One of my activities this week has been reading 101 Classic Cookbooks, a present from my cousin for our wedding. It was a prescient present, given that I had asked for recipes from everyone but didn’t know that I would be so taken with blogging.
This book is very cool, because half of it is recipes, like a traditional cookbook, but the first half of the book is beautiful descriptions of the 101 cookbooks that the editors thought were most influential to the history of American cooking. It goes from hundreds of years ago right up to the most ultra-modern cuisine, and the reason I liked it was because it shows how the whole world has influenced American cooking. While it is a kind of cuisine in its own right, it can trace threads of influence from so many different groups of people who have immigrated, become Americans, and made their mark on our dining experience.
I’m excited to try more of the recipes they include because they’ve found 4 or 5 recipes from each book that are either indicative of the time or very delicious – there’s even a recipe for roasted possum, but I doubt that will be my choice to try! I’m excited to try their recipes for Spanish foods that I haven’t gotten a chance to attempt yet (I know I make a lackluster paella, so I need some help there). It’s also fun to imagine a hundred or two hundred years ago, someone sharing a meal that I can still mostly recreate here and now, in the modern world.
Some of the folks who came to my wedding didn’t give me a single recipe but instead recommended cookbooks; while I’m not Julie of Julie and Julia, cooking a whole book worth of recipes, I’d sure like to know which cookbooks I can borrow from the library are standout good, like 101 Classic Cookbooks is. Any recommendations? I also love hearing if a cookbook has a special story for you – you know how it goes on this blog.