Have you ever kept a diary? Everyone has whether it's called that or not. Some folks bought one of those fancy ones from a bookstore or office supply house, while others used a notebook; and yet some, like da ol' mon Caj used scraps and scraps of paper as long as a blank spot could be found. In any case, your "diary" is where you kept all your secret cookin' tips, methods and recipes.
Recently, Caj, doing what he's not fond of doing, was going through one of the many boxes cluttering up his house and workshop and found a "diary" from Grandmother Price; at least her name was on it. Now, for your information and to set the stage, she was no slouch when it came to cooking in her middle and later years; fact is she was a great down home country cook. But from all remembrances by those who purport to have sat at her table in her younger years the following could be the true. Guess the question is: Is this a real week from Grandmother Price's diary? Or is dear Grandma trying to lighten her days with a little humor? Hmmm....What do you think?
It's fun to cook for my new husband Archie. Today I made angel food cake. The recipe said beat 12 eggs separately. The neighbors were nice enough to loan me some extra bowls.
TUESDAY: Archie wanted fruit salad for supper. The recipe said serve without dressing. So I didn't dress. What a surprise when Archie brought a friend home for supper.
A good day for rice. The recipe said wash thoroughly before steaming the rice. It seemed kinda of silly but I took a bath. I can't say it improved the rice any.
Today Archie asked for salad again. I tried a new recipe. It said prepare ingredients, then toss on a bed of lettuce one hour before serving. Which is what led up to Archie asking me why I was rolling around in the garden.
I found an easy recipe for cookies. It said put all ingredients in bowl and beat it. There must have been something wrong with this recipe. When I got back, everything was the same as when I left.
Archie did the shopping today and brought home a chicken. He asked me to dress it for Sunday (Oh Boy!). For some reason Archie keeps counting to ten.
Archie's folks came to dinner. I wanted to serve roast. All I could find was hamburger. Suddenly I had a flash of genius. I put the hamburger in the oven and set the controls for roast.
It still came out hamburger, much to my disappointment.
GOOD NIGHT DEAR DIARY.
This has been a very exciting week. I am eager for tomorrow to come so I can try out a new recipe on Archie. If we could just get a bigger oven, I would like to surprise him with Chocolate Moose.
As you can see my Grandfather Archie had his hands full. Ol' mon Caj came along too late to be subject to Grandma Price's earlier cookin' adventures; he was fortunate enough to know her when everything she made was a mouth-watering, palate-pleasing delight. Funny thing, she never had his cookbook, but she sure did contribute to it!
Now what's this all got to do with the price of rice? Simply this, many a time you'll come across a recipe--especially those that are 100-years old or older--that gives the ingredients without specifying how much. Or you'll come across a recipe that gives you the exact amount of each ingredient, but doesn't tell what order to mix them in, nor how hot an oven or how long to bake it.
Tell you another true story from those bygone times. Every cook worth her salt had a plank, a board that had a hollow carved out of the center. When it was time to bake something she'd pull it out, and start mixing--usually without measuring. She'd add the dry ingredients in the order she knew she should, then the liquid. And then, she'd start twirling her fingers in a circle mixing the wet and the dry. Until she knew they were properly mixed, because she knew how the dough should feel and what it should look like. After that it was only a matter of throwing it into the oven, watching it bake, and finally pulling it out at the right time.
Cajun Clark's Cookbooks make great gifts that keep on giving, and when you give the print version you'll never be forgotten. Take a look, there's something for everyone: