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Lindacakes

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    Brooklyn, New York

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  1. Well, that explains it. The reward for thinning the herd is another cow. I'm the same.
  2. Somewhere here there are more posts of mine on this topic: long story short, my landlord requested that I get rid of all of my books. I had to downsize two apartments into one, got rid of 17 boxes of books including cookbooks. Kept one shelf of general cookbooks, mostly vegetable cookery, had the rest in storage. Rescued them one evening when I couldn't stand it anymore, along with one bookcase and edited the collection again by two additional boxes so that what I had would fit in that bookcase (in addition to the one shelf in the kitchen). Well, I bought a house of my own, and recently two bookcases for the dining room. The books are united in one collection and live on those shelves with other kitchen objects like a wine rack, graduated Fiestaware bowls, and picnic tins with cookie cutters. So I've had a couple of years to think about cookbooks. I love them, I loved researching my collection and culling it so that it is extremely strong and covers much of the gamut of cooking. I also have some silly cookie books and candy books and more preserving books than I need. I am sure that I'll continue to add to the collection and cull when necessary, because I like being lighter on my feet. The experience taught me a lot about change and fluidity and what makes a home. All that being said, I have all of my own recipes, and lots of eGullet recipes, and anything I now find to "clip" stored as Word documents. So, like Dorothy and her ruby slippers, I had everything I wanted to cook on a flash drive the entire time. I imagine that you will buy more cookbooks when you see ones that interest you. Our tastes change constantly, we learn new things. It's all good.
  3. I really liked these videos in spite of not really liking Michael Pollan. They were really done well. I liked the international footage and the people who were featured. Very nice to see food video that isn't the food police or the food contests. Just the food people.
  4. I've had to cut my collection by half. It was a very interesting exercise; now I have just the best. The general cooking, spice, vegetable and fruit books are on a shelf in the kitchen. I have a lot of vegetable books. The reference (Time Life Good Cook and Foods of the World), world (heavily Italian), baking, preserving, and books about food occupy one bookcase in addition to the main shelf. I am a baker, and I cut myself down to one shelf, mostly Maida Heatter and pie tomes. It makes me really happy just to look at them.
  5. I bought and read this book -- and it's terrific! I am wondering anyone has any other recommendations for culinary history books . . .
  6. Black Cake and Browning

    Welcome back to the light, Hummingbirdkiss! I haven't made a black cake in several years, so that I could try some other fruitcake recipes. I've changed up my holiday baking. Now I bake cookies on Christmas Eve rather than before, that's been very fun! Always a new recipe rather than the same old ones. You'll have to tell me how you got them baked in the jars in the first place, and how you get them out, but I think steaming them in cheesecloth like a plum pudding. How about a picture? I think I have a list at home of all the things to do with the fruit that I've collected over the years. What about black cake cookies? That's an interesting challenge.
  7. While I agree that the article is cranky, I don't disagree much. I think there's a current culture around food and cooking that is rather odd and is reflected in the plethora of cookbooks available. The man-cooking reminds me of the 80's man-painting -- taking a talent that was once considered over-detailed and female and dismissable and raising it by virtue of masculinizing it. Which is a rank simplification, I know. I doubt that many people who buy cookbooks actually cook from them or consider them in a critical fashion. Those of us in the modern book business have a lot to be cranky about. I cannot even imagine what cookbook editors go through trying to bring out a cookbook that creates the profit margins publishers demand. My landlord tried to make me sign a piece of paper that said I would agree not to have any bookcases or books in my apartment (he thinks they'll fall through the floor). I've gone through a long process of culling my books and recently extracted a bookcase from my storage space and decided that I would keep just that many cookbooks. They'd already gone through one round of culling. And I looked up many, many cookbooks on Amazon trying to decide, "This cake book or that cake book?" etc. It was an education. The vast percentage of people who have an opinion about a cookbook have never cooked from it. We pride ourselves on the number of cookbooks we own. I fully support owning books that you never use, owning books that you only look at once or twice, owning books that you use for reference, buying more when you have enough, etc. But at the end of the day, what I want are recipes. Stunningly good recipes, if possible.
  8. Aging an Iced Cake

    Thank you both! I realized after I wrote this that I could do two two-layer cakes more easily, which is much more practical than a four-layer cake . . . I will take it that it does not shock you to age an iced cake, so I'll give it a whirl this Christmas. I have not made you Fruited Cocoa Cake, Andiesenji -- I will, though, I promise. I did make the Old Foodie's Chocolate Alcohol Cake one year! It's been a while since I've done a chocolate one. That is a really cool cake tin, so high, and the little handle rocks.
  9. Aging an Iced Cake

