Friday, July 6, 2012

Another Indigenous Upstate NY Cookbook: "Applehood & Motherpie"

I have a thing for Upstate NY-centric cookbooks. So far I have two. If you will remember I posted about "The Albany Collection" some time ago (it was fairly strange and wonderful). Now I have obtained a copy of "Applehood & Motherpie" which is a collection of "handpicked recipes from Upstate New York" and was published by the Junior League of Rochester in 1981.

I immediately began to inspect every aspect of this tome with great interest. First of all I find the title extremely upsetting. "Motherpie?" Really?... I am not going to explore my feelings and suppositions concerning this term but needless to say, it makes me feel creepy.

A surprisingly ingenious feature of this book (binder) is that the cover sort of folds down to become a nifty little stand.

Here is the rearview. I was pretty excited about this feature and dragged the wife into the kitchen to marvel at it. For some reason, she was not as impressed as me. She tries not to encourage my strange fancies.

Here is something I should have known but never did from the book's introduction. New York is the country's largest producer of cabbage. You learn something new everyday.

I began to believe that "Applehood and Motherpie" may be controlled by some powerful Rochester cabbage cartel. Look at the middle names of the Recipe Chairman and Editor. Kapusta is a Slavic word for cabbage, and Kole (kohl is a German one. A hidden message?

Anyhow, as is always the case with these sorts of books they don't really highlight truly indigenous recipes of the region. In "Applehood and Motherpie" we have more of a collection of old family standbys and you kind of have to dig through this volume for the gems. If for nothing else I enjoyed reading these recipes for the terse little descriptions they include. Look at the one for the 3 ingredient "Pepperoni Dip."

"Men especially like this."
There were a couple of good ol' timey sausage making tips hidden within a couple of recipes. I already spoke about how I gleaned some good tips from this summer sausage recipe (kneading meat for 3 days, only cooking to 140).

Also, this is kind of a neat recipe for a stripped down Polish sausage. It as an all pork affair flavored with only garlic and pepper. The part I liked about the recipe is how it includes instructions on how to stuff the casings with a "sawed off top of an old beverage bottle." This seems a pretty good solution in the absence of a purpose build sausage stuffer. I always appreciate these pearls of wisdom from the Grandmas.

I think I am going to prepare the following recipe with some Genny. Possibly Genny Cream Ale, but I don't know if I can live at that speed. Hopefully this addition will not incite a thunderous bout of the Genny Screamers.

The strangest recipe I found so far is for "people seed." It is a mixture of seeds, nuts, popcorn, dried fruit, chinese noodles, chocolate chips, and pretzels. Why is it called "people seed?" Why?

Anyhow, I will keep digging through the book to see if there is any further wisdom buried among the pages. I will let you know if I find anything.


  1. It's 'people seed' because it's a cutesy play on bird seed.

    (And I must say welcome back, sir. You've been missed.)

    1. Ahh, that is kind of what I thought. But I kept thinking "chicken feed." I was like, "it would make sense if it was People Feed." Anyhow, thanks.

  2. Glad to see you back, Mr. Dave.

    If you want to add to your list of upstate cookbooks, you might consider this one --

    1. Ordered! Got a used one for like 5 bucks. Thanks for the recommendation.

    2. Oh, good! Hope you find a few good nuggets in there.

      Btw, "Applehood and Motherpie" was in my house when I was growing up, and the very first adult dinner recipe that I ever attempted making unassisted (around age 10) was "Bahamian Chicken Breasts" from its green-encased pages. Basically lime juice and chicken, as I remember. Not exactly native-upstate fare, but I was thrilled with the exotic (for me, at the time) results. Thanks for the memories!

  3. Awesome book find! I also LOVE the ingeniousness of the book's design. You are not alone.

    And I second the bird seed/people seed play on words.

  4. people seed = soylent green

    Gotta love those regressive hetero-normative attitudes of the early 80s

  5. i... have this book already. bizarre yet not unappealing.


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