Wednesday, October 10, 2007


The Book: Mollie Katzen, THE ENCHANTED BROCCOLI FOREST and other timeless delicacies. Ten Speed Press, 1982 (20th printing). Trade paperback, good minus condition; cover is grease-stained, some pages are water-damaged, spine is badly creased, front cover has 1.5" triangular tear at bottom edge.
First read: 1984
Owned since: 1984

I haven't made any effort at vegetarianism since about 1987, but this is still one of my favorite cookbooks. It's beautifully designed and organized, with handwritten recipes and charming illustrations. Even a beginning cook can follow its instructions, and it encourages improvisation. At the back of the book are lists of seasonings and ingredients characteristic to regional cuisines. If you ever wanted to know the difference between Spanish flavors and Mexican, the answers are here: Spanish food uses saffron, bay leaf, and butter, while Mexican uses cumin, cilantro, oregano and no butter.

The Quiche Formula on p. 131 is the easiest and most reliable I've found, and I don't even have to look at it any more. I used to make the Challah recipe (p. 97) so often that the book opens automatically to that page. The Curried Apple Soup ... hmm, maybe I'll make the Curried Apple Soup today. It's raining and cold, a perfect day for it.

Five Random Songs

"Theme," The Monkees. I like the Monkees. Poke fun if you will.

"Spanish Geese," Willie Bobo. An electronic version, from the Verve Remixed album, which sets jazz standards to dance beats. I love this record, which I believe was a birthday present from my friend Garth.

"Uniforms (Corp d'Esprit)," Pete Townshend. From All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes, which on any given day might be the one album I'd need on a desert island.

"Madman," The Jayhawks. From Rainy Day Music, a record I don't like as much as Smile.

"Anniversary Song," Cowboy Junkies. Possibly my favorite Cowboy Junkies song. In fact, I'm hitting repeat.


Karen Olson said...

Love this title! Sounds like it could be a fantasy story for kids.

And I like the Monkees too! Very catchy songs.

Anonymous said...

In a different direction, on a flight to Dallas yesterday I found, in the seat pocket, a copy of "The Higher Taste - A Guide to Gourmet Vegetarian Cooking and a Karma-Free Diet," over 50 famous Hare Krishna recipes. It contains about 100 pages of dogma, instruction and argument, and 50 page of recipes that could have easily come from a Betty Crocker cookbook.

If you'd like to add this to your collection, I'll happily send it your way. :-)


AnswerGirl said...

I do have some odd cookbooks (a pamphlet on "Mormon Cooking" and a book I love called GERMAN COOKING TODAY), but if I had to worry about karma every time I opened a can, I'd be even more of a wreck than I already am.

Appreciate the thought, though...

Kathleen said...

I had a roommate in Chicago who owned this book. I loved it but somehow never picked up a copy for myself.

The Hare Krishna are supposedly excellent vegetarian cooks. I think in some citities they even serve vegetarian meals to the public that are supposed to be delicious.

AnswerGirl said...

Don't they do this at the compound in LA, off Venice Blvd.? You can get lunch for $5 and dinner for $6.50 at Govinda's, I know -- and it's really good.

Not much of a wine list, though.

Anonymous said...

clair darlin',

only a douchebag would criticize you for loving the monkees---

scott p.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone want to live a karma-free life? That would mean you would accumulate no goo luck/energy/spiritual brownie points.

Are the Hare Krishna's on a mission to nullify themselves?

AnswerGirl said...

Maybe they're just saving their karma to spend on something more important.

Anonymous said...


AnswerGirl said...

While I've made several things out of GERMAN COOKING TODAY, even the fabulous illustrations will not persuade me to experiment with Boiled Tongue with Madeira Sauce, Knuckle of Pork in Aspic, or Eel in Watercress Sauce.

I'm just saying.

Anonymous said...

picky American eater...

On another note (as it were)--I notice that Manu Chao never appears on your "random songs" postings. Do you still have that CD? Do you still listen to it? I've rediscovered it recently after it had "disappeared" in Therese's collection and love it all over again.

Lefty said...

Like karen, I love the title. Pure genius.

AnswerGirl said...

I listen to the Manu Chao quite often, Sue, but only ever as a complete album! It didn't seem to me that it would lend itself to the shuffle format, so I haven't loaded it into my iTunes -- but maybe I should.