I am somewhat of a magazine junkie. Subscriptions to my favorite publications are renewed promptly (mostly). They are read, re-read and savored. Special copies are saved, along with clippings of memorable articles or illustrations or recipes.
As you can imagine, considering my several monthly subscriptions, the magazines can pile up over time.
I used to believe I should save photos of homes, rooms, fabrics and furniture, and occasionally pieces of jewelry that suited my taste, so when someone asked me what I’d like to have for an occasion I could respond with something I’d really like.
Over time, I realized the accumulation of actual things didn’t matter so much as the delight I felt when I looked over the clippings and photos. Saving the images to revisit periodically got to be an accomplishment — or a hobby — of its own. Maybe collecting images is even a form of ownership.
Think about it. Sometimes “when you get what you want, you don’t want it anymore.” Case in point: That wallpaper you loved in 1960 that no longer defines your taste in 2014. When you chose it, you thought you’d enjoy it forever, but it just isn’t “you” anymore — truth be told, it hasn’t been for a while.
Imagine the money you could save by pinning a sample to a bulletin board to see if you got tired of looking at it after six months, instead of covering walls right away.
I’ve cut back sharply on cutting out “wish” pictures. Clipping recipes, however, is a habit I can’t seem to break. The best of them get tried; the ones that stay in my mind wind up copied into one of my blank books, to be used again and again. If I don’t revisit a pile of recipe clippings for a long time, when I finally go through them I sometimes wonder why I cut them out to start with — in which case, no harm was done.
Recipes that become keepers for me have certain things in common. They have to be simple and straightforward; if a recipe has 50 ingredients, it’s a deal breaker; the food has to look tasty on the plate; and, finally, it has to smell and taste good. And it doesn’t hurt if there is something unique about one or more ingredients.
A good example is this simple curry recipe. I learned how to make curry soon after having had it at a holiday buffet at a friend’s home. The aroma enticed me as soon as we walked through her door. Her curry featured sea scallops and large, succulent shrimp. I couldn’t leave it alone. Learning to make it was an absolute necessity. My children grew up on it. We still love it.
Collect what you love and you’ll continue to enjoy the best of it.
3 cups milk
1 cup packaged sweetened coconut
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup minced onion
1 two-inch length chopped fresh ginger root (or 1 teaspoon powdered)
1 very large clove garlic, crushed
1 1/2 tablespoons mild curry powder
1 cup rich chicken stock
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup milk
3 cups cooked chicken or 1 1/2 cups large raw shrimp
Scald 3 cups milk. Add coconut to milk and allow to rest until cool.
Melt butter in a large skillet. Saute onion until light brown. Add ginger root, garlic, curry powder and chicken stock. Strain coconut and discard. Add milk. If ginger root was used, remove and discard pieces.
Combine 3 tablespoons liquid with flour and cornstarch. Heat remaining liquid and stir in paste. Cook and stir sauce until thickened, adding a little more cornstarch if needed to thicken.
Place sauce in double boiler. Add 1 cup milk.
Combine sauce with either chicken or shrimp and heat until bubbly.
Serve individual portions over white long-grain rice.
Makes about 8 cups.
This is called “Five Boy Curry” for the different condiments sprinkled over the curry. We like crumbled crisp bacon, sieved hard boiled eggs, toasted coconut, crushed peanuts and chutney. There are many more, depending on your taste.