Sunday, October 16, 2011

Gourmet All the Way!

For about two years now, I've been collecting back issues of Gourmet. At first it was just an issue here and there. Then I bought five years off eBay from 1961 through 1965. These magazines served me well. My favorite thing this last two summers has been to go to Ravinia, sit on the lawn with a pick-nick, a glass of wine, and a forty year-old issue of Gourmet.

Well a few weeks ago I was looking at eBay and saw that a woman had put up for sale her whole collection of Gourmets. From 1965 all the way through the last issue. This just about killed me. I was intentionally NOT trying to make a complete set of Gourmet. I mean, our apartment is 697 square feet. Where am I supposed to store something like that? And what kind of right do I have to take up all of that space? Who needs all those magazines anyway? Turns out I do because I wrote the woman. She'd never sold anything on eBay before. Her mother-in-law had subscribed to the magazine and when she passed, this amazing woman kept renewing the subscription. I can see how that happened.  It would take a lot to stop subscribing after all those years. Perhaps like a monthly remembrance of her mother-in-law.

The catch was, I had to pick the magazines up in Kentucky! I just couldn't figure out how to make that happen, so I didn't even bid on them. But no one else did either. When the magazines were reposted Serena convinced me to buy them. The woman who was selling them offered to meet us in a town called Marion on the Illinois side of the boarder. This saved us two hours each way.

I was really nervous to meet her. I was afraid she would think me a dilettante. Or perhaps resentful that I was carrying away her past. But when we all rendezvoused in the parking lot of some highway-side chain hotel, all of my fears were dispelled. Her name is Terri! And she's an artist and a metal worker and someone who, if I'd met at an opening, I would have immediately loved. The whole experience was odd and intimate. I felt as if I were carrying away her memories, which I guess I was.

After almost a week of rearranging, cleaning, and tossing out, finally the magazines are installed in the dining room. This was at Serena's insistence. She maintains that after the time and expense of procuring these things, it would be foolish to stash them in the basement, or even under the bed. Of course, she is right.

I've got some duplicate years. Now I'm the one posting on eBay.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Lunch Box

Last weekend Serena and I drove practically to Kentucky to pick up 54 years of Gourmet that I bought off Ebay. It’s a six hour drive to Marion, where we were to rendezvous with my Gourmet’s previous owner. But six hours is a long time in a car and although we had a good time, but doubt we’ll be vacationing there anytime soon.

Since I’d already shot my wad on the magazines, this road trip seemed like perfect opportunity to try out some new recipes instead of eating at a lot of expensive and unhealthful roadside restaurants. I turned to The Lunch Box Cookbook for some ideas. I settled on “Sardine de Luxe” filling for our sandwiches. But quel dommage! I was all out of sardines. Serena though that this was a good thing, and that perhaps sardines sandwiches weren’t quite the right choice for a day-long car ride.

Of course she was right, and I decided to make something that did not require a trip to the grocery. The Lunch Box has a great recipe for “Basic Egg Salad Filling” followed by many “variations.”

4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped fine
3 tablespoons chopped sweet pickle
3 tablespoons salad dressing
   NOTE: they mean vinaigrette dressing
½ teaspoon prepared mustard
¼ teaspoon onion salt
Few grains pepper

This is an easy recipe and I had everything on hand—even onion salt. I chose the variation in which you add chopped pimento-stuffed green olives. It was really tasty and way less stinky than sardines.