I have no need for another cookbook and yet for fifty cents at a yard sale, I could not resist buying two: “The Non-chew Cookbook” and “The Four Ingredient Cookbook.”
Non-chewing cooking tickled my funny bone. Chewing always follows cooking, right? I laughed until I read the introduction. This is a serious cookbook for folks prescribed a soft diet for some digestive issue. My uncle actually could have used some of its ideas the year he had his broken jaw wired shut and drank his meals while it healed. He did not feast that Thanksgiving. And Uncle let the preacher know so when he rhetorically asked from the pulpit, “We all had more than enough to eat on Thursday, right?” My uncle raised his hand and shook his head. Everyone in the church laughed.
With that in mind, I studied the book and found some soft casseroles that I mentally marked to try.
My granddaughter, Caroline, 10, studied and marked recipes in the complete collection of “Four Ingredients Cookbooks” by Coffee and Cale. The authors included everything from appetizers to dessert. She marked recipes because I had asked earlier if she would like to do a video of her cooking and testing the recipes on her family.
“Yes!” She agreed.
I took the book when I went to visit. She propped the cookbook against her knees and turned the pages looking for a recipe with the ingredients her mom already had.
“Caramel popcorn looks good,” she mused, flipping the pages
“Or how about this?” she showed her mom a dish, “Do we have the ingredients?”
“No. Keep looking.”
They settled on Mexican Hamburgers: ground meat, tomato soup, chili powder and a large onion. How can anything go wrong?
“If you want Grandma to stop the video, just stand still and smile,” her mom advised.
I tapped the video option.
She opened with a big smile, “Welcome to ‘Cooking with Caroline.’ Today we are going to make Mexican Hambugers.” She listed the ingredients, stopped and smiled. I stopped.
Her mom said, “Let me show you a trick I learned for cutting an onion.” She pinched her fingers into a claw to hold the onion while she halved and chopped half of the onion. On video, Caroline repeated the claw hold as she chopped with the other half. She scraped the onion bits off the chopping board and stirred them into the ground meat.
She smiled. We stopped to let the meat brown while she measured out the chili seasoning and opened the soup.
Caroline yanked the soup can’s ring back and forth, pulling it off. She looked at me, “now what do I do?”
“You take the handle of a spoon and pry it off the rest of the way,” I demonstrated.
We returned to filming her pouring, stirring, and tasting. She pursed her lips, “too much spice. I need to stir this more.” She washed the spoon, tested again and pronounced it ready. Scooping meat, she spread it on hamburger buns, closed it, neatly sliced off a polite bite, tasted and smiled her approval and completion. I pushed stop.
“Now I just have to figure out how to edit it. First, let’s look at what we have,” I hit play.
One bright and smiling 10 year-old held up the cookbook. Her lips moved but we heard nothing the entire15 minutes. It took a while to discover I had never chosen the option to record sound on my new phone.
Something could go wrong when I was in charge of the project, but Caroline did just fine with the Mexican Hamburgers. She is looking for another recipe to try, and next time I will push the button. We may even try cooking and eating a recipe from the Non-chew Cookbook, just for fun.