I found a gem hiding in a dusty corner in the SITAG kitchen. A 1963 Pillsbury cookbook ushered me into a world of bridge parties and new convenience foods: "Miraculous appliances, prepared and semi-prepared products, canned, frozen, dehydrated and freeze-dried foods, aluminum foil and pliofilm have revolutionized and revitalized the task of preparing three meals a day. Today's food looks better, tastes better and is better." That's a long swing of the pendulum from today's slow food movement.
This cookbook is full of good recipes, but I also gain a snapshot of history: "We have come a long way since Grandma's day. The kitchen is still the heart of the home, but you can get the makings of a meal together more easily, cook them faster, and still as proud of the finished product as Grandma ever was. What's more, with instant, semi-prepared and ready-made products no farther away than the nearest supermarket, your meals wear an air of glamour that would have left Grandma speechless with envy." Somebody forgot to tell me that one of my goals was to supposed to be having my meals wear an air of glamour.
But I did find some good recipes that we can make here in Honiara, like Potato-Spinach Soup. We just substitute the local potatoes, which are a little sweet, omit the celery, and substitute a different leafy green that needs a little bit longer to cook than spinach.
6 small servings
1/4 cup butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks (with leaves), cut fine
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 cups water
2 cups cubed potatoes
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup finely chopped fresh or frozen spinach
1/2 cup cream
shredded Swiss, Gruyere or grated Parmesan cheese
Melt butter in a large sauce pan. Add onion and celery. Cover. Cook over low heat until tender, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Blend in flour. Add water, potatoes and salt, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer about 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Stir occasionally. Add spinach. Simmer uncovered 2 minutes. Add cream. Heat thoroughly. Serve hot, sprinkled with cheese.