Jan 19, 2013

Bless you AWW and your Cooking Class Cookbook

When I left home I took the liberty of collecting a few cookbooks from my mum's shelf. I'm pretty sure I asked, but now I feel a bit guilty: I took the gold.

We had a pretty extensive set of Australian Woman's Weekly Home Library - the stapled, glossy kind. Far out they're awesome. Generally a recipe per page with step-by-step photos. All I could ask for further is a list of cookware for each recipe - a 'you will need' for tools.

I've entry been trying out a few recipes from my favourite of the series: Cooking Class Cookbook. It's such a daggy bible but just to prove how awesome it is - how nostalgic, romantic and somehow a teeny bit racist* - I'm listing the recipes for you.

Have a look at what they chose for each section - especially the short ones.  Just try not to get a copy for yourself.

Poultry: Beggar's Chicken; How to joint a chicken; How to roast a chicken; Chicken Chasseur; French Herbed Chicken; Chicken Kiev; Duck with Orange; Chicken Maryland; Chinese Chicken Sticks; Coq au Vin; Chicken Liver Pate.

Meat: Wiener Schnitzel; Beef Stroganoff; Beef Wellington; Crown Roast of Lamb; Veal Cordon Bleu; Moussaka; Sates; Osso Bucco; Boeuf Bourguignonne; 
Brawn; Pot Roast.

Fish: Trout with almonds; Crisp Fried Fish; How to fillet fish; Garlic Prawns; Baked Snapper; Chinese Fish; Salmon Croquettes.

Soups: Hot Sour Soup; Minestrone; French Onion Soup.

Vegetables: Potato Scallops; Chips; Fried Onion Rings.

Rice & pasta: Spaghetti Bolognese; Fried Rice; Lasagne; Ravioli; Gnocchi.

Batters: Waffles; Crumpets; Yorkshire Pudding; Pancakes; Prawn Cutlets.

Sauces: Béarnaise Sauce; A good gravy; Caramel Sauce.

Pastry: Pizza; Greek Triangles; Chinese Spring Rolls; Sausage Rolls; Hunza Pie; Salmon Quiche; Melton Mowbray Pie; Custard Tart; Vanilla Slices; Indian Samosas; Greek Baklava; Australian Meat Pie; French Fruit Flan.

Bread, Buns & Scones: White Bread; Hot Cross Buns; Berlin Doughnuts; Scones; Damper; Sourdough Rye Bread; Chelsea Bun; Bagels; Cream Buns; Croissants; Indian Puris.

Desserts: Strawberry Shortcake; Lemon Meringue Pie; Cream Puffs; How to flambé fruits; Chocolate Mousse; Brandy Snaps; Apple Strudel; Biscotten Torte; Baked Rice Custard; Sweet Soufflés; Rum-caramel Pineapple; Zabaglione; Brandied Oranges; Almond Peachy Pie; Crepes Suzette.

Cakes: Lamingtons; Sponge Cake; Chocolate Roll.

Biscuits: Italian Biscotti; Gingerbread Men; Toffee Crisps; Shortbread; Monte Carlos.

Confectionery: Butterscotch; Turkish Delight; Toffees; Italian Nougat; Toasted Marshmallows; Toffee Apples; Candy Popcorn; Marshmallow Eggs; Buttered Brazil Nuts.

Something Extra: Making your own mixed peel; Italian Polenta; Melba Toast; Herb Butter; Caesar Salad; Green Tomato Pickles.

And a page of conversions for electric and gas ovens and cup & spoon measures. In the back. Where it belongs.

I love how there are just three for a few sections. Coz really, what else is there? I mean, what other kind of sauce could you need, really?
But then it's so diverse! Baklava, Turkish Delight (I mean, even a decent confectionery section), Crumpets! Pâté! Chips! Pot Roast!

Obviously, with books this size, they can't fit in everything, so these must be their top choices for each genre. It's no Cookery the Australian Way, but it does seem to say "These are the recipes of a respectably competent cook" as well as "You should buy a cake cookbook if you want more". I think it also presents a moment of Australian culture, whether it's reflective or aspirational. I suspect a lot of stereotypical 80s Aussie households hoped to be this diverse with their meals.

*I'm not sure how to clarify this. It just feels strange that they’ve specified the country of origin for some recipes but not for others, even if those recipes don't really come from anywhere else.  Spag Bol was obviously common enough to not call it 'Italian Sag Bol', but 'Chinese Fish' is certainly not the only way the Chinese do fish. Maybe there is Greek or Sicilian polenta, and Sri Lankan samosas... I don't know enough about food or those cultures to be sure.

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