Thursday, January 10, 2008
On the Mound
The Joy of Cooking is like the bible. Except that it has a glossy cover. And promotes ramekins. And lacks hordes of devotees who raise temples to its greater glory and use it to beat their breasts.
There is, of course, one more important difference between the bible and the Joy of Cooking, which is that, every couple of decades or so, Joy gets revised. Its recipes are revamped, its instructions repackaged, its cover subtly redesigned. Each new Joy is supposed to march in lock-step with its times.
If that's true, then the 1970s were some scary-ass years. I use the 1997 edition of Joy regularly, but I've also got the 1975 edition lying around, and every so often, usually when I'm eating something that reminds me of the Nixon era, I crack it open. Tonight I scarfed an individual savory cheese custard while perusing the Hors d'Oeuvre section, which sought to instruct me in the preparation of such gems as aspic-glazed shrimp (combine shrimp, gelatin, and vegetable stock) stuffed Brussels sprouts (insert French dressing, liver sausage, and tomato paste into a hollowed-out sprout from a can) and fried cheese dreams (cheese! Sherry! Deep fryer! Hosanna!). There's also a recipe for peanut-butter and bacon sandwiches featuring the apothegm: "virtue, however admirable, is frequently dull."
Perhaps the single most fabulous recipe, though -and we're talking fabulous in the formal sense of the word- is something called the spiced cabbage mound. Go forth, readers:
Spiced Cabbage Mound
A decorative platter for a buffet or first course
Shred white cabbage.
Dress it with equal parts mayonnaise and chili sauce.
Arrange it it a mound.
Cover the top with marinated shrimp.
Surround the mound with deviled eggs, topped with caviar.