New Cookbook by Chef Russell Cronkhite Celebrates Tradition of Sunday Dinnerby Larry Cox on Jan. 24, 2013, under Uncategorized
Sunday Dinner Traditions Revisited: The Simple Delight of Family, Friends and Food by Russell Cronkhite (Thomas Nelson Press, $27.99)
This cookbook is nostalgic and an absolute delight. One of the traditions in my family was Sunday dinner at the house of my grandparents. My granddad sat at one end of the table, Uncle Hubert, his oldest son, at the other end. My grandmother — who was really the boss of the family — sat to granddad’s right, my dad to his left. Even though there were never place cards, that seating arrangement continued for decades. As a younger member of the family, I truly came of age when I marked my 12th birthday and was allowed to move from a table in the kitchen and to the formal dining room.
It was at these Sunday dinners that important family business was discussed and any disputes settled. Even after a number of years, I still cherish that wonderful tradition.
Russell Cronkhite, renowned chef, pastry chef, and baker whose culinary career has spanned more than four decades. His work has appeared in Bon Appetit, the Washington Post and other publications. Based in Alexandria, Virginia, he served as executive chef of Blair House, the guest house of the president of the United States. His new collection celebrates Sunday dinner, once an American institution. Cronkhite believes the time has come to revive the practice where food is a foundation of family bonding, honor, values and care.
The chapters include Our Sunday Best; From Hearth and Home; A Quiet Sunday with Friends; Sweet Comfort and Soul; Satisfying Soup Suppers; In the Garden; A Sunday for Thanksgiving; Down Hill Country; North Country Fare; Return to the Heartland; A Timeless Sensibility; In the Neighborhood; Autumn in New England; Travelin’ Through; When You’re Family; A Homespun Gathering; Mountain’s Majesty; Rising to Meet You; An Ancient Heritage; Sunday in the Northwest; Along the King’s Highway; A Sabbath Day Supper; and Southern Traditions.
Some of the recipe standouts are Molasses-Pecan Cake with Caramel Buttercream Frosting, Sweet Potato Biscuits, Apple Butternut Squash Soup, Boneless Smothered Pork Chops, Buttered Brussels Sprouts with Parsley and Chives and Garden Pea and Cabbage Salad. I tested the last two.
This is a cookbook that is as nurturing as my grandmother’s fried chicken with potatoes and brown gravy.
Garden Pea and Cabbage Salad
2 cups fresh blanched peas or frozen peas, thawed
4 cups shredded cabbage or Savoy cabbage
½ cup diced celery
¼ cup chopped scallions
½ teaspoon salt (I used sea salt)
1 cup sour cream
½ cup mayannaire
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon white wine or cider vinegar
To make the salad, combine the peas, cabbage, celery, and scallions in a decorative salad bowl. Sprinkle the salt over the vegetables and toss together well.
To prepare the dressing, use a stiff wire whisk to blend the sour cream with the mayonnaise, mustard, and vinegar in a stainless mixing bowl.
To serve, use a rubber spatula to gently fold the dressing into the vegetables.