What’s Cooking in Kodiak? Avocado Pineapple Mold Salad!


Music – “Recipe Hoe Down” from Big Bad Bantam Rooster by Tasha Platt. Released: 2009.

I have often found it amusing to pull some of the “community” and “regional” cookbooks from my collection to find common themes in terms of recipes, and there are many.

A “community” cookbook is a collection of recipes submitted by members of a particular local group, usually intended to be sold as a fund-raiser or as memorabilia, for example, a PTA, church, sports organization, etc.  So, then, what is a “regional” cookbook?  “Regional” describes things, which relate to a particular area of a country (bigger than local but smaller than national).  A few samples from my collection include:  “What’s Cooking in Kodiak“, “Utah Dining Car Cookbook“, “San Antonio Sizzles“, “The Great Minnesota Hot Dish“, “River Road Recipes“, and “Best of the Best from the Great Plains“.

However, does “Avocado Pineapple Mold” really reflect the regional cuisine of Kodiak, Alaska?

Hard to imagine a popular regional recipe in Kodiak, Alaska is “Avocado Pineapple Mold Salad” (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com)






Can “Seafood Supreme”  be all that common in landlocked Utah?

Is this Utah…..landlocked state with “Seafood Supreme” in some cookbooks? (Photo Credit: http://www.bigstockphoto.com)



Landlocked Utah (the land of “Seafood Supreme”) (Photo Credit: http://www.wikivoyage.org)







I didn’t expect to find recipes for “Breakfast Burritos” or “Chilaquile Hot Dish” in a regional cookbook from Minnesota,

Burritos from Minnesota? (Photo Credit: http://www.delish.com)








…or “Louisiana Gumbo” in “San Antonio Sizzles“.  Conversely, in “River Road Recipes“, published by the Junior League of Baton Rouge, LA,  I came across a recipe for the traditional British “Toad in the Hole” and one for “Chow Mein” (always a Southern staple!)

“Toad in the Hole”, the popular British dish. Also popular in Baton Rouge? (Photo Credit: http://www.ocado.com)





Another southern staple, if community cookbooks are correct: chow mein.






You might expect this to be in a recipe from a Baton Rouge cookbook, but “Toad in the Hole”? (Photo Credit: http://www.allposters.com)





Spaghetti Pizza“, “Taco Pizza” and “Seafood Salad in Mini Cream Puffs“, were hiding inside “Best of the Best from the Great Plains Cookbook“, which features recipes from North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas.

The ever popular (?!) “Spaghetti Pizza” (Photo Credit: http://www.foodbeast.com)




“Taco Pizza” is featured in a cookbook from the Great Plains. Who would have thought? (Photo Credit: http://www.avericooks.com)





Both my own father and my husband’s father were born in Nebraska, but neither ever mentioned scarfing down a Taco Pizza.





But, no matter what “community” cookbook or “regional” cookbook you might come across, one thing is certain:  they will almost always have a recipe for “Cheese Ball” and “Frozen Congealed Salad“!

The everlasting and ever-present “Cheese Ball”, sure to be found in any community or regional cookbook. (Photo Credit: http://www.the kitchn.com)


The delightful “Frozen Congealed Salad”, found in many cookbooks. (Photo Credit: http://www.thespruceeats.com)







And, if you ever make it to Kodiak, Alaska,  be on the lookout for those locally raised bananas to make “Banana Cream Pie“.

Locally grown bananas in Kodiak, Alaska (not!) (Photo Credit: http://www.natureandgarden.com)

Banana Cream Pie, a recipe featured in “What’s Cooking in Kodiak”. (Photo Credit: http://www.foodandwine.com)









On the other hand, “regional” also reflects not only the available resources for human consumption, but the people, who live in that area.  If you look at “regional” cookbooks in that light, every region is packed with a diverse population representing numerous cultures and the recipes they bring are reflected in these cookbooks.  Not so strange after all!

Diversity in food is reflected in many community and regional cookbooks, thanks to a cornucopia of food traditions from many countries. (Photo Credit: http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com)

My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

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Don’t Tell the Family You Dropped Dinner on the Floor!


Music – “Don’t Eat Food That Has Fallen on the Floor” from Hey Kids, It’s Birthday Party Time! by The Family Party Song Singers. Released: 2010

Most of us, who have ever hung out in the kitchen for any length of time, or who have read cookbooks, knows how critical sanitation is in food preparation.  I looked through some of the cookbooks in my collection, to see how this issue has been addressed over the years.

