Sunday, July 24, 2016

Two great older cookbooks

Mediterranean Light, by Martha Rose Shulman. William Morrow, 1989
The Victory Garden Cookbook, by Marian Morash. Alfred A. Knopf, 1982 

I lucked out at a used book store in Pullman; they had a selection of cookbooks on their sale shelf this time. I found two that really appealed to me.

“Mediterranean Light” takes recipes from all around the Mediterranean Sea; Italy, Greece, Egypt, the Middle East, north Africa, even France, and reduces the calorie content of them all. While admitting that olive oil is good for one’s health, she cuts the amount of oil in the recipes down drastically. There are almost no dairy products included, and red meat is super scarce. Even chicken doesn’t make very many appearances. There are some fish recipes, and a couple of egg ones. So it’s a good book for the near-vegetarian. The part I love, though, is that the recipes are all well flavored with herbs and spices, so that one never feels like one is eating ‘diet’ food. It’s a complete way of eating. I can’t wait to try the Moroccan Chick-pea soup, among others.

The second book is ‘The Victory Garden Cookbook”, by Marian Morash. Most people are aware of the PBS TV show “Victory Garden”, named after the vegetable gardens people were encouraged to plant during WW 2 to help with the food shortage. Originally a gardening show, it added cooking as viewers wrote in, asking how to cook the vegetables they had grown. Arranged with the vegetables in alphabetical order, from asparagus to turnips (zucchini are dealt with under “Squash (Summer)”), it’s easy to find what you want. The author tells us how to pick them from the garden, what the preferred methods of cooking them are, some simple methods, the yields, how to store and preserve, and hints; and then we get the recipes, both simple and more complex. Note that this book *does* use heavy cream, cheeses, sour cream, and butter; this is not a diet book but more like a farm cookbook. But it isn’t that hard to substitute lower fat ingredients for those. This cookbook may have just pushed my old vegetable cookbook favorite, the Farm Journal one, into number two status.  

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1 comment:

  1. Always go for cookbook section at a thrift or book sale. Your mention of chick pea soup reminded me I havent made my Indian chick pea curry in awhile. Now I want some