18 November 2009

Lois Burpee's Gardener's Companion and Cookbook

It is cold, the garden is in winter disrepair and I am already looking forward to getting seed catalogues for next year.

Since I didn’t have any seed catalogues, I turned to a “seed catalogue” cookbook. Burpee’s is a leading purveyor of seeds in America. Lois Burpee met her husband at a flower show. She got a job with the Burpee Company and after a year was doing research for David Burpee. After a time, he proposed and Lois became Mrs. Burpee.

Many years later, after growing a plethora of vegetable varieties, she wrote a cookbook, Lois Burpee's Gardener's Companion and Cookbook. The recipes are straight forward, using a wide variety of vegetables. This book was written in the early 1980’s so the variety of currently available heirloom and antique varieties of plants are not represented. It would actually be fun to see this cookbook revised with the many addition to the Burpee’s catalogue in the last 25 years.

The favorite vegetable for growing is the tomato. Here is a great idea for the abundant tomato.

Tomato Pudding

4 slices white bread, toasted and cut into small cubes
4 cups thick tomato juice or purée
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons raisins, pressed down
1/2 teaspoon allspice
Salt (if tomato juice or purée is not salted)
1 tablespoon butter

Put half the toast cubes in the bottom of a buttered baking dish. Heat together all the together ingredients except the butter and pour over the toast cubes. Place the remaining toast cubes on top and press down a little. Dot with butter and bake at 325 F for 30 minutes or until heated through.

I am going to make a big dish of Tomato Pudding and patiently wait by my mailbox.

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