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Silver Palate cookbook

butterfingers's picture

The food section of several newspapers had articles on the re-release of The Silver Palate cookbook last week. I pulled my VERY beat up copy, picked up for three bucks at an overstock book sale where I used to purchase cheap books for my English classes in my senior year of college in the 80's. Gosh, it doesn't SEEM that long ago... I think it may have been the first cookbook I ever bought, and I kept it on the bookshelf in my dorm room next to my Chaucer and Spenser. I used to dog-ear pages of recipes I wanted to try when I graduated. I think the first one I actually made, at my first "dinner party" in my small Richmond apartment for my other college friends who also got jobs in Richmond, was the pasta quattro formaggi (sp? -- it's the 4 cheese one) and something chocolate (I don't remember the exact recipe I used but I think it was a pie). And the Raphael pasta sauce with the marinated artichoke hearts was a once-a-week staple of mine for years. For the first few years after graduation, the only cookies I ever made were out of that book. And my very first dinner date that I cooked was the Summer Chicken and some cold artichokes stuffed with the shrimp and grape salad. I found the shopping list, on a piece of corporate memo paper from the ad agency where I worked at the time, tucked into the pages. The relationship went sour, but that dinner was darned good.

I probably haven't looked at that book in 10 years. I certainly haven't cooked from it in at least that long. But I was leafing through it and there are still a lot of really good things in The Silver Palate cookbook. And to prove how one's tastes change through the years, things I didn't look at twice before are now very interesting and things that I used to love I don't have any interest in making again.

I am very excited about my very first cookbook again. I don't think I am going to buy the newly released version, with colorful pictures and updated recipes. I'll stick to my old copy with the taped spine. Does anyone else have the same nostalgia for this book that I do? It's funny that a cookbook can be such an important part of one's life....


Edited 5/14/2007 11:38 am ET by butterfingers

jojo's picture

(post #62847, reply #1 of 47)

The roasted chicken with lemon, rosemary, and garlic is still one of my favorites.  That is definitely in my T & T. 

shywoodlandcreature's picture

(post #62847, reply #2 of 47)

I loved the Silver Palate -- it was my first "gourmet" cookbook, and, if it hasn't hit the landfill yet, is now probably unuseable with pages stuck together, recipes scribbled over, all manner of other desecrations that mark a really well-used cookbook. I was also foolish enough to write down several great (and valuable to me) recipes from friends in the end papers, and never did get them transcribed to other places. Alas, I gave my copy to my son, who has not ever used it, and doesn't know where he last saw it. So there goes my classic recipe for tortiere, and an absolutely fabulous apricot cake I used to love to make. Ah well... I may well pick up the new edition, but at this point, more for nostalgia than for cooking from.





"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."
George Orwell, 1984

butterfingers's picture

(post #62847, reply #3 of 47)

I like this line from the LA times article about it:

But this old one should lure a whole other generation that suspects there is much more to life than Iron Chefs and 30-minute meals. This is food for the ages. And very, very few cookbooks age better than their first buyers.

shywoodlandcreature's picture

(post #62847, reply #4 of 47)

I used to really love hauling it out on a Saturday morning, and planning my weekend around what I would cook from it. It was the backbone of just about every dinner party I gave in my 30s. And yes, it possibly has aged much more gracefully than I have!





"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."
George Orwell, 1984

gardencat's picture

(post #62847, reply #5 of 47)

This was also a key book for me. First, the Joy of Cooking introduced me to some good techniques and recipes. Once I had that figured out, then this book came out and I was ready for it. I still make a number of recipes from it and use it for inspiration when I am entertaining. Only Fine Cooking has managed to usurp the #1 place that this book held for me (from my 6 foot tall bookcase of cook books). I'm glad I'm not alone. No, I won't trade my beaten up version for any new shiny one.

Wolvie's picture

(post #62847, reply #44 of 47)

another key book person here.


and - to honor nostalgia - I did buy the new, with pics, version. there are still a few recipes from that book that I love, and I wanted to see how badly I was plating them. :-)


"Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be."


