SMORGASBORD: Forgotten skills . . . Tried and true . . . Whoopie pieIreland’s most famous cooking teacher, cookbook author and TV cooking personality, Darina Allen, introduces a new generation of cooks and consumers to the Emerald Isle’s rich culinary traditions in “Forgotten Skills of Cooking: The Time-Honored Ways are Best — Over 700 Recipes Show You Why,” a handsome 600-page cookbook ($40).
By: Herald Wire Reports,
Ireland’s most famous cooking teacher, cookbook author and TV cooking personality, Darina Allen, introduces a new generation of cooks and consumers to the Emerald Isle’s rich culinary traditions in “Forgotten Skills of Cooking: The Time-Honored Ways are Best — Over 700 Recipes Show You Why,” a handsome 600-page cookbook ($40).
Allen may be an Irish equivalent of a baby boomer, but there’s no question she’s taken to heart that World War II maxim: Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without. In this cookbook, she evokes an earlier age that refers specifically to her corner of Ireland on one hand and the burgeoning global hunger toward eating locally, seasonally and sustainably on the other. The recipes are old-fashioned and mostly Irish. You’ll find a lot of recipes here calling for salting, canning, pickling, smoking and even potting in butter — preferably homemade. Allen is a big do-it-yourselfer.
Founder of the Ballymaloe Cookery School, she’s a born teacher, and her enthusiasm is infectious. Still, be warned: To get the most out of this book, you need to be not only a do-it-yourselfer but also able to handle yourself in the kitchen, the garden and even the slaughtering shed.
Tried and true
We can’t confirm or deny that today’s sugar-free (Truvia is their natural sweetener of choice), space-age-packaged Velamints truly help to fight bad breath for up to six hours, but we can tell you they provide a neat minty blast without an icky aftertaste. Tasters liked all three flavors they tried — zingy Spearmint, wintry Peppermint, even Chocolate.
Stock up and buy 24 tins (35 mints each) for $48 at store.velamints.com.
The whoopie pie does not exist in nature. It is indigenous to the Northeast; in particular, to Maine and Amish regions of Pennsylvania. Its true-true habitat, however, to be GPS-precise, is within small baskets, plastic wrapped and tucked beside cash registers in gas stations and general stores, from Nova Scotia to seasonal grocery stops on Block Island to rural patches south of Connecticut, into the country estates of suburban Philly.
The lore, as Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell explain in “Whoopie Pies” (Chronicle, $16.95), their cute celebration/cookbook, states Amish schoolchildren would open lunchboxes, find the moist treats inside and shout “whoopie!” The whoopie pie is not pie. It is two plump, rounded, usually chocolate cakes sandwiching a white wad of sweet (occasionally marshmallow) frosting; its closest kin is the Hostess Ding Dong, though Billingsley and Treadwell, on the cusp of the whoopie’s cupcake-like ubiquity, offer suggestions for chocolate ganache filling, a salted caramel filling, even a savory bacon-chive goat cheese filling, which is enticing, though it would have been sacrilegious to the original 13 colonies.