The Bride's Cookbook by Poppy Cannon

So a cookbook by the same author who wrote "The Can Opener Cookbook" cannot be expected to hit great heights of culinary inspiration. And this definitely does not hit any heights, though it's certainly is fun to read.

And if you hate to cook, you may want to rustle up a copy. I found mine at a local antique store sans book jacket, and oh, the 'treasures' inside. I hardly know where to begin.

Like Peg Bracken's "I Hate To Cook Book," this book attempts humor, and brings a 'new' way to write recipes, an alphabet of advice, and bad poetry throughout. I am scared to try a couple of these recipes. How about this appetizer?

Celery Angels: This is (and I'm not kidding) "Crisp celery stalks in refrigerator, wrap in paper-thin slices of ham, and fasten with toothpicks." At serving time, you're encouraged to "Arrange stalks like spokes of a wheel on a platter with the leafy tops facing out."

Sounds un-delicious unless there's a dipping sauce. Which there most definitely isn't...

A few pages along and you've got Creamed Frankfurter Slices.

Yes, that's correct: Wafer-thinly sliced and browned hot dogs served in a sauce of celery soup, milk, and mustard. Dinner guests are invited to dip with rye or pumpernickel bread. Mmmmm.

My favorite quote from the introduction:

"This is a very different book because it is based on a new theory: that some of the best meals of our time are whizzed together in a matter of minutes, often with the sketchiest of equipment and by the most blissfully untutored impresarios, ie., Brides with flowers in their hair and only half an eye on what's bubbling. In this book the can opener, the mix, and frozen food take their place among the immemorial little gods of hearth and household."

My second favorite quote comes from "About The Recipes"
"How many does the recipe serve? It's hard to say. For it is assumed in a cookbook for Brides that we are dealing with two active, healthy, young people, one of them a husky male who would be outraged by average and tearoom portions. So we speak generally of the number of servings you can count on rather than the number of persons. Our portions are somewhat more lavish than those prescribed in more orthodox volumes."

In practical terms, this means that you'll have to clue how much food you'll be serving because the number of people to be served is sometimes listed, sometimes not.  Measurements for ingredients are also buried in the recipe itself. Here's a short example:

Salmon Baked in Sour Cream

Our private name for this is Bay Ridge salmon, after the many Norwegians who settled in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, overlooking the entrance to New York harbor. For it was New York's great shipping industry which drew these latter-day immigrants from northern Europe - and this is one of their favorite dishes.

You will need:
salmon steak
sour cream

Sprinkle 1-pound salmon steak with salt and pepper, lay a few thin slices of lemon atop, and cover with 1/4 cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon minced parsley. Bake in a moderate oven, 350, for 35 to 40 minutes.

At serving time:
This calls for potatoes boiled in their jackets and, for your green vegetable, spinach or string beans. 2 servings.

Poppy Cannon suggests a folding card table close to the kitchen door as an island and serving table.

Poppy Cannon suggests a folding card table close to the kitchen door as an island and serving table.

But back to the goofy life and recipe suggestions. How about the devil's food cake iced with Butterscotch Frosting for the 5th year wedding anniversary? The traditional gift is wood, so Cannon advises "Decorate with chocolate bits for that knotty pine effect...A wooden cake plate!"

And then there's the "Cater Your Own Wedding" suggestions - as if the bride doesn't have enough to think about before the wedding? Let's add in catering for 50-100 people to make that glorious day go even more smoothly.

Fortunately, Cannon suggests you 'delegate all the last-minute responsibilities to one trusted person" so that -on your wedding day- you "don't give the menu a single thought." All recipes in this section are designed to serve 12, so hopefully your multiplication skills are also divine. There are three menus, and I'm sharing the most absurd:

Reception Chicken Pies
Tomato Aspic with Caviar Mayonnaise
Green Salad with Cheese Julienne
Bought Wedding Cake
Ice Cream in Forms
Colonial Bride's Bowl

Yes, that's correct: frozen chicken pot pies - enhanced with herbs and wine. The tomato aspic comes from a can and is warmed and remolded; at serving time you add parsley, mayonnaise, sour cream, caviar, and chives. The "Colonial Bride's Bowl" sounds more scary than it actually is: rum mixed with frozen lemonade, frozen pineapple juice, frozen pineapple chunks, and frozen strawberries.

