542: Underappreciated Cookbooks
I'm Molly. And I'm Matthew and this is spilled milk, the show where we cook something delicious. Eat it all and you can't have any.
Matthew Amster-Burton 0:10
And today we're talking about underappreciated cookbooks. That's
right. So this episode was suggested by listener Chloe, who phrased it as old or underappreciated cookbooks that we like.
Matthew Amster-Burton 0:23
Yeah. And we're I think we're interpreting this to mean sort of cookbooks that are too too young to be considered classics maybe, but too old to be like the book that people are talking about now. Yeah, so kind of like stuff from the 80s 90s 2000s
I noticed that you and I both kind of started around like the mid 90s Yeah, and worked our way up through Well, approximately the first decade of the 2000s
Matthew Amster-Burton 0:48
Yeah, so I'm excited for this was this was a great pick. If I sound a little bit like scratchy scratchy Kathleen turnery it's because I have a cold it's not COVID I took a binax now this morning, wow. By
next now, do you want to advertise on our show? We would love that. Anyway, Matthew, I want to start with my memory lane. Please do my memory lane my like, old or underappreciated cookbook that I remember from like being a younger person is Molly catsynth. Book still life with menu and I think Molly cats and of course it is well known for many books, the Moosewood Cookbook and chanted broccoli forest those are the first two that come to mind and call it
Matthew Amster-Burton 1:30
something like Tuesdays with Moosewood I think you have like Thursdays with maurey What the hell already there's like
Sundays at Moosewood but I think that one may hold on Matthew you're confusing things because I think that one may be made by the Moosewood collective Okay, not Molly,
Matthew Amster-Burton 1:43
but I do like that. The idea that like that, Mitch Albom like saccharin bug and and a Moosewood Cookbook, like somehow got together.
Yeah, they got together and made a cookbook with no saccharin in it. The
Matthew Amster-Burton 1:55
for the for moose is you meet in heaven, that sort of thing. Okay.
Anyway, so Molly Katzman has made many more cookbooks than I think a lot of like today's cookbook readers No, because some of her books are sadly no longer in print. And one of them that's really hard to get ahold of is still life with menu, which is gorgeous. It's filled with Molly cats and extremely like colorful cheering artwork. I think a lot of it is maybe done in pastels. Okay,
Matthew Amster-Burton 2:25
so that's, that's the still life part. That's
the still life part. And the book is organized in menus as you may have assumed, but the thing is, is I remember coming across this book, just when I was getting interested in cooking, and there was a lot of just right away there were a lot of menus in this that made me feel like this is what like a good adulthood like So Joe,
Matthew Amster-Burton 2:46
can you think of an example um, there's a
soup in there that I really love but for some reason I'm thinking of a menu I remember the dessert was some sort of like, like ginger cookie and the way that the I mean this all sounds really ordinary now that I'm talking about it but the way that the whole menu was put together I don't have a copy of this cookbook my mom has it sure but the way the whole menu was put together I remember I made the whole menu all the way down to the ginger cookies. And it just you know I was in high school and I think I just I've always felt like a really a really good version of adulthood would be kind of the the version where you're like a professor emeritus or something with like, you know, your bookshelves and you've got your you know, your your study or your library where you sit around and you sip your tea or your bourbon and you read all your books. And then like you and your spouse throw these occasional like dinner parties where you make food that is basically out of Molly Katz and still life with menu cook
Matthew Amster-Burton 3:51
Professor Emeritus sounds like the best job I understand that it's not a job but it's like you can you can like kind of wander into work if you feel like it and everyone will respect you because you won prizes and published a lot of stuff. Yeah, but you don't actually have to do any work
and you get to read a lot you get to feel like maybe you've done something good for the world for knowledge and only collecting a university pension and you probably have some friends who have like really interesting things to talk about and so you have them over and you make Molly cats and recipes and you live well. Oh, this
Matthew Amster-Burton 4:22
sounds great. Yeah, you're living in like some you know, medium sized college town. Yes,
exactly. Oh, I'm so glad that that you get this I do like Grinnell Yes, exactly. Okay. Anyway. Or Oberlin, Ohio. Yeah, that seems like the way to go okay. Anyway, so yeah, Mollie Katzen still life with menu if you can get your hands on it. It's sold. You know, if you go to biblio.com Sure, they for sure have it anyway. God what a charming book and what a beautiful life is represented in those pages.
Matthew Amster-Burton 4:54
Okay. I also have some memory lane in mind also centers around an out of print cookbook. This book is called Power Presto by Norman cold pass, okay, this was the cookbook that I brought to college with me cooked from at college once and like made like, like sausage and tomato sauce for like everyone who lived in my hall. Okay. Was this like your freshman year is my freshman year?
Yeah, the kitchens in your hall? I mean, was it was there like one kitchen per Hall?
Matthew Amster-Burton 5:22
No, there was one kitchen for the whole dorm and two people actually cook there you really it was not difficult to reserve it for the night that I wanted. Okay, if this was this was just like a great like it had like 100 pasta sauce recipes. Basically, it was like a great beginner cookbook. And Norman COPASS was one of these guys who like in the 80s wrote like a ton of single subject cookbooks. Okay. And I think like, his his contributions are, like, largely forgotten at this point. But like, this book meant a lot to me. When I was a young person, and what happened to it? I don't know where it is. Now. It's certainly easy to get a used copy. Yeah.
