Monday, February 18, 2008
Better Than Awesome Valentine's day present
Pictured is one of the best Val's Day presents I'm able to post on a website-The NEW Celebrity Cooks Cookbook, featuring Beachcombing uberstar from the CBC in the 70's and early 80's, Bruno Gerussi!! Many Canadian visitors will fondly remember the long-running CBC TV show "The Beachcombers", featuring the aforementioned Mr. Gerussi as Nick Adonidas, gold-chain adorned "beachcomber" off the west coast, scrounging for the perfect log to drag back to the lumbermill for that juicy finders fee (which was never really stated in the show...was he paid cash? gold chains? tank tops? Nick always had plenty of the latter two, so I'd guess either or both are safe bets). Nick was always in competition with his rascally old beachcombing rival "relic", played by veteran Canadian actor Robert Clothier. Relic was always a bit of a mess, and no matter how hard he tried to swoop down and make off with Nick's...er....log...he was always confounded, and often left drifting off to apparent doom with his boat out of gas and possibly a rabid sea lion chomping at his rudder. The show was on for about 75 years, and it gained a pretty good following, due to it's jaunty theme and the fact that, for a CBC show, it wasn't that bad.
Fewer may remember that Bruno Gerussi had a spin-off series that made up for the overall quality of The Beachcombers. "Celebrity Cooks" was a half-hour show that featured Bruno hosting a variety of 70's-era "celebrities", who always tended to be either Pete Barbuti, Orson Bean or Nanette Fabray. Of course, this was a Canadian show, so it also featured the likes of John Allen Cameron, Toller Cranston and Ed Broadbent (only in Canada is the leader of the "third" poltical party considered a celebrity. Come to think of it, compared to a lot of our new politicians, ol' Ed was pretty much on the ball). Bruno was the proud overseer of a magnificently almond-themed studio "kitchen", where he would entertain his guests by imbibing large quantities of wine and looking verile. This book (published in 1979!) is one of the progeny of that show, and I have to admit, aside from the nostalgia aspect of reading Marty Allen's Moussaka recipe, some of the items in there look pretty good. Here's a sample:
Wilf Carter's Crisp Corn Flap Jacks
1 1/3 cups white corn meal
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter
2 cups buttermilk
In a bowl, mix corn meal, salt, baking soda and flour. Cut into this, with a pastry blender (?!?), the butter and beat in buttermilk and eggs. Stir this occasionally, but don't overbeat. Cook on a very hot griddle (a drop of water should bounce and splutter). Spoon the batter on to the griddle and cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn only once. Serve hot with maple syrup.
Now if Wilf Carter's Flap Jacks don't sound down-home good enough, the fact the word "splutter" is part of the recipe has to make this one of the best Flap Jack recipes ever! Just saying the name "Flap Jack" fills me with a wholesome warmness that's practically immoral in it's deliciousness. I don't remember ever having seen this particular episode, but I'm sure Wilf (with his Col. Saunders down-south long-ended bow tie and big white hat) and Bruno Gerussi (with his glass of wine and abundant chest hairs) must have been a magnificant culinary combination.
If you try this recipe, please reply to this blog! I'm sure Wilf won't let you down.