As most faithful readers of this column already know by now, I recently married my fellow reporter and dear friend, Jason Jacobs.
While most couples take some type of honeymoon trip, having the funds to go someplace and the time to get away wasn't in the cards. However, being of like mind and humor, we decided to enjoy what little time our schedules allow by having "fantasy getaway trips."
An impromptu lunch of chimichangas and chips and salsa at a local Mexican restaurant turned into a cruise to South America, while a homemade spaghetti dinner turned into a trip to Venice and grilled cheese sandwiches landed us in Wisconsin.
Our friends joined in the fun, pointing out our "travels" to the Grand Canyon when I hit a pothole with my car. A co-worker gave us napkins during lunch that sent us to Key West to watch the sailboats. Getting caught during last week's thunderstorm found us in the "rains of San Francisco" and then we were off to Switzerland to eat some premium chocolate.
While our worldly travels kept us busy this past month, there really wasn't much alone time. That changed this past weekend when we drove to an outlet mall in Tuscola, Ill. Although it was under the guise of back-to-school shopping for my son, it was also eight hours away from our hectic lives.
After shopping, we visited The Big Red Barn, located behind the outlet mall. A shopping center comprised of Amish products, antiques, crafts and an Amish restaurant. While perusing around the place, I was delighted to find cookbooks everywhere!
My husband happily supported my habit of hoarding cookbooks with the purchase of "Great Cooking Ideas," by Hattie Carter.
The 1978 color-coded edition, featuring LARGE print, is a cornucopia of facts and ideas about everything cooking. Needless to say, I'm excited to put my own spin on the hundreds of recipes included in the book that has a credo of "something to satisfy every taste."
The book has caught the attention of several of my co-workers. While I'm happy to share it with them, I also want to share some of the forgotten mouth-watering recipes and clever ideas inside the pages of my wedding present.
For instance, reading the first few pages reminded me that "tee-totalers" can use alcoholic beverages in their cooking because the alcoholic content evaporates during cooking, leaving only the "essence" behind to impart its flavor into the dish.
Another tidbit was the proper way to drink Chinese tea. Served from tiny bowls without the addition of sugar or milk, tea should not be brewed for long periods of time and it must be drank immediately. ALSO: Never wash a teapot with soap because it destroys the flavor of brewed tea.
If you are interested in any tidbits of info from my newly found treasure, let me know.