Food For Lovers – Kelly Brodsky (1973)

Published in 1973,  Food For Lovers  is quite possibly the kookiest book I have ever read.  The book is broken into 15 sections, each of which is based on a different type of man and the food an aspiring seductress should cook for him if she wants to win his affections.

The main problem of the book that the descriptions of each of these men are so horrible that I can’t think of why anyone in their right mind would want to be in the same room as them let alone seduce them.

Take this, from the introduction to Jack Snack:

Wow. One day my Prince will come.  And he will  be a dreary non-event couch potato.  Although, in comparison to some of the other types mentioned, the boring (but benign) Jack Snack actually comes up sounding like a winner.  He’s certainly preferable to Greek God Rod:

Dreary tv man is starting to look pretty good by comparison isn’t he?

Then there’s Professor Repressor:

At best, he sounds like a pervert.  At worst, a sex offender.

If you find yourself attracted by such a specimen, I would suggest you you seek professional help.

Brodsky suggests you whip him up a bowl of borscht, followed by  braised wine-steeped beef and an apple strudel.

As if these lesss than appealing descriptions aren’t bad enough, they are combined with some of the creepiest drawings I have ever seen.

This for example is the picture of Willy Wolfe.  He looks like he’s just slipped a date rape drug into that glass of wine.

Then there’s Gadabout Guy.

Now, in my mind a gadabout guy is a handsome, debonair, cultured ladykiller, who spends his time flitting from cocktail party to sexy soiree to a jazz club in Paris in the 1950’s.  He’s James Bond, he’s Cary Grant, he’s Alain Delon….

Brodsky’s version:

Uncannily similar aren’t they?

However, as we all know the proof of the cookbook is neither in the bizarre text or the even weirder drawings; it is in the eating.  Stay tuned for The Food For Lovers Love Feast…

The Italian Cuisine I Love – Jules Bond (1977)

Move over Ryan Gosling there’s a new man in my life.

I’m totally in love  with Jules J. Bond, the author of  The Italian Cuisine I Love.   For anyone (like me) who had never heard of Jules J. Bond before he was a:

“Widely travelled newspaper correspondent, author of cookbooks, food columnist, lecturer and well-known in gourmet circles.  He is a…Officer Commandeur of the Confrérie du Tastevin, Commandeur de Bordeaux, Member of the Wine and Food Society, the Escoffier Society and of the prestigious Club des vingt-six”

During the war he served as part of the Psychological Warfare Detachment which could make him a man who stared at goats.  Or a spy….J Bond?  Coincidence? I prefer to think not.

How suave can one man be?    Imagine being a guest at one of his dinner parties.  There would be great food, fantastic wine.   I bet he not only had a story or two to tell but that he also told them in a delightfully witty and urbane  manner.   And, should assassins  burst in and take you hostage during dinner, he would  have taken them down using nothing but an egg beater.  That is my type of man!

This is a cracker of  a cookbook too.  I picked it up for 50 cents at my local charity shop.  It contains over a hundred recipes so the bang for buck ratio is amazing.  The recipes themselves are a solid mix of Italian dishes from antipasto to dessert, ranging through soups, pasta, pizza, various meats and vegetables.  There is nothing odd about any of them – no odd uses of pineapple, no MSG  It’s almost disappointing.

There is a quirky side to The Italian Cuisine I Love and that is in the wonderful photos.  I noticed that a large number of these featured at least one bottle of wine and was beginning to thing that maybe Jules J. had a bit of a problem with the booze.  No, the photos were just supplied by the wine maker. And they are great photos too.  The Ruffino wine Company went to some trouble here.  Look at the trinket box in the photo for the Spring lamb, the  inexplicable use of corn in the picture of the rolled chicken breast, the bottle of wine somewhat coyly peeking out from behind an apple in the spaghetti carbonara picture.  This isn’t just advertising.  It’s art!

Other photos within the book, a selection of which are featured below, were supplied by the National Macaroni Institute.  Yes.  There was a National Macaroni Institute.  Who knew?  But again these are great photos.  I particularly love the one on the right.  That red soup tureen is awesome.  I’m searching for that and the matching bowls on ebay as we speak!  I’m not so sure about the lady with the tiny head in the picture of the spaghetti with veal and green peppers but, hey, at least they’ve tried.

The same can’t be said about the photo supplied by the Italian Tourist Office which is featured both on the back cover of, and within, the book entitled “Bowl of Fruit.”  Now, in all fairness The Italian Cuisine I Love does contain a recipe called “Fresh Fruit Bowl” but the contents of the recipe and this  photo bear little (or no)  resemblance to each other.  It’s just a  random photo of fruit.  I don’t know what the Italian Tourist office were thinking.   Why did they even have a photo of a bowl of fruit?  What kind of marketing strategy is that?  “Come to Italy.  We have apples.”  Seriously?  Is that the best you could do Italian Tourist office?

