20 March 2009

Washington Hostess Cookbook

I lived in Washington D.C. for many years, so I am always looking for cookbooks that reference the area. I love “hostess” books, so there is no doubt that The Washington Hostess Cookbook by Cissie Coy is in my collection. Coy pulled together top Washington hostesses and each of them presented a party complete with photos and recipes. Though the book was compiled in 1990, it seems much more suited for 1950.

Each hostess is photographed in a stately, posed photo that would do Lord Snowden proud. If there is still any debate over the question of whether Washington D. C. is a Southern town or not, just take a look at this book. The answer is a resounding -- YES. The pearls and the hairspray are eclipsed only by the fine china and regal silver. Clearly the hostesses and their dishes are far more important than their recipes. There are several preparations for caviar, and an unusual amount of purees. One would think that everyone had those hand carved wooden teeth that the original Washington made famous.

Here is a lovely sauce for grilled veal chops.

Plum and Jack Daniels Sauce

1 quart veal stock
2 oz. Jack Daniels
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup cornstarch
Salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan, combine the veal stock, bourbon and hoisin sauce and simmer 30 minutes.
Mix the cornstarch with 1/2 cup cold water and add to the sauce, stirring continuously until it thickens. Season to taste.

In my personal opinion, I would switch the amounts for the veal stock and the Jack Daniels, but that would make it more of an Alabama party than a Washington one. Actually, in Alabama we would leave out the veal chops altogether and just put the Jack Daniels on ice. Now there's a hostess!

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