Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Kitchen Survival Guide, by Lora Brody; Applesauce

If you've never cooked much before, and want to start, or if you're sending someone off to school, away from home for the first time, you should pick up a copy (or three) of The Kitchen Survival Guide, by Lora Brody, published in 1992. Brody decided to write a kitchen guide and cookbook when she had a small pan fire, and her kids freaked out trying to figure out how to put the fire out. (Baking soda smothered it nicely.) The book will help you outfit a kitchen, stock your cabinets, make substitutions, and feed yourself (and your friends) well. Chefly Husband was given a copy by his mother when he went off to college (where we met... :swoon:), and we give copies to people whenever possible -- it's a great reference.

The first recipe in the book doesn't come along until page 77. Yes, 77. And then, it's a very basic recipe, following a page on how to read a recipe. Let's hop to it:

Preparation Time: about 40 minutes
Cooking time: 20 to 30 minutes
Yield: 8 to 10 servings, about 5 cups
Can be made ahead? Yes. Up to 1 week. Keep refrigerated.
Can be frozen? Yes. Up to 6 months.
Can be doubled and tripled? Yes.
Good for leftovers? Yes. Applesauce will keep for 1 week refrigerated in a sealed container.

8 to 10 large Cortland or McIntosh apples
1 1/2 cups water or apple cider
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Lemon juice to taste

Quarter the apples and remove the cores and seeds (leave the skins on). Place the apples and cider or water in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot. Cover, and cook over low heat until the apples are very tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the apples from the pan and reserve the cooking liquid. Purée the apples in a food processor or blender (if you use a blender, put in only a very small amount of the apples at a time, adding liquid to the blender as necessary to make a purée). Add the remaining ingredients, including about 1/2 to 2/3 of the cooking liquid. Purée until smooth. Add more lemon juice, if desired.

Brody writes recipes like I write recipes -- that is, she's pretty darned chatty. If you can say it two different ways to get your point across, it's more likely that someone can get the recipe to turn out.

Chefly Husband's mother also sent him off to school with a few treasured cans of homemade applesauce. He rationed them like they were the rarest treasure, and rightly so. My mother-in-law makes perfect applesauce.

It's the start of apple picking season here in the DC area. Homestead Farms in Poolesville reports that picking for Gala apples is great right now, and if you didn't know it already, Gala apples are fabulous for saucing. It's nearly's time to comfort ourselves with apples.


  1. I can vouch for the usefulness and readability of this book. You gave us a copy. We loved it and bought a friend a copy. She loved it and bought a friend a copy.

  2. This was my first cookbook, though I no longer have a copy (disappeared sometime during my divorce, hmm). Some of Brody's recipes are on-line ... I'm a fan of this brisket recipe in particular.