Jump to Recipe↓

Spending 8 hours organizing a 4×5 pantry seems excessive. But I did, and more really nice plastic containers and dark wicker baskets came out than you’d imagine. Also out were dozens of small cookbooks, some never used. Most never used, really. At the time of acquisition, there were high hopes if not solid plans.

I did keep three. First, Joy of Cooking. My first copy came from my former band leader, Homer Anderson. He was a larger-than-life figure well known throughout Texas. For context, he was directing at the high school when my mother was there. As time went by, the cookbook became, well, what’s the best word? Oily? I finally bought the 1997 version. There were a couple dozen earlier ones. The history includes contentious episodes between the writer(s) and the publisher(s). The original version was chatty in that process was necessary for product. Irma Bombauer began the book to cope with her husband’s death; her daughter and then son continued the legacy. Occasionally, a favorite recipe will have the designation “Cockaigne.” It’s an odd word, the name of her country home (ah, to have that) that means a mythical land of luxury and laziness. (The German word is even better—Schlarafferland: Land of Lazy Monkeys.) Joy is officially America’s most popular cookbook. And Julia Child’s.

The next was a favorite of my husband’s family. Helen Corbitt moved to Texas from New York. She ran tea rooms at the University of Texas and then various clubs before arriving at Neiman-Marcus in Dallas. Her food was quite the rage, excellent food made from fresh ingredients, but luscious. Her universally famous poppy seed dressing can’t be matched; the recipe makes a lot. My husband made her Lemon Velvet Ice Cream for many years, at great expense, to take to work. It has no parallel. After he died, one of his work mates sent condolences then asked if by any chance I would share the recipe. Of course.

Lemon Velvet Ice Cream

1 qt. plus 1 1/3 c. whipping cream

1 qt. plus 1 1/3 c. milk

Juice of 8 lemons

4 c. sugar

2 t. lemon extract

1 T. grated lemon rind

Mix thoroughly and freeze according to directions for ice cream maker. Makes 1 gallon.

Her cornbread recipe is the only one I make. No sugar, which is the correct way. But mostly used for dressing/stuffing a turkey.

Finally, an obscure selection now out of print is The Flavor-Principle Cookbook. Its premise is simple: each cuisine has its own set of spices and cooking techniques (principles) which make it identifiable. So, it’s not that Mexican food is tacos and enchiladas. Instead, the principle of tomato-cumin-chili is the basis for flavoring them. There are only 12 given that can yield dozens of recipes. The first they discuss is Soy+. If to soy sauce you add garlic, brown sugar, and sesame seed, the result is the basis for much Korean food. With 7 +s, you would have the principles for most of Asia. It’s fascinating the diversity that results. I once made a delicious curried turkey. Not with the aforementioned dressing, but a tender and delicious result all the same.

How often do I use these 3 beloved cookbooks? Pretty much never. The cornbread recipe is on a particularly oily page and opens right to it. That happens once a year. The others? Nope.

What is everyone doing? Googling the top recipe for…anything. After comparing several, I’m ready to go. Sometimes a recipe catches my eye like the infamous self-rising flour and ice cream bread. Inedible. Disappointing loss of ice cream

Most sites have long, uninteresting commentary but allow readers to “Jump to Recipe.” There’s even a discontinued podcast with that title.

“Jump” is a word that we use. We’re always jumping into something—the shower, a project, conclusions. The middle of something we shouldn’t be in at all. A tutorial here. A memory from childhood here (Teddy bear, Teddy bear..)

Mostly I have no jumping other than to the recipe. That’s okay, I guess. If we have lots of time during the post-apocalypse evenings, cooking with words will probably come back into fashion. That would involve learning how to cook with an actual fire. I predict lots of salads.

Teacakes

Juneteenth is next week, and I’ve written about it several times, usually mentioning Opal Lee. Her traditional walk is in Dallas this year, and if you want to participate, I can get you a sponsorship. The church partnership continues Saturday, and since every time is different, what happens this year will be interesting, too. Here is an article about last year. As I say regularly, I’m very proud of the Dallas Morning News article from 2021. You have to be a subscriber to open it, but if you’d like a PDF, I can supply one.

