On a recent jaunt to the library I found this incredible gem tucked into the shelf pretty close to the books about cookies I was sifting through. The selection of cookie books was dismal, but the book below caught my eye. Lost Recipes by Marion Cunningham. After thumbing through it I had to check it out. It is more than a cookbook. It is a revelation! It is an invitation to be in charge again of what we are eating and putting on our table. It has thought provoking quotes in defense of home cooking and how important it is to sit at the table with your family and eat a home cooked meal together.
I read this book like a novel and what a great read! Once my own copy that I ordered gets here, I will mark it up with notes and dates of dishes cooked. For my first foray into this cookbook I made the very, super de douper easy Ham and Bean Soup. That is the other thing I am loving about this book. I do love a good challenge and to try new and exciting recipes, but that is not this book. This book is all about simple, yummy, inexpensive home cooked deliciousness.
This recipe is literally 4 ingredients. Roughly equal parts Great Northern Beans, chopped onions, ham, and then some Dijon mustard. Oh, and water. I guess I didn’t count that as an ingredient. After soaking the beans overnight I just dumped the beans, onions, and ham covered in water in a big pot…
brought it to a boil and simmered the heck out of it. The house smelled so good! After several hours, the beans were tender and I added the dijon mustard, some pepper and, voila! Dinner.
I made some simple biscuits (from the cookbook of course) and the soup was on! Sage is on the left in this picture leaning over her bowl, inhaling the aroma 😀 And I see John waiting patiently at the other end of the table. We all loved it, except Denver my 5 year old. But, Denver doesn’t love anything foodwise that isn’t sweet. Those are actually his exact words, “I don’t love it.” He is super picky, but he did eat quite a bit after we threatened he wouldn’t get any dessert.
I’m excited to try out pretty much the entire book of recipes. There are two in particular that have me salivating just reading the directions. Raised Waffles and Dewy Buns. Yes, I admit I’m a carbaholic! Here is a quote that I love from the book because the first paragraph reminds me of my childhood dinners. My mom always not only managed to make incredibly delicious home cooked meals, but also gathered all 8 of us around the dinner table every night:
“Together, we cleared away books and newspapers from the table and set it nightly for dinner. Properly. A tablecloth. Napkins. Forks on the left, knives and spoons on the right, because it matters. Because when families come together with their hungers at the end of the day, more than bodies are fed. This is the place where we can sit and talk and be nourished and known.
But the frenzy of our days has devoured the family dinner hour. Even though people seem to recognize intuitively the powerful symbol of dining together – we celebrate with banquets, carry food to bereaved families, preserve our holiday meals – comtemporary schedules no longer honor the day-after-day coming together that bonds souls. Families straggle home at unpredictable hours to poke around the refrigerator and eat cafeteria-style, that efficient refueling process that has nothing much to do with anyone else at the table.“