My Mom reads cookbooks and food magazines like most people read novels. I have to admit that I drop everything when my bi-monthly Cooks Illustrated arrives in the mail. And my favorite emails are the recipes that come via America’s Test Kitchen (associated with Cooks Illustrated). I have hundreds of cookbooks, and I subscribe to 7 cooking magazines. I save Williams-Sonoma catalogs because they include delicious recipes. And if you want to get Mr. B’s blood boiling, ask him about my recipe box…. it’s a rather large-sized Longaberger Basket that comfortably fits a layer cake, and it’s overflowing with recipes. I have a filing “plan” in mind; I just haven’t had time to execute the plan yet. (I’m too busy trying to find recipes in that pile!!)
Planning for each Soup Party begins immediately after I’ve recovered from the most recent event. That usually takes at least a month. Two years ago my Mom “informed” me that we were going to make Manhattan Clam Chowder, an anathema to chowder afficionados who believe that the only authentic chowder has to be dairy-based (i.e. New England Clam Chowdah). That began a search for the ultimate clam chowder recipe. I ended up using a variation of my Mom’s own recipe, which she based on the Cooks Illustrated Cookbook version.
Shortly after the Soup Party LAST year, Mike and 2 of his colleagues were in Budapest for a meeting. They tasted a Hungarian Goulash Soup on the first day, and loved it so much that they went back THREE TIMES to the same restaurant to have that soup!! The call came from Mike, saying, “we have a request for next year’s soup party”. That started what would be a hilarious journey down the Hungarian Goulash path.
I have a knack for judging recipes and how the end result will taste. I’ve had two “oops”s in my cooking career, and one wasn’t my fault (who keeps a container of salt that looks like sugar in their pantry?? I promise to share that story in a post someday). I try at least 2 new soup recipes at every Soup Party. This year the new ones were the Hungarian Goulash Soup, the Manhattan Clam Chowder, and a White Chicken Chili Soup. To be completely factual, I did make a test batch of the Goulash to ask the requestors if my version came close to what they tasted in Budapest. I made modifications based on their feedback. 30 years in Information Technology made me a fan of “proofs of concept”.
My favorite cookbooks are:
“The New Best Recipe” Cookbook (that’s its actual name) via Cooks Illustrated
Silver Palate Cookbook, by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins
Secrets From A Caterer’s Kitchen The Indispensable Guide For Planning A Party by Nicole Aloni
I also picked up a soup cookbook that is turning out to be invaluable. It’s by Clifford A. Wright, called “the best soups in the world”.
My favorite cooking magazine is, hands-down: Cooks Illustrated
I use many other cookbooks, and I usually try a few recipes from the magazines each month. If you’re looking for recipe advice, please ask me. I’ll try to point you to a few options that will work for you.
Thanks for your interest! And keep those comments coming!!