Dirty Cookbooks

How do you know you have your hands on a good cookbook?

You know, because it is filthy. As in it is covered in flour, sauce and other ingredients. If you want to find a great cookbook all you need to do is go into your best friend’s kitchen and pull off her shelf the dirtiest cookbook. Guaranteed you will find treasure in there.

Across Canada and the United States, kitchens everywhere are filled with dirty cookbooks written by Norene Gilletz. Every Ashkenazi Jewish woman knows where the best recipes are. Over the recent Passover holiday many ladies including myself reached for one or more of Noreen’s books to create sensational holiday meals. Lucky for me I got an advanced copy of her brand new updated book called The New Food Processor Bible. I started using it before Passover and felt the real test would be what I could cook with it during Passover. Basically, Passover is a challenging Jewish holiday because we cannot cook with flour only with Matzah meal and potato starch.

If you are a regular reader you know I was a baking disaster until late last year. Once I built up the confidence that I could actually bake I felt I needed to expand my kitchen gadgetry. There are 2 schools of thought for purchasing a machine. The first is the Stand Mixer group and the second is the Food Processor types. The first group favours a machine that has a removable bowl and a mixer that can take different attachments like a beater or a bread hook. The latter group like their machine with a steel blade in the middle. Many companies produce both types of machines. Kitchen Aid makes a popular stand mixer and Cuisinart makes an equally famous food processor. I figured if I was going to invest in a machine I better choose one that really meets my needs. I also polled a bunch of friends and 50% said stand mixer and 50% said food processor. It was fascinating to hear why each friend loved their particular machine. Some people even had both!

Finally, I decided to go with the Food Processor because Grandma told me to. I stole her old Food Processor cookbook. The yellow one that Norene wrote 30 years ago. I also noticed several recipes in Norene’s other cookbooks that own, had instructions for using the food processor.

The old recipes are tried and true but they lack essential nutrition information like calories and carbohydrate content important for weight control and diabetes information. The new cookbook is updated with nutrition information for every recipe. Norene added 150 new ones and many are even gluten free.

Back to Passover. I cannot believe I waited THIS long to get a food processor. What was I waiting for? The Messiah? I confess that in the past I ordered many side dishes. This was partially due to the kugel disaster of 2002 . This year I had my new friend and together we cooked up a storm. I made 2 perfect potato kugels, one white and one sweet. I made delicious Passover brownies and lemon squares. The piece de la resistance was the charoset.

My pro-stand mixer friends think that this machine is the cat’s meow for baking. I think they need to try some recipes from Noreen’s new book. Last night I made a sour cream chocolate cake. It was stupid easy and the clean-up even better. I wish I had a picture but it’s been eaten. Here is what the clean up looks like.

I am really enjoying my new toy and exploring the “Bible”. I still have Grandma’s old yellow one and I suppose I should give it back to her. I hope she can pry the sticky pages apart without ripping them!