    I've found a recipe that I'd really like to try and before I commit to it, I'd like a reality check. This is an aged Christmas cake, not a fruit cake, but a nut cake -- I've made a similar cake from a Craig Claiborne recipe found in Moira Hodgson's fruit cake book. It had black walnut and candied ginger and was superb. This one is unusual in that you make 4 cake layers, ice them and then age this cake for four days. The part that gets me is "airtight container". How do you put a four layer cake in an airtight container? A Rubbermaid storage container? The recipe comes from a silly Christmas cookbook -- I pour over sources like these for fruitcake recipes, so it could be a complete joke. Any opinions? Holiday Black Walnut Cake (Germany) Santa’s North Pole Cookbook by Jeff Guin 5 eggs, separated 3 cups flour 3 teaspoons baking powder ¼ teaspoon salt 2 cups granulated sugar 1 cup shortening 1 cup whole milk ¾ cup chopped black walnuts 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 9 tablespoons butter 6 tablespoons heavy cream 6 cups powdered sugar 3 teaspoons vanilla extract Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut circles of waxed paper to fit the bottom of four 8-inch round cake pans. Place the paper in the pans and lightly grease paper and sides of pans. Dust with flour and set aside. In a large bowl beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. In a medium bowl, cream sugar and shortening. Add the sugar mixture to the sifted flour mixture. Beat until smooth. Add the egg yolks and milk and beat until just blended. Do not overbeat. Stir in the walnuts and vanilla. Gently fold in the egg whites. Divide batter equally among the prepared cake pans. Smooth the tops and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to wire racks and let cool completely. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add the cream and heat until mixture is slightly less than boiling. Remove from heat. Add powdered sugar and whisk until completely smooth. Add the vanilla. Peel wax paper off cooled cake layers. Place first cake layer top side down on cake plate and spread evenly with icing. Top with another layer top side down and repeat until all four layers are stacked. Use remaining icing to cover the top and sides of the cake. Place the iced cake in an airtight container. Leave completely undisturbed for five days before serving. At the end of the five days, all the flavors of the cake will have matured. You will understand why the long wait was worth it when you take your first bite.
  10. Church communion cake

    What about one of those recipes that you roll the dough into balls and put it in the pan, like a monkey bread, so that it is very easy to pull apart?
  11. My mom made good lunches and once in a while I make tuna salad like she did. We had Hough (Cleveland) Bakery bread with Velveeta cheese and Miracle Whip, sometimes with baloney. Sometimes tuna salad with celery. Sometimes Fritos, never potato chips. A piece of fruit, never anything sweet. No problem, really. But what I HATED (and don't forget the theme of this thread is Weird or Icky) is the red plaid lunchbox fondly mentioned upstream. Because this was the late 60's and the culture had already passed into the Partridge Family lunchbox and the That Girl lunchbox and whatever the hip and happening zeitgeist that year was. I had my freakin' red plaid lunchbox. My mom setting me up for failure was a recurring theme in my childhood.
  12. Twelve years with eGullet

    March 2004. I came here when I outgrew the King Arthur Baking Circle. I am completely shocked to find that it has been 11 years. I can't imagine life without eGullet. It enriches my life on a daily basis. I've learned so much I could learn no where else, and certain regulars here are secret mentors. And I love having an ongoing cultural connection. Recipes that are ingrained in my life and the lives of my loved ones came from the kitchens of many people here. I'm very grateful to the folks who keep us going.
  13. Spiralized vegetables and vegetable rices

    I actually had no idea that such an item existed, let alone in plastic. Apparently I don't get out much. I eat a lot of vegetables and anything that makes them more interesting or tasty is fine by me. Something I read touted the rutabaga noodle and I love rutabagas. I think I could do some nice things with kohlrabi spirals.
  14. That being said, it's not very warm and fuzzy. My mother died recently and I found my mother's, my grandmother's and my great grandmother's handwritten recipe books in her things. In a plastic box filled with recipe pamphlets and scissored recipes, no less. These are priceless to me. And yes, I have copied some of those into my digital files, some day I hope t have them all there. No one is going to feel that way about my files. I do keep a handmade recipe book with colored pencil drawings that's pretty much da bomb and goes with the generational set.
  15. I think it is essential to use a solution that works for you, and if a digital solution, one that is flexible. I spent several weekends prying data out of my Palm Pilot before switching to an iPhone, and I vowed never to make the same mistake again. I still have paper files that I need to go through, but I now keep all my recipes in MS Word files. I include photos in there if I want to. I can take a recipe and add my own notes. I can double file these recipes, which I do -- I keep them in a filing system I set up, and I keep copies of ones I really do intend to make in a separate file. What is very important to me is that I can easily alter, share and back up this file. I keep a copy in my safe deposit box. I'm haunted by two eGulleter's stories -- one had her hand written recipe book stolen in a house robbery, and the other's were destroyed in a fire. My recipe files represent untold hours of reading, talking, culling, testing recipes, etc. and I don't intend to lose that investment. Since a certain time, several years ago, I no longer keep paper copies of recipes. I will take the time to copy a recipe. Mostly, I find it online and copy and paste it into a Word doc. Sometimes right off the screen, sometimes from the print option. I do take a few minutes to restyle it. I know a lot of people wouldn't do this, but it's made me think twice about what I capture. Are you really ever going to make all the recipes you have? Realistically, I think most of us will only read, use, or make a small fraction of the recipes we keep. This does take some time but I actually find it relaxing and enjoy the research part of my food studies. Back to the paper files -- every once in a while I grab one and go through it, and take the recipes off the Internet or copy them by hand. This exercise keeps me from maniacally clipping everything that is vaguely interesting to me -- I have to think about whether I really want the recipe. I find this has made me very focused. I am interested in fruitcakes and I do keep a paper file, but I also have lots and lots of digital recipes and more importantly, notes and cross references. When I get a new cookbook, I go through it slowly and take notes on what I'd like to make. I then tag these in Eat Your Books. Anything I make from one of my cookbooks, I add notes in Eat Your Books because I believe the real power of that community is in sharing information on the recipe level, not the book level. One thing I've noticed about cookbooks in general from this process is that authors have strengths and the recipes in their books reflect this. I always notice when a book has a strong fruitcake section and I take note of that. Ultimately, all my food information is searchable and cross-referenced and is exponentially enhanced by the investment.
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