I just finished a post about things found during cleaning and organizing, and I forgot about my cookbooks. Here’s what happened. I’m clearing off the top of the fridge (the best place in my small kitchen for large bowl storage) and what to my wondering eyes do appear, but several cookbooks.
Once upon a time I put some favorite cookbooks in theretofore unused cabinet space atop the fridge, and then promptly forgot about them. When I spied them as I wiped down the nasty fridge top my first thought was, “Oh, this is where I put it!” I peered at the titles and sure enough The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham was among the treasures. Also found (forgot I had this gem, so wasn’t really looking for it) was Better than Storebought by Helen Witty and Elizabeth Schneider Colchie.
Better than Storebought promises and delivers solutions to the ever-present problem of high prices for low quality grocery store offerings. “This is a book,” says the book jacket, for cooks “. . . who love good, real food . . . . “for cooks who prefer to make more cheaply . . . foods . . . that wear grand-scale price-tags . . . for curious and questing cooks who enjoy the creation of intriguing edibles . . .”
As for “intriguing edibles” The Breakfast Book is a celebration of breakfast, with offerings such as knotthole and featherbed eggs, muesli ballymaloe, dewey buns and buttermilk breakfast doughnuts, because, as Marion Cunningham says, “Homemade doughnuts and fritters have their very own marvelous character, better than anything you can buy out and about.”
Well, there are some fairly marvelous pastries “out and about” in my area, but they also have some fairly marvelous price tags.
So, as I’ve said and will no doubt say again, “Do try this at home, with what’s right under your nose.”
LAST WEEK THE RAIN AND FOG AND THE CHILL CAME IN – AND THE BARELY GREEN ASPEN TREES WERE SHROUDED IN CLOUD. MY DAUGHTER REBEKAH RIGHTLY DISCERNED IT WAS THE PERFECT TIME FOR A TEA PARTY AND SOME GOOD CONVERSATION, WITH SOME LOVELY MUSIC. I HAD BEEN PLANNING TO DO SOME PAINT PREPPING, BUT IT WOULD KEEP.
WEDNESDAY MORNING WAS MUCH THE SAME AND WHEN I ASKED JOHN IF HE WAS STILL SURE HE WANTED A SMOOTHIE FOR BREAKFAST IN THE INTEREST OF TIME, HE WASN’T SO SURE.
SO HERE’S WHAT WENT DOWN:
I PUT SPROUTED AND BUTTERED BREAD IN THE OVEN ON LOW, AND THE SERVING BOWLS AS WELL – PUT COLD BOWLS INTO THE OVEN BEFORE TURNING IT ON, NOT AFTER IT’S HOT. (IF I HAD BEEN GOING TO SERVE FRIED EGGS, I WOULD HAVE ALSO HEATED THE PLATES – FOR FOUR PEOPLE I HEAT SIX PLATES, THEN I HAVE ONE EXTRA ON TOP AND ON BOTTOM, AND WRAP IN DISH TOWELS WHEN I TAKE THEM OUT AND THERE’S NO STRESS ABOUT THE HORROR COLD EGGS!).
THEN THERE’S ALSO A PLATE TO PUT THE EGGS ON AS THEY’RE FINISHED FRYING, WITH A LID OR COVERING OF SOME SORT TO KEEP THEM WARM UNTIL SERVING. WE CALL THESE EGGS “DIPPIES”, AS YOU HAVE DONE WHITES, BUT YOLKS NICELY RUNNY AND GOLDEN FOR DIPPING TOAST INTO! (I LEARNED TO CALL THEM “DIPPIES” FROM JANE BROCKET IN “THE GENTLE ART OF DOMESTICITY – EXCELLENT, JANE IS!)
I DUMPED HALF A JAR OF CHUNKY CINNAMON APPLESAUCE INTO A PAN AND ADDED WALNUTS AND RAISINS AND BEGAN HEATING. THE TEA KETTLE WAS FILLED AND HEATING AS REBEKAH SET THE TABLE WITH MILK IN A CREAM PITCHER, HONEY, ETC.
I HEATED THE TEAPOT WITH HOT WATER THEN EMPTIED IT AND SET IT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STOVE ON THE WARMING ZONE, ADDED FOUR BAGS OF ROOIBOS TEA AND COVERED IT WITH A TEA COZY ( I WOULD MUCH PREFER A NICE ENGLISH BLACK TEA, ACTUALLY) – ALL READY FOR BREWING. ANOTHER THING I WOULD HAVE DONE IF IT WERE REALLY A COLD DAY IS USE STURDY THICK MUGS AND RUN HOT WATER INTO THEM FOR A BIT BEFORE SERVING TIME.