Saturday, five of us met to do half the baking—another group will bake on Friday. Here is an article about our time. What struck me this time was how much information can be shared in a few hours. Stories ranged from the births of two babies the day before (a niece and nephew) to a courtship, the plight of Ukrainians to a delicious zucchini relish.

There was a lot of science first, though. If you notice, the recipe doesn’t have instructions except for baking temperature and time. The other variables were many. The theory of creaming the sugar into the butter as it emulsifies, yielding a deeper flavor, seemed right. There was beauty too—a particularly beautiful teacake enticed one baker to eat it right away rather than risk losing that beauty to another next week.

So, yes, it’s not stepping in the same river twice. It’s a new day every day. (“Tomorrow” is an iconic song from the musical Annie. Love it or hate the original, this version is remarkable. Her name is Sydnie Christmas on Britain’s Got Talent; her “My Way” is spectacular, and that’s a song I don’t love. As long as we’re at it—her winning “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”) You’re welcome.

Hymn Search

On April 9, the day after the eclipse, the family gathered to play Eye Know, the trivia game with the cool box. The resulting blogpost was “Everyone (Doesn’t) Know.” The scenario I now approach is one that I didn’t attend. On May 2, the National Day of Prayer, I attended the one hosted by Thanks-Giving Square with David Brooks. Other friends chose the local one in Duncanville instead, with a different format. Downtown we did open with three long prayers by leaders from Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders. The closing, less than a minute, was by Rev. Peter Johnson, an important figure in the civil rights movement. (He is quite impressive; here is a brief interview in which he discusses forgiveness.) In the middle we had David Brooks, the Dallas poet laureate Mag Gabbert, and President Biden’s Proclamation.

The Duncanville event did not have the presidential proclamation, but they did have Governor Abbott’s proclamation read. No luncheon or speaker, but multiple prayers on topics important to the citizens. And singing, which Dallas did not have. A friend in attendance knew only one of the hymns, hence my project to enlighten him. I thought it would be easy. It’s not. Here’s why.

There are indeed a few songs that everyone knows. That list is very short: “Amazing Grace”  by Andrea Bocelli at the national event this year or Pentatonix or Judy Collins; “How Great Thou Art” by Elvis in 1977 (not sure what adjective—dramatic seems too mild) or George Beverly Shea, in 1957, all different interpretations; and “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” by the Tabernacle Choir or a music video that will make you weep.

The 10 hymns in most Protestant hymn books reduces to 8 with the first two above left out.

Are there only 10 we all need to know? No. Take a breath and consider these.

  • “Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty” here at an Anglo-Catholic church in Philadelphia.
  • “The Old Rugged Cross” by the Redeemed Quartet in a country arrangement (/steel).
  • “Blessed Assurance” by CeCe Winans.
  • “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” by Mahalia Jackson, whom you need to know.
  • “Crown Him with Many Crowns” with a congregation at Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, California.
  • “Hymn of Promise” is a modern hymn by Natalie Sleeth, a prolific hymn composer of our day who was a member of Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas. Here is a solo version with Debra Nesgoda. It was the final hymn sung at the recent funeral, so pay close attention to the lyrics based on Ecclesiastes 3:3—To everything there is a season.
  • “In the Garden” with Anne Murray and yes, more steel guitar.
  • “This Little Light of Mine” by a gospel choir auditioning for America’s Got Talent.
  • “Jesus Loves Me” with a little boy and others signing in ASL. Perhaps you can after watching.
  • “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow” or the Doxology, the shortest of the short.

Only 20? Again, no. I’ve even left out some of my favorites in the interest of bedtime. (Slipping in one, “Standing on the Promises” which I’d never heard and was told that, yes, everyone knows it.” This site has 100!

Technically, this is just a list. Checking out the links will take a while if you do that. What I’m most interested is your reply. What isn’t here that absolutely should be? Simple enough. A favor for my friend…!