The Big Red Book

Just about every kitchen is home to at least one special cook book. I was fascinated with the Betty Crocker cook book my mother owned (and which fell apart as a consequence of frequent usage, sadly).

Imagining was the best part. Only a handful of recipes ever made it to the dinner table. We have a book at our house like this. My girls and I love to flip through the pages, share favorite pictures, and talk about the recipes we want to try -  one day. Very few have been practical. The ingredients are expensive (lamb, caviar), impractical (seafood: we live hundreds of miles inland where good fish is hard come by), or complicated.

Finally we have reached a stage of culinary confidence and flexibility, however, where the girls and I will take some risks. They enjoy lots of flavors now which they might have scoffed at a few years ago. Borscht, for example, will do very nicely for a cold evening. Terrine has never crossed our lips before, partly because I’ve never had the confidence to try making it. The same goes for souffle, that difficult dish which, for many, simply flops.

Of course, my daughters will drink pineapple juice or water with supper. For those of you interested in what to take from your wine rack to pair with our experimental list, here is what Epicurious suggested.

Avocado and Mushroom Salad: there was no exact match, but the flavors are said to pair nicely with a Sauvignon Blanc such as Monkey Bay from New Zealand (which I’ve reviewed favorably.)

Borscht and Pasties: Pinot Noir will hold its own against the strong flavors of cabbage, root vegetables, ham etc. Epicurious names Firesteed from Oregon as a likely liquid.

Vegetable Terrine: another Oregon winery gets a mention: Van Duzen, this time for its Pinot Gris. Fruity flavors match the sweetness of veggies (in our case, carrots, peppers and broccoli).

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