Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Two weeks have passed, but I’m still dreaming about Valentine’s Day. Gifts ran beyond an elaborate dinner, a 15-year-old Bordeaux and a night alone. My husband got a little romantic himself.

No, I did not receive perfume, jewelry, lingerie or chocolates. I didn’t get a “Get Out of Childcare Free” card (Dang!)

Mike gave me the new Gourmet Magazine cookbook.

Now, many wives or women might be offended at a Valentine’s Day gift of a cookbook, thinking it’s akin to receiving a toaster or, worse, a not-so-subtle hint. Not me, and Mike knows it.

When they folded, you said you’d planned to spend your life with Gourmet Magazine,” he said as I eagerly opened the book.

At 1,040 pages, I may be able to do just that.

This doorstop of a book seems to cover it all. It doesn’t contain every recipe from every issue of Gourmet. Believe me, I checked for some of my “greatest hits,” such as the Opera Cake. I’m glad, though. That means I can still paw through my past issues, Luddite that I can be. But I know this volume will end up taking center stage on my kitchen reference shelf.

Once Lent ends, I must make the Clementine Glazed Duck. I don’t plan on resuming fully carnivorous ways, mainly because this meatless venture is going quite well for all involved, animals included. But flesh will be on the menu again.

When we start planting cool weather crops in the coming weeks, including sugar snap peas, Tuscan kale, m√Ęche and other greens, I’ll start the never-ending process of dog-earing recipes.

When our tomatoes, squash and other goodies come in this summer, there are 78 pages of just “Vegetables,” plus an entire chapter devoted to grains and beans. Plus, a 25-page chapter of relishes, chutneys, pickles and preserves for the bumper crops, of course.

Come fall when we harvest our potatoes, parsnips, celery root and winter squashes for storage, there are 20 winters’ worth of soups, in addition to both main dishes and sides full of winter and root vegetables.

Are you kidding? My next big dinner could simply come from the 80-page Hors d’oeuvres and 1st Courses section alone: hot and cold appetizers, tapas, A to Z nibbles for a taste of everything. Add to that 50 pages of salads, and I’m set. There are things in here that I didn’t even know you could do with a wheel of Camembert!

Desserts begin on page 660, starting with cookies, and don’t end until near page 900.

This book is great! Who needs lingerie as a gift?

Sure, La Perla has its place. But as far as I’m concerned, Mike could’ve duct-taped a wooden spoon to the cover and I would’ve been even more thrilled. Plus, the book is so clean and neat and tight and shiny!

I can’t wait to get it completely spattered with food.