Harrison Happenings: The joy of reading cookbooks

I love to read cookbooks; they are fun and entertaining. My favourite ones are A Taste of Alsace by Sue Style, all of Nigella Lawson’s books and a vintage book from 1972.

The last one is one I keep going back to over and over again. It is titled, The Vegetarian Epicure and was written by Anna Thomas. I do not know if it is still available, but if you can get ahold of it, especially if you are a vegetarian, get it! It is a must for any culinary library and it surely puts an end to boring and dull vegetarian dishes.

Writing cookbooks is a lot of hard work, especially if the precise amounts of ingredients are given.

Many writers do not do  this anymore, they would rather write about the people and the places the various dishes come from. They would rather inspire than teach.

Sue Style is such a writer. Though born in Yorkshire, England as a chef, she divided her time between her homeland and such culinary hot spots as Switzerland and Alsace. Thus her books became a labour of love. When I read them, I become inspired.

Yesterday, I was reading one of those gourmet magazines and found myself soon after, planning a dinner party for eight of my friends. The menu will start with appetizers from different parts of the world, followed by a Swiss “Fladele Soup” (soup with pancakes cut into noodles).

Next I will try to duplicate the “Zwiebelkuchen” (onion pie) I loved so much when I lived in Alsace. For the main dish I am planning a “Bombay Potatoe and Egg Salad” with a cucumber Raita and stuffed sweet peppers, accompanied by Italian bread and cheeses.

For the finishing touch I will add my special version of a Black Forest dessert and coffee complete with a shot of Schwawrzwa’ Ider kirsh and whipped cream. I will pair the various dishes with red wine from Chile and white wine from Germany.

Here is my own version of Bombay Potato Salad:

1. Boil potatoes and eggs. Let them cool, then peel and dice.

2. For the dressing use oil, white wine vinegar, mayonnaise, sour cream, some milk and lots of dried parsley. Add salt and curry(lots)

3. Pour the dressing over the diced potatoes and eggs; mix together and let stand refrigerated for a few hours.

4. Right before dinner, place a crisp lettuce leaf on each plate, place portion of the potatoe salad in the middle, then garnish with sweet red pepper

A culinary masterpiece!