Fun with Food
There are a handful of cookbooks I wouldn't part with for the world--anything by Deborah Madison or Julia Child, M.F.K. Fisher's The Cooking of Provincial France, (part of the Time Life Foods of the World series, from which I learned how to cook when I was in my 20's), Mrs. Chiang's Szechwan Cookbook. These books form the basis for my reputation as a decent cook. There are more that I could get rid of if I just copied the two or three recipes that I use into my personal recipe notebook. There are still more that I browse from time to time, either for a visual feast or as a form of armchair traveling, or to prepare for an actual journey by learning about regional specialties.
And then there are the other hundred or more that have ended up in my posession (I didn't buy them!) that I will never use--glossy works designed to promote use of certain products (The Spam Cookbook, The Tang Cookbook, The Spry Cookbook, The Joys of Jello) and cookbooks published by the Junior League, the Young Republicans, the DAR, the Bird Island St. Mary's Catholic Church Missionary Society. Cousin Judy's Better than Sex cake, Mrs. Murchistan's Easy Holiday Salad, and Duck a l'orange made with powered Tang are good for laughs. Once.
So this weekend I've been culling the shelves, paging through each one to make sure I'm not throwing out pure gold, or missing a good laugh. This morning's stack included The Popular Potato, which contained not a single decent recipe but did provide some amusement in the chapter devoted to Childrens' Special Spuds.
This dish might be good for encouraging abstract thinking. In case you couldn't tell, it's a person driving a car down a road. An egg person with shredded carrot hair and raisin eyes driving a potato car with cherry tomato tires and a cucumber hood ornament? steering wheel? down a road paved with cheese and striped with peas. Yum.
I'm thinking a lifetime of therapy awaits the child who confronts this dish at dinnertime.