The final wedding salvo is an Angel Pyramid. This is angel food cake mix baked as cupcakes, slathered with icing, and stacked pyramid-style ON TOP OF EACH OTHER with a tall tumbler or vase upside down in the center and toothpicks for support. Can you feel the Pinterest Fail potential?

But wait, there's more.

I could go on and on and on and on with the absurd recipes and suggestions. Imagine my surprise to find a recipe that I've actually tasted! Lurking on page 370 is the Georgia Lime Punch: 7-Up served with lime sherbet. Except mom never made it with Tom Collins mix or curacao, Cointreau, or Grand Marnier. 

Mango, Jicama & Blueberry Salad

mango jicama blueberry salad from cookbookfetishcom.jpg

Here's another salad that I threw together on the spur of the moment. It was an excellent accompaniment for the quinoa, zucchini, goat cheese salad. Two salads = dinner for me.

Heck if I bothered to carefully measure anything. Accuracy in the kitchen is not my thing. I mean, I measure, but...

Look, when it's spur of the moment, there's no measuring going on and I'm not taking notes.

Basically I'm talking with myself and the great goddess of culinary arts in the sky, and crossing my fingers. Sometimes the goddess has the night off, and I walk to the co-op for dinner. This time, it was certainly a successful combination.

The ingredients are listed in descending order, which means that there was a LOT of mango, and very little salt. The lime should be stronger than the cilantro, which should only dance around your taste buds gently.

The mango was bought on sale at just the absolute height of scrumptiousness. Mango should have tints of red to the peel. If you want to use a mango right away, do not get one that's rock hard. That's not a mango that's anywhere near ready to eat. This one peeled with relative ease, and (though it was also chewable) nearly oozed from the fork onto my tongue.

The jicama is an acquired taste, I believe. It adds a lovely crunch and earthy contrast to the voluptuous velvet of the mango.

The blueberries were thrown in at the last minute. Had I left them in the fridge any longer, they'd definitely begin the slow decline to either science experiment or compost fodder. Thank goodness this salad came along!

Mango Jicama Salad

1 deliciously ripe mango, roughly chopped
Jicama, cubed
Handful blueberries - (In my case, the ones left over in the carton that are about to go bad unless you use them up really fast.)
Lime juice
Lime zest

Psst: You heat lovers, add in cayenne or jalapeno - go wild, this salad can handle that kind of heat. Also, just a smidge of sugar wouldn't be out of place to cut the lime; I added some and had the salad for breakfast the next day

The Arrival of the New Refrigerator

When I bought my house a couple of years ago, the appliances came with. Just recently, I said goodbye to one of those appliances: the small fridge.

This fridge worked just fine, but - let me tell you - it was tiny. House-size tiny, not dorm-room size tiny. And just now, the new fridge was installed. It's nearly double the size of the previous fridge.

New fridge installed. And lookie who's been painting again! Still not ready to reveal all :)  P.S. The open door in the lower right is for a clothes shoot to the basement for washer & dryer.

New fridge installed. And lookie who's been painting again! Still not ready to reveal all :)  P.S. The open door in the lower right is for a clothes shoot to the basement for washer & dryer.

The night before, I spent plenty of time cleaning out the leftover science experiments that crowded by old fridge. Many of the green, moldy, liquidy, downright creepy creatures (almost) went straight into the garbage.

Some of the pyrex and glass containers will be safe to use - but only after a bleach bath for the inside to be sure all sorts of bugaboos are gone, gone, gone.

Getting a new fridge totally makes me appreciate delivery guys. In my case, the order was placed online at the store. The sales person (totally awesome, by the way) forgot to add the 'Deluxe Delivery." As a result, the delivery guys were allotted 11 minutes to drop off the fridge in my garage.

Shorter than 5'5" and weighing less than 130 lbs, I am NOT going to be hoisting a big fridge into my house. They made an exception (whew!) and brought the fridge into the house and put it in place.

The fridge is a Kenmore model #72002. It had decent online reviews and Consumer Reports ratings, plus there was a sale at Sears, so the timing was just right.  More information about the fridge can be found HERE.

Now my big fridge has plenty of space...see how the stuff from my old fridge doesn't even fill the space? But don't worry, I'm sure I can fill it with more science experiments in no time!

Now, next question is - what day am I going to take off work to have the plumber come to run a line for the water and ice dispenser?