Hey, remember that thing I used to do? You know, when I was putting stuff on this blog all the time? The thing where I cooked from my gigantic collection of vintage cookbooks? Yep, that. That’s what we’re doing today, my friends.
The book I’ve chosen is actually a set. A tiny little boxed set. The books in this set are about 6″x6″ and are printed with the most fabulous graphic paper. I wish I could duplicate it and make it into wallpaper. Yes, it’s that cute. Included in the set are The Chafing Dish Book, The Patio Book, and today’s selection, A Book of Appetizers–all written by a lovely woman named Helen Evans Brown. I came to know about her when I was going through my first crush on James Beard. I read a book of published letters between Beard and his longtime friend, Helen Evans Brown. Now, I had absolutely no idea who she was, but she was a prolific cookbook author in her own right, and published many books by herself and with others, including Beard and her husband. Brown was something of an expert on West Coast Cuisine—in the days before there was such a thing as “California Cuisine”, and James Beard revered her and thought of her on par with M.F.K. Fischer.
She, along with James Beard, were early pioneers of the outdoor cooking craze. They wrote a book together in 1955 called The Complete Book of Outdoor Cookery, and she wrote another volume, The Cookout Book in 1961. I’ve since trolled the internet in search of all of her books. I’ve managed to get most, but one called The Boy’s Cookbook has eluded me thus far.
Anyway, I chose to make these lovely curried meatballs to serve on Christmas night. They were a breeze to put together, and the flavors were a nice alternative to your standard sweet and sour chafing-dish meatball.
I made these in advance and refrigerated them, then just heated them gently until hot and transferred into a chafing dish. A vintage Dansk chafing dish, of course. Don’t you love when you can make things in advance? It makes party preparation so much easier.
And, in true UC style, I took the pictures of the preparation, then forgot to snap the finished product. This one is from the Undercover Husband’s phone. I am very grateful that he thought to take a picture.
The moral of today’s story is: Old cookbooks are cool, cocktail meatballs are in, and if you run into a vintage copy of Helen Evans Brown’s The Boy’s Cookbook–please buy it and send it to me. Thank you.