A Guide to Trying New Recipes
Why I'm writing this Hub
Recently, there was a question in the Forum area from someone who said that there were many, many recipe Hubs. This Hubber also wanted to know if viewers had tried any of these and, if so, was the end product worthwhile. I am paraphrasing the comments, of course, but what an excellent observation and question.
As you can see from my pictures, I am a collector of recipes and cookbooks and have been so for many years. This started because I had my mother's Searchlight Recipe Book by "Household Magazine" and loved the recipes. My husband, Crow (you remember him from my Hub 'Adventures in Cheese Making'), decided that he would find other editions for me. The original one is the 16th edition. Anyway, Crow found several but, during this time, he saw other vintage cookbooks that he thought I'd like.
More and more recipes and cookbooks to look through
Recently, I inventoried my cookbooks on the computer under the following headings:
- all-purpose, such as Joy of Cooking, Searchlight, etc.
- foreign foods, such as Italian, Mexican, etc.
- regional, such as Colorado cooking, New England, etc.
- candies and cookies
- fish and game
- barbecue and grilling
- canning and preserving
- high altitude
- soups and salads
- holiday, such as Christmas, Valentine's Day, Halloween, birthdays, etc.
- honey and molasses
- cooking with alcohol
- healthy eating
- appliance cookbooks, such as microwave, blender, pressure cooker, etc.
- and those before 1912 (these are listed in this category as well as one of the above)
If you decide to do something like this, you might have fewer, for example, high altitude cookbooks and more seaside cooking ones.
How I decide what recipes I try
As you can see, I have a plethora of recipes from the books and clippings to choose from. If I want a new and different main dish to serve friends and family, I take into consideration their ingredient preferences (mine also, of course). If one or more of the guests do not eat red meat, I look through my cooking with chicken recipes and books. I also look carefully through the ingredient list to make certain that they are compatible with each other. For example, sour cream and green chilies go well with chicken, beef and potatoes are great together, tuna and noodles, rice and fish or chicken, etc.
Who has not heard of chicken dumplings, spaghetti and meatballs, tuna and wild rice? It is the odd combinations we may not be sure of. If a dish requires artichokes or eggplant, I may have doubts so I usually go to Joy of Cooking and look in the sections 'about artichokes' or 'about eggplant' and learn what I need to know.
If you see that a recipe calls for one tablespoon rosemary, you might consider starting off with one teaspoon and adding more according to taste. Remember it is easier to add than to take out.
If you decide to try a carrot cake or other dessert or dish and raisins are listed in the ingredients, you can omit them if you do not care for raisins. They are not an integral part of the recipe. This philosophy would not apply if the ingredient was important to the recipe; i.e., you must put mangoes in mango salsa, green beans in a green been casserole, etc.
If one is interested in creating an entirely different recipe while using the outline of another, then that can be done with care. Just think about the compatibility of your ingredients. My Hub, a gluten-free chicken entrée, was completely reworked, partly to make it gluten-free and to omit some seasonings and other ingredients I did not think were appealing.
Just some of my cookbook stash
More about gluten-free
Previously I used soy flour as a substitute for wheat flour but found that the flavor could significantly be altered in some products. Now, I use cornstarch and rice flour as thickening agents. Think of your other ingredients and choose a thickening agent that is the most compatible. Tapioca is commonly used in fruit desserts but it also works well in stews and other dishes of that type. Personally, I like cornstarch in Mexican sauces and casseroles, probably because of tortilla chips, and I also use potato flour in many dishes that contain 'whole' potatoes
I believe that wheat flour is just fine but that too much can be difficult for some to digest .... and it is added to many condiments and other products that surely could be fine without it..
My Hubs with Vintage Yummy Recipes from my mother's collection
Regarding my mother's very vintage recipes, one of my sons who bakes them with me, and I give much thought and consideration to each one I have written about. For example, these recipes are native to the Wabash River area which has a much lower elevation than where I live now.
If you have not read about my early life, I was the youngest of nine children and we lived on a farm. We raised all of our own food ... meat, poultry, fruits, and vegetables. We also had milk cows so had plenty of rich milk, cream, and butter. We also had bees for pollination and for honey. We also had cane fields for the molasses that was harvested. Remember that we had no utilities and baking was done in a wood burning range.
For the above reasons, my son and I looked at any shortening ingredient ... when a recipe called for butter, we knew that butter was used. When a recipe called for heavy cream, I remember the thick clots of cream from our Jersey cow. Lard can be purchased at a grocery store but we used our own rendered lard from the hogs we butchered. As I mentioned above, we did give much thought to the ingredients.
I also made the cakes, etc. just prior to dinners when a number of people were present and, because of this, there were several to evaluate each.
If you choose to prepare one of my Hub recipes, just make sure you like the flavors and/or ingredients and enjoy!