This year I got a lot of cooking supplies and tools for Christmas. I also received a lot of food, but that is no surprise either, and it is beside the point. Measuring cups, spoons, knives, loaf pans, oven mitts, and cookbooks all added to the growing amount of stuff invading my mom’s kitchen and being shuttled from my dorm back home. My mom just loves this extra clutter that unfortunately doesn’t really have a permanent home. Regardless, all of the cooking related things I was given for Christmas made me extremely happy and I have proudly already used all of them.
Here is one way I used my Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. I actually find it rather amusing how they just keep naming the cookbook the same thing every year, each year it is the “New” version. No mention of years on the cover of the book, kind of weird, no?
Not that it really matters, the inside is very comprehensive and provides not just recipes but technique tips and pictures, equivalents/substitutes, ingredient comparisons, and the basic equipment and terms. The recipes that are included are extensive. As far as “American” food goes, it would be hard to find a recipe that this book has failed to include in its repertoire.
So far I have made a shrimp pasta dish, chocolate chai latte, whole wheat pizza dough, and corn bread. Although all have been good, the cornbread is what I have been most impressed by and my family and friends really enjoyed it. I first made it a few days after Christmas but then by request made it again for our family’s New Year’s Day meal. Corn bread was thought to look like and symbolize gold, especially at a time when Southeners often went without wheat but instead relied on corn. I hope that this corn bread will start our new year off on the right track so that it will be lucky and prosperous. (Fun fact: That is one of the few recipes I have made twice. I just love reading new recipes and feel compelled to try new ones no matter how good recipes I have made in the past are.) This corn bread was definitely not a disappointment the second time though. It was not too sweet and thankfully it wasn’t just another dry, crumbly cornbread.
The corn bread sitting on the counter showing off its golden brown color and slightly crisp edges.
Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar (can vary from 2 to 3)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil, melted butter can be substituted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir together dry ingredients (first five) in a medium bowl. Several minutes before the oven is fully preheated, put the 1 tablespoon butter in a 9 x 1 1/2-inch round baking pan. (Here, you could use a 10-inch round cast-iron skillet to prepare in the more traditional way.) Place pan in oven for about 3 minutes or until butter is melted. Remove from oven and swirl around the bottom to coat. Set aside. Meanwhile, combine eggs, milk, and cooking oil in a small bowl. Add into the dry ingredients and stir until the two are completely incorporated. Pour batter into hot pan and put in the oven. Let bake for 15 to 20 minutes.(You may need to rotate the pan in the last five minutes to ensure an evenly cooked top.) It should be golden brown on top and a toothpick should come out of the center clean. Serve warm.