Khalil Gibran

 

pamilyn's picture

(post #62847, reply #45 of 47)

The Chicken Marbella is a classic.....is there a picture of that? Pamilyn

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

The purpose of Art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls

Wolvie's picture

(post #62847, reply #47 of 47)

no idea - it has yet to arrive. should be here early next week. :-)


I ordered from Jessica's on Wed - along with some of the project cb's.


"Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be."


Khalil Gibran

 

Marie Louise's picture

(post #62847, reply #6 of 47)

I also loved this book, and the New Basics as well. I gave them all away when I cleaned out my cookbooks. They seemed dated when I looked through them last winter, but at the time, they seemed so cutting edge. I guess it is a lot like Mastering the Art of French Cooking was in the 1960s-innovative then, but since the recipes call for canned mushrooms & salmon because that's all that was available, it's not too useful anymore.

butterfingers's picture

(post #62847, reply #8 of 47)

I think the cool thing about The Silver Palate is that in the 80's (and even the early 90's, when I first graduated from college), a lot of the ingredients that were used in recipes were not readily available outside of New York or other very large cities. In Richmond, I remember being frustrated because the flavored vinegars, chutneys, and other specialty products could not be found in the aisles of my local Ukrops supermarket. Even fresh herbs were a stretch. I used to visit my friend Myra on weekends in Washington DC. She lived in Georgetown and we would visit Dean and Deluca and I would pick up the few products that my entry-level ad agency job would permit to make some of the recipes in the book. I remember my first bottle of raspberry vinegar. I was so excited. I make everything that called for raspberry vinegar. I felt VERY sophisticated to have raspberry vinegar in my pantry.

Now Myra lives in New York (I still visit her) and I live in DC. But Ukrops, as well as most grocery stores even in small towns, carry raspberry vinegar, fresh basil, and lot of other things that could not be found outside very large cities in 1989 -- the year I graduated college. I actually think that, if anything, many of the recipes in The Silver Palate are more accessible to the average cook now than they were in the 80's and 90's. I decided to make the ubiquitous Chicken Marbella tonight. I marinated the chicken this morning. Instead of using the dried oregano that is called for in the recipe, I went into my backyard and clipped some fresh instead. The difficult ingredient? I circled my local supermarket 4 times trying to find prunes. I finally found them on a shelf in the deli area.

Marie Louise's picture

(post #62847, reply #9 of 47)

Oh, I remember feeling so sophisticated when I'd cook from this book! I too put raspberry vinegar on everything. I do think that a few of my tried & true recipes are from this book, and at a recent Passover, I had the BEST macaroons that my friend said came out of one of them. (I has all three books, so I get them confused.)


LOL about the prunes. Let me guess, they were called "dried plums."

butterfingers's picture

(post #62847, reply #12 of 47)

You are right. They were called dried plums. But they were still impossible to find. I was in a newly renovated supermarket with 2 rows labeled "international" where I could buy rose water, chickpea flour, and guava juice, but no one who worked there could tell me where to find prunes.

butterscotch's picture

(post #62847, reply #13 of 47)

LOL.  Prunes are forever unfashionable.  My supermarket puts them in the produce area on shelves beneath the produce cases that are almost at floor level. Heaven help anyone in our neighborhood who wants to make Chicken Marbella.


My initial reaction to the Silver Palate books was similar to yours.  The potential for success seemed to hinge on the availability of those exotic ingredients and the ability to afford them.  I don't own the original "Silver Palate Cookbook", but a very dear friend gave me the "Silver Palate Entertaining Book" around 1984. I remember thinking when I flipped through it for the first time that Sheila and Julee's technique was to take a perfectly ordinary recipe and add to it some ingredient that cost $25 per lb. After letting the book mellow on my shelf for a while, though, I started using it and realized that many of the recipes were clever and tasty and the serving suggestions and ideas for pairing certain ingredients were downright wonderful.  I still turn to the "Silver Palate Entertaining Book" when I want suggestions about, say, putting together an attractive and out-of-the-ordinary sandwich or what cheese go well with what fruits, etc. And I came to love some of the recipes, especially the French onion soup that calls for adding a good-sized dollop of Dijon mustard to the sauteed onions and a slug of cognac to the soup. 