Uh, do you think that like your mom had it? And that was how you came upon it? Absolutely.
Matthew Amster-Burton 6:02
For sure. And we're going to talk about some more Judy Amster influences later on the episode.
Oh, this is so fun already. Okay. Ah, okay. Should we just take turns kind of going back and forth? Yeah, let's do it. And I realized as I stood in front of my bookshelf, and pulled off the books that I chose for today, and strangely, I put them off in chronological order, like, like, so I as I took them down off the bookshelf and jotted them into our agenda for today. And then I would go to the copyright page and look at the, the the publication date. I pulled them off the shelf in chronological order. So
Matthew Amster-Burton 6:41
you're saying you're a wizard. I'm saying
I'm a wizard.
Matthew Amster-Burton 6:44
Okay. Like I like a Crono. Like, like a wizard that fucks with tie. Yeah. Which I think is called a Croteau. With
yeah, I've got maybe I've got like the, like the time turner that Dumbledore gave Hermione? Yeah, like, or was it mechanical? I don't know. No,
Matthew Amster-Burton 7:00
that was a long time ago. Okay. Even even by Time Turner standards, but like, like, if you could fuck with, like, say you could like a turn back to you. That's what I'm asking if you could turn back time, if you could, if you could find a way is that? Um, yeah, yeah, that's, I
mean, I probably take back those words. Okay.
Matthew Amster-Burton 7:19
I have another question. Yes. Do you believe in life after love?
Alright, Matthew, do you want to go with your book first, or shall I go?
Matthew Amster-Burton 7:27
I'll go, okay. Let's, let's continue the, the Judy Amster narrative arc, perfect, cuz I remember her at some point. Like, I don't know what the circumstances were. And I think she had like, probably cooked from this book. Like for me when I was a kid. But like, gave me this book and said, just like, this is one of the best. And I have I've had it in my collection ever since and have made so many things from
and there is something about your mother in particular that when she says this is the best, I believe her like, I don't know that my mom says that about very many things. I don't know that my mom has ever presented anything to me that way. But I can totally imagine your mom doing that. And I just I would be utterly convinced.
Matthew Amster-Burton 8:09
Yeah, and I should say like, I grew up in a house full of literally 1000s of cookbooks. Because
your we should I don't know just the listener. No.
Matthew Amster-Burton 8:17
I mean, I think some do and some don't. Okay, Judy Amster. Matthew's mother
is legendary, I would say among food, the food book appreciating world of Seattle for having 1000s of cookbooks.
Matthew Amster-Burton 8:31
Yeah, she's so she is a cookbook, collector and consultant. And she was she will always say like, people assume that means like, she must be a great cook. And she is a very good home cook. But like that's not the point of cookbook collecting the point of cookbook collecting is you love cookbooks. And so you know, people will will like ask her for help, like I need. I'm looking for this cookbook that I remembered from when I was young, or like I need some books on this subject, and she can produce them often just like from books on her shelf. It's crazy. So the book that we're talking about is cucina simpatico by Johanna Joanne Killeen and George Germont of the Al Forno restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island, which I've been to a couple of times,
I'm pretty sure that we have mentioned the at least the baked pasta from that on episodes before, very springy baked pasta. Perfect for this time of year.
Matthew Amster-Burton 9:20
Yeah, so this is it's an Italian cookbook from an Italian restaurant, but it is very, it has a real point of view. And like it really does, like feel like of the early 90s. But like all of the recipes still hold up beautifully. Georgia mom passed away a few years ago, but they were they were the originators of grilled pizza. First of all, okay, um, like, just just every recipe in the book is just like, you know, oh, that's what I want to eat and that's what I want to eat and they're very simple, but you know, just like, like there'll be just like a little twist in each one that just makes it like the right version of that recipe without ever be smug about it? Ah,
I love that. Okay. Well, my my the first book chronologically from my collection of underappreciated cookbooks,
Matthew Amster-Burton 10:10
wait, hang on a second. You know what? One of like one of our first interactions I feel like was related to kookiness in particular because when you said you posted about sausages and grapes,
oh the Molly it was a molly Stevens recipe. Oh, okay. But is it also in
Matthew Amster-Burton 10:25
it's also in cucina simpatico us because I think I commented and said like, this is how I make it from cucina simpatico, and you replied to my comment, this is this like way before we started the show,
really? Yeah. Oh, my God. Oh, that's so fun. Okay. Okay. That's great. All right. The first book that I want to talk about is called Fresh from the farmers market by Janet Fletcher. So
Matthew Amster-Burton 10:46
glad you mentioned this book. Oh, do you know this book? You? Okay?
So this book was put out by Chronicle Books in 1997. I think I probably picked it up because I had just moved to California to go to college. And so the first newspaper food section that I developed an attachment to was the San Francisco Chronicle like Wednesday food section. Sure, because that was like where I was when I was 19. And I finally lived in a city that had a food section. So anyway, Janet Fletcher was at the time a regular writer for The San Francisco Chronicle, right. And she came out with a book that year fresh from the farmers market, which was like, just to me it felt like this was one of the first of its kind, I think so yeah, you know, in the sense of really doing the whole farm to table thing, and it was organized seasonally, it has not only recipes, but you know, information for choosing these particular seasonal vegetables and fruits. It is in that like that style of fully glossy paper, not just the photos, but everything in here is glossy. I think there's probably only one recipe in here that I still make today. It's the braised chard with chickpeas, nice and
Matthew Amster-Burton 12:02
white is that is that like the basis of beans and greens. So
this is a different so I have two different beans in the thing I call beans and greens is a molly Stevens. Alright, from all about braising. This is slightly different. It's a little drier, almost more like a like a side dish, whereas beans and greens can be kind of like a Stewie full meal. Anyway, I make this all the time, like dozens of times a year. And even though it's just this one recipe from this book, I will keep this book forever. I mean, it has just so many good ideas.
