It’s 1974 in Gourmetland, and the gang’s all here. In this issue, you’ll find a dispatch from Paris. Write-ups of the hottest new bistros in New York. A spooky truffle hunting tale from the forests of Lyon. Notice a theme? In the 1970s, Gourmet was very focused on France.
So when I got to Madhur Jaffrey’s piece about her childhood, An Indian Reminiscence, the words almost jumped off of the page. Jaffrey spins tales of warm pooris, cardamom-almond balls covered in thin silver leaf, and chusnis, small sucking mangoes. Here’s my favorite part:
What a wonderful recipe! More practical, maybe, are these pooris. This might be the most irresistible fried bread recipe I’ve ever seen:
A few weeks ago I put up an ad from a vintageGourmet, touting a book of buckwheat recipes from the ancient Birkett mill. The mill, established in 1798, continues to grind today, and it is still putting out Wolff’s buckwheat flour. I was unable to locate a copy of the book, but today a copy arrived in the mail. A friend had found one.
This is the 9th edition, published in 1951.
A short note on buckwheat: it is entirely gluten-free, botanically unrelated to wheat. (Its closest relative is rhubarb.) Here, without further ado, is a recipe that might appeal to those who eschew gluten.
That’s the takeaway from a new scientific report that eating spicy food reduces your risk of death by ten percent. If you’re a hot food fan – and that includes just about everyone I know – this is great news.
But it turns out that Gourmet got there first. Trolling through a vintage issue of the magazine, I came upon this article on chili peppers – an upbeat users manual – in a thirty-one year old issue (June 1984).
Carolyn Dille and Susan Belsinger walk us through a market in Guadalajara, describing the different notes of each pepper they come across. It’s totally instructional. Better yet, they offer this very appealing recipe for a corn and chili pepper soufflé.
The authors throw in a well-meaning (if patronizing) note of caution. Their disclaimer:
“Some cautionary notes are in order for novice chili pepper consumers. In cultures where large amounts are eaten, people develop a tolerance for their pungency. The best way to achieve this tolerance is to begin by eating small amounts frequently. If you are not accustomed to eating hot peppers, consuming a large amount at one time can cause a great deal of unpleasantness.”