Books That Cook
Organized by decade (1944—2000), this retro-styled cookbook created by the people at Texas Co-op Power magazine celebrates the combination of food and electricity. A preface written by Sandy Cohen, the curator of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, explains that by the mid-forties, electricity had finally reached most homes in the Hill Country (thanks to LBJ). Having electricity meant having electric stoves and refrigeration; all kinds of new cooking techniques became possible.
Full of color and nostalgia, this cookbook not only features a timeline highlighting important food events (the first Pillsbury bake-off, Betty Crocker cake mix hits the shelves) but recipes from the pages of the magazine. The recipes in each chapter begin with several multiple-course meals, such as the sixties Signs-of-Spring Dinner (roast leg of lamb, cheese-baked cauliflower, dilled new potatoes, and sour cream chocolate torte) or the nineties Something Special for Easter Dinner (smoked ham with cranberry chutney; goat cheese, pepper and bacon quiche; dilled peas and potatoes vinaigrette; asparagus spears with citrus-ginger dip). After the course recipes, individual recipes are organized by Appetizers (Spinach Balls, Texas Trash), Soups and Salads (Creole Fish Chowder, Crab-Stuffed Cucumbers), Main Dishes (Cheeseburger Quiche, Chow Mein for Pressure Cooker, Applesauce Meatballs), Side Dishes (Old-Fashioned Corn Pudding, Baked Pears), then finally the Breads and Desserts (Lemon Chiffon Butter Crunch Pie, Sourdough Pancakes).
Scattered throughout each chapter are also several fun tidbits from the past such as advice on using peppers, standout “Readers Remember” recipes in bright boxes, and innovative ways to make food, such as cooking in your dishwasher. Ah, the joys of electricity.