So many bloggers write about the newest and greatest cookbooks and from visiting many sites, I know that many of you have large cookbook collections. I am actually encouraged to read that others have the same problem that I do when it comes to cookbooks- I have a hard time getting rid of them. Whether they were bought or ordered by me, given to me as a gift, or unloaded by a non-cooking friend trying to clear off their shelves, my house is like the Hotel California of cookbooks...no matter how or when they come in, " they can never leave. "(picture to right is one of 10 shelves of books I have!)
Now, why is it that we have a hard time getting rid of cookbooks, even the ones we do not use? I can understand hanging on to the spill-stained, dog-eared cookbooks that we used when first learning to cook, and the cookbooks that we use everyday, looking for inspiration, or the brand new cookbooks with the latest trends, or the ones with sentimental value because they were given as a gift, but what about the rest? The cookbooks bought on a whim, the ones your friend gave you when she moved because she didn't have enough room for her collection, the vintage cookbooks picked up at a tag sale or from your public library's book sale, why can't we just give them away? My theory is that to a dedicated "foodie" (I hate that word!), these cookbooks are like foster children. We have brought them into our family because they represent some connection, whether personal, culinary, or sentimental. We have them because they stirred something in us and they represent a promise, a potential... maybe I can be a bread-baker, or a pie-maker, or a sushi chef. I could cook for celebrities, or a mafioso (Sopranos Cookbook), a wedding, or a great cocktail party. Maybe one day I will have time to make my own croissants, or puff pastry, Beef Wellington, or homemade pasta.
So what do these ramblings about cookbooks have to do with this post? I decided that it was time for my foster children to get up and get a job! Once a month I will write about one of the cookbooks I have on my shelves and make a recipe from it for a post. These will not be the "hot" cookbooks that you see on the pages of Amazon and B&N, there are enough foodies who already do a great job of reviewing new and emerging cookbooks (and encouraging us to add to our cookbook famlies!) I am going to pull out the ones that still have their dust covers, the specialty cookbooks, the ones from chefs before they were celebrities. I want to see what the connection was that made be bring them home to begin with. If the spark is still there, I will keep it, but if not, the cookbook will be making room for.... well, lets face it, probably a new cookbook!
Adapted from A Treasury of Great Recipes by Mary and Vincent Price
This cookbook chronicles the international travels and dining experiences of Vincent Price(for you Generation X-ers, he was the narrator in Michael Jackson's Thriller video)and his wife Mary. From the Food Halls at Harods to The Four Seasons in New York to Thanksgiving at the Price's home, the cookbook is a tribute to fine food and enjoyment of food around the world. My in-laws gave me this book and it was the first gift I got from them, so besides being a great cookbook, it has a lot of sentimental value!
I make this recipe for a great breakfast dish, which is like a popover with sausage, and when my kids were little they loved the name! The original recipe calls for vienna sausages, but I use brown and serve sausage links, though any cooked link sausage would work. These are delicious with a pat of butter, and a light alternative to heavier breakfast foods! This recipe makes a dozen muffin-sized treats, but you could also do this as a casserole
12 cooked or brown and serve link sausages
nonstick spray with flour
1 scant cup of flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift flour into a bowl with salt. Stir in milk. In another bowl beat eggs until frothy, and then beat eggs into batter. Let batter stand about 30 minutes. Spray muffin tin with nonstick spray with flour (this will let them rise really high!) Place one sausage in each muffin cup (I sometimes slice them so that there is sausage in each bite!) and then pour batter over sausage and fill about 2/3 full. Bake for 10-15 minutes until batter is browned and puffy. Serve with butter and/or maple syrup. ("Toads" will fall after you take them from the oven, so don't panic!)