Matthew Amster-Burton 12:37
A one of the books I'm going to mention later is a book that I've almost never cooked from this just like a wonderful reading cookbook.
This book just makes me oh, I've made this pasta shops roasted eggplant salad, from the pasta shop in Oakland, California. Just you know, it's like a version of ratatouille basically. Anyway, I love this book. I have had it since I was 19 or 20. It just I feel like it is more emblematic of who I was then than who I am now. But God, what a fantastic book. I don't know if it's still in print.
Matthew Amster-Burton 13:12
I don't either. But I have a funny story about this book that, like I've probably told on the show before, but it's a it's a goofy little story. Yes. Okay. Um, we went and saw Janet Fletcher. When she was on to book tour for this book, I think at like doing a demo at Admiral thriftway, which is now metropolitan market in West Seattle. Okay. And I'm sure we like we might even still had a car at this point. I think we did. So we probably drove over to West Seattle. And the reason that we first I first heard about Janet Fletcher, this was this was I think, yeah, this was like before I like I was just getting started in food writing. And the reason that I heard about her was because we were big fans of this band, the loud family. That was a 90s rock band, okay. And like, had was a kind of a cult band that was never very popular, but had very devoted fans. So if you were a fan of the band, you would probably get to meet the band at some point. And we did and their basis Kenny Castle, like asked me like, What do you do? And I said, Oh, I'm a food writer, which I was like trying to be at that point. He said, Oh, my sister's a food writer. You should you should look her up.
Unknown Speaker 14:17
Was it Janet Fletcher Fletcher. Oh, I
Matthew Amster-Burton 14:20
see your sister's like a real food writer. And like she had just come out with this with this book. And so we went Zara and like, very awkwardly, we were like, We know your brother. And but we think your book is great.
Oh my god. I love that.
Matthew Amster-Burton 14:34
She she did like a cheese plate book. Also,
I think she did. I mean, she was a big name in my in my area. Especially I think yes, for sure. For sure. Yeah, that's
Matthew Amster-Burton 14:47
my story. Great. Okay,
your next Matthew. Okay,
Matthew Amster-Burton 14:49
I've got another 90s Italian book for you. It's the compania table by Mark Strassman. Okay, and Mark Strassman was the chef I think He is a chef in New York. He might be retired by this point but he was the chef at a restaurant called compania. That was a rustic Italian restaurant in the West Village, East Village. Somewhere downtown ish. And maybe maybe Gramercy Park anyway. He like really did just like like the the most like, quintessential like just rustic Italian like pastas and roasts and and antipasti and just put together this this beautiful, simple Italian cookbook. It's like, and Laurie and I would go to this restaurant we went like several times, like when for our anniversary, it's where we first tasted Moscato dosti, which was like the greatest fun. And yeah, and it's just like, there there is nothing there's no revolutionary recipe or technique anywhere in this book. It's just like a great, you know, Italian cookbook with a lot of personality.
Okay, do you still have it? I do. Where is it? Oh my god. I've looked at the spine of this so many times. Well, we've taped episodes
Matthew Amster-Burton 16:02
and like one of like, like to give you an idea. Oh
my gosh, stuff is in this book. Like even the layout of this is so nice. Oh
Matthew Amster-Burton 16:08
90s his signature recipe like the one that that people would like, you know, ask him for the recipe for was the penny AOP which stood for all yo OLIO Pomo Dora so it's so it's petty with with garlic oil and, and, and tomatoes. And that's that's the recipe
amazing. I also just love the late 90s quality photos. Oh, wow. This regrettable light.
Matthew Amster-Burton 16:36
Yeah, it's it's a terrific book. Oh, I love it. Yeah, like like the lighting on this on this photo is not correct, but it's just right for
right is okay. Well, Matthew, my next book doesn't even have color photos in it. Okay. Would you like to describe for the listeners? Oh, I know this book. How many tabs or how many like torn up bookmark pieces of paper I've got in here. Yeah, like
Matthew Amster-Burton 17:00
the little the little like, you know, homespun bookmarks that you put in it looks like after like a strong man has ripped a phone book in half.
This book looks so messed up. Okay, so this is a book that I think I bought after I had lived in Paris with that host family. So this book is called Parisian home cooking by Michael Roberts. A name that I just I feel like his name was already passing out of the food world. When I bought this book. I look at the bio. So Michael Roberts so Michael Roberts published this book in 1999. Matthew who is he tell us who he is.
Matthew Amster-Burton 17:40
He he moved to Paris in 1975 where he worked and went to school earning a certificate aptitude oficio now from the prestigious equals Bellevue de cuisine. Joel Fairholme de Michael Roberts pioneered what is now known as California cuisine at Trump's his latest landmark Los Angeles restaurant. I'm going to say I think it's unrelated. Do you think so? I think so. I don't know. So during that period, he was selected one of the 50 Who's who have food and beverage in America. His work has appeared in Bon appetit. Or may. Yeah, like I could not tell you like one other thing.
