<![CDATA[Cookbook Alley - Cooking Tales]]>Wed, 20 Jan 2016 19:34:24 -0600Weebly<![CDATA[Fannie Merritt Farmer]]>Wed, 20 Jan 2016 23:38:37 GMThttp://www.cookbookalley.com/cooking-tales/fannie-merritt-farmerPicture
Fannie Merritt Farmer was born on March 23, 1857 in Boston, Massachusetts. Her parents had originally planned to send Fannie to college but a paralytic stroke sustained in high school prevented that from happening. Fannie eventually recovered enough to participate in household tasks such as cleaning and cooking. She enjoyed cooking so much that her parents decided to send her to the Boston Cooking School.

After graduating in 1889, Fannie requested a chance to return as the school’s assistant to the director the following year. She achieved the position of director in 1891 of the presiding director passed away.

In 1902 Fannie resigned from her position as Boston Cooking School’s director in order to open her own cooking school known as Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery. Fannies was a shy person and avoided publicity as much as possible. It is said that she never subscribed to press releases or clipping services. Despite her shyness, Fannie quickly became well known in cooking circles.

She was credited with editing the Boston Cooking School Cook Book in 1896 which ran 21 editions before her death in 1915. She also published; Chafing Dish Possibilities (1898), What to Have for Dinner (1905), Catering for Special Occasions with Menus and Recipes (1911), and A New Book of Cookery (1912).

At the Boston Cooking School the courses were deigned to train teachers whereas Fannie’s school was geared toward housewives. Her main interests were in practical applications not theory. Her school taught classes for invalid cookery and supplied lectures to nursing classes regarding the subject. One year Fannie was invited to Harvard Medical School to give a lecture on invalid cookery. Her lectures were in high demand and were usually given to packed venues. Fannie was also assisted by her sister in the 10 year publication of a cookery page in the Woman’s Home Companion.

Some years prior to her death Fannie suffered another stroke which regulated her to a wheelchair which did not slow down her desire to continue lecturing. She issued her last lecture 10 days before her death. It is said that her most proud achievement was the introduction of accurate measurements into cooking. Other culinary experts dubbed her “the mother of level measurements.”

There have been reports that Fannie’s first cookbook was declined by publishers because it lacked home remedies and cures along with almanac information as was traditional in cookbooks of the time. Fannie’s cookbook was deemed “too basic.” Not being deterred, Fannie paid to publish and print the book on her own; it was called The Boston Cooking School Cook Book.

Between 1915 and1920 the copyright for all editions of The Boston Cooking School Cook Book belonged to Fannie’s sister, Mary W. Farmer. Her other sister, Cora D. Perkins, held the copyrights between 1923 and 1929. Extended edition copyrights remained with Cora between 1930 and 1942. The copyrights moved to Wilma Lord Perkins, Dexter Perkin’s wife, between 1942 and 1951. Between 1959 and 1965 the copyright owned was shown as Dexter Perkins Corp. Finally, in 1979 the copyright was changed to Fannie Farmer Cookbook Corp, publishing the first edition under this copyright on September 19, 1979 and publishing its fourteenth edition in March of 1986.

In 1951 Wilma Perkins changed the cookbook’s name to The New Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School Cook Book. In 1957 Bantam Publishing issued a softcover version by the same name. When the copyright changed hands to Dexter Perkins Corp the title was changed to The Fannie Farmer Cookbook.

Aside from the first edition published by Fannie herself and the subsequent edition before her death, it could be said that the edition released under her sisters Mary and Cora maintain the highest collectible value compared to later editions.
Fannie was known for many firsts in her lifetime. When she chose to publish and print her own cookbook it was unheard of and added to her lists of firsts, the distinction of being the first self publisher of a cookbook. Fannie Farmer is, by far, one of cooking history greatest notes.

