The future of Daingerfield Island, home of the Washington Sailing Marina, will be discussed in public meetings called by the National Park Service for Tuesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the marina clubhouse.
Charles A. Veitl. superintendent of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, which has jurisdiction over the Daingerfield Island complex, says that the meeting will serve to "gain user, and public, input into the possible future uses of Daingefield Island and its environment."
In addition to berthing some 600 sailboats, the complex is a popular way station for bikers and is used for soccer, picnics and sinbathing. The marina is about a mile south of National Airport and just off George Washington Memorial Parkway.
ANOTHER DECEMBER and we're still here - no slight accomplishment, what with one thing and another; some years, in fact, it seems a trick worth cheering about, which is why the angel is blowing our horn. As the Christmas season approaches, we become compulsive about cheer and there is nothing - besides the sound of trumpets - that fill us with as much gladness as a Christmas cookie or three or four. Food, when you get right down to it, is extremely comforting, even more so when washed down with a bit of grog. (As the poet said, malt does more than Milton can to justify God's ways to man.) We firmly intend to be here next December, too, and for that we need help. It's here on this page: enough cookbooks for a year of good eating, and because we-ve resolved to be better in 1978 and stop biting our nails, help of another kind at the bottom. So cheers, and pass the cookies . . . FOR ME, cookking, kitchen equipment and cookbooks are a minor but virulent disease. It's not that I think that glorious food is the only or even main thing in life.We spend smashing evenings when that food is terrible (and the people are great). And we have dreadful evenings when the food is sublime (and the people are awful.) So I wouldn't want anyone to think that I sneer at those who don't, as I happlily do on occasion, spend an afternoon stuffing 25 pounds of four different kinds of sausage or some such.
I am also a great believer in having, say, my own mandoline even if I make waffled potatos only once a year. I also find kitchen equipment very beautiful. My great sadness is that my batterie de cuisine has over-flowed the kitchen and some of the treasures are downstairs.
I am also the keeper of about 65 running feet of cookbooks (I am ashamed to make an exact count). Recently, a friend, appalled, said, you don't really use them all, do you? Well, yes, I do, except for my mistakes, which sit downstairs too. Those in my dining room I use, in different ways.
I use my workhorses all the time. The recipes are solid, they are written unambiguously, they tell me what they expect me to do and in the correct sequence, they warn me about pitfalls, and the results are good. Others I use less often, for inspiration when I decide to do something new that I may not even have tasted before.Then I start comparing various versions and take from some to add to the one that seems best. I use another grouping of cookbooks even less, but I value them because they are well written, or they tell me things that I like to read about or they give me ideas when I want to use up egg yolks left over when i make a meringue torte.
I will not have cookbooks that tell me to use canned white sauce or cream of mushroom soup, or brand names (unless for a very good reason) or sugar in salad dressing. I also am leery of cookbooks which tell me I am endangering the lives of my loved ones if I don't substitute honey for sugar.
The new kitchen books and cookbooks fall into several more or less loosely defined categories: Kitchen Books, Including Equipment
The International Cook's Catalogue, by James Beard, Milton Glaser and Burton Wolf (Random House, $19.95) is the handsome, slick job we have grown to expect from the Beard-Glaser-Wolf Ltd. Imprint. In one respect the book is more useful than its two-year-old parent, The Cook's Catalogue , in that it is more explicit in telling you the sources for fulfilling your needs and greeds. I am grateful to it because I have learned that I cannot live without a dents de loup tin ($6.95, Williams Sonoma), a sesame seed toaster ($1.55, K. Tanaka), a Vienna roll stamp ($5.95, Maid of Scandinavia) and a Thai egg noodle maker, ($3, Siam Grocery). I am equally grateful to know that I can live withou the steamed potato pot (Charles F. Lamalle, $120) but I'm also glad to know it's there. This book's greatest weakness is an inexplicable capriciousness in listing too many of some things (12 lunchboxes), not enough of others (one food processor) and nothing on the "rotating vertical spit called a doner kabob ," which James Beard in his introduction brags about havin in his kitchen or, for that matter, any other spits such as the marvel sold by Dehillerin in Paris. And while it is interesting to see equipment listed by country or area, it is also difficult to compare the virtues of, say, a mortar and pestle from Zaire over 22 others listed under Portugal, Thailand, Syria, and several other places.
