23 January 2013

Awesome and Random Cooking Tips

This is one of my favorite cookbooks.  I got it at an antique store a few years ago.  This book is pure cooking gold.  I collect cookbooks like this and this may well be the best one I own.  These cookbooks are usually put together by churches and other women's organizations.  This one was compiled by the Arkansas School Food Service Association, a.k.a. the lunch ladies.  The school cafeteria may not inspire you with gourmet visions, but these ladies really (and I mean REALLY) know how to cook.  Lots of these recipes are exactly what my grandmothers were cooking when I was growing up and a lot of what I do is try to bring back those dishes and ideas.

One of the reasons that this is my favorite cookbook is that it is chock full of great ideas and tips too.  I thought it might make for a nice change of pace to share some of these wonderful pearls of wisdom.  I haven't seen most of them before, so hopefully you haven't either and you might get something you'll really wanna use from it.

-- If your recipe calls for chocolate and you're fresh out, you can substitute 3 or 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder and 1/2 tablespoon of butter or oil for each ounce of chocolate.  If you need whole milk, you can substitute 1/2 cup of evaporated milk and 1/2 cup of water for 1 cup of whole milk.

--  If you use old cookbooks, you might see can sizes in numbers rather than by weight.  Here's how some of those translate: # 2 can is 2 1/2 cups, #2 1/2 can is 3 1/2 cups, and number 10 can is 13 cups.

--  Set eggs in a pan of warm water before using as this releases all the white from the shells.

-- To prevent the pie crust in a custard pie from becoming soggy, sprinkle the baked crust with powdered sugar.

-- Fill cake pans about 2/3rds full and spread batter well into the corners and to the sides, leaving a slight dent in the middle.  This will make for a flatter cake for making layer cakes.

-- A leaf of lettuce dropped into the pot absorbs the grease from the top of the soup.  Remove the lettuce and throw it away as soon as it has served its purpose.

-- Some interesting sandwich fillings:
    studded peanut butter -- peanut butter and diced crisp bacon
    sunshine special -- 1 cup chopped dates, 1 cups shredded carrots, 1/2 cup chopped nuts,
            1/2 cup mayonnaise
    cream cheese crunch -- softened cream cheese, diced crisp bacon, and sliced stuffed olives

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