'Possibly an age of peace will coincide with the time when algae are the major source of food'

I'm back from Melbourne!

Our used-book acquisitions this time include the marvelous The Grubbag by Ita JONES, reportedly a collection of Jones's columns for the Liberation News Service in the late '60s. (We found it in Books for Cooks on Gertrude Street. Highly recommended store.)

Jaded Gen Xers that we are, we saw Grubbag first as a goof, but it turns out to be a truly great read—the kind of cookbook that makes you both keep and eat a chicken, to eat a bright-red tomato right there on the spot. And I do mean red. Here's Jones on breakfast:

And so the day began to open. Jennifer, with her fine blond hair standing out around her like a halo, began some jasmine tea as I dropped spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the pan. Two huge grapefruits fell into halves and yielded to a soft pile of brown sugar, and several eggs of different shades of white and gray pulled jewel-like bubbles in around them.

By seven o'clock the eggs were soft-boiled, the tea fragrantly waiting, the grapefruit radiant and the potato pancakes crisp and warm. The radio played softly. The huge paper was spread out. In the cold rain a Mexican family walked up and down the alley searching for pop bottles.

Never forget the Revolution.

Observations on rice:

Rice has been the backbone of Asia for a very long time. The longest continuous civilization in the history of man thrived, and still does, on rice. The only country to drive into frustration and desperation the most powerful imperialist force in the world thrives on rice.

Rice grows silently on hilltops which reflect the sky between the long, thin reeds and pass into the plants the indestructibility of clouds, which nothing can disperse and keep from reestablishing...

And here is an actual recipe, for Russian mushroom soup ("whatever we may think of Russia's collusion with the imperialists, that country's fresh mushroom soup is really good"):

  1. Sauté 2 medium onions, chopped, in 2 tsbp. butter.
  2. Add ½ lb. fresh mushrooms (including stems), trimmed and sliced, a bit more butter, and continue to sauté another 10 minutes over a low heat. As much as a half stick of butter may eventually be used.
  3. Place the onions and mushrooms in a large pot. Add 5 tbsp. barley, salt and pepper to taste (keep tasting now and then to check this), 3 fist-sized raw potatoes, diced, and 3 cups water. Cover and simmer the soup 45 minutes. More water can be added now and then.

    Up to this point everything can be done the night before, in which case you do Step 4 just before you plan to eat the soup. If you're cooking to eat it now and the 45 minutes have fragrantly passed:
  4. Add 3½ cups milk (which your body has probably been needing) and very, very slowly heat the soup, stirring constantly, just to the brink of boiling. A bit more or less milk can be used, depending on how you like the consistency of soup. Serve it sprinkled with freshly snipped parsley.

Popularity factor: 3


"Ita JONES"?




How is Melbourne keeping these days?
*hugs* Okaeri.

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