“half a can of tomato paste”

In tool on August 17, 2010 at 1:22 am

well hello there! i have been MIA for the last week-plus for a much needed and very relaxing vacation (pictures to follow).

but now i’m back, and i’m dying to share with you my favorite new hampshire junk sale find: “half a can of tomato paste & other culinary dilemmas – the cookbook that shows you what to do with what’s left over when you have to buy too much” by jean anderson and ruth buchan.

this book, published in 1980, is a truly retro throwback, with passages like this one:

“not until recently, with our mounting curiosity about the cuisines of china, has fresh ginger become a supermarket item. these [roots]…may not yet have reached your community, but in big-city groceries across the country they are almost as routine an item as the tomato.” (page 160)

and recipes like cherokee chowder (page 168) – i assume because it has corn in it – which he promptly dubbed “redskins chowder.”

however, i think this cookbook will be an invaluable addition to my kitchen, since it is similar to my own style – recipes for throwing together dishes from leftover ingredients.

to quote the introduction, the purpose is to address “those partly used packaged foods that clutter refrigerator and cupboard.” also, the authors note that “we are [often] put off trying an interesting new recipe…simply because it calls for an ingredient we don’t have, one that we must buy in too large a quantity.” (page 1-2)

for example, there are recipes using half a can of tomato paste (burger stroganoff or tomato and anchovy-stuffed flounder rolls in wine sauce), plain yogurt (veal paprikash), corn syrup (orange-almond lace cookies), bulgur (pilaf or tabbouleh) and forty more “problem leftovers.”

how brilliant is that?! i love it. and while i can’t wait to cook out of it, i also think it’s a great premise that needs an update and a facelift, with new ingredients, fresh ideas and sassy writing. jean and ruth, if you’re out there… <call me!>


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