Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Cookbook Project

This is my cookbook shelf.

I counted them today, and I have 50 of them, plus a couple of years worth of Everyday Food and random other recipe magazines. I bought two of them yesterday. Out of the 50, I've cooked a recipe out of six.

Yeah, six. I buy cookbooks-I don't cook from them.

Until now.

This is my project for the summer: cook one thing from every cookbook I own. Correction: one good thing from every cookbook I own. If the recipe sucks, I have to try again. After all, if I can't find one decent recipe in a cookbook, it probably deserves to go.

My first attempt was from this book.

I haven't got a clue why I bought this in the first place. I assume that I bought it at a yard sale back when I was in the habit of buying every single cookbook I could possibly find. It was published in 1984, and it hasn't necessarily aged well. It's full of recipes for congealed salads and many other things that I have absolutely no interest in making. Because it's a cookbook written for family gatherings, all of the recipes are scaled to serve between 12 and 20 people, and I never cook for that big a crowd.

I was a little skeptical, I'll admit, but there are some really interesting recipes here. I've found several that I'd like to try, even though I'm going to have to pull out a calculator to scale them down to more reasonable quantities. The book is organized by different types of gatherings: a wedding breakfast, a bar mitzvah, a Greek New Year's dinner. One of the gatherings is for a (University of) Arkansas Tailgate Picnic. This gathering had a recipe called Razorback Roast Sandwiches, including a recipe for Brown Rice Bread. I wasn't particularly interested in making a pork roast, but the bread looked pretty good, so that's what I decided to try.

I've been looking for a good sandwich bread recipe for quite some time. The lovely Jenni sent me one that I've used quite a bit, but I've been having trouble getting it to rise the way it's supposed to (user error, I'm sure) so I wanted to try a different one.

This recipe was fantastic. The original one was for three loaves, so I cut it in half and made one slightly larger loaf.

I couldn't be happier. It was easy, it looks good, it tastes good...a perfect Sunday project.

I want to reprint the recipe here, but my little librarian heart won't let me break copyright. I've actually emailed Southern Living, who published the cookbook, to ask for permission. If they give it, I'll post an update.

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