The funny fellow over at Drinking Tips for Teens wrote a piece a couple of weeks ago about his cookbooks. It put me in mind of my small library. These days, most of the recipes that I use frequently, are those I’ve printed from online. They sit in a blue loose-leaf folder among the cookbooks. All of these cookbooks combined contain at most a half-dozen favourite recipes. And these are rarely used.
It has never occurred to me to transfer those recipes to cards in order to free up cupboard space. I suppose that’s because I collected most of these titles well before personal computers and internet search engines. I used to enjoy pouring over the pages of the cookbooks. I’d spend an entire afternoon bookmarking recipes the old-fashioned way.
If, on the off-chance I get really, really bored, or if I should desperately need the space, I could tear out the favourite pages and stuff them in the blue binder. Then I could bid farewell to Harrowsmith, Vol. I, II & III, buh-bye to Food that Really Schmecks, Vol I & II, and adios Moosewood.
One cookbook, however, will remain on the shelf, strictly out of sentiment. It’s the one with the green duct tape on the spine.
Mom’s bible was the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. Perhaps “guide” is the more accurate term. Most often mom cooked by the seat of her pants. Dad would often quip, “Well, too bad you won’t be able to make this [specialty du jour] again, because it sure tastes good.”
I’m quite comfortable cooking the same way. That is, I take the ingredients on hand and mix them together for a reasonable facsimile of a curry or stew or stir fry.
I haven’t reached the same level of comfort when it comes to baking, however. The correct proportion of ingredients in a cake, for example, is more important for a successful outcome. I rarely bake. Besides. You know the trouble with baking a cake, right? You have to eat it.
Special occasions call for a special cake. When that call is heard, I pull out this cookbook and turn to page 125, reproduced for you here. This recipe for Angel Cake is the one and only recipe that I use from this book.
1 cup sifted flour
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ cups egg whites (12)
1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup white sugar
Sift flour with ¾ cup sugar 4 times
Beat whites, cream of tartar, salt, vanilla till stiff enough to hold up in soft peaks but still moist, glossy. Add remaining ¾ cup sugar to whites, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating after each addition. Sift about ¼ of flour over the whites; fold in. Fold in remaining flour by fourths. Bake in ungreased 10-inch round tube pan in moderate oven (375°) 35 to 40 minutes. Invert pan, cool.
What? You really want to know the recipe for the filling? OK, but if you decide to go ahead and make this, do let me know that you survived the sugar shock!
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Keepsake Angel Food is Part Seven in the series