Edible Reads Winter 2017
North Truro resident and author Tricia Cohen teamed up with author/illustrator Lisa Graves for A Thyme to Discover: Early American Recipes for the Modern Table, the second installment in their three-part historical cookbook series. The sixty recipes, which have been reimagined to appeal to contemporary palates, trace the expanding culinary influences of a newly-born nation from the settlement at Plimoth Plantation through the eighteenth century. Interspersed throughout are historical anecdotes that set the stage for each section and charming hand-drawn illustrations. Highlights include a half dozen recipes from the Wampanoag Tribe (Steamed Pumpkin Pudding with Rum Hard Sauce; Venison with Blackberry Sauce over Wild Rice Cakes; Pan-Seared Duck Breast with Herbed Blueberry Drizzle); sweets from the late 1600s reflecting the recent access to affordable sugar (Carrot Pudding; Shoofly Pie Ice Cream; Apple Pie Tiramisu) and some presidential foodie favorites (Martin Van Buren Hard Cider Glazed Donuts; Alexander Hamilton Beef Stew with Apple Brandy; Abraham Lincoln Liberating Chicken Fricassee with Skillet Cornmeal Biscuits). I like the very detailed instructions and the tips (such as “use butter or bacon fat for cooking fat—butter will provide richness; bacon fat will add smokiness”). There are some fun facts tucked among the recipes like a timeline of colonial cocktails and the taverns that served them and a handful of recipes that use some of the oldest food brands in North America; bet you didn’t know that Baker’s Chocolate, Jim Beam and King Arthur Flour have all been in circulation since the late 1700s. This fun, informative, appealing book makes a great gift for foodies and history buffs alike.
Below is a recipe we plan to incorporate in our holiday celebrations this winter.