Oh, no, I know nothing else about this man. But anyway, this book Parisian home cooking. I saw it on a table somewhere probably two to three years after it was published. So I think I got this book in 2001 or 2002. Anyway, I Oh, wow. Oh, this is some sort of here is a is like a political tract that was handed to me on the street on the first of May 2002.
Matthew Amster-Burton 18:45
Can I read the headline? Yeah, the headline of this is no, no, no.
Okay, so so the first of May is like a Labor Day like a Workers Day Day, May Day. Anyway, and I was clearly handed
Matthew Amster-Burton 19:00
this and did you need the call to action?
I don't think I did. Okay. Anyway, but I love that. I've kept that in here as well. Yeah. So
Matthew Amster-Burton 19:09
oh, the layout of this book.
Layout of this book is so like gloriously late 90s This is 99 this has no color photos. Did we say the name of the book? Yes. aresia home cooking by Michael Roberts. Oh, here is a recipe for sotae the movie. It does actually go there. So green beans and morels. Okay, I made it in August of 2005 and said it was delicious. Sounds good. What the heck was I doing? Morels? Okay, glazed brussel sprouts and shallots. I made this all the time. Sounds good. It was fantastic. You you cook brussel sprouts in a little bit of sweetened water and butter in a skillet. Yes, I love that tell ya. The water is gone. And you're kind of shaking the pan glazing the Brussels sprouts in the sort of Cara Mellie residue. Ah. Oh my god. Okay, a recipe I wrote about on orangette was in here. whole roasted cauliflower with Vinagrette. Yep. This is extremely time consuming. It just
Matthew Amster-Burton 20:13
says sorry, today may 2002 Excel. That's what you wrote
Matthew Amster-Burton 20:18
How do you know?
Okay, now, but the really important thing is that the vinaigrette that I make and keep on my kitchen counter every day of the year. Now 20 years at least after buying this cookbook to
Matthew Amster-Burton 20:31
talk about this, that you have some bad vinegar that that's been aging for 20 years.
Anyway, the vinaigrette recipe that I use is based on Michael Roberts read in this book, and I still make it I will probably spend the rest of my life making it and I love that. Anyway, this cookbook is fantastic. It is so solid. And I think part of what drew me to it is that I had just been living in a like the home of a very good Parisian home cook. And I I recognize like the truth in this book, which is that this was how at least at that time 20 Some years ago, home cooks were doing it up in Paris and it was
Matthew Amster-Burton 21:11
love how that French title of the recipes is in like a super curly script.
Matthew Amster-Burton 21:17
Oh yeah. Big time. Oh, yeah. Duck legs. I saw duck legs go.
Thanks with bread sauce, parsley, veal. I mean a lot of stuff in here that I narrowed
Matthew Amster-Burton 21:26
shoulder of lamb. Oh heroes. Turnips with sage sounds good.
Okay, here we go. I did not like Michael Roberts warm lentils I said very tasty, but to mustard heavy, very saucy. Anyway, this book is just fantastic. And it makes me happy to even just look
Matthew Amster-Burton 21:42
at me. It makes me happy just to like look over your shoulder flipping through it. Yeah, great. It's great. Okay, okay. My next pick is the dim sum dumpling book by Eileen Yin fellow and I lenient fellow who I think may be still alive but very old, has published published many classic Chinese cookbooks, including the what's it called the title of the title was like a tribute to the Julia Child. So it was the mastering the art of Chinese cooking was the title of our mastering the artist. And but the dimsum dumpling book is just like a very straightforward book on like, how to how to make your your favorite Dim Sum items. Okay, with a with a focus on dumplings. And it is his book that I've cooked like a few recipes from and have just like that one perfect one, which is her potsticker dumpling recipe that I still make a very slightly adapted version of to this day, like anytime I want to make homemade potstickers odd that is the recipe that I make. It's very simple.
You've given me that recipe. Yeah, yeah, I think I around this time last spring, I wanted to make some homemade dumplings. And you sent me that recipe.
Matthew Amster-Burton 22:54
Yeah, and it's just like so flavorful. So straightforward to make. And you can like use it as if the the feeling is the key thing he says a filling for like, you know, crescent shaped potstickers or, or for shumai or whatever you like. And it's just like one one perfect recipe that will always be with me, but it's a beautiful little book too and you can get it's out of print but you can find a used copy for not too much.
Okay, this next one, you know, there's nothing under appreciated about Dorie Greenspan, my next author, however, this book, I think that what people tend to know Dorie Greenspan for now are these like big comprehensive books. Sure, you know, cookies, or her one on on like savory French cooking, right? But this book, Paris sweet
Matthew Amster-Burton 23:41
Yes. Oh, wow. Again, the cover is so of its time, I'd
love this book. So this is Paris sweets by Dorie Greenspan came out in 2002. And Dory was already you know, big stuff by then. But this is like a really kind of small book that includes well now I think a lot of things that are quite mainstream, but at the time, it was very French in a way that I don't know how many American like there were, you know, things like savory crackers or cakes in here. Sure. And I don't know that that had quite the currency that it does. Now. Thanks to Dorie Greenspan, of course. She's the one who has brought it who has made those things more kind of normal. Anyway,
Matthew Amster-Burton 24:23
it also has like little hand drawings or there's watercolors
what has these really charming little hand? Yes, definitely. What kind of or some kind of art. Anyway, it profiles a number of bakeries oh, here's a Whole Foods receipt from August of 2003.
