Friday, April 22, 2011

Finally! Laundry You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

I have a fairly sizeable cookbook collection - including of course the one written* by mom, along with food magazines and the occasional pamphlet and scrawled out recipe.  I also confess to not wanting to chuck or recycle the vintage Gourmet magazines in my possession so when the movers who delivered our new bed told me that I had to support the wooden slats that hold up the mattress - I had my answer and I have never slept better.

The area dedicated to cookbooks in the kitchen is packed tight, very tight - but when a friend recently gave me a copy of Thomas Keller's The French Laundry Cookbook - I knew that another wooden slat was going to be supported under my bed.  Out with some other less frequented books in order to make room to new star in the collection. The book is truly beautiful, the images are gorgeous, inspirational and yes, I do want to attempt their recipes. Not only does the book draw you in with the sensual images, but it is peppered with anecdotes and tidbits that are both useful and informative.      

My sister and brother-in-law will be in the land of The French Laundry next month along with another couple, both celebrating the quarter century wedding anniversary.  When they knew their dates, they began to plan for the restaurant itinerary.  The French Laundry accepts reservations two months out, no exceptions.  Knowing this, my sister and her friend both attempted to contact the restaurant exactly two months out from their time in Nappa from their respective home by calling and by emailing.  Twenty minutes after the lines were opened they got through - and their names are now on the wait list.... Good luck with that sis, and thank you for the book JM!

* Mom co-edited several editions of  "Nellie Lyle Pattinson's Canadian Cookbook" - an everyday and highly useful cookbook during the 50's, 60's and 70's - and used in many Home Economic high school classes across the country.  It is no longer in print, but reviews, are still available online - I found these on

This cookbook was a wedding gift in 1962, from a recent U.ofT. Household Science Grad. As a collector of cookbooks for many years, I still find it my best resource for numerous topics, often getting calls, from both new and experienced cooks, looking for info. I recently tried to purchase a copy at an estate auction, but was outbid. Our youngest (of 3) daughters, all of whom learned to cook from this book, has requested it, as she is soon to be married. I am delighted that it is still available for me to purchase for her, as I cannot yet part with mine.

I received this cookbook as a gift when I was first married in 1955. I had no idea how to prepare a basic meal of meat and vegetables but I learned very quickly thanks to the basic, simple instructions in the Canadian Cookbook. This book is a must for the novice cook as it covers everything from how to set a table, to cooking for a crowd. I have yet to find another cookbook that measures up to this one. Several years ago I gave a copy of this book to a new bride and she still thanks me for it. She says she doesn't know how she would have managed meal preparation without it. I am so pleased that the Canadian Cookbook is still available as my copy is falling apart and needs to be replaced. As far as I am concerned, this is the ONLY cookbook for the basic cook and no home should be without the Canadian Cookbook. 


  1. French Laundry is a bit fancy for me but I love ad hoc!

  2. Hi,since you are familiar with the Canadian Cookbook, perhaps you can answer a question for me, in the baked goods section their are recipes that call for 'soda', I don't think it refers to baking soda, as that is written out elsewhere. What kind of soda does it refer to? Thank you.