<![CDATA[Choosing Edible Flowers for Cooking]]>Mon, 28 Dec 2015 22:11:30 GMThttp://www.cookbookalley.com/cooking-tales/choosing-edible-flowers-for-cookingPicture
Using edible flowers for cooking is a practice that has been maintained for centuries. In fact, choosing flowers for cooking, salads, or desserts will be about as common as using any other type of herb or spice in order to increase the flavor of a specific dish. Below you're going to discover more about edible flowers and the part they play in a variety of different cooking arrangements. You'll also discover that different types of flowers will not only prove to be appetizing, but nutritious and extremely healthy as well. After you've had a chance to browse through the information provided here, you'll have a better understanding of these types of flowers and why they'll play an important role in healthy eating overall.
Using Edible Flowers for Cooking
There was a time when cooking and garnishing with flowers fell out of favor for a few years; however, in recent years it has become extremely popular. You'll find that regardless of the fine dining establishment you frequent, there will be some type of a dish that offers innovative cooking arrangements that include many different types of edible flowers. Whether your dish will be garnished or cooked including a specific flower type, you'll find that they will add elegance, flavor, and nutrition regardless of the selection. In order to have success when using flowers for an important dish, you'll find it necessary to keep things extremely simple. This includes only using what is needed and not something that will eventually overpower the entire dish and take away from the delicate taste provided by the flower.
Using Edible Flowers in a Main Dish
Although there are a number of different recipes that include a variety of different types of flowers, here we're going to talk about a couple of flower types which can be used in a main dish that will provide exactly what you're looking for when it comes to flavor, consistency, and a taste that is simply refreshing.
Day Lilies - have been used in a variety of different dishes but they go extremely well with zucchini and asparagus. They provide a mild vegetable flavor with a slight sweet taste that combines very well and provides a nice chewable consistency. They can be used in a main dish with vegetables or the sweet pedals can be used in a number of different desserts.
Begonias - wax or tuberous begonias can be used in a variety of different offerings. Quite frankly, the stems, flowers, and leaves are all edible. The taste is a little sour or citrusy, so these can be used in a variety of different salads or mixed in with a vegetable dish as you see fit. You'll be surprised that this particular flower type provides a variety of different benefits when it comes to medical issues as well.
Although these are only a couple of different flower types, you'll be happy to discover that in addition to these, Chrysanthemums, Carnations, Calendula, Corn Flour, Clover, and Dandelions can all be used in a variety of different arrangements and are not necessarily limited to simple decoration. So, if you've been trying to discover how you can use edible flowers in salads, a main course, or desserts, you'll be happy to know that there is additional information available for those that would like to learn more.

<![CDATA[The Perfect Omelet]]>Fri, 18 Dec 2015 22:45:17 GMThttp://www.cookbookalley.com/cooking-tales/the-perfect-omeletPicture
The ability to make a perfect omelet is as important as being able to create an excellent cup of tea or coffee. The perfect omelet can change its character to fit any type of menu and purpose.

Omelets can be served s a main dish as easily as it can be a dessert. To craft the perfect omelet is an art form that requires skill to perfect. A perfect omelet is pure gold, never brown. A perfect omelet is light and delicate in texture while maintain a soft and voluptuous center.

Practice and the right pan are as essential to a perfect omelet as are fresh eggs and the best quality butter. There are a few rules to remember when creating omelets.
  • Eggs should always be at room temperature. Allow them to sit for an hour after removing from the refrigerator.
  • Do not over the eggs. Doing so will make them thin resulting in a tough omelet.
  • Real butter should always be used. Do not allow butter to brown before adding omelet mixture to the pan.
  • Omelets should always be served on a warm plate to keep them from cooling too quickly. Be careful that the plate is not too hot as the omelet will continue cooking.

​Omelets are not only economical but are extremely versatile. A simple omelet with a pretty green garnish, crusty bread, and a glass of chilled, dry white wine is elegant enough to serve to the most discerning of palates. Omelets can also be used to embrace new ingredients and flavors like seafood, vegetables, poultry, cheeses, and certain purees; all of which can result in truly luxurious dishes. Once you have learned the art of omelet making you are only limited by your imagination or lack thereof.
Basic Cheddar Cheese Omelet

