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Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Fireside Cook Book, What a Gem!

I have been wanting to share The Fireside Cookbook by the one and only James Beard, for some time now. One reason why I haven't is because I wasn't sure my other camera would do some of the images justice.

I wasn't too worried about scanning the images. The book isn't as fragile as some other cookbooks I have in my collection.

As a matter of fact, for a book published in 1949, I'd say it is in excellent condition! Sure there are a few "bumps & bruises" on the corners but, hey, I was "born" a few years later than 1949 and I too show wear for the years:)

It was the "magical" dust jacket I was most concerned about. When unfolded ever so gingerly, the dust jacket opens up into a 24" X 20.5" wall hanger glimmering with whimsical illustrations and quirky prose much like the contents of the book.

It too shows a bit of tattering, but how utterly charming is this?

Or this?

Here's a capsule about the book from The James Beard Foundation.

The Fireside Cook Book: A Complete Guide to Fine Cooking for Beginner and Expert
(Simon and Schuster, 1949.
Retitled in 1982 as The Fireside Cookbook. Reprinted in 2008, in hardcover.)

"The Fireside Cook Book was a comprehensive text, not unlike The Joy of Cooking but with more personality. The charming color illustrations by Alice and Martin Provensen deserve credit, as does Beard’s voice, apparent in such menu suggestions as "Dinner for a Gloomy Day When All the Leftovers Are Gone." The book contained more than 1,000 recipes, typically a basic preparation, such as cream soup, followed by a set of variations—cream of asparagus, cream of corn, and cream of celery. Beard made no bones about his desire to create an American cuisine, writing, "America has the opportunity, as well as the resources, to create for herself a truly national cuisine that will incorporate all that is best in the traditions of the many people who have crossed the seas to form our new, still young nation. The volume was, according to Jones, "the most lavishly produced American cookbook to date," and Beard made his culinary reputation on it."
The Complete Works of James Beard article by Alexandra Zohn and Peggy Grodinsky

What do too many cooks NOT do? Well, if you're anything like me, a person who has collected cookbooks for years and managed to amass thousands of cookbooks, yes readers, thousands, cooks simply do NOT take advantage of their cookbooks. Not only do cookbooks influence the choice of "What's For Dinner" they hold the key to the culinary past as well as the culinary future. As soon as you add that pinch of you to a recipe, whether it be a bit more on the pepper, less on the salt, you have made that recipe your own! Not Sally's next door, or Martha's from Yoga class not even James Beard's recipe! In essence, what is a recipe but a formula precisely followed when need be and creatively "tainted" when the feeling arises. A reflection of you, on a journey into culinary history!

Take these ingredients for instance, Corned Beef, Boiled Potatoes Chopped Onions, Fresh Ground Pepper, Nutmeg and Butter. What do they equal? James Beard's Corned Beef Hash.

cyb12 photo 77951578-1914-4b72-8eda-9e40a91183ac_zps331eb4b4.jpg

One day while I was visiting Joyce @KitchenFlavours, I happened upon a new event she is hosting called Cook-Your-Books: A New Cooking and Baking Event. In Joyce's words, "Cook-Your-Books is all about cooking or baking from your many cookbooks or magazines that you have collected over the years." So, "kiddies" that's what I did. And boy oh boy, am I ever glad!

As many of you may have noticed, I sure do a whole lotta talking about cookbooks on this blog. Thing is, I don't do a whole lotta cooking! Well, for one day, I'd like to change that. So, today I offer you the rest of the recipe for Corned Beef Hash from The Fireside Cook Book.

"Homemade hash can be a triumphant dish, especially if you use a fine piece of corned beef that is flavorful and finely textured.

Chop the corned beef. Add 1/3 of that amount of chopped boiled potatoes and, if you wish, 1 small onion, finely chopped. Blend the ingredients and taste for seasoning. You probably will not need additional salt, but you may wish to add some freshly ground pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.
Melt 4 to 6 tablespoons butter in a skillet. Add the hash and press down into the pan. Cook over slow heat until the hash has formed a crust on the bottom. Fold over as you would an omelet and serve at once."

Since Marion and I were having "Breakfast for Dinner," and we wanted to finish the leftover corned beef from the night before, I decided to go with Mr. Beard's Baked Corned Beef variation with a twist.

