2013: Way More Explainy

Thank goodness I have the Austin Events Calendar to notify me of important dates such as "Elvis Presley's birthday," otherwise how would I have known to add peanut butter and banana to my oatmeal this morning? (Recipe inspired by Oh She Glows and The King.)

All it's missing is a sprinkling of pharmaceuticals.
Believe it or not, my family did not seem remotely impressed by my holiday theme-breakfast. I guess you guys can just make your own plates of Elvis's Birthday Tribute next year.

Okay, enough of that, time to get to work. As noted in the comments last week, it might be awkward to mock certain items if said items were gifted to me by someone reading the blog, which is a good point because that is 100% the case. I'm going to guess that out of the hundred cookbooks, 70-something were gifts from one person who shall remain nameless here but who is related to me by virtue of being my mother.

I should explain that starting around the time I moved out of my parents' house there was a several-year stretch of Christmases which served as an on-your-own outfitting for my brother and me, which means that my unusually extensive cookbook collection is essentially my hope chest. Being a food-oriented people as we are, instead of sheets and dishes it happens to contain a small library of instructions on how to make hors d'oeuvres. (This book hoarding seemed significantly more reasonable in an age when no one relied entirely on the internet for obtaining recipes.) Also, my mother has a very generous and space-consuming "Why one or two when fifteen is an option?" gifting policy.

All of which is to say, most volumes from these stockpiling years are very nice and simply underutilized. And if I find that the 365 Brand Name Casseroles are not for me? I'm confident that Mom can take it.

Cookbook #2: Emeril's TV Dinners, 1998. Provenance: Mom. Previous recipes on this blog: none. Released two years before he was given his own extremely well-thought-out sitcom on NBC, this cookbook hit shelves when Lagassemania was just about at its peak. And look how young he looks!

As the title implies, this book is really intended for die-hard fans of Emeril Live, featuring recipes that are basically swimming with behind-the-scenes pictures of the show's production. For example, as you prepare Fried Sweet Potato Pies you also get an exciting peek at makeup artist Janet Arena getting Emeril ready for the show! There are cameramen, and audio engineers, stage managers, Emeril with his mom, Emeril with the butcher, Emeril with the Food Network president, Emeril with Elmo. Recommended for: people who reeeeeeeeally like looking at Emeril.

Recipe: St. John's Club Kale Soup. The recipes in this book run the gamut from "Whole Roasted Squabs Stuffed with Eggplant and Bacon Dressing" to "Kicked-Up Pigs in a Blanket," which is to say, from fancy use of pork product to less fancy use of pork product. The soup I made, for example, is full of chorizo.

Not complaining!
It was actually a little less...BAM-y than I expected, but it had a nice gentle spiciness and I'm always happy when my bowl is full of warm potatoes. It was ideal for a rainy winter day. If I can pick my way through the hundreds of pictures of the guy, I think there are several other recipes worth trying out. Will revisit.

Anna was having a pretty rough stretch on Saturday, so I thought a Mommy-daughter ice cream date might help turn things around.

Er...maybe we just need to let her make some more progress on that cone. Give the sugar a chance to kick in.

See? She's totally considering enjoying herself now.