Please visit my blog as I write my first book, the authorized biography of Leonard Pennario.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Today my mom and I went estate sale-ing. No Leonard Pennario records, alas. There were records but they were in the cellar and the cellar had apparently been flooded because the records were ruined. However. However! I bought a couple of cookbooks.
My mother always casts a frosty eye on my cookbook purchases because I have way too many cookbooks already. But these are special!
They are the hippie classics by Anna Thomas, "The Vegetarian Epicure" and "The Vegetarian Epicure, Vol. 2." They are a riot, full of hippy-dippy pictures like the one on the cover, pictured above. There are all these drawings of hairy hippies and beardos and people of indeterminate race and gender eating rice and beans and desserts. (Vegetarians are always pushing desserts on you.)
Volume 2 bore a handwritten note, "To Mom, Merry Christmas, from Kevin." That was nice of Kevin, whoever he was, to buy this cookbook for his hippy-dippy mom.
Anyway. When I got home I immediately began cooking out of these cookbooks. Normally on Saturdays before we go to the Philharmonic, Howard and I are kind of rushed, so I have found it does not pay to make anything fancy. Vegetarian stuff is great to make on these evenings. So I made, ahem, "baked beans a la charente."
To go with it I made "corn bread."
Things in "The Vegetarian Epicure" are all in lower-cased letters. That is how cool it is.
And talk about cool! This cookbook is cooler than I am, I have to say that.
Every once in a while you see something in a vintage cookbook that is really wacky. And the payoff here came in the introduction. I was reading over the introduction and what Anna Thomas is doing is, she is walking you through a dinner -- how to plan a menu, what to serve when, etc.
She writes about coffee and dessert and how after that people might engage in "all sorts of argument and storytelling" and eventually, mouths would go dry.
"So, the two-hours-later course came to be," she writes. "This may consist of of a great bowl of strawberries and a pot of cream, or maybe hot chocolate, accompanied by thin slices of the torte that couldn't be finished earlier .... This two-hours-later course is especially recommended if grass is smoked socially at your house. If you have passed a joint around before dinner to sharpen gustatory perceptions, you most likely will pass another one after dinner, and everyone knows what that will do -- the blind munchies can strike at any time."