Why can’t a slice of bread ever land on the floor clean side down? (Photo Credit: http://www.123rf.com)



In “Principles of Food Preparation” by Freeland-Graves, published in 1979 and written for culinary professionals, the author indicates that one should not put wet items such as peelings, leftovers or scrapings in the wastepaper basket.  It not only encourages rodent infestation, but also “irritable janitors“.


H.L. Nichols, Jr., in “Cooking with Understanding” (1971), after discussing the issues of food, which has been dropped on the floor, he suggests that if the floor was freshly washed and “spotlessly clean”, you can salvage the food for serving.  However, he also notes that “It is not necessary to tell your family that part of their dinner was processed on the floor.  If  you feel like chatting about it, it is tactful to wait until after eating”.  Nice touch.

“Just scrape it off the floor and serve it to Table Four. They’ll never know” (Photo Credit: http://www.usatoday.com)





Then, there’s the infamous “five-second rule“, which suggests that if food dropped on the ground has been there five seconds or less, the food is still safe from nasty germs and other assorted disgusting things.  I wonder if the germs know they have to wait five seconds before launching an all-out attack?

“I’ve only got 5 seconds to pick up this food….which do I want the most?” (Photo Credit: http://www.time.com)


“Fido ate the stuff after five seconds. Why shouldn’t I?” (Photo Credit: http://www.hindustantimes.com)

There are a lot of ideas about food safety, some right, some wrong and some ridiculous.  Some folks seem to think leftovers are safe to eat until they smell bad, according to http://www.foodsafety.org.  How offensive does the odor have to be before one might eschew the food?  I never throw good food away that can be re-purposed into another meal.  Take it from me:  the freezer is your friend.  Germ infested food is not.  Now, go out there and mop your floor!

I think this plate of spaghetti makes the five-second rule out of the question. (Photo Credit: http://www.masterfile.com)


The cookies are probably safe within the five-second rule. It’s the glass shards you have to worry about! (Photo Credit: http://www.istockphoto.com)

Is she really going to scrape up all of this and serve it to her family? (Photo Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com)







My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

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Are Cookbooks Sexist?


“Stereotypes” from Hyrrs – Festive Hymns Made Feminist by Goldstein. Released: 2017

Sexism is generally described as “prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex“.  Synonyms include chauvinism and bias.  So, of all the venues to find incidences of sexism, cookbooks would not generally come to mind for most people. However, in my cookbook collection I have several cookbooks, which I would deem “sexist” in one fashion or another.  The earliest one dates to 1925 and features some interesting observations about the male sex!

“Feed the Brute!” by Marjorie Swift, 1925

In previous posts, I have often referred to my favourite cookbook in my collection:  “Feed the Brute!“, written by Marjorie Swift in 1925 and published in London.  In her introduction, the author acknowledges that”the brute” works very hard to support his family, and “…in connection with culinary affairs at least, the most important member of the household“.


Concerning the poor housewife, who slaves over a meal to serve “the brute”, Swift comments on the notion of appreciation.  According to her, the “average” man “…disapproves and leaves one in no doubt as to the depth of his disapproval, he appreciates – and says nothing“. Ain’t it the truth.  (Is that a sexist comment?)

“I’m not cooking….I’m managing you!” (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com)

One of her most eloquent comments once again concerns the male sex.  She notes that “The well-fed man is a happy man – and a very easily “managed” one too.  And since we women know that to maintain harmony every man however clever, however efficient, however charming, must be “managed,” let us feed him well first and manage him afterwards.”

Does this typify the”brute” that Marjorie Swift writes about? (Photo Credit: http://www.bigstockphoto.com)








Concluding her introduction to the book, Swift tells women to “Feed the Brute!” in order to create and maintain happiness of home…” Geez.  What a woman has to do to pacify the brute.

In the book, “Pre-Hispanic Cooking” (Cocina Prehispanica), by Ana M. de Benitez, first published in 1974 and translated into English by Mary Williams de Varela, there is a brief paragraph in the introduction, titled “Cooks” (Guisanderas).  At the end of the paragraph is a quote:

A woman who is not good at her duties is tiresome and annoying for she cooks badly, is dirty and swinish, greedy and sweet-toothed and cooks tortillas badly, and her dishes are burnt or salty or sour, and she is completely vulgar and coarse”(Tlaloc (Cod. Vaticano, A)


This burned tortilla was likely the work of a dirty, swinish, greedy and sweet-toothed woman. (Photo Credit: http://www.nivens.me.com)

“Pre-Hispanic Cooking”, by Ana M. De Benitez, 1974




Is this an example of being “sweet-toothed”? (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com) (edited by the author)

“….dirty and swinish…” (Photo Credit: http://www.american minipig association.com)









Fast forward to the 60’s and the 70’s.  Jinx Kragen and Judy Perry penned “The How to Keep Him (After You’ve Caught Him) Cookbook“, noted as “An irreverent and affectionate guide to the well-stuffed spouse”.  In their introduction, the authors note that “It’s true that men are much maligned, and at times rightfully so, as thoughtless, feckless creatures“.