I have mixed feelings about this year's other biggie, Terence Conran's The Kitchen Book (Crown, $30). It's handsomely produced, it lets you see some wonderful kitchens (Glaston Lenotre, how I love your hot kitchen full of ducks, your fish kitchen full of salmon, your cool ovens full of meringues). It also has diagrams of the layout for most of the kitchens - but somebody left out the dimensions of the rooms and nobody mentioned scale, so the graph paper means nothing. Dear Mr. Conran, you tell me I can have an island kitchen only if my room is big enough but you don't tell me how big is big enough. You tell me how I can store my equipment on walls in your section. "Open to view," but you neither mention nor show pegboard, even once. Dont they use pegboard in England? Or carry it in your Habitat stores? Never mind. Many of the ideas are terrific, and because of your book we sat at the dining room table until 2 o'clock one morning, moving tiny squares of paper marked refrigerator and dishwasher around a large piece of graph paper called "new kitchen," just as you said we should.
The Kitchen Almanac, an Indispensable Stoveside Companion, compiled by Stone Soup (Berkley& Windhover paperback, $8.95), and The Cook's Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Master the Art of Cooking (Macmillan, $8.95), are two books I might give to people who are starting out on their own and who need an updated version of the kind of basic advice that Mrs. Beeton and Fannie Farmer were so good at giving. The Stone Soup book calls itself a "complete, up-to-the minute cookbook, catalog, reference, how-to manual, and practical guide to everything you need to have & know in the kitchen." Well, not quite.It's a strange mixture of good advice; reasonable, simplistic recipes; naive essays on the Culinary Arts Institute, Diamond Jim Brady and Hitler, among other unlikely topics; where to get seeds to grow ethnic vegetables; nutritional information; talk about consumerism; and a discussion of equipment that I wish were a little more toughminded and knowledgeable. The Cook's Guide is slightly less diffuse, telling you how to plan a kitchen, clean and defrost a refrigerator, shop, preserve, freeze, make pastry, break an egg and how much oil a large egg yolk will absorb (which knowledge is halfway to making mayonnaise). The Big Books - Encyclopedias
The Encyclopedia of Fish Cookery, by A. J. McClane, with stunning photographs by Arie de Zanger (Holt, Rinehart, Winston, $35), is a conderful splendor, one of the best in the lot. McClane, who for 80 years was fishing editor of Field & Stream, not only knows his fish, he knows his food and - most important for a definitive reference, which this is - he knows how to organize and index his knowledge. This book will tell you, among a whole lot of other things, what your fishman never seems to know - that the large seatrout we see in Washington is the same weakfish which is featured the following week at the identical counter. The recipes are also good, the discussions on texture are illuminating and the step-be-step pictures of how to fillet, stuff, decorate with aspic, along with many other techniques, are skillful and intelligent.