3 eggs
1 tablespoon water
¼ teaspoon Tabasco
1 tablespoon butter       
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon chopped, fresh marjoram
  1. Place eggs in a medium bowl.
  2. Add water and Tabasco
  3. Warm omelet pan to medium heat.
  4. Beat the eggs lightly.
  5. Butter the pan, generously. The butter should bubble indicating that the pan is the right temperature.
  6. Add the marjoram and sauté for a minute.
  7. Add the eggs.
  8. With one hand using the flat side of a fork make quick, circular motions around the bottom of the pan.
  9. Using your other hand rock the pan back and forth to keep the eggs loose.
  10. The eggs are cooked and all of the liquid is firm. Make sure that there are no holes.
  11. Allow the eggs to sit for a moment to set.
  12. Sprinkle in the grated cheese.
  13. Grasp the handle of the pan, palm side up, and tilt the pan at a 45® angle.
  14. Using your free hand, use a fork to begin rolling the omelet away from the handle to the opposite edge of the pan and onto a warmed plate.
  15. Garnish and serve immediately.
Serve 1-2 people.

<![CDATA[Culinary Herb Gardens and Their Finer Points]]>Sat, 05 Dec 2015 20:51:40 GMThttp://www.cookbookalley.com/cooking-tales/culinary-herb-gardens-and-their-finer-pointsPicture
​     One of my main diatribes when it comes to cooking is that you have as fresh ingredients as possible. In an effort to stay true to that belief, I believe that every person who cooks should at least maintain a culinary herb garden.

   Having an herb garden is an affordable luxury and a great benefit. The world is full of wonderful chefs, that being said, even brilliant chefs have a hard time competing with a meal created from a garden. Imagine what it would be like to have access to more than enough fresh lemon thyme or fennel to smoke a filet of salmon of maybe a pheasant just because that is what you are in the mood for. Maybe your tastes run toward salads, how delicious a meal would be if it was prepared with herbs like chervil or Thai basil. Very few grocery stores or farmer’s markets offer a true variety of herbs that haven’t been touched by processing and chemicals. Truly fresh herbs are grown on your windows sill or in your own yard.

   Choosing to cook with fresh herbs adds a richness and depth to your dishes that cannot be obtained via dried, processed herbs.

   Out of all the plants out there herbs are the easiest to grow and are ideal for novice gardeners.  In a time where the quality of our food supply is in question and that we find our diets over salted and flush with artificial sweeteners, possessing a garden with edible plants presents us with a healthy, viable alternative.

    Since this is not a gardening site I won’t be going into the finer points of how to go about growing your own herbs but I will point out that there are countless sources of information available for doing so.

   I will remind you that a meal prepared with freshest ingredients that you can find will far surpass anything else you may have made. 

<![CDATA[The Evolution of Cookbooks]]>Sat, 05 Dec 2015 20:47:58 GMThttp://www.cookbookalley.com/cooking-tales/the-evolution-of-cookbooksPicture

   In order to collect anything including cookbooks a collector needs some understanding of the theme they desire. A potential collector needs to invest some time and maybe some money to learn what has value and what doesn’t.
Collecting cookbooks starts as an interest in food and evolves from there. A collector also needs an understanding of the jargon associated with the genre like “cookery,” “culinary expert,” “the Art of Cookery,” and “school of cookery.”  Some information may surprise you; little facts like cooking schools have been in existence since the early 1800s.
It is important to understand name changes that may affect the value of your cookbooks. For instance, The Boston Cooking School became The American Cookery Magazine shortly after 1900.

   You will discover that throughout the years different companies found it advisable to create cookbooks to go with their products often establishing a spokesperson to further both the cookbooks and the products/ Some spokespersons ultimately became icons like Ann Pillsbury for Pillsbury Flour and Martha Lee Anderson for Arm & Hammer Baking Soda. There were often fictional icons established as well like Betty Crocker for the Washburn-Crosby Company, the makers of Gold Medal Flour, which later became General Mills in 1928.

   The country underwent huge changes between 1900 and roughly 1930. Rural home began to receive electricity; cooking stoves were changing from wood burning, coal burning, or kerosene burning appliances to carbide gas, natural gas, or electric appliances. Small kitchen gadgets like toasters and waffle irons were becoming more common. Carbide gas systems were being installed in homes everywhere to provide lighting, cooking, and clothes ironing. Ovens were coming equipped with heat regulators and chafing dishes were making their presence known.  Early refrigerators began to show up in homes making food storage more viable.