“You’re nothing but a feckless creature” (Photo Credit: http://www.timescolonist.com)

“The How To Keep Him (After You’ve Caught Him) Cookbook, by Jinx Kragen and Judy Perry, 1968











Further, they comment that “Honestly.  What he does care about is what goes into his stomach, that you still look like the girl for whom he gave up his precious bachelor days and that you don’t greet him at the gate with an inventory of domestic difficulties”  No sexism here.  Just truth, right?

In 1974, Cory Kilvert wrote “The Male Chauvinist’s Cookbook” and gets right at it in his introduction.  “When you step into the kitchen to compliment the chef, whom do you find yourself addressing?  A woman?  Certainly not.  You find a man, a chef.  These two words are synonymous.  Cooks, on the other hand, are women, and this title never had – nor will ever have – the prestige or “panache” as chef“.  Tell that to Cat Cora or Alex Guarnaschelli!  Chapters include “Appetizers Guaranteed to Appetize Her“, “A Loaf of Bread, a Jug of Wine, and Pow!”and “The Morning After“.

“The Male Chauvinist’s Cookbook”, by Cory Kilvert, 1974






Check out the cover of vintage 1972 “How to Boil Water”, by Betty Jane Donahoe.  Note the position of the woman’s left pinky stuck in the gentleman’s ear.  Ick.

“Well, dear.  You did it.  You learned how to boil water!” (Photo Credit: http://www.lib.msu.edu)



More recently, there has been a lot of flack on the internet for cover photos on some of the “Instant Pot” series of cookbooks.  Judge for yourself.

“Look, dear…here is how to slice a pepper!”








Geez. This poor, wimpy, weak female can’t even open a bottle of ketchup? (Photo Credit: http://www.businessinsider.com)

“I’ll do this myself.  Women shouldn’t handle knives”








And, finally, two pithy quotes:

The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” (Pat Robertson)

If a man is talking in the forest, and there is no woman there to hear him, is he still wrong?” ( Jenny Weber)

No comment (Photo Credit: http://www.amazon.com)

My EatYourBooks cookbook collection


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Tantalizing Tomato Taste? NOT!


Music – “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes”. Released: 2009.

Green tomatoes before and after being sent to the gas chamber! (Photo Credit: http://www.newserv.com)

Once upon a time, tomatoes tasted good…..really good.  Now, unless you lovingly plant them in your backyard yourself and nurture them to fruition with care, the tomatoes you purchase in your local supermarket will have about as much taste and texture as a wad of cotton balls in your mouth.  You know…what you taste and choke on, when you’re sitting, helpless in the dentist’s chair.  Yecch!



One of my recent acquisitions was “The Good Cook’s Book of Tomatoes“, by Michele Anna Jordan, published in 1995, but updated in 2015.

“The Good Cook’s Book of Tomatoes” by Michele Anna Jordan.

Talking about tomatoes, the author notes that “Nearly every supermarket in the country features mounds of these pale, mushy tomatoes whose taste bears not even a shadowy resemblance to what we seek”.  She goes on to ask, “How did this happen?”


This is typical of the “supermarket” tomato. A bare touch of red color, pasty in texture and with virtually no taste. (Photo Credit: http://www.sciencemag.org)








More tasteless tomatoes wrapped in plastic (Photo Credit: http://www.veggies-only.blogspot.com)

Barry Estabrook, in his book, “Tomatoland“, talks about the commercial production of “supermarket” tomatoes.  As most of us already know, ethylene gas is sprayed on unripe green tomatoes, which causes them to turn red.

As the author notes:  “Ethylene is a gaseous plant hormone that regulates plant growth. When applied to fruits, it initiates the ripening process and causes the fruit to turn red. The chemical also affects the flavor by increasing sugar compounds and decreasing acidity within the fruit. This chemical is emitted naturally by plants in fields, but only when the plants naturally want to ripen”  The key here is “…only when the plants naturally want to ripen”.

More “supermarket” tomatoes. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Global Warming Images/REX/Shutterstock (2005361a)(www.thedailymash.co.uk)

Green, unripe tomatoes awaiting their turn in the gas chamber. (Photo Credit: http://www.frontlineservices.com.au)


The problem is that although the tomatoes turn a pleasant red color (sometimes), after being sprayed with ethylene, the fruit does not actually ripen.  Estabrook also points out that exposing immature fruit to the ethylene results in fruit with “poor eating quality“. No kidding!


