“Mmmmmmm: A Feastiary” was published in 1972, and is it ever a treasure.
I was really lucky to get my hands on a real live copy of this out of print book. What a find! Her writing is so honest, sassy, sensual, funny, earthy and sophisticated, all at the same time. The recipes are practical, straightforward, un-fussy, and full of flexibility and flavor.
The first recipe I tried was Fried Rice and it wasn’t really a recipe, of course, more a formula, a how-to, as is most of the book. And the recipe was in a chapter of the book called “Fat Food for Lean Times,” full of ideas for stretching food dollars.
Here’s how she introduces Fried Rice: “Fried rice is one of my standbys. It is easy, delicious, filling and can be made with just about anything you have in the house.” And that’s exactly what I was doing in one of my “gotta use up what’s left in the fridge” modes.
Before the recipe, let me tell you how I got the book: I “borrowed” it from the school library where I was substitute teaching one day. I told the librarian how hard it was to find one of these books – last I checked on Amazon, you could get it for around $80 – and she allowed that I could keep it through the school year. (I didn’t tell her how valuable it was!) I’ve already read it several times, and now I’m really beginning to cook from it. More, soon, in an upcoming installment . . .
Now, without further ado, here’s how Ruth Reichl describes how to make Fried Rice. (One of these days, I’ll figure out how to make printable recipes; in the meantime, please muddle through with me.)
From Ruth Reichl’s “Mmmmmm . . . . A Feastiary”
- Whatever meat or fish or poultry you have leftover in the house, shredded. If you don’t have any meat, it is fine without
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 1 T vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 1 onion diced
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- Cabbage, green pepper, carrots, if you have them
- 1 scallion, sliced, if you have it
- Tomatoes, if you want
- 3 t sherry mixed with ½ cup chicken broth or water
- 4 t soy sauce mixed with ¼ t sugar and a little pepper