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Today's cookbook is a kind of win-win-win deal. Capitol Hill Cooks by Linda Bauer is a collection of recipes from members of the U.S. Congress and Senate as well as at least one recipe from every U.S. president.
The first win is that the book is simply a great addition to any collection because it spans 200 years of American cooking. Even if you decide not to make any of the historic recipes, it's fun to look through the chapter titled "Favorite Dishes of the Presidents." Several of Washington's recipes are spiked with alcohol. Dolly Madison used to serve something called fairy butter. Apparently James Buchanan wasn't known as a gourmet; the only recipe from him is piped mashed potatoes. I guess it's no surprise that Jimmy Carter would have contributed a peanut brittle recipe.
The second win is that the recipes from the modern-day section of the cookbook all look great and are tried-and-true family recipes. There are some curious and amusing matches (okay at least from my perspective; I'm warped)--for example, Representative Kanjorski from my state of Pennsylvania contributed New England clam chowder. It looks delicious and easy to make, however. In other cases, the match is just perfect: Senator Conrad from North Dakota offers sunflower wheat bread, which I plan to make this coming week. My only complaint is that the recipe index could have been better organized, but it's a minor problem.
The third win is that Linda Bauer donated 50 percent of her advance and will donate 50 percent of her royalties to an organization called Homes for Our Troops. The group is committed to "assisting severely injured servicemen and women build or adapt their homes for handicapped accessibility. The finished home is then given to the veteran." So by purchasing this fun and useful cookbook, you can give a little something back to those who have volunteered to fight for their country. Regardless of your political beliefs about the war, Home for Our Troops is a worthwhile cause and has received high scores from the American Institute of Philanthropy.
I thought I'd share this simple recipe from James Madison, president from 1809 to 1817. I haven't tried these cookies, but I see no reason why they wouldn't be good.
- 1 pound butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup cream
- 4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
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Published by Rowman & Littlefield / Taylor Trade, September 2010
Source: Review (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)