Some of my regular readers might remember my post, “The Terrible Tale of the Tomato Tragedy” (May 6, 2016) in which I recanted the horror of losing almost all of my carefully planted tomato seeds in a portable greenhouse, indoors.  For weeks, watering, fertilizing, thinning, moving them for optimum sun, etc. until the fateful day came to put them outside to begin “hardening off”.

Alas, in the wee hours of the morning, without any warning, the formidable, but unpredictable canyon winds came roaring through our property, relentless and endless.  The sound of the crash of the toppled greenhouse outside my bedroom window at 3:00 am was my first clue that my precious seedlings were in trouble.  Of more than a hundred seedlings, I managed to save about 20.  Heartbreaking.

This year, I have ordered transplants for my garden.  The variety of tomatoes available is astounding!  Much research has been conducted over the years to not only bring back that luscious tomato flavor we all crave, but also to breed them to be disease and pest resistant.  A tough call, but great strides have been made.

From  Territorial Seed Company out of Cottage Grove, Oregon, I ordered 4 transplants, primarily for containers, which I have in my courtyard.  I have ordered from them previously, with good results.  In a few months I’ll be receiving the likes of “Lizzano Transplant Tomato“, “Ruby Crush Transplant Tomato“, “Red Racer Transplant Tomato“, and “Artemis Transplant Tomato“.

Lizzano Transplant Tomato (Photo Credit: http://www.territorialseed.com)

Ruby Crush Transplant Tomato (Photo Credit: http://www.terrritorialseed.com)





Red Racer Transplant Tomato (Photo Credit: http://www.territorialseed.com)

Artemis Transplant Tomato (Photo Credit: http://www.territorialseed.com)


I can hardly wait!  You can order directly from them online for immediate and delayed (according to your climate zone) purchases:  http://www.territorialseed.com.




Also this year, I ordered some additional transplants from a company I was unfamiliar with until I received their catalogue:  Gurney’s Seed & Nursery Company, located in Greendale, Indiana.  From their collection I will be receiving “Early Girl Tomato“, “Iron Lady Tomato” (I wonder if this is named after Margaret Thatcher?!), “Celebration Tomato“, “Gurney’s Ruby Monster Tomato” (I just love it when the word “monster” is used to describe vegetables!) and “Sweet Million Hybrid Tomato“.

Early Girl Tomato (Photo Credit: http://www.gurneys.com)

Iron Lady Tomato (Photo Credit: http://www.gurneys.com)

Celebration Tomato (Photo Credit: http://www.gurneys.com)













Gurney’s Ruby Monster Tomato (Photo Credit: http://www.gurneys.com)



They also have online purchasing for all of their products, including seeds, transplants and much more:  http://www.gurneys.com.

Sweet Million Hybrid Tomato (Photo Credit: http://www.gurneys.com)



So, here’s to the re-birth of the good ol’ tomato of our bygone childhoods.  Long live tomatoes with flavor!

My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

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Pop and Puff: Tomorrow is National Popcorn Day!


Music – “The Popcorn Song” from Fun Songs for Happy Kids – Favorite Lullabies, Rhymes, Stories & More by The Fontane Sisters & Howdy Doody. Released: 2012.

Well,  here we are.  Saturday, January 19th, 2019 is NATIONAL POPCORN DAY!  What are YOU doing to celebrate this annual event?  It comes but once a year, so be prepared.

W.C. Fields once said, “The laziest man I ever met put popcorn in his pancakes so they would turn over by themselves“.  Now, that’s lazy!  There is an unproven theory that an Indian named Quadequina brought a deerskin bag of popped corn for the first Thanksgiving feast on October 15, 1621. In 1948 and 1950, anthropologist Herbert Dick and botanist Earle Smith discovered ears of popcorn in the Bat Cave of west-central New Mexico.  So the story goes.

Bat Cave, located in west-central New Mexico (Photo Credit: National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers)

Americans eat a lot of popcorn per year and there are hundreds of flavours out there.  I remember going to the movies as a kid and getting a small cardboard container with some slippery yellow fluid drizzled over the popcorn.  I’m not certain what it was, but it was probably not butter!  So, tomorrow, get out your popcorn poppers or Jiffy Pop bags (do they still make those?) and pop away!

