Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"A prudent man does not make the goat his gardener.” ~ Hungarian saying

Since we've been back from our Florida vacation, I have been working on compiling a family cookbook of my late mother-in-law's abundant recipes. But I need to take a break because I've hit a slight snag.

My task started out pretty straight forward. I created a simple version of a template and started entering the recipes, making sure to include additional comments my mother-in-law noted for different temperatures, times, tips, etc.

I should have looked at all the recipes first and organized the lot, but I didn't. I began by pulling out a stack of cards, newspaper and magazine clippings and pieces of paper in all shapes and sizes from the large zip-lock bag my sister-in-law gave me. I left the additional 8-inch X 11-inch box full of handwritten recipes untouched for the time being.

I put the recipes from the zip-lock bag in a pile on the desk beside my laptop and started typing away, working my way, recipe by recipe, into the pile. I entered one recipe and once I finished, I moved on to the next.

Halfway through the pile, I came across a recipe cut out from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette for a pastry called "Chrust", a recipe of Polish origin. However, my mother-in-law was Hungarian. Her parents were Hungarian immigrants and migrated to America before she was born and apparently the recipe is common throughout that part of the world because she penned a note at the top of the article said, "My mother used to make these. We called them Knot Pastries."

When I finished entering the recipe, I picked up an envelope that was next in the pile. I opened the envelope and discovered six more handwritten versions of the same recipe I just finished entering (or at least with the same title), each with different measurements, times and ingredients! Arrrggghhh!

I decided to go through the entire box and found the same thing with other recipes. My mother-in-law, if nothing else, was a consummate annotator.

Not knowing which recipe was the "family" recipe and unsure how to proceed, I emailed my sisters-in-law and brother-in-law asking for their input. The cookbook is on hold for a few days.

You might be wondering what that has to do with goats.

Now, I have a pretty adventurous palate and I've been wanting to try to make something with goat meat since I first saw it in the freezer at our new international food store, so when I received my October issue of Bon Appetit a few days ago and came across a recipe for Lamb Tagine with Chickpeas and Apricots, I thought it would be the perfect recipe to swap out the lamb for goat meat.

So, today I bought some goat meat. The recipe calls for lamb shoulder, but she didn't have any goat shoulder so I purchased a nice slab of ribs.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

This is going to be interesting.

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