Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.
Since then, I've read many, many books of all sorts that have celebrated food both as a primary theme and in passing. I have a number of cookbooks based on books and authors I have read, and I thought I'd share five of them today.
One series I liked was P. L. Travers's Mary Poppins books. I wanted to be able to drink tea and eat crumpets every day and to go on adventures, whether around the world or up to the stars. Yes, the Mary Poppins in the books was a bit sterner than the movie version, but she was still magical.
Mary Poppins in the Kitchen: A Cookery Book with a Story by Travers, is about a week in the Banks house when Cook takes time off. Mary, of course, takes over the kitchen for the entire time, and each day is full of adventure and culinary fun. At the end of each chapter is the day's menu. Nicely illustrated, the book is fun to read and to cook from. You'll find recipes for shepherd's pie, Dundee cake, trifle, kedgeree, and more.
I--along with millions of young girls around the world--loved Anne Shirley and the Anne of Green Gables books. Who could forget the famous raspberry cordial incident? Anne is always dreaming of food: chocolate caramels, shortbread, lemonade, and "poetical" egg salad sandwiches.
Recipes for many of the dishes mentioned in the Anne books can be found in The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook by Kate Macdonald. The book is illustrated by Barbara Di Lella, and each recipe is introduced by a quotation from one of the books, so you can link the dish with Anne's story. The recipes are geared to the young cook, and my niece and I tried several recipes when she was going through her Anne stage.
Another childhood favorite series was the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I used to dream of hand-cranked ice cream in the summer and maple sugar snow candy in the winter. Those books were a young-foodie's delight. Barbara M. Walker's The Little House Cookbook is a well-researched book covering the foods and cooking techniques of the late 1800s. She culled the Wilder books for the sections on food, cooking, farming, gardening, and hunting as well as what one could buy at the town's general store.
The book includes a number of Garth Williams illustrations and each recipe is tied to a passage in one of the Little House books. You'll find Caroline's magic green pumpkin pie that had Pa fooled into thinking he was eating apples, the pancake men from the first book, rye'n'injun bread from Almanzo's childhood, huckleberry pie, dumplings, Christmas goose, and many other dishes Laura wrote about.
When Laura and Almanzo married and moved to the Ozarks, Laura settled down to raise her daughter, help with the farm, and write for a local newspaper. Eventually, of course, she wrote the books we remember her for. One of the things she left behind was her personal recipe book, which included original recipes and recipes clipped from magazines and papers. The Laura Ingalls Wilder Country Cookbook, introduced by William Anderson, contains the recipes that Laura made in her own kitchen.
The text and recipes are wonderfully complemented by Leslie A. Kelly's photographs of Rocky Ridge Farm and house. You'll find basic recipes for soups, stews, casseroles, cakes, cookies, and breads. The recipes were all tested and revised for the modern kitchen, and all look easy and good. Although I've owned this one since about 1996, I have yet to cook from it.
In the early 1980s, I read pretty much everything Barbara Pym ever wrote. I think I discovered her when I read about her death in 1980. I love her characters and her portrayal of women. And I love her little bits about the food they eat and cook. When The Barbara Pym Cookbook by Hilary Pym (her sister) and Honor Wyatt, was published in 1988, I knew I had to own it.
Similar to the other books featured today, every recipe is introduced by either a quotation from one of her books or her autobiography or a short blurb from Hilary. This is an absolute must for every Pym fan, even if you don't have much interest in cooking (though food and Pym go hand in hand in my mind). For example, we read from Less Than Angels: "They were talking in the kitchen, where Catherine had started to prepare a risotto with whatever remains she could find." (I want to be in that kitchen!) A longer quotation from that scene is capped with a comment from Hilary and then a recipe for risotto.
I have several other books along these lines and will share more in a future post. Do you own any novel- or author-inspired cookbooks?