The New Larousse Gastronomique, by Prosper Montaigne is out in a revised second American edition (Crown, $25) and if only because this time the index is both in English and French, it has become a much less silly reference book. (Unless you knew French, you couldn't use the index to the first American edition.) Some of the slovenliness of the first edition has also been cleaned up - tangerines are no longer listed as (French) mandarins, for example, except in one place. The publishers claim that 30 per cent of this edition is completely new and almost 60 per cent of the rest has been completely modernized. Perhaps it's just my fate, but I more often than not cannot find what I need to know in the Larousse - thus, why in almost 9 pages of potatoes is there no listing for pommes gaufrettes (waffled potatoes)? The Important Cookbooks
Aah, Paul Bocuse, the name is magic. Because the best (or at least the best known). Bocuse the most influential of the young and great French chefs. Bocuse the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur , Ambassador of French Cooking, who with his friends cooked a feast at the Elysee Palace to celebrate these honors. Bocuse the darling of the brightest food mavens. Paul Bocuse's French Cooking (Pantheon, $20), the food event of the decade (according to his publishers). It should have been the best. The expectations were high, and justifiably. I am sad to say that because of both timid and sloppy editing, which probably resulted from over-respect on the part of the editor and either lack of courage to insist on American cookbook standards or ignorance on the part of the publisher, this opus is so flawed that I - and I expect a lot of others - would need a competent cookbook as a trot in order to go about making some of the more intricate and interesting recipes. The recipe for rillettes d'oie is one of the book's typical mysteries: make a confit d'oie (pp. 268-9) and then turn to page 218-9 and follow the recipe for rellettes de porc . But starting where? At the beginning of page 218? It doesn't make sense. In the middle? At the potting-up stage? Another instance: the recipe for quenelles de brochet , old methods calls for 1/2 pound of beef kidney fat, but M. Bocuse's note at the end of the recipe says: "The beef fat can be partially or totally replaced by unsalted butter, which is preferable " (emphasis added). Some of the inclusions are simply foolish (and I don't mean the leg of beef cooked over charcoal to feed 80-100 people); for example, a "recipe" is seriously given for cotelettes d'agneau a'la parisienne which reads: "Broil the [lamb] chops, place them on a platter and garnish with broiled tomatoes and mushrooms." And then the editor cutely puts the onus on the reader, admonishing that you should not "let the recipes stifle your imagination." Maybe for the food event of the next decade, when Bocuse comes out with his book on the nouvelle cuisine , thing will be better.
Lenotre's Desserts and Pastries, (Barron's, $15.95) elegantly revised and adapted by Philip and Mary Hyman, is everything Bocuse should have been. The book is so brilliantly organized, intelligent, unpatronizing and reassuring that for the first time, I, a timid baker, feel absolutely comfortable about adventuring in the mystical world of short and flaky pastry, ladyfingers, cream puffs, jelly rolls and brioche, which world is ruled by the great patissier, chef, caterer and teacher, Gaston Lenotre. A dictionary of terms and procedures sets the ground rules with such clarity and the recipes are so unambiguous and informative that you believe it when the Hymans say that "most of Lenotre's recepes are surprisingly easy to prepare." It is also invaluable that the 201 recipes are rated, realistically, by degrees of difficulty, from one to three chef's hats. I would think that even the best baker would have a lot to learn and get a lot of pleasure from this fabulous book.
Anne Willan's Great Cooks and Their Recipes, From Taillevent to Escoffier (McGraw-Hill, $19.95) is an elegant dusquisition on the evolution of cooking as reflected by 13 influential cooks over a 600-year period. Willan, a former food editor who runs a prestigious cooking school in Paris, is a pro. Her book is well researched, the original recipes are given, as are updated, tested versions which would be instructive and interesting to try. I wish the pages were a little less busy and the number of typefaces fewer. I also wish the ingredients of the modern recipes were not set in a spidery type which gets lost on the pale green pages. But this is a problem of an artsy designer. I look forward to getting a lot of pleasure from this book.
Even if you have every one of the very good Chinese cookbooks which have come out in the last few years, Irene Kuo's The Key to Chinese Cooking (Knopf, $15) would be a joy to have. Mrs. Kuo is a cook's cook. She tells a lot about technique and incorporates much of this knowledge into the recipes (so that if you shouldn't remember every word you still can go about your business.) Even people who have been nervous about exploring this great cuisine should be reassured by this book and (from the three or four recipes that I couldn't resist trying) by the results.
Another book that should merit priority place on any shelf is Teresa Gillardi Candler's The Northern Italian Cookbook (McGraw-Hill, $9.95). This is not spaghetti and meatballs (which I also adore), but rather the Piemontese mouth-watering risottos, wild mushrooms, thinnest crunchy breadsticks, fresh brook trout, and beautiful milk-fed veal. The recipes are lovely, clear, well written and sound absolutely delicious.