"Pack hash into a buttered casserole and dot with butter. Bake in a moderate oven (350°) until nicely browned on top.

Corned beef hash may be served with the traditional poached egg or with scrambled eggs mixed with plenty of chopped parsley. This is perhaps the one dish that requires chili sauce, but be sure it is slightly warm, for a cold sauce on hot meat is most unappetizing.

And since I was already going to have the oven on for baking the hash, I decided to toss in a couple of eggs about 15 minutes into the baking time and also to "throw" another baking sheet in with these simple, but deliciously addicting, Baked Cinnamon Apple Chimichangas that I found at La Cocina de Leslie. Wha La, a journey into culinary history! For more reasons than one I'm afraid.

My timing was a wee bit off:) The recipe for the Chimichangas said to bake for 12-15 minutes. I went with the 15 which was when I cracked the eggs into the little indentations I made in the hash. If I were to do this recipe again, and I just may, I would put both the eggs and the Cinnamon Apple Chimichangas in at the same time. As for the chili sauce, which I think Mr. Beard was spot on about, I would do just as I did; heat it up a few seconds right on the stovetop!

I chose this simple recipe to share with Cook-Your-Books for another reason. The one thing about the King of Concoctions, which is basically "a dish consisting of diced meat, potatoes, and spices that are all mixed together," it knows no boundaries. It may have assorted names in different parts of the world but in some form or another, culturally, hash is oh so versatile!

Thank you so much for visiting today. I'm off to thank Joyce for hosting this event and attempt to link this post to Cook-Your-Books. I hope she doesn't mind kitchen errors:) I'm also going to do a bit of buzzing around the blogsphere visiting you "guys." I'm preparing for the Picnic Game which I'll be posting about next Tuesday, June 18th! Enjoy, Louise

41 comments:

  1. Corned beef hash and eggs was one of two things my mother made that was edible. She'd dump the can in the cast-iron skillet, brown, and then crack eggs and put a lid over said pan...

    Her only other culinary art was a pineapple upside down cake. I just realized it was baked in the very same frying pan. It would seem it was her secret weapon.

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    1. That's hysterical Channon. I used my cast iron pan and yes, it is the same one I use for Pineapple Upside Down Cake which I am much better at making. The lid on the pan is probably something I should remember though:)

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  2. Good for you - great work, Louise! I remember when my mom mad corned beef hash and eggs, and we kinda wondered what it was ... However, I must say the photos look quite enticing! And, I'm quite taken by the fact that James Beard featured something so "rustic!" Might be worth revisiting, especially since I'm spending more time these days writing about food, than cooking food!

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    1. I was hoping you would see this post T.W. The Fireside Cookbook really is quite the gem. There are so many "rustic" recipes with all kinds of variations spiced with Mr. Beard's wit. I don't know for sure whether the new release with the foreword by Mark Bittman is an exact copy of the original. Many of the recipes remind me of those we grew up with too. Ah such delicious memories even if we didn't know what we were "really" eating half the time:) Thank you so much for dropping by T.W. I do hope you get some time to heat up that kitchen of yours real soon!

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  3. Hi Louise,
    Your corned beef hash and eggs looks and sounds really delicious! The last time I had canned corned beef was when I was a little girl, and for some reason after that, I have not consumed beef for decades! But I remembered that I love eating the corn beef! Having it baked with potatoes and eggs looks really good!
    The book looks like an "antique" and so precious! The pictures are so charming and unique! And you managed to keep it in a good condition is pretty impressive! I was so envious to read that you have thousands of cookbooks, mine is just like a bunch of school books compared to yours! Hahaha! You could open up a cookbook library! Imagine if I'm lost among your cookbooks, there will not be enough of time for me to cook at all!
    Thank you for the mention and am glad that you have posted about this wonderful cookbook, definitely a book worthy of sharing. And glad to know that you have tried one recipe from your many thousands of books!!
    I am really looking forward to your picnic game! My mind is already planning what I'll be bringing!