Harry Kalenberg creates his own version of “pop” art, using magic markers! (Photo Credit: starlocalmedia.com)

Great idea! (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com)

Art is in the eye of the beholder (Sculpture by Aden Hynes) (Photo Credit: http://www.sculpturestudios.co.uk)

I would discourage anyone from eating this kind of popcorn (and the Tide pods!) (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com)

(Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com)

So, what faces do you see in YOUR popcorn? (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com)

Clearly, I am NOT doing my part in popcorn consumption! (Photo Credit: http://www.popcorn.org)

“It’s a tad dry. Can I have some soda to wash it down?” (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com)

This fellow takes his popcorn eating seriously! (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.co.uk)

Largest popcorn ball (Indiana State Fair) (Photo Credit: http://www.empirepopcorn.co.uk)

Photo of one of the stores of “Popcorn World” (Photo Credit: http://www.yelp.com)

According to their website, “Popcorn World” carries a HUGE variety of popcorn flavours:  Caramel Almond, Caramel Cashew, Caramel Extra Butter, Caramel Peanut, Caramel Pecan, Caramel Sea-Salt, Cheese & Caramel Mix, Cheese Coated Caramel, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Kettle Corn, Movie Theater Butter, Bacon & Cheddar, BBQ, BBQ Bacon, BBQ Pizza, Bold Chipotle, Cheese, Cheese & Caramel Mix, Cheese Coated Caramel, Crab Legs,Dill Pickle, Dirty Dill Pickle, Gumbo, Hawaiian Pizza, Hot Cheddar, Hot White Cheddar, Hot Wings, Hot Wings W/ Blue Cheese, Hot Wings W/ Ranch, Jalapeno Spinach, Loaded Baked Potato, Mesquite BBQ, Parmesan & Garlic, Pizza, Roasted Garlic & Herb, Salt & Vinegar, Sea-Salt & Cracked Pepper, Southwest Jalapeno, Spicy Dill, Sriracha & Garlic, White Cheddar, Banana Nut Bread, Banana Pudding, Birthday Cake, Blackberry Cream Cheese Cobbler, Blueberry Cheesecake, Blueberry Muffin, Butterfinger, CAP’N Crunch,Cherry Cheesecake, Coconut Cream Pie, Cookies & Cream, Dark Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Coconut Almond, Dark Chocolate Peppermint, Dark Chocolate Pomegranate, Dark Chocolate Pretzel, Egg Nog Spiked, Ginger Bread, Key-Lime Pie, Lemon Meringue Pie, M&M’s Peanut, M&M’s Plain, Milk Chocolate Bavarian Cream, Milk Chocolate Coconut Almond, Mint Chocolate Chip, Mint Chocolate Oreo, Orange Dreamsicle, Oreo Cheesecake, Oreo Cherry Cheesecake, Oreo Strawberry Cheesecake, PB&J Grape, PB&J Strawberry, Peanut Butter Banana, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Pineapple Upside Down Cheesecake, Rice Krispies Treats, Root Beer Float, Snickers, Strawberry Cheesecake, Twix, Wedding Cake, White Chocolate, White Chocolate Bavarian Cream, White Chocolate Drizzle, White Chocolate Peppermint, White Chocolate Pretzel, Blue Raspberry, Bubble Gum, Cotton Candy, Pineapple, Rainbow Mix, Strawberry Lemonade, Watermelon, and that’s not the entire list!

These are the states producing the majority of popcorn (Photo Credit: http://www.popcorn.org)

Here’s one way to enjoy popcorn! (Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com)

So, tomorrow, get up and get popping!

My EatYourBooks cookbook collection


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Christmas in New Mexico and the “River of Lights”


Music – “Christmas in New Mexico” from Christmas in New Mexico by Jerry Dean. Released: 2013

(This is a partial re-post from 2013 with some great additions!)

Christmas in New Mexico

December, 1994 was my first Christmas in my new home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Although our neighbourhood and surrounding neighbourhoods had the usual strings of Christmas lights, Santa Clauses and snowmen cutouts and the like, I was surprised to find that many residential areas, businesses, city buildings, hotels, etc., put out thousands of luminarias on Christmas Eve. There were so many of them, especially in neighbourhoods around what is called Old Town, the city started running Luminaria Tours.

Christmas Lights in Canada

Christmas Lights in Canada

Luminarias in Old Town, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Christmas Eve

Luminarias in Old Town, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Christmas Eve

More Luminarias

More Luminarias

In 2004, my husband and I took my Mom, who had moved here in 2003, on one of the tours and it was incredible. As far as the eye could see, thousands of luminarias lining sidewalks, on rooftops and parapets, in parks and plazas, around and on top of churches: they were everywhere. It was pretty awesome and looked like a fairyland. Christmas in New Mexico is a candle sellers dream!

luminaria 5 Some people refer to them as farolitos(little lanterns), but they are one in the same. In northern New Mexico, the farolito is the bag with the candle inside, but in the southern part of the state, the same thing is called a luminaria.

luminaria 3
True luminarias are a New Mexico tradition and are small (sandwich size) paper bags, filled with a couple of inches of sand. The top of the bag is folded over a bit for stability and a single white votive candle is placed inside. When lit, the golden glow lights up the dark night in a quiet and peaceful way. That first year, I wanted luminarias for our yard, to experience the tradition.

