Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Book Review: The Horn of Plenty

(This one didn't go live on Blogjob due to scheduling concerns.)

Title: The Horn of Plenty 
(Funny about that photo of the dust jacket...if you search Amazon for this author and title, what comes up first is a photo of the book without a dust jacket, which is exactly what I physically own at the time of writing. Same price, with or without the dust jacket.)
Author: Peggy Harvey
Date: 1964
Publisher: Atlantic Little Brown
ISBN: none
Length: 272 pages plus indices
Quote: "It is difficult to introduce James Beard, which is hardly necessary anyway..."
Peggy Harvey was a cookbook writer, a cookbook editor, and a cookbook reader and recipe tester. The Horn of Plenty is an anthology of other people's recipes, with Harvey's comments and suggested variations.
Her comments provided biographical data on other cookbook authors. About the legendary James Beard: "Jim is a big man; he has a big voice, a big appetite, a big reputation, a big heart and, as a result of the last, a big group of friends." "Craig Claiborne...will probably always look, as he does today, half his actual age." "Harriet Healy is one of the most indefatigable and enthusiastic culinary experts I've ever met." Julia Child, whose Mastering the Art of French Cooking was reviewed at the Blogspot years ago, was still "demonstrating" in Massachusetts at the time of writing. Chef Johnny Kan had still written "the only cookbook to emanate from San Francisco's Chinatown."
Harvey also commented on the individual recipes: "Having first tried the soup as is, add a pinch of nutmeg to the cheese sometime and see how you like it." "They...are sometimes made with soybeans instead of fresh peanuts." "Serve it hot or cold. It's a toss-up as to which is better."
What you'll love: these are the "gourmet taste" classics of the early twentieth century, no substitutions, and especially no efforts to cut calories. That's also what you'll not love. A recipe for pork, which was was fatty enough in 1964, calls for browning the pork in butter, then simmering it slowly in a quart of milk until the milk, butter, and lard form a sauce. The rice "Pilaff" recipe specifies 4 tablespoons of butter and an onion as the only seasonings for 1 cup of rice. Chicken supremes (which, as you probably know, are the uppermost part when the whole carcass was turned as if face-up, in other words the technical term for which editors now substitute "chicken breast skinned and boned") aren't lightly cooked with a bit of lemon juice for a low-fat meal; they're bathed in added fat.
Although this isn't even a Fair Trade Book, the minimum price for it here is $5 per book + $5 per package + $1 per online payment. Scroll down to find a Fair Trade Book you can add to the package for the same $5 shipping charge, for a total of (typically) $15 if you pay the surcharge directly to the post office or $16 if you pay online.