Moira Hodgson is another professional who had a great idea and put together The Hot and Spicy Cookbook (McGraw-Hill, $9.95), especially, I am sure, for the likes of me. I like the idea of beign able to choose from among many different cuisine when I decide that I want my chicken or cauliflower to have some extra pizazz.
What distinguishes Cooking and Baking the Greak Way, by Anne Theoharous (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, $9.95) is that it delivers, as promised, clear explanations (using this book a six-year-old could work with phyllo and stuff grapes leaves), no cheap short cuts, and a feeling of confidence that you will end up with a dish that tastes exactly the way it was meant to. Moreover, you are told how long it will take to prepare a dish and what you must do in advance (one day, two days, or whatever). If you have never cooked Greek food, this would be a terrific place to start. Regional American Cooking
Of the three regional American cookbook, I like Jean Anderson's Grass Roots Cookbook (Times, [WORD ILLEGIBLE] very much indeed. The author's [WORD ILLEGIBLE] pose was "to attempt to do for American cooking what misicologists [WORD ILLEGIBLE] for years been doing for American folk music - perserve it from [WORD ILLEGIBLE] ." She spent time with selective cooks from each part of the count [WORD ILLEGIBLE] came up with several recipes from each, tested the recipes and wrote a very good book. And she covered a lot of the variety in American food - Portuguese, New England, Southern, Mexican, German. (I wish she hadn't missed my Armenian sister-in-law in Fresno).
I feel inadequateto the task fo talking about Betty Talmadge's How to Cook a Pig and Other Back-to-the Farm Recipes (Simon & Schuster, $9.95) because I don't have the strength of mind to imagine basting meats with cola drinks or ginger ale, which, if I ever did, would probably end up tasting absoulutely wonderful. Lots of down-home Georgia food, and a little bit of name-dropping so that you are sure to know which recipes Mrs. Lyndon Johnson was served or asked for and that Mrs. Talmadge, when she was the Senator's wife, gave a luncheon for Mrs. Nixon when the then President was being beleaguered by Watergate.
Anita Borhese had a nice idea for Foods from Harvest Festivals and Folk Fairs, The Best Recipes from and a Guide to Food Happenings Across the Nation (Crowell, $9.95). It doesn't work because instead of getting some interesting insights from festivals and fairs, she used the idea as a cheap excuse for yet another bad cookbook. The dishes re prosaic, dull, silly and/or spurious. A recipe for ghost bread (Iroquois Indian) calls for a cup of skimmed milk because since "water or milk can be used . . . skimmed milk seems a good compromise," and then there's the recipe for pineapple spears which says, honestly, "cut the pineapples into spears 1/2 inch thick, discarding the core and rind. If desired, canned unsweetened pineapple spears call be substituted for the fresh pineapple, although the results will not be as authentic." For this you have to go to festival? Specialty Books
The Woman Day Crockery Cuisine, by Sylvia Vaughn Thompson (Random House, $8.95) is designed for people who wonder if they can get some more mileage out of their crockpot which is sitting in the closet with the other rejected so-called worksavers. But that is not why I find it a detestable book. Recipes call for a 6-ounce can of white sauce, canned cheese sauce, bottled gravy coloring, frozen potato nuggets, canned cream soups. I have no objection to shortcuts, but have the decency to give a recipe for the real thing as an alternative.
You don't have to be Jewish to love Leonore Fleisher's The Chicken Soup Book: Cooking with love and Chichen, (Taplinger paperback, $4.95). By the time I finished reading it, I was ready to run out to buy at least three chickens so that I could make pots of beautiful soup, chicken dumplings chicken quenelles, chicken ball hors d'oeuvres, kreplach and every other one of her recipes. I also loved Ms. Fleischer's touching, evocative tribute to her grandparents who I hope won't turn ove in their graves when they find out about the recipe for, you'll excuse the expression, shrimp and crabmeat mold made with chicken soup.
