Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Vintage Tuesday: Cooking with the Bottle

(Yes, I know it's Wednesday, not Tuesday. I blame snow.)

Today, home cooks are inundated with cookbooks written by celebrity chefs or books focusing on all the magical ways to cook one trendy ingredient. Both types make the marketers happy.

Marketing people have always known that cookbooks do more than educate - that they sell food. Or wine.

Wine sales were the impetus behind Gourmet Wine Cooking the Easy Way, a book published by the Wine Advisory Board in 1968. Written to promote US wines - nearly a decade before the Judgment of Paris and well before California super cabs came on the scene -  the book works California wines into everything from soup to pudding.

Unsurprisingly - since it was 1968 - much of the food sounds revolting. Beets with cornstarch, cloves and claret, anyone? And unfortunately, even the cocktails section - usually the day-saver in old cookbooks - is filled with things that barely sound drinkable. Why - WHY - would you think to mix Chablis, tomato juice and Worcestershire sauce, then garnish with dried dill? WHY?

But it does include some cute illustrations. And, as always, a brutally honest slice of mid-century culinary life.

(This was an Etsy find for me - bought a few years ago after my friend Tracy spotted it online and sent me a link. She thought I'd like it. Oh, did I ever.)

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