all wrapped up for the sake of disguise) and then numbers are drawn and gifts are summarily selected, opened, swapped and stolen back and forth at high speed. That s a vague description but you get the idea.

Last night I took this beauty as my cleverly disguised gift.
That's a seven inch, folding knife with 007 inscribed along the side of the plastic handle. Quality, right there. Believe it or not, we found it in the master bedroom of closet of our house. So fabulous. You couldn't invent treasures like that.

And here I am fawning over what I got in exchange. (And getting fabulous insider cooking tips from our priest's wife about where to find the best stuff in it.)

Such a beautiful, old, hardcover gold copy of Fannie Farmer...complete with satin ribbon marker. I do feel just a little badly for the woman from whom I nabbed this fabulous tome. It really is a lovely prize. There is some small consolation in the fact that the publishing date is 1965 which means that (theoretically at least) the book was already fading beyond its peak. A mere shadow of its former greatness. So, I have heard but, I'm not complaining any.

Its so pretty. Such pristine pages inside, not a crease or a drop anywhere except for a few curious, stray pen marks in the pages about sorbet. It's just asking to be written all over and dripped upon and I'm sure I will be able to oblige. I always write notes about the recipes I try so that I can remember when I made and what I thought afterwards and any little adjustments or additions I make. Yeah, and I'm messy. If it was any other kind of book I'd feel bad but cookbooks are meant to be used and dribbled over and loved to pieces.

One of the things I like most about the book is the wonderful line drawing illustrations. Truly, they are frame-able. Excellent little drawings of how to peel a carrot, how to fold in egg whites or and entire one page spread full of visuals of the varieties of lettuces that seemed significant. Love a little handmade beauty in the pages of a manual.

I heard somewhere that Fanny Farmer (also previously known as The Boston Cooking School Cookbook) is the prime instructive cooking source for New Englander's and Joy of Cooking was the home base for the Midwest. Being a good Midwestern girl I cut my teeth on Joy of Cooking, but now that I am on the East Coast I feel like I ought to learn the ways of the natives so I feel like I'm truly joining the locals and learning their ways to be thumbing through my own copy of this book and reading recipes like Maine Peanut Brittle and Boston Cupcakes. The fabulosity knows no bounds! And just in time for Christmas cookie season! Score!


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