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    1. My son doesn't eat beef either Joyce. And he doesn't seem to miss either. (I'm pretty sure he never liked corned beef hash anyway:)

      I wouldn't say the book is an antique but it is pretty old. I was fortunate to buy it in the condition it is still in. I'm very careful about taking care of them:)

      I would gladly share the cookbooks that I have more than one of with you Joyce if you lived closer. Not to worry though I am going to be having another Cookbook Give-Away this year!!!

      It was so nice to actually cook from one of the books. I'm going to stop by and see what others have cooked too. I'm so glad to learn about this event and I am thankful that your kind words gave me just the nudge I needed:)

      And yes, The Picnic is going to be simply wonderful this year!!!

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  4. The illustrations are just perfect, such a pleasure to go through the book!
    Blog about life and travelling
    Blog about cooking

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    1. So glad you enjoyed it Ola. It was fun to share. Thank you so much for dropping by.

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  5. You are so right....I have so many cookbooks and many of them old but I don't use them as a go to for dinners. I will have to change that while I am on vacation, weeding through the books.
    There is a very old one from 1954 and it has recipes from Creamery Pennsylvania, an old church type cookbook. Will need to share that with you!
    Your hash looks good and has my tummy rumbling :-)

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    1. I'd love to see that Creamery book Tina. Does it include ads? I have one published by the Penn State Alumni from 1939. I'll have to share that one with you!

      Can't wait to see what you conger up while Cooking The Books. Do share...

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  6. Love that you collect such cool books, this one is a definite winner!

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    1. Thanks Squishy, so glad you enjoyed it. I loved sharing it!

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  7. Oh my gosh, I could eat that right now - it looks amazing! And the cookbook is fantastic - I love that bread saying...too fun. :)

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    1. It is a cool book, Heather. One of my treasures. So glad you liked it too! The sayings are just so adorable, aren't they?

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  8. Oh, I LOVE this one, and am now on a mission to find a copy. The dust jacket is spectacular and I would be greatly tempted to frame it and hang it in my kitchen. What a treasure! Thanks for the info on "Cooking the Books." I'll have to link up some time. I cook from my cookbooks all of the time.

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    1. I'll keep my eye out for you Pattie but I must warn you it is a very difficult book to find. I've only seen it one other time with the dust jacket in as good condition. Most people did just as you say, they hung it up on the wall! Mine came from a woman who collected books her entire life. She had thousands, many more thousands than I. She had very rare books too. I bought 860 books from her and wished I could buy them all!

      Do check out Cooking the Books. I will definitely do it again. Also, don't forget to check out the Picnic Game. The post is up! http://monthsofediblecelebrations.blogspot.com/2013/06/celebrating-international-picnic-day.html

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  9. Love corned beef ... this is a must to try ... thanks for shaarings .

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  10. I've to admit that's such a colourful cookbook you've got in your collection! Awesome recipe & thks for coming by! Hope to see more of you @ Luxury Haven! Enjoy your weekend!

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    1. Thanks, Shirley. It really is one of my treasures:)

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  11. Dear Louise I love, really love this lovely book, my type of book and the reacipe, awesome, aah! I wat participate in Joyce event, I hope this week make something lovely, huggs dear
    xo

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    1. So glad you liked it Gloria. Joyce's event is a great way to Cook those Books! Hope you make it. I'll be doing it again after the Picnic Game!

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  12. Corned beef hash is my husbands absolute favorite breakfast. Can you believe I've never made it? You pictures even had me drooling and we are all breakfast for dinner lovers, so ...

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    1. Inger? You've never made corned beef hash for that hubby of yours? Don't wait until St. Patrick's Day, it's really yummy!

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  13. Gosh, I've seen that book but it's been years and years! James Beard is one of the greats, and sadly too many people these days don't even know who he is (other than lending his name to awards - most people haven't cooked one of his recipes). I have only a fraction of the cookbooks you have (maybe 300 or so), but I do cook from almost all of them, at least sometimes (it might be several years before I'll get back to one, though). Anyway, love the recipe - corned beef hash is such good stuff! Fun post - thanks.

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    1. I agree, John. James Beard is/was so much more than a Hall of Famer for awards. I have quite a few of his books. One of my favorite books about James Beard is Epicurean Delight by Evan Jones. You really get to know Mr. Beard in that book. I think it should be required reading:)

      Thanks for stopping by...

