Monday, February 25, 2013

ALEXANDER, HARRIS: HOMETOWN APPETITES

On a cold, cold day, while you’re waiting for snow, it’s comforting to have a good book to read. Cook books are the best, and while you’re reading about tantalizing, appetizing foods, why don’t you just sashay out to the kitchen and stir up some muffins or cookies or biscuits.

I found a lot of mouth-watering recipes in Hometown Appetites: The Story of (Kansas’ homegrown native) Clementine Paddleford, the Forgotten Food Writer who Chronicled How America Ate. Written by Kelly Alexander and Cynthia Harris.

There are recipes galore in the book, but I used a basic recipe I have posted to the inside of a cabinet door, to which any number of variations can be added. So, while I delve into the life history of Clementine, I will soon be smelling the irresistible aroma of ginger-peachy muffits. Well, they’re not muffins, they’re not biscuits, they’re just mounds of dough plopped into an oven-hot cast iron skillet. I’ve got the timer set, but the real test is when the scent begins the fill the kitchen.

Clementine was born on a Kansas farm near Manhattan, and after a stint at the Manhattan Daily Chronicle was soon writing for the New York Herald Tribune and This Week magazine. Her fascinating beginnings and her rise to a national reputation is told by Alexander and Harris. It took some sleuthing, but the result is a compelling story that will catch the interest of any Kansan who loves to eat.

WARNING: Do not read this book without something delicious to eat and drink. Or even better, pick out one of the recipes in the book and head for the kitchen.

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