To add insult to injury, the fruit in the photo is not even in a bowl.  It’s in a basket.  Poor form, Italian Tourist Office.  Lift your game.

The Italian Cuisine I Love is one  of a series of books written by Jules J. Bond.  The series also included the Chinese, French, Hungarian, Jewish, Mid-Eastern, Mexican, Spanish and Viennese cuisines that JJB loved.  He was kind of slutty in his food loving.

Unfortunately for me Jules J.  passed away in 1993,  so I guess you can stop your sobbing, Gosling, you’re still top of the list.  But  until I found out that Jules J.  was no more (and even if he was, he’d be 97), he was giving you a run your for money.  Take heed.  Don’t be the Italian Tourist Office Ryan, be the National Macaroni Institute.

Just in case you were wondering.  The J stands for Jerome.

In the next few posts I’ll be cooking some of  the Italian food JJB loved…not including a bowl of fruit.

Food For Lovers – The Three Course Love Feast

As a concept, Kelly Brodsky’s Food For Lovers falls on the kooky side of the spectrum.  Is this echoed in the food?

Well, sort of…

There are a number of odd recipes.  Many of which rely on inappropriate uses of pineapple:

  • Pineapple isn’t automatically an ingredient I would expect to see in a recipe entitled Braised Wine Steeped Beef. And yet, Kelly Brodsky takes it there.
  • The stuffing mix for the Veal with Cashew Nut Stuffing recipe on p65, contains bacon, cashew nuts, calves liver and pineapple.  If mixing offal and pineapple was a good idea, surely it would be pizza by now.

And if that wasn’t enough, there’s the veal scallopine sandwich:

Ok. Pineapple is the least of  the problems in that recipe which actually sounds frighteningly modern.    I”m sure something similar is being served in a fast food restaurant somewhere even as I write this.

Monosodium glutamate also features prominently in the recipe ingredients.  As does canned asparagus.

However,  Food For Lovers also contains a lot of good as well.   I  marked up over 30 that I would be prepared to make and I have made four, all of which were delicious!

So now, here is my Food For Lovers Three Course Love Feast.

Cucumber Stuffed With Cream Cheese

These were great!

2 large cucumbers, leave the skin on1 cup cream cheese
1 tbsp lemon juice
10 chopped anchovies
1 tbsp chopped chives
Ground black pepper

Scoop out the centres of the cucumbers.

Combine the cream cheese, lemon juice and anchovies and stuff this mixture into the cucumbers.

Place in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Serve sliced very thin sprinkled with the chives and black pepper on crackers or buttered crusty bread.

(Brodsky suggests serving with a dab of mayonnaise, I tried both with and without mayo and preferred it without)

 Sautéed Cabbage and Bacon

          1/2 head of cabbage
          3 bacon rashers, chopped
          1 clove or garlic chopped
          Dash of lemon juice

Finely shred the cabbage and steep it for 5 minutes in boiling salted water.  Whislt this is steeping, sauté the bacon.  Add the cabbage and garlic.  Sauté Lightly.  Sprinkle with a dash of lemon juice and serve.

(Broiled) Chicken With Corn Stuffing

I always thought that broiling was what Americans call grilling.  The original recipe for this cooks it in water.  Maybe she meant boiled?  Either way, I roasted my chicken and it was super!

4 lb chicken
1 1/2 cups dry whole wheat breacrumbs
1 cup whole corn kernels
2 tbsp  butter
1 cup chopped celery
1 finely chopped green pepper (I”m not a fan of this, I used a red onion in mine)
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
Chicken Stock
I also added a clove of garlic, crushed, 1/2  a chilli and some thmye and sage leaves)

In a large pan, heat the butter and saute the celery, pepper (onion), corn, mushrooms and garlic.

Take off the heat, add the herbs and breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Moisten with chicken stock.  Cool. Then spoon into the chicken.

(I actually prefer to cook my stuffing in a separate dish).

Roast as per your preferred method.  If unsure, Jamie Oliver has a solid method.

Gingered Dutch Apple Cake

This was very yummy!

3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup sifted self raising flour
1/2 cup milk
1 cup stewed apples
1 tsp cinnamon
dash of lemon juice
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup sultanas
1 tbsp chopped preserved ginger

Cream butter and sugar.  Add the egg and beat well.  Then stir in the flour a few spoonfuls at a time, alternating with the milk. Pour into an 8 inch tin.

Combine the apples, cinnamon, lemon juice, brown sugar, walnuts, sultanas and ginger.  Spoon on top of the cake mixture.  Bake in a 190°C oven for around 45 minutes.

Slice and serve still warm with cream.

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