Matthew Amster-Burton 24:40
Wait does that say punishments Is that is that a recipe?
That's right. So if you go to Paul n if you go to Paul N in in Paris, which I have, so you know the little sugar cookies they give you, you can buy there and they also give you one each time you buy bread there anyway, they're called puny seal. Would you like to know more about that receipt because I I'm realizing something really interesting about Okay, can I tell you a little bit about what's on it? Can I tell you wait? Do you notice that some of the the items are circled
Matthew Amster-Burton 25:08
on this? Here these are the these are the ones you were going to like deduct your tax. These are the ones
that that I purchased for my boyfriend at the time. Oh, and we lived together Matthew, but we used to go through our grocery lists and like, separate out the things that only one of us ate and then we would like reimburse each other for them. Oh, cool.
Matthew Amster-Burton 25:29
I hate that. God. It was
it was terrible. Oh god, it's so embarrassing to remember.
Matthew Amster-Burton 25:39
Okay. French French baguette misspelled. orange shoes, pocket pita German mustard, bulk olives bag refund. Thanks for bringing your own bag. Hummus, almond butter, brown rice, red seedless grapes. This was from August 4 2003.
So my boyfriend was vegan. And I was going through an almond butter face. Those are the things that I'm taking away. Okay. Okay, back to Paris sweets. This book is fantastic. For anyone who is interested in, in French baking. These are classics. I'm sure that you can find these recipes in other Dorie Greenspan books. You know, for instance, there's some prma recipes in here. She wrote a whole book with Penang
Matthew Amster-Burton 26:23
and it was called I know prma And you
can too. Oh god, I remember I made a galette d'Ivoire. I know that I am, but I can't really picture what it is. It's so you would make it on Epiphany. And I always do it. You use puff pastry. You make pastry cream and you make basically frangipani Okay, and so the cake is like it's round. It's one layer of puff pastry on the bottom, a mixture of pastry cream and frangipani in the middle and then another layer of puffed pastry on top which you've kind of cut almost like the spokes of a wheel into so the whole thing is gorgeous and burnished kind of this big disc shaped key Ella burnished disks anyway, oh my god, I made the whole thing from scratch. It was my first time making pastry cream my first time making frangipani and I made this in grad school and I thought this was like this was how I spent my free time
Matthew Amster-Burton 27:22
think I keep this recipe in mind when we get to the spilled mail for today's episode because I think it's going to be germane
Okay. Also great chocolate mousse recipe in here and great hot chocolate.
Matthew Amster-Burton 27:33
Speaking chocolate mousse This has nothing to do with the topic but Lori has been cooking from the book I'm sorry I should say why for the show Laurie has been cooking from from the book 100 cookies by Sara Keefer Oh I've heard great things. I've just made the mud pie bars which are which are a bit of a production because they're a layered bar with like a crumb crust layer a chocolate crumb crust layer a chocolate cake layer, a chocolate mousse layer and then a whipped cream layer but they are so good then we will be there any in the house. We do not we ate them all but there they will be made again. Okay, great.
All right, Matthew, what's your next pick?
Matthew Amster-Burton 28:16
My next pick is another Chinese cookbook Helen Chen's Chinese home cooking. And this like, I think more than any other book on this list was like the book that I learned to cook from. Like it is out of print the recipes like you know, it was it was the mid 90s And this was a book for a non Chinese audience and so there were like, you know, some compromises in the recipes that I think wouldn't be made today just a little bit. But it is it really like focuses on like Chinese American restaurant cooking with some like actual Chinese and Chinese American home cooking mixed in do you still use it? I don't still use it. But I know that like the the way I approach like improvising a stir fry absolutely comes from this book. Okay, everything but the thing I would say about this book is just it's simple. Like the layout is simple. The recipes are simple. Like, I think it would still be if like you wanted to learn to cook Chinese at home, like this would still be a great place to start.
Fantastic. And it came out in 1996 96 Okay, great.
Matthew Amster-Burton 29:20
I think I think there may have been that may have been like the paperback edition and there was a the hardcover was like the year before somebody like mid 90s. Okay. Matthew, and I don't even still have it, but I am still influenced by it like every day.
I love that we have on our lists here. Chinese home cooking and Parisian home cooking.
Matthew Amster-Burton 29:37
Oh yeah, that's fine. It
seems it seems right.
Matthew Amster-Burton 29:40
Alright, what do you got? Now?
I know you know this author. I personally Yes. Okay. We both do. So this next book is Southern cakes by Nancy McDermott. I first met Nancy McDermott, I believe at Greenbrier did i So there used to be this like really fancy food writers symposium that took place at the Greenbrier in West Virginia every night Janet Fletcher Was there some time? I bet she was anyway. Greenbrier? Gosh, they stopped doing it at least 10 years ago. Yeah, but you and I both went earlier in our careers. It's held
Matthew Amster-Burton 30:10
at the the West Virginia resort, where there's like an underground bunker that was supposed to be like where the government would go in the event of nuclear war.
The whole place was I've never been anywhere like that. Yeah,
Matthew Amster-Burton 30:24
it's, I keep wanting to call it weird, which feels unfair, but it's weird.
