The week it finally happened

I'm pretty sure we all knew this was coming, and likely within the confines of my current project, so here it is at last: while I've made things that were disgusting and things that were borderline-terrifying, I had not until this week managed to make something that was actually inedible. Congratulations, Cookbook #54! You've done it! We've done it together!

The heartbreak here lies firstly in the fact that The Unabashed Garlic & Onion Lover's International Cookbook (Sunny Baker, 1997; provenance: Mom; previous recipes: none) seemed such an unlikely source of unhappiness for me. I wholeheartedly agree with the idea that there should be far more garlic in most dishes, that in fact the amount of garlic could perhaps surpass the amount of several other ingredients and I would still be onboard. The second reason this was all quite crushing is that the edible parts of Crispy Noodles with Garlic and Shallots dish were very good. Just not...the crispy noodles.

The breakdown occurred due to the absence of what I expect is a pretty specific technique for properly crisping noodles. ("Put them in hot oil for a couple of minutes" failed me.) All I succeeded in doing was covering a bunch of uncooked rice noodles in oil. And covering my kitchen and parts of my living room in uncooked rice noodles covered in oil.

It was like trying to fish food out of the briar patch.

Verdict: while this was my first genuine disaster (mid-way cooking report to Dan: "Dinner might be a disaster"), the flavor of the sauce and the tofu was so good that I'm guessing it was an anomaly. I will one day rise up to over-garlic a dish once again. Not a crispy noodle dish. Just to clarify.

My copy of Cookbook #55: The Starving Artist's Cookbook (Edgar Tharp, 1976) is the real deal, as evidenced as by the tape holding its binding together and the presence of my mother-in-law's maiden name inside the front flap. Provenance: my mother-in-law, apparently. Previous recipes on this blog: none. Concern that it was going to disintegrate in my hands: medium.

First I want to point out that the list price is $2.95 and couldn't you buy, like, a car for that in 1976? So the premise is already iffy.

I do appreciate a cookbook with some humor, both unintentional:


And intentional:

I see what you did there.

I decided to try the recipe for Pepper Steak in the hopes that at long long long last someone would give me decent steak-cooking instructions. "Cook until done" were not those instructions. HOWEVER, it turned out pretty good for a cheap cut of meat.

It's almost like this book was meant for me, but I'm not a starving artist! I just give myself rigid but meaningless writing deadlines for no money WAIT A MINUTE.

Verdict: I liked flipping through this, although it does not really apply to my current living situation. (There are instructions on how to shop "straight," which is 70s for "without stealing.") I'm putting it in the interesting historically but maybe not day to day useful category.

Cookbook #56 wants you to return to the picture of the steak because, hey! Potatoes are there too! The Potato Cookbook: More Than Sixty Easy, Imaginative Recipes (Nicola Hill, 1995) has a colon followed by a comma, and you have to respect that. Provenance: Mom. Previous recipes on this blog: none. I can't say the Herb-Roasted Potatoes were "imaginative," exactly, but they were good potatoes. Verdict: potatoes.

I want to begin the discussion of Cookbook #57: Where's Mom Now That I Need Her? (Kathryn J. Frandsen, 1983) by pointing out that it includes a perfectly decent recipe for basic Chicken Salad.

College freshmen could do worse.

Provenance: I'm pretty sure this belonged to one of my college roommates and I accidentally made off with it after graduation. Previous recipes on this blog: none. Two reasons I believe this is aimed not only at kids out on their own for the first time, but specifically at boys out on their own for the first time:



Two reasons I believe you might be better off out on your own if this is the kind of thing your mother has been feeding you:



Verdict: listen, I feel kind of bad snarking on this thing. It's not even my book. And it's a sweet sentiment! There's even a section of medical advice in the back, giving you important information such at what point in the course of your diarrhea you should seek medical attention. So it's really not so bAAAAAAUUUUUUGGGGHHHHH WHAT IS THAT


Anyhoodle, Ivy has figured out how to snag Sister's plate for herself.

At least she seems pretty ashamed of herself.