   As these changes infiltrated society cookery schools were fading into the background; not out of existence, just less spoken of. Young women were entering college and specializing in Home Economics; an education that allowed them to enter the professional workforce becoming teachers or employees of food companies while others were hired by magazines and newspapers.

   All of these changes required a new set of skills for cooking. Recipes needed to be changes to accommodate new appliances and heat regulators. Explanations of heat temperatures and instruction manuals needed to be developed. Home economists became the scientists of kitchens; testing recipes, experimenting with new gadgets, defining what worked and what didn’t. Then, these same women were tasked with compiling the recipes into book formats.

   Added to their jobs was the task of incorporating certain products into a food company’s cookbook that would encourage homemakers to purchase more of certain items. The mind set was that if the recipe called for Gold Medal flour than only Gold Medal flour will work. Some food companies did publish their cookbooks in hardcover formats but most were done in softcover format. Occasionally, there would be a printing done with a spiral binding or in two and three ring binders.

   About the time major changes began hitting kitchens making them more “modern” manufacturer of cookware began making changes to accommodate the newer cooking devices.  Manufacturers of cast iron cookware, aluminum cookware, cook stoves, refrigerators, electric mixers, and even vacuum cleaners began producing cookbooks to help their customers implement these things into their daily lives. The cookbook served multiple purposes; cooking instructions, instruction manuals, and advertising for related products. Since there was tremendous change in the industry these cookbook had to be constantly updated and revised to reflect new techniques as well as new advertising for the latest gadgets.

    Good housekeeping published their first cookbook in 1903. The cookbook was edited by the Good Housekeeping magazine food editor. By the 1940s other magazine began following in Good Housekeeping’s footsteps producing their own lines of cookbooks. By the 1950s newspapers had stepped into the cookbook game being led by The New York Times and the New York Herald-Tribune.

    Eventually the companies who had been publishing cookbook for everyone else got a clue. This happened in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Publishers began to see a industry loaded with profits. Publishing house established test kitchens and hired their own home economists and food editors to create their own cookbooks. Fortunately, the American population was growing fast enough to absorb all of these changes that there were plenty of profits to go around.

     This is how a multi-billion dollar industry got its foothold into society. Today there are thousands of cookbooks available written by chefs, celebrities, and unknowns. Choosing a modern cookbook that may have future value is difficult at best, some even say impossible. My advice, collect what you’re passionate about and worry about the value later.

<![CDATA[What is a Cookbook?]]>Sun, 15 Nov 2015 19:29:23 GMThttp://www.cookbookalley.com/cooking-tales/what-is-a-cookbookA cookbook can be different things to different people. A cookbook’s intent depends greatly on its author and its purpose. The main element in existence in all cookbooks is the recipes. A cookbook can possess years of knowledge regarding preparation and serving as well as maintaining an ability to play an important within the family. It can be a compilation of recipes handed down for generations just as easy as being a collection of favorites passed on from home economist and culinary experts. It is ideas for leftovers and how to turn them into interesting new meals. It is a place where you can find information on how feed any number of people; from a single person to a whole crowd. A cookbook is something that provides confidence to cooks everywhere may they be novice or expert.

Cookbooks overall are a tremendous contribution from the food industry to the country at large. More importantly, a cookbook is the heart of cooks everywhere. It’s the mother who writes from her small town to home to a child in the city. It is a young couple finding their way while meeting nightly in the kitchen. It is the older cook who can now afford to try those more elaborate recipes and truly enjoy them. It is the young student just learning of the magic found in kitchens.

A cook book is the creation of those who have a passion for food and the amazing creations that come from the imagination. It is also a testament of the devotion and enthusiasm some have for the craft. Maybe the biggest statement a cookbook makes is the voice that it gives to all those who share themselves through the meals they prepare infusing them with the spirit of caring and love.

A cookbook can be many things to many people. It can only be defined by the user. Mostly though, a cookbook holds edible treasures, memories of the past and yet to be made, and just a touch of mystery.