“To be a cook means the knowledge of all herbs and fruits and balms and spices, and all that is healing and sweet in the fields and groves and savory in meats. It means carefulness and inventiveness and willingness and watchfulness and readiness of appliances. It means the economy of your great-grandmothers and the science of modern chemistry. It means much tasting and no wasting; it means English thoroughness and French art and Arabian hospitality. It means, in fine, that you are to be perfectly and always ladies — loaf givers. And you are to see that everybody has something good to eat.”
– John Ruskin
I found this quote printed in the New Century Club Book of Recipes dated 1918 out of Philadelphia, PA. This was Jeanette Keller’s (from Wayne, PA.) book. Didn’t have the pleasure of knowing her… I came across this book on Ebay and needed it, immediately.
(Though if you talk to my husband, just go along with the story that I found it a garage sale for $1. Keep the peace, y’all.)
Proceeds of the sale of this book in 1918 were to be used for china for the Club.
Smart ladies had priorities.
I compared their printed quote to one I found online, attributed to Mr. Ruskin, and I am pleased to report that in 1918 people changed words to suit their needs.
For instance: they added *great* in front of grandmother. Frankly, I am glad they did. Because now, in 2016 we will have to look back to our great grandmothers to find food less refined, food less cumbersome and recipes more wholesome and easily prepared. They also said tasting where Ruskin had written testing. Glad there too, because you should be constantly nibbling while at the stove… for the good of the dish.
(And if you don’t want to taste… why are you cooking?)
So that leads us to this post. I was glad that I stumbled upon John Ruskin, because he wrote about EVERYTHING. Art, science, architecture, botany and more; a real renaissance man. (Though in today’s circle someone would have told him he had ADHD… maybe that is why I like him.) And he wrote some great quotes that I had to take.
“When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.”
– John Ruskin
So that is where the rubber meets the road. You have a love of food, and the more you cook, the more you taste and that is where your skill comes. I am constantly reading and watching and learning. I expect a masterpiece every time I open that oven door. Well, honestly I expect a damn good dinner and for the most part, that is what usually happens.
Sure. I have had some epic failures. I have heard my husband and step son ask tentatively, “You aren’t planning on making that, again, are you?” more than once. But that doesn’t stop my desire to learn and grow.
Finally, there is this quote that I present as the foundation for The Foodish Girl and mykickasserole.com:
“Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become.”
– John Ruskin
TheFoodishGirl on Facebook came to be because I needed a space to post my victories and defeats in the kitchen and in my life.
Mykickasserole grew from that because my cooking came out of the humble beginnings of the hot dish or casserole much beloved by all in the Midwest.
In fact, if you look up hot dish, Minnesota and North Dakota pretty much claim it as their own.
And since I was raised by good Lutheran No.Dak transplants in the lovely state of Montana… I feel it is a natural progression to continue the good work of all those momma’s and gramma’s and keep those casserole recipes alive, well and circulating throughout our communities.
The word casserole comes from the French word cassolle and cassa means pan according to the interwebs and that is all types of fancy when you compare and contrast the green bean casserole that swept our great nation to the traditional French Cassoulet, but I digress.
All of that is welcome here.
There is a function on this site for you to add your own kickasserole recipes.
The fancy, the benign.
Your Aunt Edna’s tator tot creation.
Your one dish creation that your kids devour.
Or your take on a FoodNetwork star’s one pot mac and cheese.
Leave your mark.
Leave me a note.
Please attribute your recipe to the amazing lady or foodishguy that made it for you, or that shared it with you.
The site is new, and while I am pretty and smart, sometimes I can only be one or the other, so bare with me while I sort through the process of creation.
Paula—The Foodish Girl
PS- I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that the Ladies of the New Century Club also added one last bit of advice to Mr. Ruskin’s original quote:
“and you are to see that everybody has something good to eat.”
From your lips to God’s ears, ladies.
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