Filling the Luminarias with sand and a votive candle. Thousands are sold around Christmas

Filling the Lumarias with sand and a votive candle. Thousands are sold around Christmas

Early in November, you could drive around Albuquerque and see signs posted for purchasing luminarias by the dozen (filled and candle included), from church groups, charitable organizations, youth groups and just about everyone else.

I purchased 6 dozen of them, which were delivered the week before Christmas. On Christmas Eve, 1994, my husband and I placed them around our yard, lining the sidewalk and garden and patiently lit them, one by one. Fortunately, it was not windy, which can sometimes be a problem. How the candles never end up torching the bags and setting the yard on fire is still anathema to me, but it’s been going on for a long time and you never read of a luminaria fire from the Christmas Eve tradition.

The Spanish, Mexican and Native American traditions are strong in New Mexico, and Christmas is a time of feasting. Posole is a Southwest tradition at this time. Posole is dried hominy and it may be made as a dish in itself, but is more often featured with boned pork, onions, chiles and spices.

Posole, a traditional Christmas tradition in New Mexico, made with dried hominy

Posole, a traditional Christmas tradition in New Mexico, made with dried hominy

Other popular holiday dishes include Pumpkin and Chile Soup, Carne Adobada (pork chops marinated in red chile sauce), Red Chile Tamales and Albondigas Soup (a type of meatball soup with red chile).

Red Chile Tamales

Red Chile Tamales

Albondigas, meatball soup

Albondigas, meatball soup

Carne Adobada

Carne Adobada












Biscochitos (the traditional spelling is Bizcochitos) (New Mexican sugar cookies) are also a Christmas specialty in New Mexico.

Bizcochitos or Biscochitos, New Mexican Sugar Cookiesark

The “River of Lights” in Albuquerque – Another Holiday Tradition!

One of the most incredible holiday events in Albuquerque began in 1996 and is sponsored by the New Mexico Biopark Society in partnership with the City of Albuquerque.  The “River of Lights” is an incredible, sprawling, impressive display of lights at the Albuquerque Biopark Botanic Garden.  There are 550 sculptures, with 12 miles of extension cords and 200 miles of light strings containing millions of individual twinkling lights of all colours.  The displays and animated sculptures range from a 1-foot flower to a 30-foot high Brontosaurus!  Although it is hard to get a sense of the scale of this installation, the tractors, cows, cacti and many more are life-size, not to mention the Brontosaurus!

My husband I and toured this amazing display on December 12th and were awed by this spectacular work of art.  Of course, it wouldn’t be New Mexico without a UFO, and there is a fabulous UFO hovering above the grounds, abducting a cow!   USA Today has sponsored a “Best Botanical Garden Holiday Lights” (Reader’s Choice) contest and the “River of Lights” is among the top 10 nominees. Enjoy the following slide show!

Author’s Note:  The Biopark “River of Lights” placed No. 8 on USA Today’s list, but as far as I’m concerned it should have been No. 1!

(all photos in the slide show by Sue Jimenez, 2018)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Enjoy whatever holiday you celebrate at this time of year. Merry Christmas from New Mexico! Navidad Alegre y Felices Fiestas de Nuevo México!

My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

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The Gourmand’s Twelve Days of Christmas (revisited!)

Continue reading

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Hamba kakuhle, Mr. Mandela (“Goodbye, go well” in Mr. Mandela’s first language, isiXhosa

Music – “We Salute You Nelson Mandela” from Global Legends by Bappi Lahiri. Released: 2013

This is a re-post from December 6th, 2013 and I publish it again today to honour Mr. Mandela, who left us on December 5th, 2013.  A huge loss.

In light of the death of Nelson Mandela yesterday, I thought it might be appropriate to talk about the cookbook, “Ukutya Kwasekhaya” (home food),”Tastes from Nelson Mandela’s Kitchen”, written by Mr. Mandela’s personal chef for many years, Xoliswa Ndoyiya. Ms. Ndoyiya not only cooked for the Mandela family, but cared for his grandchildren as well and became a beloved member of their family. Ms. Ndoyiya began working for the Mandelas shortly after Mr. Mandela was released from prison in February, 1990.