A PACKAGE OF THIN PORK CHOPS CAME OUT OF THE FREEZER AND WENT INTO A SKILLET WITH WATER TO BEGIN STEAMING APART AND COOKING (I COOKED THEM UNTIL THEY CARMELIZED AND MADE LOVELY BROWN GRAVY, OR AU JUS).
WE HAD LEFTOVER MASHED POTATOES SO I MADE THEM INTO BALLS AND PUT THEM IN THAT SAME SKILLET AFTER REMOVING THE PORK CHOPS INTO A SMALL SKILLET AND PUTTING ON A BACK BURNER ON LOW. ONCE THE POTATO BALLS WERE BROWN ON BOTH SIDES, I PLACED THE PAN ATOP THE PORK CHOP PAN AND PUT A LID ON TOP.
WHEN THINGS LOOKED TO BE NEARLY READY, I DUMPED LEFTOVER HOMEMADE SOURCREAM DIP AND A CUP OF LEFTOVER CHOPPED ONIONS AND SAUTEED THEM GENTLY IN A MIXTURE OF BUTTER AND OLIVE AND COCONUT OILS.
I WHIPPED UP SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH PEPPER AND SEA SALT, POURED THE STEAMING WATER INTO THE TEA POT.
NOTE: I HAVE A SAUCER READY TO DUMP THE TEA BAGS ONTO BEFORE SERVING, AND A SAUCER OR POT HOLDER TO PLACE THE TEA POT ONTO FOR TABLE PROTECTION (THIS IS ALSO A POSSIBLE ISSUE WITH HOT PLATES, IN WHICH CASE THE TABLE SETTER PUTS A NAPKIN OR A PLACEMAT AT EACH SETTING.
YOU MAY THINK THIS SOUNDS COMPLICATED, BUT IT’S SIMPLY A MATTER OF DOING THINGS IN ORDER, AND GETTING INTO GOOD HABITS.
HAVING A LITTLE HELP IS NICE, TOO. IF YOU DON’T HAVE HELP, THOUGH, YOU JUST PREP AHEAD OF TIME AND THINK THINGS THROUGH. SET THE TABLE, FILL THE CREAM PITCHER, PUT THE HONEY AND STRAWBERRY JAM ON THE TABLE (NO HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP IN THAT JAM!), WHIP YOUR EGGS AHEAD OF TIME, AND THAW THAT MEAT AHEAD OF TIME!
WHEN IT LOOKS LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE IS READY OR JUST ABOUT, POUR THE EGGS IN TO SCRAMBLE AND WHEN THEY’RE NEARLY DONE RING THE BREAKFAST BELL (YES, I DO HAVE ONE!)
OH, AND IF YOUR LOVELY DAUGHTER PUT ON MUSIC FOR YOU, AS DID REBEKAH WITH COLD PLAY’S “SOMETHING LIKE THIS” BE SURE TO DANCE ABOUT AND SING A BIT. WHAT A GIFT TO YOUR FAMILY: A HOT, DELICOUS BREAKFAST WITH A DANCING, SINGING, SMILING MUM.
HMMM. MIGHT THIS BEAR PONDERING WITH REGARD TO MOTHER’S DAY, AND ALL MY FAMILY’S SO HOPING I LIKE THIER GIFTS, AND THAT MY DAY IS TRULY SPECIAL? COULD IT BE THAT I SHOULD SIMPLY FOCUS ON REJOICING IN GOD FOR MOTHER’S DAY AND ALL IT MEANS?
I AM INCAPABLE OF PUTTING WORDS TO WHAT’S IN MY HEART, BUT I ASK GOD DAILY TO CLEANSE IT FROM ALL SELFISHNESS, SO THAT IT MAY BE FULL OF PRAISE AND SONG. YES, THAT’S IT, OR AT LEAST A GLIMMER – I WANT MY FAMILY TO HAVE EVEN THE SLIGHTEST INKLING OF THEIR WORTH AND VALUE TO ME. AND I WANT THEM TO SEE ME SMILE. AND HEAR ME SING. AND DANCE WITH ME.
THIS MOTHER’S DAY DON’T LAMENT A SINGLE THING. JUST ENJOY, AND GIVE, AND RECEIVE!