It is weird. It is weird. I mean, also, like just this kind of like, like Southern extravagance. Yeah. Like I'd never seen anywhere else. And the year that I went, they had just built a casino there. Oh, wow. They were trying to like bring the Greenbrier really into the like the 21st century I think are really appeal to like Vegas crowd right in West Virginia. Anyway, okay. But at Greenbrier, I met a whole bunch of food writers and one of them was Nancy McDermott caught if I didn't meet her there. I'm very confused. I'm pretty sure I met her there. Why wouldn't you? Anyway, Nancy McDermott wrote this incredible book called Southern cakes. This too, was published by Chronicle Books, like Janet Fletcher's book, and I have only made a couple of things from it. One of them being the sweet potato pound cake, which is like, Oh, wow, look, it is worth the price of the book, the sweet potato pancake. God, it's so good.
Matthew Amster-Burton 31:26
I want to pound some of that.
I know. Anyway, this book is a classic. I mean, I think that everybody who enjoys baking, like American cakes, needs to have this book. I feel like
Matthew Amster-Burton 31:40
I don't remember what year I went to Greenbrier. But it was around the time she was working on this book. And I remember, I think that she was very excited about it, or that she had finished it. And it was about to come out. And like you could tell that this was like just the book that she always wanted to write because because prior to that she was best known for writing Thai cookbooks. Oh, she was yes.
Wait a minute. She Oh, she lived in Thailand for five years, didn't she? She's from North Carolina. Right. Anyway, I don't know what she's up to these days. But this book, wow. This for me stands the test of time,
Matthew Amster-Burton 32:13
which is under a message and say hi and that we mentioned her book on the show. We should yeah. Okay. Ah, okay. My next pick is is also kind of a single subject book. It is 50 chapters by Jasper. Why?
Oh my gosh, Jasper. Why
Matthew Amster-Burton 32:26
yes. Who is like he's at his places in Maine. Is that right? That's right. Um, I mean, I think I know Boston. Whoops. He's I think he's from Maine, but I might be confusing him with John Thorne. I don't know. Anyway, New England. All right. Fine. So so he's he's a chowder expert. And his his best known recipes is lobster and corn chowder, which I think I did make one set is very good. But this is a book. It's a book of 50 chapters and like, Do you need a book of 50 chapters? No. But every time I make a recipe from this book, the family is like you should make more chowders
so tell me one that you've definitely made from this a couple times.
Matthew Amster-Burton 33:05
So I just made a simple chicken chowder recently.
I would never even think to make chicken chowder. What
Matthew Amster-Burton 33:11
makes a chowder so it's got it's got like you know shreds of chicken it's got chicken stock potatoes, potatoes and cream or milk I feel are what makes makes the chowder not that every chowder has milk but but a lot of them do. Okay, um, and it's it's like, it's the book is It's beautifully written. It's fun to read, even if you're not cooking from it. And but when you do cook from it, like you learn like a whole approach to this dish that you maybe have never even really thought about maybe thought of chowder is like you know, like a thing. You get like clam chowder as a side somewhere. But I've made the clam chowder several times. And it is a production because you start with whole clams and you steam them and then you chop them and then you make the chowder. First, like because we're in Seattle, which like there is one kind of clam that's common in Seattle, but it's not the best kind for making chowder. This
is not clam, clam country,
Matthew Amster-Burton 34:06
right? I mean, I mean, it's like razor clam country and gooey duck country and there is a gooey duck chowder in here and I haven't made gooey duck chowder for an article that I wrote ago. Yeah.
And you use the belly of glia Yeah, right. Not the siphon. Right okay.
Matthew Amster-Burton 34:21
And any anyway like the recipes are wonderful. Like you will learn all about like a whole a whole food culture that surrounds chowder like the the which kinds of crackers you serve with it or like corn bread or rolls. And but yeah, just like every time I make it, and one thing I love making a chowder for this book is he stresses that it's important to let it cure, which just means sit for at least half an hour before before you eat it and like a chowder. The next day is also great, but it's great to like make dinner, set it aside on the back burner literally. And dad just take a break and then dinner's ready and it's fantastic.
I love the thought of doing that. Especially with something Like I wouldn't think to do that with a dish that involves seafood because we think of seafood as being something that, you know, you don't want to overcook it. You don't want to let it sit too long or Yeah,
Matthew Amster-Burton 35:11
Chatter is just a different approach.
Yeah. Oh, that's great. I really want I want to take a couple recipes from that and make them
Matthew Amster-Burton 35:18
Yeah, no, it really the chicken chatter I made the other day was so simple. And the family was like, You need to make this again.
Okay. I'm going to take a picture of it before I leave. Yeah. Okay. The last book I'm going to talk about is one that I've talked about on the show before and this is a very
Matthew Amster-Burton 35:32
recently published book. Oh, yeah. There's gonna be the newest book on this on the show. Yeah,
this is the newest book on this episode of the show. But anyway, this book, listeners, I know, you've heard me talk about it before. This is called repertoire by Jessica battle Ana. She's originally from me, and I believe she lives in Maine now, but for a long time, she lived in San Francisco. She so this, this is a book of home cooking. And that is the whole idea that, you know, that that home cooks have repertoires, and this is Jessica battle, Ana's recipe or repertoire of tried and true, delicious stuff. Yeah. And it's kind of all over the place in terms of country of origin of these dishes. But I have to say, So full disclosure, I I went out and bought a copy of this book, because I know Jessica, that said I did not have to keep it on my shelf in the prominent place that I do.
