Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Hop ‘n Shop

I can’t put any weight on my foot for a few  days while my racehorse injury heals (all I need is a blanket of roses and a bucket of oats), so when I was struck by one of my Great Ideas (TM), and needed to do some shopping, out came the crutches.
Jesus, I’d forgotten what an ordeal it is to move around on those things. They should have a ‘dodge crowds of clueless shoppers while doing the three-legged hustle back to the car to beat the two hour parking cut off’ machine at the gym. I guarantee the best workout ever.

Said great idea revolved around the idea that the movie made from Julie Powell’s blog, The Julie/Julia project, is being released next week. I loved her blog, and am thrilled that she’s done so well.

So why not cook a dish from Julia’s book (and blog about the ensuing disaster) to celebrate a something really great happening to a great blogger?

Only problem is that I don’t have a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  I’ve never had one. My hand-me-down cookbooks have all been from older female relatives who are good cooks, but not French cooks. I’ve never bothered to buy it because quite frankly Julia’s cookbooks scare the bejesus out of me.  I can boil the hell out of some pasta, but give me a five page long recipe full of italics and I break out into a cold sweat and must console myself with the nearest martini.

I have my mother’s old Larousse Gastronomique, but it’s not really a cookbook so much as it is bookcase decoration and browsing material for when one’s having that pre-dinner cocktail.  For women of my mother’s era and social circle, French pretense was far, far more important than French cooking skills when it came to snaring a husband (or two, in Mom’s case, but that’s another story).

While Julia’s  book can be had new for a small fortune, the used stores are all completely sold out (and anything ordered from Amazon won’t get here in time), of course. Guess I’m not the only one who had the idea.  I gave up and collapsed in a heap after I wore off my newly re-grown armpit skin.

However, since I can’t be trusted in any retail establishment which stocks old cookbooks (I really like the pre 1960 books – it’s a rare apolitical window into a long-lost world), the day wasn’t a total loss.  I came home with a 1935 edition of Recipes of All  Nations (featuring dishes from countries which haven’t existed in my lifetime) and a 1965 Going Wild in the Kitchen featuring several different methods for cooking woodchuck.  Somebody fetch me a .22 rifle and a set of hiking crutches and dinner’s on me.

Total cost for both books was less than a used Mastering the Art of French Cooking (fair condition, some burns on cover) from Amazon.

Oh, well. Happy movie release day, Julie.  I’ll just drink to your well-deserved success with some French wine and something called Creamed Puffballs* instead.

Okay, maybe just the wine.

*Page 172, Going Wild in the Kitchen;  Make a rich cream sauce, adding a little sherry. Add sauteed puffballs**. Serve on toast.

**What the hell is a puffball, anyways?***

***Never mind. According to Google,  it’s a yellowish fungus which, when dried and stored in powder form, can staunch bleeding and spontaneously explode.  Hopefully not at the same time.

Filed under: humor, Non-Work

9 Responses

  1. meg says:

    Loves me the old cookbooks. Best place to get ’em? Estate sales, yard sales, garage sales, whatever they are called, that’s where the cookbooks are to be found. I have more cookbooks than any human needs, but you never know when you will need a recipe for “Frieda’s Ham and Endives Au Gratin” from the 1963 edition of the Good Housekeeping Cookbook.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have a cookbook for the 40’s or so, that has recipes for large groups, such as “How to cook an Elephant for 300 dinner guests” Don’t think I ever try that one though.

  3. Stan says:

    I love old cookbooks, too. I have a 1940s-era _Joy of Cooking_ that has lots of things in it that are not considered fit for the modern edition. I like that a lot.

  4. geekhiker says:

    I hope I’ll be invited over to the fancy dinner-party I know you’ll be throwing shortly to show off your mastery of cooking on crutches. Or, at the very least, that you’ll post pictures.

    Wait: “Cooking on Crutches”. I sense a book deal in the making!

  5. pawsinsd says:

    I had a really old copy of Mrs. Beeton’s, that in its first third or quarter talked about how to manage one’s kitchen and household staff, and how many household staff one should have.

    Julia’s books sat on my shelf (sadly for the past three months in storage) and many of my cooking school recipes were from Simone Beck, one of the authors of both “Mastering…” books.

    Have a cognac or sherry (saving 3T for the dish) and make Julia’s French Onion Soup. She only makes it sound scary. If you make it once you’ll realize it only needs some time and love to coax the flavor out of the onions. Low-sodium beef broth (in a box), stale French bread made into croutons and Gruyere cheese in the right bowls and you and your loved one will be in paradise. With a green salad, of course.

    Bon appetit! Dee

    ps Lose the crutches

  6. Charli says:

    I have three cookbooks of which I use not a one:

    Encyclopedia of Creative Cooking (I would buy this book no matter what city I moved to – 200 recipies w/800 photos)
    400 Sauces
    Juice Book

    Say the word and I’ll mail them to you. I’ve been cooking for my family for such a long time, if I can’t fry it, boil it, or grill it within 15 minutes, I’m not making supper.

  7. Bob says:

    “Somebody fetch me a .22 rifle and a set of hiking crutches and dinner’s on me.”

    Possibly one of the bestest lines ever written.

  8. Hugo Fuchs says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puffball

    Damn! I wish I knew they were edible, They’ve shown up occasionally on the lawn for the last few years.

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