Do you remember Home Economics class? Young women learned to bake, sew and clean. The anti-distaff side was Shop. I refused to register for Home Ec. So I graduated into adulthood with no domestic skills whatsoever.
This all came back to me today, as I put oxtails in wine and Mirepoix in the oven to braise. I’ve come a long way, baby! Oxtails inevitably invoke sense memories. They were the main course of the first dinner party that I can recall giving. I was living in Small Town, Alberta, in a basement apartment. I had never heard of Mirepoix and knew nothing about French cooking. What possessed me to serve oxtail stew I cannot recall.
Today’s recipe is from The CIA cookbook – The Culinary Institute of America. For a self-taught foodie like me, it is the Bible of Cookbooks. Sorry Julia, the diversity of the recipes beats your ode to French Cooking. I admit the CIA Cookbook is not for the faint of heart. Every recipe is restaurant size. I have to do Math to get the proportions right for 2 people, the results are interesting sometimes, even legendary – as in never to be repeated.
The cookbook was a gift from my sister who has a wry sense of humour. The book feels as if it weighs more than a 5 kilo bag of flour. The pages don’t stay open without help. The recipes are too large for home cooking. Even the description of the pans to be used are restaurant style. If I were allowed one cookbook on a desert isle, that would be the book. I have 5 shelves of cookbooks from Delia Smith to Betty Crocker, yet the CIA book out does them all.