Matthew Amster-Burton 36:25
And the way if you've like tagged some of the pages it looks like like shark fins coming out of the book.
I've got these heart shaped, sticky notes. That somewhere very cute. So anyway, okay, my cat show a pet a recipe. I always make the one from here. She's also got a recipe that is influenced by like Vietnamese caramel, pork shaped dishes. She calls it candy pork. God, it is fantastic. She makes a wonderful. What was I gonna say? Oh, we
Matthew Amster-Burton 36:57
made a great two lamb Ragu. That's my kind of thing.
There is a lamb Ragu in here. Yeah. Lamb Ragu with creamy polenta, red chili braised beef. We made these vermicelli new noodles with lemon grass pork meatballs. Anyway, I have cooked so much stuff from this book. It's just fantastic. Even her recipe for basic black beans. Nobody needs a recipe for black beans. Right? However, when I made these, they were better than my usual black. Okay. Yeah, I think like, Oh, wait. I love her hot dog fried rice, which is my fried rice template.
Matthew Amster-Burton 37:37
Okay, yeah, sounds great. I feel like that is that is like the hardest kind of cookbook to do well is just like, you know, me and my recipes. Um, and like, you know, if maybe if it's like a famous chef, and you're probably not going to make the recipes, but like a home cooking just like a bunch of recipes. Like, I think that's one of the books that does it best.
I really think this book is fantastic. And I hope that it came out in 2018. I hope that it has a really long lifespan because it is just one of those where if you cook one recipe from it, it just makes you feel confident to return to it again and again. Okay, so yeah. Anyway, that's repertoire by Jessica bad Ilana.
Matthew Amster-Burton 38:16
All right, I got one more book too. And this is a book that I don't know if I've ever cooked from and is not really cooking from it, to me is not really the point. Although I think it does have good recipes. It is called isa Caya the Japanese pub cookbook by Mark Robinson. And it is from 2008. And I met I met Mark and interviewed him for my book when when we were in Tokyo in 2012. Love the picture photograph it is from codon show, which is a Japanese publisher. And it is it's a beautiful book that like there is there is no other book that I can think of that that will like really put you inside like a Japanese bar and make you feel like what it what it's like to eat there. Like what it sounds like what it looks like what kind of people you'll run into there, and what the food is like, and it centers around I think like eight eight different bars that are that are the author's favorites and like a deep dive into like the history of these bars. Like what kind of place it is what kind of clientele it serves what it looks like. I think some of them have like, like hand drawings of like the layout of the bar, although I might be thinking of a different book and then a few recipes from from each from each one like look at look at this photo. Oh it's a photo just like the texture of the wood and like the coat the coat hanger in the bar there's no apple in the photo it's just purely artistic God
I love this. This is a really beautiful book.
Matthew Amster-Burton 39:42
Yeah mom Molly and I have gone to Japanese bars together and it's like just one of like the most unique and perfect eating and drinking cultures anywhere in the world.
Oh it makes me really miss Tokyo just speaking about this. Oh if you
Matthew Amster-Burton 39:55
if you miss Tokyo like we do order order a copy of Isa Kaia the jab please pop the cookbook.
Oh my god, this episode was so fun. Thanks listener. Yeah. Great. Yeah. How about our spilled mail for today?
All right, so our spilled mail today comes from listener Aaron who says, What's the meal or dish you've made that resulted in the most dishes? Wow, I feel like we we almost touched on this a little bit and talking about shouters and Epiphany cake. Okay, for me, sorry, returning to listener Aaron's letter now, for me, this is my annual mince pie extravaganza. I use a pastry bottom crust, but top the pieces with oh, how do i pronounce Oh Ricciarelli Ricciarelli which are almond cookies. So there are zillions of bowls, spoons, not roasting pans etc to clean on top of the muffin tins cutting board and and the usual baking messes. Plus I make my own mince filling. So there's dishes from that as well though about six weeks earlier, and only every other year since the filly makes enough to freeze for the next Christmas overall I think the results the recipe results in me doing the dishes about four times okay.
Matthew Amster-Burton 41:15
So okay, you already mentioned the king cake, the gala. DEVAR
well, you're talking I'm gonna think about a more recent okay,
Matthew Amster-Burton 41:23
because when I was thinking about this, I realized there's there's a book that I didn't include in our list of underappreciated cookbooks but should have which is the Italian country table by Lynne Rossetto Kasper, yes, that's a great book that I've that I've made a ton of things from and like still cook from and there is a dish in there called potato Gatto. It is a bait like a mashed potato casserole with a layer of cheese and peas in the middle and like bits of salami throughout and then and then like top with bread crumbs, and it is a production you you make like these toasted garlic bread crumbs. You make the mashed potatoes you layer them you then you like slice the cheese and and put the cheese on the peas layer you have to like cut up the salami like it will ruin your kitchen. But the good news is it bakes for a while and you can do the dishes while it's baking and then everything's fine.
