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Flavour Guy: My delicious reading collection

“Now, on the right you will notice an early edition of the Adele Davis book, Let’s Cook it Right.”

Shh, quiet back there. We are in the middle of a tour of the Flavour Guy bookshelves. There are hundreds of tomes on cooking and food; the history of food section is over to the left. The books on nutrition and eating are squashed together in the lower right hand corner, perhaps not coincidentally adjacent to a Reader’s Digest manual on do-it-yourself home repairs.

“Davis was an early advocate of what today we would call healthy eating”, the guide continues. “And frankly, if I may offer an opinion, it is surprising to see books of this nature on these shelves.

“However, these older books on nutrition show an initial resolve and perhaps an early commitment; but a careful observer will also notice the un-cracked spines, the lack of a dog-eared section, or that there are no page corners turned down to bookmark a favourite recipe.

“Meanwhile, high above are bound collections from Gourmet Magazine, Cooks Illustrated, and several large tattered cookbooks that appear to have been culled from elsewhere. Dust on the top indicates that they have not been referred to in quite a while.

“On the other hand, in the easily accessible middle section, is an often used, decades-old, hard-bound edition of Raymond Oliver’s La Cuisine, with detailed information on how to cook just about any classic French recipe.” She opens it up and sniffs, “You can see the grease stains on several pages.

“This brings up a qualified dilemma, as an individual’s library inevitably reflects a personal philosophy. In this case, it would appear to be that happiness results from returning to something rich, like an oleaginous dish of pasta.” “Or maybe bar-b-cue”, someone says, “or chocolate” another pipes up, to which the guide interjects a harrumph and goes on.

“Of course, as with every collection of this type, there are standard reference sources. Note that there are two editions of The Joy of Cooking, with the earlier edition by Rombauer and Becker extensively used. It is as if the owner could not give up using the earlier one, as if it were an old friend he could rely on.

“Now, if you will follow me to the basement, you are invited to peruse the archives, or rather several boxes of cookbooks that have been pulled from the library and have yet to make it to a used bookstore or anywhere else. These include an early edition of Roughing it Easy – The Camper’s Bible, with instructions on how to turn tin cans into a Dutch oven, a mid-20th century edition of The Pocket Guide to Cheese, a hard copy of Chewing Gum with extensive footnotes, and many, many more. Please take one when you leave.”

We had a dozen people together for a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat. We had enough food for another dozen. Our daughter Sarah’s succulent sweet potato dish was a crowd pleaser. I asked her for it and here it is verbatim. Note the last comment, my kind of cooking!

1) Cook sweet potatoes and peel them

2) Break them into chunks

3) Mix 2% milk and water (2 to 1), heat to simmer

4) Add brown sugar to liquid and mix until dissolved

5) Add liquid and a little butter to sweet potatoes

6) Add ground nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger,
and cayenne

7) Mash it up!

I don’t really use measurements, so it’s all to taste.

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