Craig Claiborne Comfort

January 19th, 2015 § 0 comments

Grey skies. A light dusting of snow. Time for comfort food. And, what could be more comforting than meatloaf? Splendid for dinner. Wonderful for a luncheon sandwich. (HG likes it on ciabatta or rye with a slice of raw onion and Russian dressing). With all of this in mind, BSK snared the battered, stained, much-used “New York Times Cookbook” by Craig Claiborne. Published in 1961, this has been an HG/BSK perennial favorite. So, last night BSK consulted Claiborne’s recipe and gave it a few herbaceous, spicy tweaks of her own. Into the oven with the meatloaf for one hour and thirty minutes. Voila!! Accompanied by little potatoes and a saute of shitake and cremini mushrooms, this was American cooking at its best. Claiborne, who died in 2000, had a major positive influence on American cooking and dining. Appointed Food Editor of The New York Times in 1957, Claiborne made the food section a source of good, easy to follow recipes (often with the collaboration of French chef Pierre Franey). Claiborne expanded the repertoire of home cooks to include, Mexican, Asian, Russian and other international cuisines. He was also the Times restaurant critic and introduced the star rating system still in use today. In HG’s opinion, Claiborne had excellent restaurant judgment except when he dined at Jewish delicatessens or Chinese restaurants. Mississippi-bred Claiborne was blind in regards to these two cuisines — he loved them all indiscriminately. An overstuffed pastrami sandwich — no matter the quality (or lack thereof) — led him down the path of prose poetry.


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