Top 5 Meals of 2018
2018 was a good year for food. The amount of traveling that I did opened up my experiences in a way I had not experienced for most of my life, and this included trying new things and new restaurants that I would not have imagined possible before now. Delaware made a lot of things possible, namely experiencing food as it exists on the east coast. It isn’t all that different from the Midwest (not really. East Coasters will pretend to be superior), but the variety is extreme.
I am looking forward to continuing my food adventures in 2019 at new and better locations. Keep an eye for some restaurants that will be on my watch list for future visits to Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia.
Blast From the Past
My father-in-law is an avid auction fiend. He comes home with boxes full of crazy stuff, and over this Christmas, he presented me with a collection of cookbooks and cooking pamphlets he had collected over the years. Some of them were downright laughter inducing, especially ‘Creative Cooking with Cottage Cheese’ from the American Dairy Association. There were some, however, that I’ve decided to take back home with me for further study.
I went to school for publishing. One of my favorite classes of all time was bibliography, and these old books scratch that itch. He had a copy of ‘The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book’ from Fannie Merritt Farmer circa 1896 that I will be shipping back to myself in Delaware.
In fact, let’s just make a list of these interesting books that will be coming up in 2019 as specials, not cookbooks of the month.
There’s something very interesting about going back in time via these cookbooks. The Thrifty Cooking for Wartime book has information toward the front that is just a sign of the times which people of this age would never consider. Coming to my mother-in-law’s house is always an adventure when it comes to food, and this is an adventure that I look forward to taking home with me. So thanks to Paul, my father-in-law, who kept some of these gems back long enough for me to raid his collection. Let’s do some old cooking!
January Cookbook of the Month
Partway through December, a nice little package showed up on my doorstep with a Christmas present from a close friend: Fallout: The Vault Dweller’s Official Cookbook had landed in the Sussman home. I saw the preview for the book ages ago when Fallout 76 was first announced, and I had plans of one day purchasing it for myself. There is always an air of uncertainty surrounding cookbooks that are dedicated to a TV show or a video game, but I opened up the book to discover some of the recipes actually looked interesting. That’s why this video game cookbook composed by Victoria Rosenthal is our first cookbook of the year for 2019.
It’s full of recipes that are simple odes to classic foods that have been seen throughout the Fallout series, such as baked Boatfly, InstaMash, Blamo Mac and Cheese-- even a Deathclaw Wellingham. You can make your own NukaCola’s with syrups they have recipes for. It’s actually a really interesting cookbook that has food you’d actually want to eat, not just fun nods to the things you see in the game.
We’ll be cooking through this book in January, and I’ll tell you all about my experience come the last week of the month. It’s very likely I’ll be using these recipes to soothe my heartache over Fallout 76, considering I will be booting it up for the first time here shortly. If the game is as bad as the reviews say, an alcoholic NukaCola Quantum will lift me right back up. Speaking of alcohol, there are a few lovely mixes listed in cookbook based on both drugs and drinks from the book.
If you want to cook along with me, some of the recipes are featured in the images on the amazon ordering page. You can try the Braised Deathclaw steaks without even buying the cookbook-- well, mostly. Looks like part of the recipe is cut off.
Let’s not set the world on fire this month with our new cookbooks. Here’s to a second year, and this time, we won’t miss a month!
It’s Christmas morning, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring except for me and Lucky the Cat. Not long after the sun rises, we’ll sit down together to open Christmas presents and enjoy each other’s company for the rest of the day. This is to say nothing about the food traditions that got us to Christmas morning in the first place here in the Tockstein house. After eight years of joining this marvelous family for Christmas, there are several things I just can’t miss out on anymore, or it doesn’t feel like Christmas.
First of them all is cookie decorating. As soon as we’re all able to sit down at the table together, we go to work decorating sugar cookies. This ritual in and of itself usually has its own traditions such as my brother-in-law’s ugly cookie. Can you guess which one that is in the slideshow? Eight years ago, I sat down to this ritual for the first time next to my then boyfriend, and I fell in love with it all.
Top Cookbooks of 2018
It’s shocking to think that I restarted my journey with Eating Normal almost a year ago. With it, I’ve skipped a few months worth of Cookbooks, but the fact remains: I am obligated to share with you those that I believe are of both the best value and best tasting of the books I got to this year. I’ve never trusted a cookbook to guide my cooking as much as I have this year, and I feel that I have learned a lot just by cooking along with these authors.
Let’s begin from the bottom:
January 2018: 200 One Pot Meals
There were some problems with this book that promised a lot of easy cooking. Number one, the equipment barrier was too much for me to overcome when I was unemployed at the time. Immersion blenders, cast iron dutch ovens, and the like, were much beyond my purchasing power when I started this journey. I think I managed maybe two recipes out of it that I was genuinely interested in before moving on.
An idea born in Normal, Illinois, Eating Normal hopes to chronicle the eating Experiences of a Red bird.
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