"Ukutya Kwasekhaya" (home food) - "Tastes from Nelson Mandela's Kitchen, by Xoliswa Ndoyiya

“Ukutya Kwasekhaya” (home food) – “Tastes from Nelson Mandela’s Kitchen, by Xoliswa Ndoyiya

The recipes are the favourites of members of the Mandela family and the author notes that, “Although he’s the most famous man in the world, Madiba’s tastes are simple and he is happiest with traditional South African food”. Nelson Mandela was born Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, although throughout her book, Ms. Ndoyiya refers to him as “Madiba”, which was his clan name and also a nickname for him.

Nelson Mandela with the family's chef and author of "Ukutya Kwasekhaya", Xoliswa Ndoyiya.

Nelson Mandela with the family’s chef and author of “Ukutya Kwasekhaya”, Xoliswa Ndoyiya.

Recipes in the cookbook are diverse: Potato Bread, Isophu (sugar bean and white maize soup), Peri-Peri Chicken, Late-Start Starter fish, Peanut Butter and Spinach Soup, Umxhaxha (corn and pumpkin), Citrus Pudding, and many more intriguing dishes. The cookbook is well worth having on one’s cookbook shelf and the Nelson Mandela Foundation facilitated its publication in 2011.

Hamba kakuhle, Mr. Mandela.


Posted in Collecting, Collections, Comfort Food, Cookbooks, Cooking, Cooking and Social History, Guinness World Records, Uncategorized, Vintage Cookbooks | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More Talk about Cookbooks (What else?!)

Well, give me an opening and I’ll walk right in.  I was recently contacted by Assistant Producer, Andrew Ceco, of the radio talk show “Constant Wonder“, out of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.  The subject was (naturally), cookbooks.  Host Rachel Sherman plied me with cookbook questions, most of which (I hope) I answered without sounding like a nerd.  You be the judge!

(Right click on the link below and select “open link in new tab”.  Click on tab “Episode – BYU Radio” to open the program and move to the 21:59 minute mark to start the interview.  Return to the tab “More Talk About Cookbooks” and return to the post to watch the slide show, while listening to me ramble on about cookbooks!)


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Posted in Collecting, Collections, Cookbooks, Cooking, Cooking and Social History, Cooking Technology, Eating, Food Fads, Food Trends, Guinness World Records, New Mexico, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized, Vintage Cookbooks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Excuse Me, But There’s a Chihuahua in my Turkey !


Music – “What’s Cooking” from What’s Cooking by The Wolfe Gang. Released: 2010

In honour of Thanksgiving later this week, I’m running this earlier 2014 post about the questions posed to the Butterball Turkey Hot Line over the years.  Read it and laugh (or weep!)

We’ve all heard experts, teachers and the like say There’s no such thing as a dumb question. I’ve said it myself, while teaching a course in Forensic Anthropology to non-science students. One evening, following a brief discussion of how to determine the sex of an individual from the bones of the skeleton, one of my students quipped “It’s easy. All you do is count the number of ribs. If it’s a man, he’ll be missing a rib as he had to give it up to God to create Eve”. Well, I really didn’t know how to respond.

In the world of food and cooking, I find it amusing and sometimes bewildering to read the questions folks write in to various sites for cooking advice. Butterball Turkey has had it’s share of doozies over the year, and other websites geared around cooking usually feature a “Q & A” section, which are tremendously enlightening.

Here is a sampling of some of the questions posed to various websites. I have taken the liberty of addressing the questions with my OWN responses:

Can you microwave a box of wine? (Probably not a good idea, but why would you want 5 litres of hot boxed wine?)

After eating rancid butter, what should one do? (Serve up some moldy bread to go with it?)

Just the thing to go with the rancid butter you ate (Photo Credit: www.huffington.post.ca)

Just the thing to go with the rancid butter you ate (Photo Credit: http://www.huffington.post.ca)

Can you be harmed if you eat wax paper? (It depends. Is it a name brand wax paper or the cheap generic stuff?)

Check to see if your wax paper is name brand or generic before consuming. (Photo Credit: www.theartofdoingstuff.com)

Check to see if your wax paper is name brand or generic before consuming. (Photo Credit: http://www.theartofdoingstuff.com)

How long does it take for a poison hemlock to kill a person? (Ask Socrates)

How old is the oldest Twinkie? (See photo below)

Apparently, "Twinkies" have been around since the Druids built Stonehenge. (Photo Credit: www.sodahead.com)

Apparently, “Twinkies” have been around since the Druids built Stonehenge. (Photo Credit: http://www.sodahead.com)

On Easter Sunday is Chuck E Cheese Open? (Is this a food question?)

