Susan Marie Molloy

Life in the Oasis


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The Cookbook Case (Part 2)

Woke up this morning to a chilly 33*F, and the sun is out to help warm up things.  This past weekend, I made lasagna from Pope’s book, and that helped to warm things up.  Daily life is getting busier since Christmas is a mere fourteen days away.  These are good days to catch up on reading.  Later this week, I’ll write an update to my Advent-Christmas Vacation Reading Gala 2017.

Today, here’s an update to the cookbook shelf we devised, as we make our home.

A little over three months ago, I realized I needed a way to contain all of my cookbooks. When an old bathroom shelf was not useful any more, I thought up a new application for it. The result was pretty and utilitarian, too, as I wrote about in, “The Cookbook Case (Part 1)”.

The shelf after my beau put it up. (c) 2017 Original photograph by Susan Marie Molloy.

Finally, I weeded through my recipe clippings and the duplicate (and triplicate!) copies, too.

The result is that there are no more clippings in disarray, no extra pieces of paper, the recipes I kept are organized neatly in binders, hardcover cookbooks and pamphlets are easy to find, and it’s all so organized.

The shelf today, fully useful.
(c)2017 Original photograph by Susan Marie Molloy.

This was a project I was meaning to do for so many years, and now I can go about other need-to-do projects guilt free.

Now, about those photo albums

©2017 Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.

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The Cookbook Case (Part 1)

Why throw something out, when you can revise it and reuse it?

That was my dilemma when I realized that I needed a convenient place to keep all of my cookbooks, and not just tucked in and crammed away in a kitchen cabinet.

In another part of the house, I didn’t need a shelf/dust collector/TP holder that was taking up space.

Whoa, Nelly!  This was going to be a “win” all around.

My beau sawed off the metal legs, and they are now taking up space in some remote recycling location.

Taking the top remaining piece, the new shelf found its way to a wall by the kitchen.

Bingo!

Added couple of anchor/butterfly bolts, made sure the wall wasn’t nicked, added a few cookbooks for the photo op, and:

More cookbooks to come! This photograph is to give you the general idea of my project.

How ’bout that “Wisdom Grey” wall paint color?

(c)2017Susan Marie Molloy, and all works within.

 


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The Cook Book

The cook book was so revered, that my Ma kept it in the cabinet above the refrigerator, along with several others and a mass of newspaper recipe clippings and typed and handwritten family recipes. That book, and the others, was only brought down to the kitchen counter only when she was ready to bake or cook something special.

Ma would let me look through this particular cook book from time to time. Yes, I had to “be careful” with turning the pages and “be careful” not to spill anything on it. There were times I could sit for an hour reading and absorbing chapters and recipes and the few photographs in it – not a small feat for a eight-year-old (was when I first started reading it). As time went on, I read more and more recipes, happily thinking about the day when I would be married and cooking for my own family.

This particular cook book is the Antoinette Pope School Cook Book by Antoinette and Francois Pope. They were a couple who was born in Italy (Antoinette) and France (Francois), and immigrated to the United States (Chicago) in the early twentieth century. Over time, she converted their basement on the south side of Chicago into a cooking school. Ultimately, they even had a television cooking show on ABC (Channel 7) in Chicago. I remember watching it with Ma. Their culinary history is legendary. There is a well-written article about the Popes written when Antoinette passed away in 1993. You can read the article HERE.

Book1a

Two of my aunts also had this book, presented to them by my Ma. Ma’s book lasted for decades. It was so well used that over time, the pages were separating from the binding and she had to rubber band the book together after she used it. It was getting fragile from so much use. It became a lost artifact when my parents had a small flood in their basement (where she moved the book there for some unknown reason) and the book became so water logged, it was destroyed.

Recently, I found this same edition in near perfect condition, and I bought it. The mailman delivered it to my house yesterday, and I was thrilled beyond expression! I went through the chapters and pages, reveling in chapter introductions, measurements, techniques, and recipes. I found the first recipe I ever made from the cook book – Tuna Noodle Casserole. I was fourteen years old. It wasn’t my first time cooking (I was already do that since I was about eleven). But, oh! I felt so grown up using a Pope recipe!

This edition I now have seems to have an interesting history. Someone – Amy – bought it for Jane and presented it to her on December 25, 1954:

Book2a

It looks like Jane tried Pope’s Oatmeal Cookies, but made notes about looking at the recipe on an Oatmeal box:

Book3a

She made Pope’s Chop Suey and added penciled notes about her own revisions to the recipe. She even said it was “very good”:

Book4a

Jane made Chili con Carne (remember how that was how we used to always refer to chili?). Jane also made the Beef Stew, and that page is scribbled all over with notes:

Book5a

On the last page and inside cover of the book, Jane taped a picture of Francois Pope and his two sons, plus a write up on the cooking school. She cut up the dust cover; that’s where that came from:

Book6a

The only clue as to where Jane lived was a note she wrote in a margin: “Use Burghardt’s rye bread”. My Internet research revealed that Burghardt’s rye bread came from the Livonia, Michigan area.

This weekend I’ll be making the lasagna recipe from the book. And that Tuna Noodle Casserole won’t be far behind!

I’ll be remembering Ma baking and cooking, my young days pouring over the cook book’s pages, and of Jane and Amy – sisters, friends, cousins, or in-laws? Cook books are a good resource to learning about how people prepared and served food, and perhaps how they thought enough about each other to present them with a useful and thoughtful gift.

Bon appetite!

©Susan Marie Molloy, and all works within.