Suzen began Cooking by the Book in 1988. Back then, we did parties for friends where we all cooked together out of the same cookbook. Hence, our name.
This was the first cookbook we used, a book I picked because of my Northwest heritage. I grew up in Portland when the vineyards in the valley were not there — instead there were strawberry fields. There were a handful of good restaurants in Portland, but it was mostly “places.”
Things have changed in Portland and Seattle, but there really was an underlying food heritage that is so evident in this book. One of the authors, Sharon Kramis, is one we have featured here in the past few years. Her series of cast iron cookbooks is wonderful.
But this post is about the treasure that is Northwest Bounty. It is not in print but at Amazon you can find copies starting at $0.01. It would be the best penny [plus shipping!] you ever spent.
It’s a bit charming to read a book from “way back” then and see what is being discussed. Already the worries had begun about fresh versus farm-raised salmon. And already fresh was the verdict for food enthusiasts.
Blue cheese appears here, long before Oregon blue was spotlighted in the cheese counters of Whole Foods across the country. And the jam recipes. Oh these wonderful recipes. Contemporary jam books have loads of instructions and send you checking the temperature and cooking time endlessly — and Suzen and I fail every time. When the berries are in season, we will turn to the recipes here where it is “cook” or “boil” for a minute and then bottle. One minute, period. No temperatures taken.
The protein recipes here reflect the richness, indeed the bounty of the Pacific Northwest:
Elk Stew with Cranberries and Horseradish
Honey and Chili Roasted Duck
Medallions of Lamb with Pinot Noir and Hazelnut Sauce
Venison Medallions with Gin and Thyme
Beyond the protein, there are chapters for Berries; Tree Fruits; Griddle Cakes, Scones and Coffee Cakes, Seafood, and Shellfish. Here you will find:
Sautéed Chanterelle Mushrooms with Port and Plum Cream Sauce
Walla Walla Sweet Onion and Cheddar Cheese Strata
Whole Baked Salmon with Cucumber Sauce
That first night for a CBTB event, unfortunately Suzen and I have lost that original menu so I don’t know if we did salmon that night. Probably. I’m quite sure that rabbit did not grace our plates. I do know, because I picked it, that dessert was Buttermilk Chocolate Cake with Cocoa Glaze. It’s a recipe that is very close to the classic Texas sheet cake. It’s delicious and 27 years later we still make it once a year from Northwest Bounty. You can move thousands of miles from home, but your roots are never cut. They just extend.
Spend that penny and get yourself a volume of culinary history filled with authentic and quite exceptional recipes. I promise that you’ll enjoy every page.