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  14. I'd say that cookbook is in amazing shape...my old ones haven't fared nearly as well. Such fun to see the artwork. I remember making corned beef hash for my husband for breakfast while he was in the Air Force. Must confess, I got so sick of making it, I haven't made it in 35 years! Looking at your photos, I'm going to rethink that!

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  15. That cookbook is certainly a treasure and you are so lucky it is in such good shape. I absolutely love corned beef hash but without the egg for me.
    Have a blessed day, Ginger

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    1. I enjoy it with or without the eggs, Ginger. Must watch that cholesterol:)

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  16. Hi -- This makes me think of the corned-beef hash recipe once obtained by Nero Wolf and his trusty cook Fritz (Nero Wolf cookbook p. 182). Secret ingredient from a nice Southern girl was chitlins.

    Also relevant -- the English "Guardian" online -- which has a wonderful food section -- is running a contest involving users making a recipe from an illustrated cookbook or magazine and submitting a photo of the two versions side-by-side. Up to now, they all look fantastic. See: https://witness.guardian.co.uk/assignment/51b9eab1e4b0434431df74b2#contribute

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    1. Oh how I would LOVE to have the Nero Wolf Cookbook Mae. I really should put my mind to finding one. It is, however, on my very long list, lol...

      The Guardian website food section is very interesting. I wouldn't dream of submitting the hash because one, it doesn't look that good and two, I don't have the picture of what it should look like. Like the concept though. Going to check it out. It's almost like Cook Your Books. Thanks Mae! Hope you're having FUN!

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  17. Why, oh why couldn't my idiot mother have had some cookbooks like this instead of those trendy new paperback things that she never even opened, and in which I have no interest? I am so jealous! I have a couple of James Beard cookbooks, and they are marvelous! But I don't have a wonderful dust jacket like yours. Thanks for sharing, Louise.

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    1. Now, now, Marjie;) I have one of my mother's cookbooks which at the time was quite "trendy." Times have changed! I'll keep on the lookout for another James Beard as in good shape as this but I must tell you, they are difficult to find!!!

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  18. What a great post. You know I love cookbooks, and looks like a new one is on the horizon. Beautiful photos, too..Love Breakfast for Dinner!

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    1. Thanks Janet! We do a lot of Breakfast for Dinner around here:) We do Dessert for Dinner too though!

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  19. Dear Louise, James Beard is one of my favorites. Unfortunately, I lost most of my books in Sandy. I know!!
    I agree, make a recipe your own and enjoy. I think old cookbooks are the best because they are real cooking, not light, or fat free just cooking from the heart. I think if you eat right and real ingredients it is more satisfying and just watch the portion.
    The corned beef has and eggs look great.
    B.T.W... I love the muppets. Blessings dear. Catherine xo

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    1. Oh Catherine,

      I can't even imagine how it must feel not to have your cookbooks, amongst so many other things I'm sure. Thankfully things are getting back to normal for you. I have quite a few cookbooks that I have doubles, sometimes triples of, you are more than welcome to them. I'll email you early next week to ask you.

      I need to cook with "real" ingredients. No foo foo here:)

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  20. I love cookbooks too and this one looks very attractive! And this breakfast for dinner sounds like the perfect idea!

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    1. Marion and I often have breakfast for dinner, Katerina. We are not heavy eaters and it seems to work out just right for us. BTW, your new blog looks delightful! I'll be visiting again for sure!

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  21. I love cookbooks but not enough to buy it :P I know , I know ! Most cookbooks that I've used came from our local libraries and boy , you'll be spoiled for choice there :D I told myself to start buying at least once a month but some books here are too expensive for my pocket er taste lol Thinking of your books , more than a thousands , makes my mouth water ! Anyway , I've bookmarked 2 corned beef hash recipe but haven't tried it yet . Your version looks scrumptious with those eggs on top ! Will definitely try adding eggs when I try one of the recipe .

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    1. I borrow a lot of books from the local library too, Anne. I find lots of them at auctions and yard sales and I must admit, I am very thrifty about some of them that I purchase.

      Thank you so much for visiting, stop by anytime. Your Black Coffee Ice Cream really does sound quite intriguing. I PINNED it!!!

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Through this wide opened gate,
none came to early,
none returned to late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise