Sunday, July 30, 2006

Home-Style Cooking

I purchased this one not too long ago mainly based on its photos. It is the Better Homes and Gardens Home-Style Cooking, from 1975. Doesn't that huge slab of meat on the cover look wonderful? And just look at the lovely old dears enjoying their drinks? You have to believe something strong is in those...

When I was younger I used to play with my grandmother's biscuit cutter. It had a doughnut hole attachment for the center, and I wanted to make doughnuts. I made them, and they were flat as about about 5 pages of printer paper because I mixed up baking soda and powder again. Isn't it funny how some bad habits are ingrained?

So I decided to start with the biscuits from this book. After all, how hard could they be? Ok, I don't have a pastry cutter (that 'two knives' suggestion literally doesn't cut it, by the way), a pastry cloth, or a biscuit cutter anymore, but that did not stop me. I used my son's sippy cup top.

Here they are:

These were very tasty, and turned out looking ok, too.

Here's the recipe:
Combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cut in 1/3 cup shortening till mixture resembles coarse crumbs (good luck with this). Make well in center; stir in 3/4 cup milk just till dough clings together. Knead gently on floured surface; roll or pat to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter; dip cutter in flour between cuts. Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 450 degrees about 12 minutes. Makes 10.

My mother has been giving me lots of recipes her mother made when she was little, and I will try to do them correctly. Both of my grandmothers - one from Ireland and one from Italy were master bakers and seamstresses. While those genes seem to be a bit diluted in me, I do enjoy thinking about them while looking at the old recipe books.

I finished J.A. Konrath's Rusty Nail last night. This great series about Chicago police Lt. Jacqueline Daniels was pretty much heart-stopping action. I took a writing class with Konrath last year that taught me so much about writing and the business of writing, which I think a lot of programs ignore. He continues his advice on his blog: (Go to the Reports link on the left.) He is also on a quest to tour 500 bookstores this summer, and his descriptions of the trip are hilarious.

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