Dining well


“One cannot THINK WELL, LOVE WELL, SLEEP WELL, if one has not dined well.”

Virginia Woolf

History of cookbooks

Dear Fellow Journalers,

The following is a reprint from http://www.cookspalate.com/history-of-cookbooks.htm


History of Cookbooks

Up until the 18th century cookbooks were used by the wealthy only. Their servants were not supposed to know how to read a cookbook, so the mistress of the household would read the directions as the servant prepared the mixture. Later, cookbooks were written with the middle class in mind and they began turning up in more homes.

For the chef today, the problem many times is not how to make an unfamiliar dish but which cookbook or recipe to use to make it. The cookbook itself is a recent addition to the culinary scene.

A woman who called herself an American orphan, Amelia Simmons, published the first actual American cookbook in 1796 in Hartford, Connecticut. It was reprinted and revised over the next thirty-five years and was written for the primary cooking source at the time, the fireplace. The book was an American original and the first listed ingredient was cornmeal. It also gave an American recipe for gingerbread (which contrasted with the European recipe which was generally used at that time). By the 1820s other cookbooks followed, “Virginia Housewife” among them, but these cookbooks were different from what we chefs know today. They gave no mention of the size of the dishes used in baking, the number of portions the recipe made, the temperature at which to cook the dish, or even about the addition of flour. It was recognized by all cooks at that time that one added as much flour as needed until the “feel” was correct.

It was not until the 1850s that cookbooks were designed for cook stoves, and even then, no temperatures were given since the stoves of that time had no thermometers. With the advent of gas ranges, cookbook recipes took on a more definite form when the first all-electric kitchen was unveiled at the 1893 World Fair in Chicago.  The cookbook became more precise.

Changes in cooking followed rapidly. In the early 1920s, more cooks were allowed more accuracy with the precise measuring of cups and spoons advocated by Fannie Farmer, a name most of think of as being more fictional than factual. The ongoing changes in the kitchen included the invention of the electric refrigerator in 1916, and from there the freezer. These, of course, helped prevent spoilage having to do with climate-related menus.

…. and the rest, they say is HISTORY!

A salad recipe from Denise:

My Grandparents were both German; they owned a Delicatessen.  In fact, several of the family owned Deli’s; was awesome when we all got together for family picnics.

Authentic German Potato Salad

3 lbs. Red Potatoes

1 / 4 cup White Vinegar

1 / 2 cup Water

2 tsp(s) Salt

3-1 / 2 tsp(s) Sugar

1 Small Onion (finely chopped) I like to use a red onion.

Dash of pepper



In big pot, cover potatoes with skins on in cold water;

Bring to boil with potatoes in the pot;

Boil until potatoes are soft (check w/fork);

Take skins off while potatoes are still warm to hot;

Slice super thin (for flavor).

MIX water & vinegar together; add salt, sugar, pepper & onion.

ADD mixture to the potatoes – let chilly overnight and for the vinegar to seep into the potatoes.

ADD mayonnaise (by sight & taste).  A little mayo goes a LONG way; don’t over add your mayo.

Can sprinkle with top with dried parsley (not too much though); just enough to dress it up a smidge.


Authentic Homemade German Deli Potato Salad!

Journals to keep

Dear Fellow Journalers,

One of my favorite poets is Robert Frost. His poem ” Stopping by woods on a snowy evening” remains a favorite to this day. So when I was looking for a title for this post I realized that I too had a promise to keep with you. Last year I wrote about the different journals there are and promised to write about 12 different ones each month. This year I decided to do the same as many of you wrote me and commented on different ones that we explored together.

This year’s group include:

Life Goals ( January)

Creative Journaling (February)

Memories (March)

Record of events – one moment at a time (April)

Letter writing ( May)

Time Capsule ( June)

Travel ( July)

The UN-sent letter ( August)

My favorite movie ( September)

Grocery Journal (October)

Sentiments for cards ( November)

Holiday Journals (December)

I hope you will think about these content journals and if you keep one or more of these journals already, that you’ll share your experiences with us.

‘Til next time,






Good Food


“Good food is the foundation of genuine happiness.”

Auguste Escoffier

4 Reasons

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Collecting family recipes and making a family cookbook/journal are important ways to connect generations and get to know people you never knew. Eating habits, while shaped by climate and culture, are passed down and passed forward because eating is not a web “experience.”  And you know, it would be kind of cool to find out if someone else in your family liked to eat olives out of a jar or loved anchovies on their pizza. So here are 4 reasons why collecting family recipes really matter:

  1. Collecting family recipes in a family recipe book/journal means we can reminisce about our past. We can appreciate how food was prepared over an open fire or in a fireplace. We can remember how that meatloaf recipe your Mom shared with you came about. On a personal note, I found several cookbooks in my Mother-in-law’s home after she died. What was really neat, was the hand-written notes in the margins – how she used lard and made a pie. Collecting recipes is a way to remember where we came from, whether across the country or across oceans.
  2. Collecting recipes in a family recipe book means we can appreciate what our ancestors would have appreciated. When we look at the many appliances we use now – microwave ovens, refrigerators, electric mixers and blenders and instance hot water, and think of what our ancestors used ice houses, hand-mixers, washing dishes by hand – makes us think! To get an idea of the items they used, check out an antique store or the VT County Store for the utensils your ancestors used.
  3. Collecting family recipes means we can communicate over the ages through a lasting memento (our family cookbook) about our time and place in the world. We can share the use of the “modern kitchen products” and our take on the recipe (our hand-written notes).
  4. Family cookbooks commemorate our Mom and Grandmother and other family members. My husband recently asked me to make Swedish Meatballs. I’d never made them before and checked out my 20 cookbooks for a recipe. He reminisced about the ones made by a family friend Ruth. So I checked out my Mother-in-law’s cookbook and in the meat section there it was – written in her neat and precise handwriting. My husband was thrilled and the recipe has become part of our family recipe book.

Happy Cooking!


Asiago Cheese Puffs

Recipe found from All Recipes

1 cup grated Asiago cheese

  • 1 teaspoon pressed garlic
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 French baguette, thinly sliced


  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the Asiago, garlic, mayonnaise, oregano, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper. If the mixture does not hold together well, add more mayonnaise, if desired.
  3. On a baking sheet, arrange the baguette slices in a single layer. Spread the Asiago mixture on the slices. Broil for 3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve immediately.



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