THE FESTIVAL COOKBOOK FOUR SEASONS OF FAVORITES by Phyllis Perlman Good isn’t your ordinary run-of-the-mill festival cookbook (if there even is such a thing).
It’s obvious from the start that a good deal of thought went into Ms. Good’s book, (appropriately published by GOOD BOOKS). Explains the author, “When the meal calls for a special touch—or the season sings out for particular attention –try these festive dishes.
Each dish offers a brightness or an extra idea that lifts it above the usual. Not because the mixtures are exotic. Not because the procedures are delicate and complex. But because the fresh ingredients are given unusual preeminence. The earth’s bounty is celebrated in every combination.”
Ms. Good authored a magazine “FESTIVAL QUARTERLY” (which quite possibly is no longer being published—many magazines and periodicals have gone under in the past few years)—but which, she wrote, explored the many intersections of life and the arts. “We cover music; poetry and short stories, creative caring for our families, our communities, the land, and the air; the visual arts: humor: oral communication—and cooking”.
It was the author’s belief that her subscribers were avid cooks and she invited them to submit recipes that brought them fond memories—food, she says, that were a part of special family and community times. Her readers drew upon their traditions, both childhood and present day.
Each chapter, beginning with WINTER, is prefaced with a beautifully written prosy introduction which read like poetry. Recipes for winter range, appropriately, from hearty winter soups such as Barley Soup, Cream of Corn Chowder, and Potato-Cheese Soup (to name a few) to stick-to-the-ribs winter fare such as Potato Beef Casserole and Southwest Strata. For your next party, check out the East African Beef Curry recipe on page 48! I think it’s a winner!
SPRING offers recipes for Easter, such as Hot Cross Buns, and Easter Egg Bread, but look, also, for Fresh Dandelion Salad and Spring Onion Soup. Spring is also asparagus season, so look for Creamed Asparagus with Peas and don’t overlook Asparagus Chinese Style!
After spring, can SUMMER be far behind? When your home garden provides a glut of zucchini, check out the Zucchini Bread recipe (page 125) and the Summer Borscht (page 129).
I know—I know! I get a little over zealous praising recipes for soup…but you know how much I enjoy them—I thoroughly enjoy trying out new soup recipes and sharing them with you.
Also in summer, when tomatoes are luscious and ripe on the vine, you will surely want to try the recipes for Sweet-Sour Tomatoes—which though similar to mine, has a few different touches that I think are sure to please (see page 135).
Then there’s FALL (my personal favorite season). “Take out the window screens. Bring in the broccoli” says the author. “The leaves and children are holding their final outdoor riots. The corn stalks have finished propping up their riches…don’t you just love it? In autumn we have pumpkins, so check out the pumpkin yeast bread recipe (page 193) or how about Pumpkin shell Fruit Salad? Or Dinner in a Pumpkin? (page 213).
The point is, there is something for everyone between the pages of THE FESTIVAL COOKBOOK. The book itself is beautifully illustrated with photographs by Ken McGraw (fall and summer photos), Elfie Kluck (spring) and Londie Padelsky (winter). Food photography was created by Jonathan Charles.
THE FESTIVAL COOKBOOK was originally published in 1983, reprinted in 1987 and again in 1994 for the new paperback edition. I found it on Amazon.com with a 1988 date, different cover, starting at one cent for a pre owned copy and $3.59 for a new one. However, on Alibris.com they show a hardcover copy of Four Seasons priced at $2.99 for a pre-owned copy in very good condition. Recipes submitted by subscribers to the Festival quarterly are signed by the contributor.
This is a lovely cookbook, with lots of recipes, sure to become a favorite for all seasons.
Review by Sandra Lee Smith