I love cookbooks.
According to “The Ladies’ Room Reader” compiled by Alicia Alvrez, the first American cookbook was self-published in 1796 by Amelia Simmons, a self-proclaimed orphan, in an attempt to improve “the rising generation of females in America,” particularly of orphans. “If orphans pay some attention to cooking, they will be welcome wherever they are, and may even attract husbands,” opined the author of this popular tome, which went through four editions.
I am not an orphan and I have “attracted” a couple of husbands and a few non-husbands too, and cooking is something I know about. When I got my first job way back in the early 70’s, I immediately joined a book club and my first shipment included my dear friend Betty Crocker. I am now the owner of many, actually too many, cookbooks. But I still have Betty and refer to her often. Here’s a picture of my cookbook. It is all beat up and you may not be able to see it in this picture but it is held together by clear packing tape. And the cake pages have blobs of chocolate all over them.
Now that I’m unemployed, I’ve been cooking more. I love to cook. But it can be time consuming and I have time now. I made my first ever cheesecake and I’ve been experimenting with bread, something I have been interested in for years. I overcame my “yeast fear” several years ago when learning to make Yeast Rolls. Do you remember those rolls from high school lunch? There were so good. I can make them. And they are still great.
I find cooking relaxing. I even like grocery shopping because it gives me ideas. And sometimes I read cookbooks like novels. So I spent a little time this Sunday making bread. I did not knead by hand – just at the end to get the last of the dust combined. I do have a nice big KitchenAid and a dough hook. I feel sorry for the ladies who used to make bread by hand and had to knead for 10 minutes. That dough gets very resistant at the end.
So this bread is delicious. It’s just Betty Crocker’s plain old white bread. I made whole wheat the other day and I liked that more. I’m making walnut bread next. I have high hopes for that. And one of my French cookbooks has a recipe for a Eight-Grain bread that has many different kinds of seeds including sesame, pumpkin, flax and sunflower. I’ll keep you posted.