It's part of my job to recommend books to patrons -- something on Native American walking trails in New York City? Try this; flora of Prospect Park? This should do it; a judo how-to by the president of Russia? No problem -- but today I'd like to stretch my advisory wings and offer some more timely recommendations: recipes from our collection that will be sure to spice up your Thanksgiving feast!
Let's begin with the Victory Memorial Cookbook which, as you can see from the title page above, was published by the Women's Auxiliary of the Victory Memorial Hospital at 7th avenue and 92nd street. Published in 1920, this cookbook offers a dizzying assortment of be-mayonnaised, be-marshmallowed, and be-gelatined delicacies. In the service of good library work, I offer up here a few of my favorites for you to try out on your loved ones this holiday season.
After you've tried every other plaid-themed salad out there, surprise your relatives with this delicious recipe. Vinegar, marshmallows, apricots, red pepper, and egg yolks... what's not to love? But maybe you're in the mood for something more creative and, um... illuminating? Then buy yourself a pineapple and try this fantastic Candle Salad...
Who knew mayonnaise could be used to such effective sculptural ends? A more ambitious chef might forego the humble candle holder handle and attempt an entire mayonnaise chandelier. Dare to dream.
But listen, I have a degree in Library Science, the words of S.R. Ranganathan are never far from my mind, and I know not everyone likes Candle and Argyle salads; I know that just as there is a book for every reader, there is a salad for every eater. With that in mind, I turn now to the above text book for my next recommended recipes.
Should the luxurious Candle Salad be too much for any of your Thanksgiving guests, treat them to a dish of water toast. Ah, water toast! Is nothing more comforting and filling than a piece of dry toast doused in boiling salt water? But, again, not everyone likes water toast... and so, try out this favorite of the toothless, the orphaned, the mad, and the neglected...
Cracker gruel, which is food the YWCA recommends caretakers serve to invalids (as is water toast), seems like a cruel joke: if the living feed you sodden crumbs, how bad can the food coming out of Death's kitchen be? But who knows, maybe that odd second cousin of yours will be delighted to find before them, in place of an oven-roasted bird, a mound of maraschino-studded mayonnaise followed by a bubbling bowl of gruel. We librarians encounter it all the time... you can make recommendations until you're blue in the face, but there's no accounting for taste.