And now a word from our sponsors

Not really of course, as this blog is mysteriously lacking in patronage of any sort, but it IS Major Corporation, Inc. Week here in the cookbook department. Now, we're not talking about here's-a-pamphlet-of-terrible-recipes-to-go-with-your-Thai-green-curry-paste. I have in front of me three genuine pay-us-money-for-this-book-then-go-buy-our-product/s testaments to American capitalism. Also, as I am writing this paragraph I am realizing that I completely forgot to include 365 Favorite Brand Name Casseroles, so just consider this one a "To be continued...." cliffhanger.

Cookbook #35: The Perdue Chicken Cookbook (Mitzi Perdue, 1991.) Provenance: Mom. Previous recipes on this blog: none. The only reason I have any idea who Frank Perdue was: Bloodhound Gang lyrics from 1995. In case you are similarly unfamiliar, he basically invented the idea of "branding" chicken and also created a special feed in order to turn their skin...yellow...for some reason. Anyway: poultry dynasty, etc. But we're not here to discuss Frank. We're here to discuss his delightful wife Mitzi.

I'm going to have to insist that you take a quick peek at her website, because there's a jaunty leg kick AND and thumbs up, you guys. She also rambles for two entire paragraphs about pretending to offer you a drink and I kind of love her. So let's see how the First Lady of Chicken throws a recipe together. I had many, many, many variations of chicken to chose from, and far more appealing options than I anticipated, but I eventually went with Mediterranean Chicken Breasts. My mistake: this was from the Chicken For Dieters chapter. Her mistake: this process produced the absolute chewiest chicken I have ever cooked in my life.

Although, impossible to chew = fewer calories = diet success! Incompetent like a fox.

Verdict: this tasted good but the texture was terrible. Maybe I should have picked something out of the Chicken For People Who Want Dinner To Be Edible section. Or, you know...

It's the 'wave of the future.

Cookbook #36: Pillsbury: Best of the Bake-Off. (Pillsbury, 1998.) Provenance: Mom. Previous recipes on this blog: none, although I have definitely cooked out of it before. There are like one hundred cakes in here, why didn't I make one: I have no idea.

The recipe I did pick was Black Bean Mole and Coconut Couscous, a 1996 prize winner from Virginia Moon of Alabama. It wasn't until I finished cooking the pot of quinoa and added the toasted coconut to it that I thought, "Wow, quinoa is super progressive for 1996 OH CRAP IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE COUSCOUS." So, force of habit, and it definitely would have been better with couscous. My bad.

Apparently the Bake Off has a different list of eligible products for inclusion in your entry every year, so I'm not actually sure which part of this recipe is branded. The jar of salsa, maybe? No idea. So I want to give this book credit for not being too obnoxious about what we're supposed to include, as all of the ingredients are listed generically. Also, there are many color pictures of "fluffy buttermilk biscuit" dough in action. Lots of points there. Verdict: probably better for the dessert half, but useful if you're looking to put together a meal in a limited amount of time.

Cookbook #37: Best Recipes of the Great Food Companies. (Judith Anderson, 1997.) Provenance: Mom. Previous recipes on this blog: none. Best part of this concept: only using great food companies. (Seriously, I love the box of Nilla Wafers on the cover all "Who are you to resist greatness?")

Recipe: Tortellini Asparagus Salad. Branded item: not, surprisingly, the tortellini, which is a packaged item and also the main component of the dish, but rather the LAWRY'S GARLIC SALT in the salad dressing. Did I use the recommended brand: no.

I'm having a terrible time following directions this week.
This was the first time in a week and a half that I haven't sighed defeatedly while packing the leftovers away into the fridge. I am so weary of leftovers (have been eating onion soup for breakfast, trying to diminish the calalou supply for at least seven or eight months now), and yet this is kind of the perfect thing to grab for an easy lunch. Surprising win from the book that stacked a jar of Grey Poupon on top of a can of Evaporated Milk in order to attract the more discerning palates.

Anyway, like I said, TO BE CONTINUED...

I had forgotten what an independent age 17 months is.

Probably because Anna has never gone in for that sort of thing, herself.