 

Risottogirl's picture

(post #62847, reply #14 of 47)

LOL.  Prunes are forever unfashionable


Here in North America, that is sad but true.


In France, they are much more appreciated, the pruneaux d'Agen, for example, from the southwest of France.


Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor


Bobby Flay

Water is a great ingredient to cook with, it has such a neutral flavor - Bobby Flay

butterscotch's picture

(post #62847, reply #16 of 47)

It is sad. I love them. They're delicious stuffed with good walnuts, in muffins, and in the 1979 Joy of Cooking's chocolate-prune cake.  

mer's picture

(post #62847, reply #7 of 47)

I love the Silver Palate. My mother cooked from it and it was one of my favorite cookbooks. There was a cookie recipe that I loved, either choc chip or oatmeal. hmmm.. Haven't thought about it in a while.

FitnessNut's picture

(post #62847, reply #10 of 47)

I love the Silver Palate, though I don't cook from it very often these days. It was the first cookbook I bought myself, when it first came out in 1982. I had just finished university and moved into my first apartment. Cooking dishes like those featured in this book was all so new and exciting - food at home was never like this! This book was also the first in a still-expanding collection of cookbooks.

My youngest son is now showing signs of becoming a serious cook. I saw the reissued Silver Palate when I was at Costco last week and am considering going back to pick him up a copy. Hopefully it will spark a lifetime interest.

Follow your bliss ~~ Joseph Campbell
Follow your bliss ~~ Joseph Campbell
Cissytoo's picture

(post #62847, reply #11 of 47)

That is a great cookbook.  The Chicken Marbella (page 86) is a fantastic recipe for a party because it makes so much; you can serve it hot or at room temperature.  Instead of whole chickens, I use half chicken breasts, skinned but with the bones on.  I cut them in half crosswise with my mother's poultry shears.


And there's a lovely Strawberry Chocolate Tart on page 278.  You can halve that recipe for a smaller party.


The phyllo triangles (page 8) are all excellent.  My fave is the one with Roquefort and pistachio filling, with the Rosemary and Prosciutto Filling a close second.


Thanks for the reminder!

CulinaryArtist's picture

(post #62847, reply #15 of 47)

The Silver Palate and the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbooks were two of the 6 books we used consistently when we started a catering business in 1986.  I have many dog eared pages of recipes that were frequently used in our repetoire (sp?).


There's a vegetable chili in the Good Times that I make several times a year, and have adapted to use based on my current clients' favorite veggies.


I do remember thinking that the ingredients used in some cases would be hard to find, even in Queens, NY.  But of course we only had to trek to Manhattan to procure them!


Good books to have around, still pick them up from time to time to skim the indices to spurn menu inspiration. And frequently adapt recipes to match client's palates.


 


 


Jimbo the TRAVELING CULINARY ARTIST


http//:www.travelingculinaryartist.com

Jimbo the TRAVELING CULINARY ARTIST

http//:www.travelingculinaryartist.com

butterfingers's picture

(post #62847, reply #17 of 47)

There is also a chili recipe in The New Basics that I really like. It's don't remember what it is called, but it is made with black beans and eggplant.

There sure isn't much that you can't get in Queens nowadays. I think people from Manhattan go to Queens now for specialty items! That's definitely a sign of the times.

CulinaryArtist's picture

(post #62847, reply #18 of 47)

It's Black Bean Vegetable Chili...sounds great will give it a try.


And it's amazing how much the grocery stores in Queens have changed and carry things that used to be only available in Manhattan. And there are much better fresh produce stores as well as gourmet shops. But the best changes are the ethnic neighborhood shopping!  They existed years ago but it wasn't "chic" to trek into those areas to shop!   It really is a melting pot around here!


Jimbo the TRAVELING CULINARY ARTIST


http//:www.travelingculinaryartist.com

Jimbo the TRAVELING CULINARY ARTIST

http//:www.travelingculinaryartist.com

Marie Louise's picture

(post #62847, reply #19 of 47)

I knew times had changed when I found fresh lemon grass stalks in a small coastal grocery store 100 miles north of San Francisco. (It is next to a popular campground.)

butterfingers's picture

(post #62847, reply #20 of 47)

I just love Queens. I've came darned close to moving there, and I was really looking forward to it. We went back and forth about where we wanted to settle, in DC or NY, until the ad agency I worked for became a victim of the late 90's dot.com bust and I was unemployed. I found a contract position in DC and was interviewing in Manhattan for another agency job. Then 9/11 happened. I was offered full-time status in my contractor position and J's company (which was very dependent on the Financial District) ended up closing -- so the tables turned. I could get good benefits for both of us and a reliable income in DC, so our plans changed. It was supposed to be temporary, until the NY economy bounced back, but six years later we are still in DC and I think we are staying.

But, we go back once or twice a month and I look forward to it. I dream of Greek in Astoria, Indian sweets from Flushing, Central American from Jackson Heights.... Queens is an ethnic food paradise! It's just AMAZING. We live in a very diverse area right over the DC border, and have access to some great ethnic cuisine right in our back yard, but I must admit that everything tastes better in Queens. Maybe it's the NYC water.

CulinaryArtist's picture

(post #62847, reply #21 of 47)

It's definitely the water!! The best and always cold!!


We've lived in Queens for 30+ years!  Same apartment, too!  We're in  Briarwood, just past the Courthouses in Kew Gardens on Queens Blvd.   We had lived in Manhattan when first married then we lived in Wheaton, ILL outside of Chicago and in a town called Zionsville, near Indianapolis.  When we moved back with a 3 year old we found we couldn't afford Manhattan and started looking in Queens.  Saw this apartment and signed a one year lease, figuring it was just a stop along the way!  The neighborhood had a great blend of row houses, apartment buildings, single family homes and plenty of trees!  Good schools in walking distance, one block to the F train, local library, and neighborhood shops & restaurants. Very convenient to parkways, expressways and smack in the middle between both JFK and LaGuardia airports! Evenso we only hear planes when the weather is bad and they have to change thier approach and/or stacking patterns.


Still a great neighborhood, but has become very much an urban issue as the single family homes are being sold, demolished and 18-30 unit buildings are being built in thier place leaving no "yard" space. So there's fewer trees and impossible street parking issues!  Still not as congested as some areas but losing that small town feeling we once had.  Can't imagine living anywhere else for now.  It's great for me since I have clients in Nassau County, Brooklyn, Manhattan and now Westchester County, too.  DW works in "the City" and commutes via subway.  Takes her 40 minutes and most times she gets a seat.  Daughter and SIL live in Bayside, near LIRR station, but she works across the street from her apt. as Mgr for Pizzeria Unos!  He drives to Manhattan and works in the Waldorf Astoria for a kitchen equipment repair company, he maintains their 16 kitchens.  She's never lived anywhere but Queens!  Son, DIL and two grandsons "escaped" and live in Rhode Island.  But they come a few times a year, they won't admit it but they do miss it! 


 


Jimbo the TRAVELING CULINARY ARTIST


http//:www.travelingculinaryartist.com

Jimbo the TRAVELING CULINARY ARTIST

http//:www.travelingculinaryartist.com

butterfingers's picture

(post #62847, reply #23 of 47)

I think I know exactly where you are. We use the Union Turnpike F train to go into the city as well. J's apartment (which we keep for forays to NY) is still in Kew Gardens. I don't know NY very well, but I can get just about anywhere in Manhattan from the F train.

It just horrifies me to see the gorgeous old Victorians torn down for those horrible bunkerlike McMansions and apartment buildings. I can't believe that they don't have better zoning in that neighborhood. It is such a wonderful neighborhood, and you are right, it is quickly getting lost to development. There used to be a wonderful little soda stand right around the corner from the apartment. It still had all of the turn-of-the-century countertops and fixtures. I just loved that little place. We drove up one weekend and it was a Dunkin' Donuts. I just wanted to cry when I saw it.

CulinaryArtist's picture

(post #62847, reply #33 of 47)

We're the very next stop on the F Train after Union Turnpike--Van Wyck.  The back of our building faces Main Street just off of Queens Blvd. 


I was on jurbut there's y duty a few weeks ago and walked to the courthouse. 


Do you eat in Forest Hills very much?  We love Nicks for Brick Oven Pizza on Ascan. And on Metropolitan Dee's is great, started as Brick Oven Pizzeria also with Mediterranean Twist, now lots of great dishes in a new location.  In their old location is a new Wine Bar and Restaurant called Danny Browns.  Only been once but was very impressed. 


Jimbo the TRAVELING CULINARY ARTIST


http//:www.travelingculinaryartist.com

Jimbo the TRAVELING CULINARY ARTIST

http//:www.travelingculinaryartist.com

butterfingers's picture

(post #62847, reply #34 of 47)

Yes, Dee's brick oven pizza is where we usually go in Kew Gardens. There is an Italian restaurant on Metropolitan that we go to occasionally as well. I honestly cannot remember the name of it. The serve everything family style, and it is great. I also loved the little take-out pizza place on Metropolitan that used to be Plato's Famous Pizza Plate, but they remodeled, renamed, and gentrified. I was so disappointed.

Whenever we are in Queens, I CRAVE Greek in Astoria. We go to a little restaurant called Opa. It's tacky as heck in decor, but I have never had spanakopita so good. It is my very favorite place. I went there for my 40th birthday. I was given the choice of any restaurant in Manhattan, and when it came down to it, turning 40 was rough and all I really wanted comfort, familiarity, and spanakopita. I'll go to Gotham or Per Se when I turn 50.

http://newyork.citysearch.com/profile/11351628/

We also go a Israeli grill in Flushing called Grill Point that has the best hummus I have ever had. Everything in this place is good. The wait for a table is so long and the service is so surly that the food HAS to be good to go through the trouble. We always stop for bagels to take back to DC from on the same block.

http://clickblogappetit.blogspot.com/2005/12/road-trip-new-york-grill-point.html

We go to Brooklyn for Polish sometimes, in a very strange little restaurant that is just called "restaurant" in Polish (I don't remember the name, exactly).

And my favorite burgers anywhere, hands down, are from the Jackson Hole diner. I'm a huge Gilbert and Sullivan fan, and I get tickets to the NY G&S Players season every year for Christmas. We went to see The Mikado and I wore a red, silk, Asian top that I had bought in San Francisco. I wanted a burger at Jackson Hole so bad after the show that I wore three layers of napkins around my neck to keep from dripping on my silk blouse. It was worth it. (I'm going to see the NY G&S players on tour at Wolftrap outside of DC in 2 weeks. I'm so excited! No red silk this time!)

I think it helps to have a Queens native to depend on for food, because all of these places are definitely off the beaten path, but amazingly good.

Gretchen's picture

(post #62847, reply #22 of 47)

From what I read, Queens is THE Asian part of NY now--the place to eat good Asian food.

Gretchen

Gretchen
butterfingers's picture

(post #62847, reply #24 of 47)

I think you could eat your way around the world nowadays without leaving Queens. And I have made it my mission in life to attempt to do so.

MadMom's picture

(post #62847, reply #25 of 47)

When youngest DGD was having to have surgery on Long Island, in Hyde Park, we stayed at the Ronald McDonald House at Schneider Children's Hospital.  IIRC, the hospital was near the edge of Queens.  At any rate, we found some wonderful places to eat around there, and you're right, it was like eating our way around the world.  I miss going to Long Island, but not the reason for going there.



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