One of the perks of being a food columnist is getting a sneak preview of new cookbooks, and I recently got my hands on an advance copy of “The Preppy Cookbook: Classic Recipes for the Modern Prep” by Christine E. Nunn.
The plaid-covered book sat on my desk for several weeks. I would glance over at it on occasion.
I remember in the early 1980s, the heyday of preppy-dom, when “The Official Preppy Handbook” came out. Part satire, part reference, it was a full-fledged lifestyle manual. No one would mistake me for a true preppy, but I’ve been known to wear madras.
Anyway, I finally flipped open Nunn’s book.
To my delight the foreword was noted by television chef Sara Moulton, who wrote, “Indeed, its occasionally tongue-in-cheek-text aside, this cookbook boasts a raft of seriously good recipes and an equal number of great ideas for their presentation.”
My interest and palate were fully piqued.
Upon quick skimming of the table of contents I found the book’s 125 recipes subdivided by categories such as Summer & the Living is Easy, Brunch as a Verb, The Cocktail Party and Home for the Holidays.
Nunn, a chef and former restaurant owner, said the purpose for writing the book was to keep retro recipes “alive ‘n’ kicking.” She offers recipes for lobster rolls, fondue and peach crisp along with mandatory gin and tonics, Pimm’s Cup and “Bloodies.”
For my friend Linda Thiffault, who is from Bermuda, the book also includes a cocktail called “It Was a Dark and Stormy Afternoon,” consisting of two things: Gosling’s Black Seal rum and ginger beer. It’s a play on Bermuda’s official drink, the Dark and Stormy. Preppy drinks are never of out of style.
Like I said, I’ve never imagined myself a member of any preppy group, so you can imagine my surprise to find I was already familiar with many of the recipes in “The Preppy Cookbook.” A few of them were identical to those my mother used to make when we were kids, like the Creamed Chipped Beef on Potatoes, only my mom served hers on toast.
Meandering my way through the recipes, I stopped at those that especially caught my eye, including Salmon with Martini Sauce, French Toast with Caramelized Bananas and Walnuts, and Jammin’ Ham Sandwiches.
The cookbook ends with a section devoted to stocking your pantry, freezer and fridge with staples that will be useful for impromptu get togethers in creating these recipes.
I admit, I liked this cookbook more than I thought I would.
Lynn Kessel is a freelance food columnist and blogger. For more of her recipes, visit southshore.tbo.com and enter the search words Lynn Kessel or look for her blog at www.lynnkessel.blogspot.com.
30-YARD LINE SLAW
1/2 head of green cabbage, halved, cored and thinly shredded
1/2 head of red cabbage, halved, cored and thinly shredded
3 Gala, Honeycrisp or Macoun apples, finely diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Pinch of cinnamon
In a large bowl, combine the green and red cabbage, apples, cranberries, walnuts and dates. Add the vinegar and toss until the cabbage mixture is evenly coated. Let wilt about 15 minutes, or until the cabbage has given off some liquid. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, salt, pepper and cinnamon.
Drain half of the liquid from the cabbage mixture. Stir in the mayonnaise mixture until the cabbage mixture is evenly coated. Refrigerate at least an hour, or until halftime. Serve cold.
Source: “The Preppy Cookbook: Classic Recipes for the Modern Prep” by Christine E. Nunn