By the time I finished another specialty book, William I. Kaufman's The Peanut Butter Cookbook, (Simon & Schuster, $8.95), I felt slightly sick to my stomach. Peruvian veal in peanut sauce, okay. Apple peanut cake, sure. Hot peanut and onion canapes, fine, if you want. But salad dressing of peanut butter, marshmallow fluff and pineapple juice with a little lemon juice and salt? As Mrs. Fleisher's grandmother would have said, "Feh ." On Being Healthy
Peanut butter is full of nutrition and proteins (and calories, but what the hell,) which leads into the health-nutrition cookbooks. The silliest and most pretentious is The Nutrition Cookbook by Stephen N. Kreitzman and Susan L. Kreitzman (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, $12.95). The subtitle is "A Guide to Health Family Food with Gourmet Recipes Computer Analyzed for Your Specific Daily Requirements." The book provides us with page-and-a-half computer printouts so that we can fill our self-involved days by counting the vitamin, mineral, protein, fat, carbohydrate and calorie content of each of the recherche gourmet recipes - for the cheeseburgers, stuffed eggs, stuffed cabbage, meatloaf, creamed spinach and matzoh brei. In addition to the most labored version possible of the origin of stone soup, we are treated to an unmercifully long, unctuous, patronizing essay on nutrition by Dr. Stephen, the biochemist.
Sharon Cadwallader's Complete Cookbook (San Francisco Book Company, $10.95), by the author of the Whole Earth Cook Book and Whole Earth Cook Book 2 , is, on the other hand, straightforward, ungimmicky, and unphony. And up-to-date, too, with a recipe for unisex gingerbread people. The subtitle of this book is "Cooking naturally for good health," and while I would modify some of the recipes to my own taste, I can see that you could use this book, eat well, and feel that you were doing right by your family.
The Dione Lucas Book of Natural French Cooking (Dutton, $12.95) is by the late Ms. Lucas's long-time collabortor, Marion Gorman, and nutritionist Felipe P. de Alba. And introduction and a "Small Encyclopedia for Natural French Cooking" spell out the no-nos and yes-yesses as the rationale for something the authors are claiming to create, called (I'm afraid rather ungrammatically) Cuisine Sante , which they translate as "Gourmet Cooking for Good Health." A large debt is acknowledged to Adelle Davis, many of whose nutritional precepts are called forth, and to Dione Lucas who, it is claimed, could taste the difference between an organic and a nonorganic egg (although the authors have the grace to acknowledge that they can't). Despite my irritation at finding recipe ingredients listed as, for example, yolks of 2 organic eggs, or 1 cup raw milk, or 2 tablespoons cold-pressed saf-flower oil or cold-pressed olive oil, I decided to try their hollandaise sauce, which calls for safflower oil and sour cream in lieu of butter (out of bounds, natch - even margarine is suspect). It wasn't very good on a poached egg but it was quite reasonable on steamed broccoli, although it was more like a rather pleasant warm mayonnaise. Between the Cracks
The Duchess of Duke Street Entertains, edited by Michael SMith (Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, $8.95), is yet another based on a BBC television series. Remember the Upstairs Downstairs Cookbook with Mrs. Bridges's homely commentary? This new book is "written" by Louisa Trotter, the heroine of the series who runs the Bentinck Hotel, a notorious house of pleasure during Edwardian times when pleasures were indeed notorious. The text is little labored, written as it is as an "authentic" first person account, but Michael Smith does know what he is talking about (he is culinary adviser to the series and has some pretty fancy cooking credentials). So anyone with the curiosity to know how the Edwardians ate, can cook up a meal, get into costume and make like the Duchess herself.
Finally, I mention French Provincial Cuisine, by Christian Delu (Barron's, $15.95) because although the recipes are quite ordinary and you can do better elsewhere, it is a pretty book and the pictures are nice. I suppose that when a photographer does a cookbook because he likes to photograph food, this is about what you might expect.