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Cookbook Club: The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook

2 Dec

Sometimes a great cookbook is actually equal parts science fiction, fantasy and romance. That is sort of how I feel when I am reading the recipes of Alice B. Toklas. If you like anecdotes about hanging out with Gertrude Stein in France and being served seven courses of butter and cream on exquisite china and crystal, look no further. I can’t say I’m about to attempt any of these recipes tonight, mainly because most of them involve 7 sticks of butter and/or a leg of mutton. Real talk guys, I’m not even entirely sure what mutton is. I know I could just google it, but I have a feeling I don’t even want to know. Isn’t mutton like hot dog meat strapped to a bone? I don’t know, it sounds terrible.

Other highlights of this ¬†book include a description of Picasso’s dietary restrictions and a recipe for a fish painted like a tiger that apparently Picasso was super into one time. Now you know what to make next time old Pabs comes over! Also, there is a recipe for Brownies con Marijuana that the liar who wrote the forward in 1984 claims never to have tried, but she has “heard” from “people” they have a slightly bitter taste. Stop lying lady! I know you were alive and grown in the 60’s! I would respect you more if you told the truth.

There are several recipes for olde timey ice cream that make my mouth water and I shall perhaps attempt one for a Christmas time treat. In particular, one called Singapore Ice Cream, featuring vanilla bean with chunks of ginger and pistachios, is kind of haunting my dreams a little bit. I may need to borrow somebody else’s kitchen to even attempt such an endeavor, but I will certainly let you know, dear reader, how that goes.

However, I should stress that the Alice B. Toklas Cookbook is not all fun and decadence. The book also carries memories of the second World War and the lean times Alice and Gertrude shared while living in occupied France. During the war, rations were slim and Alice had to be pretty creative to get the most out of everything they had. I can relate to the philosophy, but I’m not about to go out and butcher a couple of pigs, salt them and live off of them for an entire winter and into the Spring. But wouldn’t it be romantic if I did?


On Breakfast for Dinner

26 Nov

Do you hate breakfast but love breakfast food? Probably, because that is how I feel and I assume we are in total agreement all the time always. Having to eat breakfast tends to be a giant bummer. I wish I could just wake up in the morning, pour coffee through a funnel into my innards and rev up like a semi-truck, but unfortunately until science catches up with my dreams I have to sit still for like 10 minutes and eat something. This is a huge problem for me, because it means I have to get out of bed like 10 minutes earlier. THE HORROR.

This is where breakfast for dinner comes into play. Breakfast for dinner is one of the greatest meals known to man. I judge a restaurant based on when they stop serving breakfast. If the answer is never, I will be a proud patron for life. Even if I don’t want breakfast food at the moment, just knowing it is there comforts me greatly.

Tonight I’m having what my mom calls “Igloo Eggs”. I won’t insult your intelligence by calling this a recipe. Igloo eggs are just hot hardboiled eggs cut in half and arranged on the plate to look like igloos. Add butter and salt to taste and maybe use fruit, bread products and even bacon if you’re so inclined to give your plate the appearance of a smiling face. You can also make your plate frown at you in consternation if you’re feeling consternated. But why would you do that? You ruin everything. You’re such a jerk.

Other fun facts about breakfast for dinner: If you are cooking for a boy (THE HORROR) I recommend making breakfast for dinner. It gives you an excellent excuse not to make breakfast in the morning. I’m not a pancake machine bro. Breakfast for dinner is also a great thing to make if you happen to be wrangling children for some reason. Kids love anarchy and no meal is more punk than breakfast for dinner. Also, it is great for those nights when even though it is Saturday in real life, it is the Wednesday of your workweek and all you want to do is listen to M83 while tricking your cat into giving you back rubs (Real talk guys, my cat rules at this. He also throws up in his litter box just like humans do in the toilet. He is reading Kant in his spare time. He saved a baby from a burning building. Just real talk). Finally, for some reason breakfast for dinner seems like the easiest thing to make for myself at night although it’s excruciatingly difficult for me in the morning.