Julie, move over. I have just received my second copy of this cookbook, printed in 1963. One belonged to Norm’s Mom and the other belonged to the grandmother of a friend. I take it as a sign that I am supposed to begin cooking the recipes – not unlike the exploits of Julie who cooked Julia Child’s recipes as documented in the the Blog, book and movie, “Julie & Julia”.
I don’t plan to make every recipe like Julie did however. Hot Sherried Chicken Livers are not going to go over very big in this family for example. And the Sherried Crab Soup looked promising from its title, but mixing canned tomato soup with canned pea soup just isn’t resonating with me.
Some of the recipes are classics which can be prepared with little or no change as presented in the book, like Corn-Clam Chowder Chablis with perhaps another local white wine used instead. Others are very outdated. I never realized until I read through the book that food can go out of fashion too. Or what was considered gourmet in the 60’s has now become Monday night family fare, like Winederful Meat Loaf.
Reading these Favorite Recipes of California Winemakers is like reading a history of California wineries. Recipes were submitted by wine makers or their wives from wineries that no longer exist. Old names in our wine history are well represented, like: Italian Swiss Colony, Paul Masson Vineyards, Assumption Abbey Winery, Weibel Champagne Cellars, and Glen Ellen Winery. Some were submitted by educators from such schools as Fresno State College Department of Viticulture & Enology and U.C. Davis. There are well known names like Mrs. John Parducci of Parducci Wine Cellars, Ukiah, Mrs. David Ficklin of Ficklin Vineyards, Madera and Mrs. Justine Mirassou of Mirassou Vineyards, San Jose.
Even nearly 50 years ago, research was indicating the health benefits of wine. In the book section, Wine in the Diet, they say, “Research programs under recognized authorities have established much factual information pertaining to the properties of wines (such as B-vitamins and iron) and the therapeutic use of wines in specific fields (such as low-salt or slimming diets).”
I think tonight for dinner I’ll start this retro cooking adventure with the Pacific Crab Salad contributed by Al Pirrone, F. Pirrone & Sons, Salida. My friend Vivianne is coming to lunch tomorrow, so the Classic French Onion Soup from Otto Gramlow, Beaulieu Vineyard, Rutherford with the Spinach Salad from Phil Hiaring of the Wine Institute in San Franciso sounds like a fair menu.