Breakfast may be my favorite meal to cook because there’s nothing fussy or formal about it. You just wake up, roll out of bed, head to the kitchen, put the coffee on, see what you’ve got in the fridge and the pantry and get going. Most of the time, I improvise with what I have on hand; but sometimes, if I want breakfast to be special, I turn to one of these ten recipes and start my day in style. Now that it’s almost the weekend, consider this a prompt to start your Saturday or Sunday with style too.
I made a promise here on this blog and the promise went something like this: “I won’t blog more than three recipes from any particular cookbook because, after a certain point, people should just buy it.” Which is why I stopped blogging about one of my favorite new cookbook purchases (though not a new cookbook) because, pretty quickly, I posted three recipes from it. Now I have a 4th recipe which isn’t so much a recipe as it is a technique. So I’ll break my own rule but I sort of feel ok about it because (a) I won’t tell you what book it’s from; and (b) this technique is so straight-forward and simple, it may as well just be something your neighbor told you how to do rather than something from the pages of Marion Cunningham’s Breakfast Book. Oops.
Three recipes, that’s where I draw the line when it comes to sharing recipes from a cookbook. Anything beyond that, and I’m no longer advertising a book that you should buy and I’m just poaching recipes for my own gain. So it’s with great sadness that I post my third and final recipe from Marion Cunningham’s wonderful Breakfast Book. Together we’ve made her raised waffles (a recipe I actually got from Kim Severon’s SpoonFed but it comes from The Breakfast Book) and her Last Word in Nutmeg Muffins. Now comes another muffin recipe, but a peculiar one; a muffin that’s more fruit than muffin. And that’s what makes it great.
If one day I go on trial for food crimes, I think I’m getting 20 years added to my sentence for the following: during my 3 months on New York’s Upper East Side, I never once–not ONCE–visited the famous Kitchen Arts and Letters, one of the city’s (and the country’s) greatest cookbook stores. I still hang my head in shame.
Thankfully, when I went back to New York recently for a few book events, I remedied this most outrageous crime. And my visit there became a highlight of my trip.
“Who’s Marion Cunningham? Isn’t she the mom from ‘Happy Days’?”
That’s what the guy next to us asked the server upon seeing the menu at last night’s Sunday Supper at Lucques. As Cunningham (who passed away last week) said herself in this 2001 article by Kim Severson, “I’m not trying to be modest, but it doesn’t feel like I have any celebrity. Really, I’m not saying this just to say it, but it doesn’t.” So I suppose it was appropriate that those who were at Lucques last night to celebrate Marion Cunningham were really there to celebrate her and those who weren’t were simply happy beneficiaries of a meal cooked in her honor by one of the country’s best chefs, Suzanne Goin.
Marion Cunningham’s death is a sad occasion, one that’s fostered many loving tributes from distinguished food writers like Kim Severson and Michael Bauer. Many of these tributes make mention of her recipes, in particular her raised waffles (which I’ve made before, see picture above) and her baking powder biscuits (which I haven’t but plan to make right away). Similarly, at Nora Ephron’s memorial service, ushers passed out copies of her favorite recipes (for tzimmes, for brisket, for egg salad) as a way to remember her.
These recipes aren’t like letters found in a shoebox or dusty pictures hanging on a wall. Most artifacts from someone’s life are inanimate, frozen-in-time. Letters and pictures don’t ask anything of you; recipes do. To follow a recipe, you have to go food shopping. You have to get out your cooking equipment. You have to pre-heat the oven. You have to prep your ingredients. Most importantly, you have to conjure forth—patiently, carefully, thoughtfully—a specific taste that replicates, in some way, the taste captured by the recipe author when they wrote down those words.
In the food section of my brain, there are two major filing cabinets: (1) New York City restaurants organized by location, allowing me to choose the perfect spot to nosh no matter where we are in the city; and (2) a recipe file.
My recipe file is mostly organized by ingredient (chicken, peas, bacon), though occasionally it’s organized by equipment. There are the recipes I make with my ice cream maker, the recipes I make with my new wok, and, filed away in there, was the recipe I wanted to make if I ever received a waffle maker.
Ok, I promise, this is it with the Meyer lemons. You’re sick of them–after this post, and that post–I know, I know. And when Lindy drew lemons (that sort of look like Meyer lemons) into my banner this month, who knew I’d be writing so much about them? Unless this was Lindy’s master plan? What if she works for the Meyer lemon industry? What if her banners are prophecies and whatever she draws in them comes true? What if next month’s banner features me…DEAD?! This is like an episode of the X-Files!
But even Mulder and Scully would tell me to come off it and just get to the recipe for that gorgeous-looking pie in the lead photo.