06 March 2009

House & Garden’s Party Menu Cookbook

I love “menu” cookbooks. They are a kind of blueprint for the catatonic hostess. Previously, I wrote about a “flip book” cookbook and how preposterous some “flipped” menu combinations would be if you served them to you guests. I have to admit, some of the meals proposed in menu type cookbooks are just as preposterous as flipping randomly through some cookbooks and making a meal.

The House & Garden Party Menu Cookbook is one of the better ones. Published in the early 1970’s, it features recipes from numerous H&G contributors including culinary icons, James Beard and Craig Claiborne. There are 126 menus for breakfast, lunches, dinners, suppers, buffets, and any other food opportunity one can think of. I am rather fond of the retro recipes in A Small Cocktail Party for Twelve To Sixteen. Alas, I have been forced to rename the party the Farewell To My Favorite Magazines Cocktail Party.

As many of you know, House and Garden ceased publication because there were not enough people out there with houses and gardens, I think that was the reason. Thus began the demise of magazines I subscribe to. H&G was first, then I lost Blueprint, Cottage Living, Domino, and Country Home. My mailbox is a wasteland!! I am already profoundly nostalgic for my magazines so I chose a profoundly nostalgic recipe.

Shrimp Paté

2 cups beer
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stalk celery
1 1/2 pounds raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/4 cup parsley
3 tablespoons diced onions
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

Bring beer, salt and celery to a boil. Add the shrimp: cook over low heat 5 minutes. Let cool in the beer 20 minutes. Drain.
Combine the shrimp, parsley, onion, green pepper, cream, lemon juice and Tabasco in a blender and whirl until mixture is very fine and smooth. Pack into a mold and chill. Serve with crackers or toast.

If you, too, are suffering Domino withdrawal, make up a batch of Shrimp Paté, put it in your prettiest bowl and think about all those houses and gardens you are missing.

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