Food: A gift box of recipes
I was a little taken aback when I walked into my office and found a cardboard box stuffed with books and thousands of scraps of paper and newspaper clippings. On closer inspection the entire container was filled with what appeared to be someone’s enormous recipe collection. Since I had been out on assignment when this treasure trove was dropped off, I was a little puzzled as to who would give me such a gift.
Then a few days later I got a phone call from a lady who told me her name was Toots.
“I’m moving from a big house to an apartment and I couldn’t take all those recipes,” she explained. “I’ve been collecting them for years and I want you to have them. I enjoy your column and maybe you can use them.”
I was flabbergasted that this kind lady, who I had never met, would bestow such a gift to me. However, it wasn’t until just the other day that I really started to sort through the box.
I admit, the enormity of the material in this container has been daunting. I mean there are bags and bags of recipes clipped from newspapers, food packages and on collection cards. There are cookbooks from all eras starting in the 1950s, food magazines from the 70, 80s and 90s and lots and lots of booklets for different appliances. For instance, there are manuals that include recipes for using a Weber grill, the Presto Control Master Fry Pan-Griddle, an Oster mixer and even one titled “Microwave Miracles.”
It was like opening a Pandora’s box of food knowledge, once I started rooting through the pile. I mean, if I lived two life times, and cooked one of these recipes every day, plenty would be left over. I have no idea how to organize this pile and so the box remains a sort of mumble-jumble heap with tufts of recipes sticking out here and there. Every once in a while I pull something out and give it a try and I have not cooked up a dud yet. In fact, I’ve included a couple of recipes that I have taken from this box and tried with great success.
So a big “Thanks!” goes out to Toots, for giving me her collection. I hope your move has been a positive one for you. I know it’s been a quite an extravaganza for me.
Chocolate Fudge Sauce
1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 Tbs. light corn syrup
3 Tbs. butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
In a heavy saucepan, mix cocoa, sugar, cream, syrup, butter and salt. Stir until blended. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat then add the vanilla. (This recipe makes for great gift giving. I pour it into decorative jars and give it away as presents.)
Chicken Salad Spread
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
1 medium apple, cored, peeled and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 Tbs. chopped walnuts
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
Mix all ingredients together and season with salt and pepper. This is especially good spread on crackers or rye cocktail bread.
Cheddar Ham Chowder
2 cups water
2 cups cubed, peeled potatoes
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 1/2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
Bring the water, potatoes, carrots, celery, onion and salt and pepper to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes until vegetables are just tender. Remove from heat but do not drain. In a medium saucepan melt the butter and then blend in the flour. Add the milk all at once. Cook and stir until bubbly. Add cheese and stir until melted. Stir in the undrained vegetables. Add corn and ham, and heat through. Makes two quarts and can be frozen for later use.