Pumpkin Crumble Cake (Oregon, 2006, adapted)

For a home cook I feel like I know my way around a kitchen.  But everyone’s got their blind spots, and mine is baking.  I don’t enjoy it and I’m not good at it, and despite a background in chemistry I’m especially bad at yeast breads.  I can’t even make a decent pizza crust (although……

Sorrento Soup (adapted from Smart Shopper’s Cookbook, 1972)

Sorrento Soup is a hearty tomato-vegetable soup perfect for a crisp, autumn weeknight, one of a dozen or so excellent soups in Loyta Wooding’s 1972 Smart Shopper’s Cookbook.  While ostensibly written for budget-conscious homemakers in the face of rising food prices, Mrs. Wooding’s background at Betty Crocker kitchens lends a sense of company-friendly sophistication to……

Soup Bagdad (adapted from Smart Shopper’s Cookbook, 1972)

Soup Bagdad is a warm and rich lentil-and-lamb soup punched up with a heavy hand of fresh herbs.   Despite the long simmer time this is still a tractable weeknight meal, and requires very little chopping or active time.   It’s also plenty hearty for a weekend meal.  This recipe comes to me by way of Smart……

Rolled Lamb Breast, Sous Vide

Lamb consumption in the United States is on a decades long decline, with the average American consuming just a single pound per year.  Now my family members probably average a pound of lamb per month, and I imagine that many of my Middle Eastern and Indian neighbors do the same.  When Americans do eat lamb……

Macaroni with Yogurt Sauce (California, 1990s, adapted)

I’ve been cooking long enough that I can figure out what a recipe’s going to taste like just from reading the ingredient list.  There’s not a lot new under the sun, and the community cookbooks that I frequently cook from aren’t exactly known for their innovative cuisine.  There’s an awful lot of repetition, even within……

Tucson Chicken (adapted from Cooking with Regis & Kathie Lee, 1993)

Tucson Chicken is a richly sauced chicken and pasta dish suitable for a cool fall weeknight.  And no, I didn’t misspell “Tuscan Chicken”.  There’s certainly some Italian influence at work here, but this recipe comes to us by way of Arizona chef Janos Wilder and a guest spot on Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee. ……

Instant Pot Chicken and Black Bean Soup (California, 2006, adapted)

Instant Pot Chicken and Black Bean Soup is a simply prepared soup with Mexican sensibilities suitable for a cool weeknight.  The recipe is one of many lovely soups in a 2006 cookbook from the Mother Teresa Maternity Home in Placerville, California.  The home serves as a women’s shelter with a special emphasis on housing women……

Sloppy Chinese Burgers (California, 1990s, adapted)

Sloppy Chinese Burgers is a tasty weeknight sandwich that comes to me by way of Bless This Food, a community cookbook compiled by the Little White Chapel Christian Church in Burbank, California.  The recipe was submitted by one Carol L., who contributed dozens of other normally named recipes such as Dori’s Rigatoni and Noodle Chicken.  ……