home > article > Foodie Gift Par Excellence, Silver Palate’s Five Star Pecan Bar, and the Old Cookbook Blues
- by Nancy, November 26, 2010
Look at my Silver Palate Cookbook! Isn’t it amazing and hilarious? I love it. And I can’t part with it. Seriously. I go onto amazon.com thinking about finally buying a new one but I can’t bring myself to do it. I just love this old crazy pages falling out stained and loved to bits edition I bought around 1982.
I was a twenty-something painter then in my first post-college apartment in Manhattan with a kitchen the size of a broom closet. I fell into serious lust with the ginger cookies and carrot cake at the tiny, jewel-box-like Silver Palate shop in my neighborhood. They kept them in huge glass jars. As soon as this book came out I had to have it. It’s like the Velveteen Rabbit if you know the story. All its buttons loved off.
I think I love it especially for the charming pen and ink drawings done by co-author Sheila Lukins to illustrate the recipes.
I used it for yesterday’s round of desserts of course because in my family, what would Thanksgiving be without tons of homey American desserts like these pecan bars? And no other recipe for me comes close to the version in this book. I wooed one of the loves of my life with those bars. It’s where I found my favorite pound cake recipe (called Bishop’s cake here), chicken with blueberries, stuffed hens, that decadent carrot cake second to none, three bean salad. So much more.
I believe old cookbooks have souls. And I know the Silver Palate Cookbook is not often mentioned by celebrity chefs as being important to them. I don’t know why. But this book has a fine old soul in my opinion, written by two fine cooks, Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso. I put it up there with all the classics.
If you’re curious how Lukins and Rosso created it for their Manhattan shop, you can find a brief history here.
see also: The Picayune Creole Cookbook