by Marion Cunningham
always know what to expect when Marion Cunningham writes
a cookbook. It all started in 1979 with The Fanny Farmer
Cookbook, when she updated the 19th Century American
classic Boston Cooking-School Cookbook. With Fanny,
she taught generations of Americans not only how to cook,
but to appreciate food as a celebration of life. She filled
more than eight hundred pages with instructions on developing
good cooking habits and how to test eggs for freshness,
but most of all she made cooking accessible to millions
of cooks: with improved, homey recipes for cheese balls
and cream of mushroom soup, pork chops and apple rings,
lemon meringue pie and everything in-between. In subsequent
updates she kept the classics but included new recipes and
techniques that reflected changing times.
Cunningham followed The Fanny Farmer Cookbook with
The Fanny Farmer Baking Book, a rediscovery of baking
in the same vein as its predecessor. After that she focused
on perfecting main meals in The Breakfast Book and
The Supper Book and "for children who really
want to learn to cook," Cooking with Children.
Then she turned her attention to teaching adults how to
cook via Learning to Cook with Marion Cunningham150
everyday recipes with clear instructions for novices.
a recurring theme with Marion Cunningham. Her intentions
are honest. She wants people to cook at home, eat at home
and spend time together. Lost Recipes is her latest
effort to share this philosophy and encourage its practice,
with more than 140 recipes rooted firmly in the comfort
nothing about Lost Recipes that is groundbreaking
or particularly compelling. But that's not such a bad thing.
While it's not more adventurous than Split Pea Soup and
Waldorf Salad, Lost Recipes is a heartwarming and
appetite-pleasing collection of recipes that encourages
the home cook to take a little time to redefine eating habits.
Forget the take-home and carryout meals. Skip the fast food.
Make a Smothered Chicken with Mushrooms and some Succotash.
Spend a few extra minutes so you can linger afterward over
homemade Pineapple Upside Cake.
recipes are predictable but simple and generally easy to
follow. The results are pure comfort: Scalloped Potatoes,
Shepherd's Pie, Brown Derby Cobb Salad and Lemon Pudding
Cake. Just to get the point across, Mrs. Cunningham peppers
her book with plenty of nostalgic food and dining-related
illustrations, photos and text. Her own notes are somewhat
haphazardsometimes she shares a personal story or
some history, and sometimes gives opinions or cooking tips.
This isn't a highbrow culinary adventure, and that's nice
for a change.
the proof in Lost Recipes is in the Bread and Butter
Pudding. Or in her Raised Waffles, which she says, "is
unlike any other waffle I know." It's her favorite
breakfast recipe. She starts it the night before, sets the
table for company and gets a good night's sleep. The next
morning she sets thick-cut slices of pepper bacon on a baking
tray and cooks it in the oven. She adds eggs and baking
soda to last night's batter, fires up a few waffle irons
and starts baking.
to be a guest at Marion Cunningham's dining table.
by Kevin Schoeler
(Updated: 12/04/08 SB)