I feel like every time I make this is not my example but just listening to you talk about this. I can well imagine how many dishes there are because even making mashed potatoes yeah creates more dishes than I want it to like there's the colander I pour the potatoes into then there's the ricer then there's the you know the pot that I originally cook the potatoes in which I might return them to to like reheat them and mix them with stuff anyway. Okay, what I was going to say is so I believe in 2020 it was Samin. Nosrat published a recipe in the New York Times for I think what she called the Big lasagna. Yeah. And it was a really sweet premise. Like the idea was that she was inviting like every one all New York Times cooking readers to make this lasagna and she would hop on a zoom at like such and such a time on a Sunday afternoon and like would have her lasagna there and you could all like hop on and join the Zoom did you I think we had plans to I don't think we hopped on the Zoom because it was on East Coast time and it would have been like Sunday early after
Matthew Amster-Burton 43:24
we should we should do this but we're we'll just like eat some like Reese's peanut butter.
Everybody bring your Reese's Peanut Butter Cups join us on Zoom. Now anyway, I did make the lasagna and you know this was caught I feel so like traumatized even thinking back on this period of time. You know spring of 2020 grabbing at straws for anything that felt like hopeful or non scary. And I made this lasagna and you know you make the tomato sauce from scratch you can make the pasta from scratch I think I bought fresh pasta sheets. Sure. You you make a Bish Amal, you cook I believe spinach separately you make I think you make a ricotta mixture maybe I'm mixing this up with something else. But anyway, it's like a massive production because you're of course you're doing it all from scratch and in in quite large quantities because this is a super tall lasagna. Oh, I like that in a nine by 13 pan. So it's a lot of food. I have made it once or twice since and my whole family loves it but it nearly kills me every time Yeah, I
Matthew Amster-Burton 44:31
get that. Yeah, anyway yeah, like I stir fry all the time and like I pretty have a pretty efficient workflow now for stir frying but if I'm ever gonna stir fry like more than one dish like things start to get out of hand. Oh yeah. And like I think of like you know when you when you like run start the dishwasher like before dinner because of all the the mess that you've got during prep and then like can run it again right after dinner. That's what I think we're talking
Yes. You know what I just I have to share an observation but my cooking during the, you know, the years of of the pandemic, I think that I got better at cooking multiple dishes at dinner, or interesting. I think I got worse really? Yes. Because I have always been someone who I am not going to make more than one thing for dinner. So if there's going to be if I'm making a soup, we're just going to have like bread and butter next to it. Yeah, if I am roasting a chicken Well, we're probably just going to have like salad and bread next to it like I am in no way going to make multiple actual dishes. But during the pandemic, I think I have gotten better at doing like multiple like side dishes without having it ruin my life.
Matthew Amster-Burton 45:46
How like, how do you think you did that?
I think just by having to cook more because the truth is I have a like you I have a kitchen that is you know, not great for cooking multiple dishes at a time you and I both have one oven and you have a four burner or five burner electric range.
Matthew Amster-Burton 46:05
You said this before and as I said last time What the fuck is a five burner range? I've never
know I've sometimes seen one with another you know burner in the middle. Hey, ours is for like like normal years this for as listeners know, minus four, but only two and a half of them work. And as
Matthew Amster-Burton 46:21
listeners know, you do not have a vent fan and have an exhaust fan.
Anyway, so it's difficult to cook more than one thing because I only have you know, a kind of weird janky setup.
Matthew Amster-Burton 46:33
Sure. No, I feel like for me, it's just the opposite that I used to be better at that and feel just kind of like too stressed out to do it. However, yeah, ever since the start of the pandemic, I've just like, you know, one one dish for dinner cooked successfully. That's what I can handle. And that's what I can control. Yeah, but I'm gonna do and be like, that'd be if that means like, we don't have a vegetable tonight. Fine.
Yeah, no, that makes sense. I mean, especially in the earlier days when we were really like not going out. Yeah, you know, so fun to go down the old pandemic memory lane. still fresh. Okay, Matthew, do you have a now but wow,
Matthew Amster-Burton 47:08
you like it? Can we call Brian Washington friend of the show? He remembers us. Oh, well. Yeah. So former guests, Brian Washington, wrote a column for The New York Times called I got lost in Tokyo Station and found the perfect comfort food. And it is about the dish, Buddha cockney, which is like a braised pork belly dish that is popular in Japanese bars. it because it's by Brian Washington. It's beautifully written and goes in some unexpected directions. And also like for me, like all the places he was talking about in Tokyo Station. I'm like, oh, yeah, I know exactly where you are. Hmm.
And did you mention that it's in the New York Times? Yeah.
Matthew Amster-Burton 47:55
It was in the New York Times Magazine, and we'll link to it in the show notes. He's
now one of the columnist for the New York Times Magazine. So exciting. belated congratulations to Brian Washington on landing that gig well deserved.
Matthew Amster-Burton 48:06
Yeah, like every time you read a Brian Washington column, like it's, it's fun. And you also like learn something about life? Yeah, he's great.
Okay. Our producer is Abby sercotel.
Matthew Amster-Burton 48:18
Please rate and review us wherever you get your podcasts Don't Don't make us an underappreciated podcast.
You can chat with other spilled milk listeners on our Reddit that's reddit.com/are/everything spilled milk.
Matthew Amster-Burton 48:32
And until next time, thanks you for listening. Thanks you for listening for listening is gonna be our new catchphrase. Thanks you for listening. Spilled Milk. Thanks you for listening.
Oh, boy. Okay. No, thank you for for
Matthew Amster-Burton 48:49
thank you for being a friend on the road and back again. Yeah.
I'm Molly Weissenberg.
Matthew Amster-Burton 48:55
And I'm Matthew Amster-Burton.