Does fudge taste less good if it’s shaped like poop?
(This must be a question for the psychologists in the room)

A query to www.foodista.com asks which fudge you'd prefer. This one, or..... (Photo Credit: www.tampa.about.com)

A query to http://www.foodista.com asks which fudge you’d prefer. This one, or….. (Photo Credit: http://www.tampa.about.com)

....this one? (Photo Credit: www.elanaspantry.com)

….this one? (Photo Credit: http://www.elanaspantry.com)







Can you cook on both oven racks?
(Yes…even simultaneously!)

How do I unbake a cake?
(Don’t start in the first place)

"Marge, I think it's too late to ask the Food Channel about how to unbake a cake" (Photo Credit: www.dmdehaven.wordpress.com)

“Marge, I think it’s too late to ask the Food Channel about how to unbake a cake” (Photo Credit: http://www.dmdehaven.wordpress.com)

And, the inevitable turkey questions that surface at Thanksgiving. The folks at the Butterball Turkey Hotline have heard them all, I‘m sure!:

Can I brine my turkey in the washing machine? (Only if you wash your clothes regularly at a Laundromat)

Can I take my frozen turkey into my sauna to thaw it faster? (How many people are in the sauna at the same time as the turkey?)

If it’s not brown enough, how long should I leave it in my tanning bed? (When it starts peeling, I’d take it out)

Is it OK to thaw my turkey in the bathtub while bathing my kids? (How dirty are your kids?)

If you're going to use this method to defrost your turkey, don't add kids and soap. (Photo Credit: www.twoguyseatlunch.blogspot.com)

If you’re going to use this method to defrost your turkey, don’t add kids and soap. (Photo Credit: http://www.twoguyseatlunch.blogspot.com)

What does ‘remove from heat’ mean? (Really?)



Can I use my oven’s self cleaning cycle to speed up the cooking process? (If you prefer incinerated turkey, why not?)

Cooking a turkey using your oven's self-cleaning cycle is not recommended (Photo Credit: www.somethingnewfor dinner.com)

Cooking a turkey using your oven’s self-cleaning cycle is not recommended (Photo Credit: http://www.somethingnewfor dinner.com)

If I cut my turkey with a chainsaw will the oil affect the taste? (Only if you lick the chainsaw)

Can popcorn be popped in the turkey’s cavity during the roasting process? (Is this microwave popcorn or Jiffy Pop stovetop popcorn?)

Kids, don't try this at home! (Photo Credit: www.eetimes.com)

Kids, don’t try this at home! (Photo Credit: http://www.eetimes.com)

How do I get the bleach I used off the bird? (Drop it in the tub when you’re bathing the kids)

How do I get my Chihuahua out of the turkey?
(Is this before or after roasting?)

"Don't worry Pepe...I'll try to get you out before she puts the turkey in the oven!" (Photo Credit: www.harry.enzoverder.be/cats)

“Don’t worry Pepe…I’ll try to get you out before she puts the turkey in the oven!” (Photo Credit: http://www.harry.enzoverder.be/cats)

My 5 pound turkey has been in the oven 24 hours. Do you think it’s done? (Probably. I suspect that anything that was hazardous to your health is long dead)

Can you thaw a turkey by wrapping it in an electric blanket? (Why not go the extra mile and just cook it in there too?)

The turkey in my freezer is 23 years old. Is it safe to eat? (It depends. How old are you?)

Can I baste my turkey with suntan lotion? (Are you cooking it in a solar oven??)

Here's what happens it you put suntan lotion on your turkey (Photo Credit: www.crazyshenanigans.com)

Here’s what happens it you put suntan lotion on your turkey (Photo Credit: http://www.crazyshenanigans.com)

How long does it take to thaw a fresh turkey? (Not long)

How do I prepare a turkey for vegetarians?
(Carve it in the shape of a cauliflower and stuff it with a lot of vegetables)

Proper vegetarian turkey (Photo Credit: www.blog.nativefoods.com)

Proper vegetarian turkey (Photo Credit: http://www.blog.nativefoods.com)

How long does it take to cook a turkey if I leave the oven door open the whole time? (Are you trying to heat your apartment or cook a turkey?)

How long will it take to cook a frozen 34 pound turkey?
(How much vacation time to you have?)

Better ask your boss for extra time off at Thanksgiving to cook this bird! (Photo Credit: www.severedisability kid.blogspot.com)

Better ask your boss for extra time off at Thanksgiving to cook this bird! (Photo Credit: http://www.severedisability kid.blogspot.com)











The above questions were compiled from the following websites:


(the tongue-in-cheek responses are my own!)

Posted in Collecting, Collections, Comfort Food, Cookbooks, Cooking, Cooking and Social History, Cooking Technology, Eating, Guinness World Records, Menu Planning, New Mexico, Recipes, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized, Vintage Cookbooks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment