Monday, August 11, 2008

Looking foward to 'Magical Cooking'


Thursday, August 7 at 2:00 PM the Pine River Library will present a program by performer Chef Roberto entitled “The Magical Cooking Show” as a part of our summer reading program with the theme of “What’s cooking at your library”.

An entertaining look at the wonderful world of cooking this exciting program, emphasizing books and reading, helps children to learn while having fun at the same time. A Chock-ful of Crazy Cookery, Unbelievable Magic and Terrific books.

Lots of audience participation (including some special fun for the parents). Come join us at the library!

In the interest of continuity I have decided to review a cookbook. Given the enormity of selecting a single volume among the many, I have chosen a compendium of deserts.

Fearless readers all, you may not realize that your resident feline has a taste for the sweet. Yes. I admit it. I am a lover of sweets. My personal preference, of course, is ice cream. However, for the sake of convenience (I am familiar with this tome.) I have chosen one of our more popular volumes here at the Pine River Library, “The Cake Mix Doctor” by Anne Byrn.

Given the title, one would suppose this book is simplicity itself. Page after page of a variety of delicious cakes made only from ingredients residing dustily in your cabinets waiting to be rearranged. Maybe, I shall open a page at random…

· 1 package plain yellow cake mix – check
· 1 cup smooth peanut butter – well, not quite a full cup and it has a tiny bit of jelly in it
· 1 stick butter – does it have to be butter?
· 2 large eggs – do they have to be large or would Jumbo be okay? Or medium?
· 1 package (12 ounces; 2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips – what if my bag is smaller? Or larger?
· 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk – who stocks that?
· 2 tablespoons butter – we’ve addressed this before
· 1 cup frozen unsweetened grated coconut, thawed – What?!
· 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract – I’m pretty solid on that

I have tried several of the recipes in this book and they have proven to be better by-in-large than just dumping out a box of cake mix and adding the requisite water, oil, and eggs.

The key, as I see it, is to read the recipe before the fact – preferably before you go to the grocery store – and make a list of that elusive frozen coconut and any other ingredients not currently living in your kitchen. You might also wish to make sure you have the correct configuration of baking container such as a Bundt pan.

There are several recipes requiring one of those.

Many of the recipes come from friends, relatives and the odd step neighbor-in-law. All are given credit for their concoctions. (Some are better cooks than others.)This book is perfect for someone who bakes often for a family or for church potluck dinners and is tired of the same cake or bar recipe. There is quite a variety here and even suggestions for variations. A worthy perusal.

Thank you again for honoring me with your readership. I am humbled.

Remember to attend The Magical Cooking Show if you are able. I will be in evidence.

Until then, I remain

Browser, the library cat

Printed in the Pine River Journal 7 August 2008

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