America Week

Obviously all of last week was AMERICA WEEK, as July is in fact generally AMERICA MONTH WITH A SLIGHT NOD OF THE HEAD TO BASTILLE DAY. Don't think that this fact escaped the notice of me or my cookbooks just because I lazily phoned in a couple of parade pics last Friday. I was alllll over it.

I found Cookbook #72: 50 Winning Chili Recipes (Phillip Morris, 2002) (13 used and new from $0.89, you guys!) deep within the recesses of my couch, meaning that Ivy did not properly dispose of it as I had assumed. Disappointing though that was, I figured it would be a good candidate for patriotic eats since chili in its current form is pretty American and Phillip Morris insisting that your chili win something seals it.

Champion beans only.

Provenance: cigarettes. Previous recipes on this blog: none. I went with "Mike's Black Eye Chili," mostly because it was the weirdest combination of things (beer AND wine AND honey) and because I was amused that there were four kinds of beans involved and none of them were black-eyed peas. Like most of the other recipes in this pamphlet, this was really just a stew that happened to have chili powder in it, but I liked it. I've actually been eating it for breakfast with a poached egg. Verdict: this is sort of embarrassing, but I have dog-eared about eight other recipes in this thing. So...that'll do, free promotional recipe booklet.

That darling-looking blueberry pie from last week was from Cookbook #73: America's Favorite Food (Alex Barker, 2003). Provenance: Mom. Previous recipes on this blog: none. I guess it was a pretty standard blueberry pie recipe, which is why I botched it and ended up with rock-hard crust and too-gloopy filling. (Don't worry, it still got eaten somehow.) Verdict: The pie was a mess and there weren't too many things in here that appealed to me, but I did appreciate the staging of the photographs.

"How will they know this burger is American if there isn't a baseball hovering over it?"

And here we are at last, the crown jewel in my collection, Cookbook #74: The Redneck Cookbook (Lo'retta Love, 1997). Provenance: Mom. Previous recipes on this blog: none. Favorite word in the full title: "Gullet." Why did I pick it for America Week: because it has both Elvis (...I think?) and a pickup truck on the cover.

And the traditional American dish "Plate of Two Uncooked Whole Fish."

I decided to go with "Chicken International," for obvious reasons, and paired it with some Nutty Broccoli. This dish is described as "Sorta fancy but really good!"

I interpreted this to mean "Serve with your nicest jug of wine."

So here is something interesting: this was not a bad dish at all. Dates, bell peppers, oranges, curry powder--definitely an ethnic mutt of a dish but a nice piece of chicken, overall. Of course, I do have some regrets. Something this "sorta fancy" probably would have paired nicely with a cup of Wine Soup, for example.

I wasn't sold until "ice cold" and "salt."

Actually, this entire book is full of missed opportunities for me.

I like both the promise in the title and the assumption in the first sentence.

Not everything needs to be jellied, world. I'm actually going to say very few things do.

Or puddinged.

"Fry bologna in a skillet with butter" is EXACTLY what I was hoping for when I opened this book.

You have to be impressed with Baby Sister for beating out Elvis as the joke-sandwich here.

Verdict: now that I've memorized the recipe for Fried Bologna Sandwiches, I probably won't need to refer back to this one too often. Of course, every single recipe in the dessert section contains booze. So...maybe.

I also went back to Cookbook #68 for Summer Squash Gratin, Watermelon Salsa, Puffy Oven Potatoes, and Tomato Salad.

They were all fine. I have now made five recipes from a book containing Caramelized Onion Waffles with Smoked Salmon and Lemon Cream Sauce without making Caramelized Onion Waffles with Smoked Salmon and Lemon Cream Sauce. I don't know what I'm doing with my life.

Ivy, not content to simply emulate her big sister, is taking headwear obsession to a slightly more extreme (if ultimately more practical) place.