Thursday, May 20, 2010

I’m definitely a “bag” person.

A while back, I came across this cookbook written by Amy Littlefield Handy, originally published in 1916, that had been scanned into the Google archives. It consists of 80-some-odd pages of recipes not just for seafood but also meats, salads, breads, cakes, preserves, etc. A collaborative effort, different versions of the same dish are attributed to different cooks. The recipes are written in short paragraphs, and there’s definitely an assumption that one knows his or her way around a kitchen.

As a writer, what I find interesting is the language. In a recipe for clam chowder, the cook talks about separating the “bags” of the clams from the “shoulders,” or strips from bellies as we say. And in a recipe for lobster soup, we’re instructed to put “the bones of the lobster on to boil.” Well, I suppose it is an exoskeleton. And in the recipe of Great-Grandma’s Red Fish (below) we’re told to “heat in a spider.” Who knew?

When I read these recipes, there’s a part of me that longs to live in this world, where food was simply prepared and came straight from the source. In one recipe for “Sali’s Polish Soup,” we’re directed to “go into the garden and gather all kinds of young vegetables.” Of course. Doesn’t everyone have a garden? And isn’t it always spring on Cape Cod?

Here are a few recipes from What we Cook on Cape Cod. There are plenty more where these came from so let me know if you like them. (I’m all over the Curried Oysters and Halibut Salad. Will let you know they turn out.)


Laurie said...

You were right. I love these recipes! It was lovely meeting you today. I sense a kindred spirit...

Lynn Kiele Bonasia said...

Thanks, Laurie. I agree. If I can ever help you with anything book related, let me know. (Except help you find the time to write it!)
It was great meeting you!

Here's the link for the entire cookbook. Have fun!