Tag Archives: Joy of Cooking

No Recipe: Wait–What? Edition

14 Jan
Makes 48 1-inch balls.

Makes 48 1-inch balls.

Do remember to scrape away the blood clots, please.

Do remember to scrape away the blood clots, please.

A fine-looking dish? Lies. All lies.

A fine-looking dish? Lies. All lies.

A homey treat, to be served with fine-looking tongue, perhaps.

A homey treat, to be served with fine-looking tongue, perhaps.

I am sorry.

I am sorry.

All of these recipes can be found in Joy of Cooking, 1985 edition.

More gems from this cookbook can be found here. (Very helpful if you’ve always wanted to know how to prepare muskrat or porcupine.)

Gingerbread Waffles

2 Feb

Last Christmas I was gifted a wonderfully dog-eared and loved copy of The Joy of Cooking from 1936.  The pages, delicate as pressed flowers, are filled with treasures from the previous owner—cooking notes written in delicate cursive script, tiny strips of newspaper recipes taped onto the margins, enormous fold-out newspaper articles on roasting a whole turkey or making the best sugar cookies, and, my favorite, specific care instructions for what were obviously very special cooking tools purchased by the cookbook’s owner (egg poacher, Household Institute sauce pans).

As an avid appreciator of old cookbooks, I am always eager to see what long-forgotten dishes I might be able to ogle and puzzle over while flipping through a collection of aging recipes.  You can imagine my delight upon receiving this cookbook, I am sure, but then imagine my shock at discovering how surprisingly tame its recipes happened to be.  There are no instructions on how to make roasted raccoon or squirrel stew, no vague recollections of having once made some biscuits that are then passed off as an actual recipe.  Sure, this book boasts some truly horrifying recipes for things like a dip made out of mayonnaise, chopped pecans, olives, and hard boiled eggs, but that’s not so much culturally interesting as it is just plain revolting.  For the most part, the recipes in this edition (the fourth edition of the legendary tome) are actually quite charming, and often times even tantalizing.  When idling flipping through the book after I had first opened it, the pages, as if by magic, opened straight away to the breakfast section and, front and center, there before me sat a recipe for gingerbread waffles that seemed to be calling out my name.  Sensing danger, I quickly closed the book, abruptly silencing the siren song of the waffles.

Why so hasty to retreat from the waffles?  Because, not so long ago, I stopped eating maple syrup (or, as spelled in the 1936 edition of The Joy of Cooking, sirup).  This act was not so much a calculated decision, but more of a realization that whenever I ate something that was drenched in syrup, there soon followed a nearly immediate need to lie down and take a nap.  While I can confess to liking naps as much as the next person, it is not always convenient to fall into a near coma shortly after the start of the day.  In an effort to keep myself from doing a Rip Van Winkle impersonation after every weekend breakfast, in lieu of maple syrup I began to top my waffles, french toast, or pancakes with yogurt, sometimes lemon yogurt if I am feeling frisky.  Though this trick of mine works exceptionally well with standard, buttery waffles, would the magic be lost on a waffle with a completely different flavor?  As luck would have it, no.  These gingerbread waffles, so warm and spicy, pair up wonderfully with lemon yogurt, so much so that it almost seems as though they were made to go together.  Syrup danger averted!

Even if I was still able to handle a nice long pour of maple syrup, I doubt I’d get the bottle near these waffles.  The dark spices might play well with the syrup, but when paired with a scoop of cool lemon yogurt, everything really seems to come together in a more interesting and contrasting way.  Also, because I am now apparently one of those people, I drastically reduced the sugar in these waffles, but you’d never be able to tell with their comforting scent of molasses and brown sugar.  These waffles are a treat of the best sort, the type to start your day off right, sans fear of extended napping (unless, of course, your plans for the day already include a generous nap allowance, in which case I salute you and also, can I come over?).

Gingerbread Waffles

Adapted from The Joy of Cooking, 1936

As a former copyeditor, it behooves me to point out that I refer to this book as “The Joy of Cooking” here, but it other posts reference it as simply “Joy of Cooking.”  This is because, in later editions, the book drops the “The” from the title, and I would be betraying the persnickety editor in me if I chose to add “The” to the title on my own accord.  Is anyone actually reading this explanation?  Because I am slightly embarrassed (okay, not really, which is, itself, slightly embarrassing) to be writing it, though that has apparently not stopped me from actually forging on with it.

1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground powdered ginger

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 large eggs, yolks and whites separated

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1/3 cup molasses

1 cup buttermilk or sour milk

1/3 cup (roughly 5 ½ tablespoons) melted butter

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.  In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks, sugar, molasses, milk, and melted butter, and beat until well combined.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.  Add the egg yolk mixture to the flour mixture, and stir just to combine.  Add the egg whites to this mixture, gently folding until the whites are incorporated and the batter is light and airy.

Pour batter onto a greased, heated waffle iron and cook according to waffle iron’s instructions.  Makes 6-8 waffles, depending on how large your waffle iron is, and how much batter each waffle will necessitate.

Top with lemon yogurt.

Is Anybody Else Mildly Disturbed/Fascinated by This?

20 Jul

In the older of my two copies of Joy of Cooking, there seems to be a holdout to a bygone era.  The older edition was printed in 1985, but it seems as though many of the recipes were developed and deemed significant during a time when people relied a bit more than is currently necessary on particular types of wild game.  I only say this because, tell me, when was the last time you had a hankering to blanch and roast one of these fine fellows?

(Note the instructions on how to fatten up one’s opossum by feeding it milk and cereals for 10 days prior to cooking it, as though you are the dutiful game-eating cousin of that witch in Hansel and Gretel.)

Still, if porcupine’s not your bag, might I suggest another item?

Of course, if you are feeling a bit less peckish, it might be recommend that you prepare something a bit smaller.  You know, for a light lunch or afternoon snack.

That ought to hit the spot nicely.  I don’t know about you, but  I find the accompanying menu suggestion incredibly helpful.  You wouldn’t want to serve your braised muskrat with a clashing side dish.  That would just be embarrassing.  But what’s that you say?  Muskrat not fulfilling your needs?  Too big, you say?  Then don’t hesitate to try out one of these.

And don’t worry if you are unsure about how one might go about preparing such an animal for eventual mealtime delight.  Joy of Cooking has totally got your back on that one.

Note the helpful warning to wear gloves (and, one can ascertain, very heavy boots) while skinning your squirrel, lest you contract tularemia, a terrible infectious disease caused by highly virulent bacterium found in wild rodents.  One can only assume that, once sufficiently cooked, the rodent in question will be deemed no longer in possession of the hideous pathogen.  Fingers crossed!

To be fair, there are some recipes in this section of the book (the Wild Game section, if you are curious) that fall a bit more on the side of normal.

While I would never admit as much to my son, devotee of all things rabbit related, I have actually tasted rabbit before, though I cannot recall whether I enjoyed it or not.  And though I did not prepare the rabbit in question, I can rest assured that, were I ever to find myself struck with that particular need (or the need to relieve a rabbit of its sweater while it hung upside down on a trapeze), Joy of Cooking, circa 1985, will most definitely have my interests in mind.

Bonus question: Does anyone else find it hilarious that the recipes for these particular items never deviate from the standard Joy of Cooking format?  I find it endlessly pleasing that the recipe for raccoon indicates that, in order to cook raccoon, you will need:

1 raccoon

And in order to cook muskrat, the ingredients list commands that you procure:

1 muskrat

Thanks, Joy of Cooking.  Utterly efficient to the end.

P.S. Yeah. I totally filed this post in the Meat category.

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