Cookbook Spotlight: Best of Bridge

I have heard of cookbook addicts who have a problem - that is people who constantly buy cookbooks and never use them. These individuals seem to get fed up with themselves and say things like "I am going to cook my way through that entire cookbook all in subsequent days". Who have you ever known (besides Julie Powell) who has actually done that? My approach is more balanced. I don't buy a crazy amount of them, and what I do have I actually use. We keep them on a shelf in the dining room so we can never forget which ones we have.

Also, sometimes if I have nothing to do for an evening I might browse through one I had never looked at very closely before. You can always revisit them, and some times we go through phases where we revisit cookbooks we've had for a long time. This browsing through them turns out to be useful when one random night you really wish you knew what to do with some leftover chicken, and you remember some interesting quesadilla recipe you read from Bobby Flay on a random Friday night two months ago.

So recently we some leftover low fat sour cream, and I was worried we wouldn't use it before it expired. I remembered some jalapeno-cheddar corn muffins I made from the Best of Bridge cookbook, and I made them and froze them. This morning I didn't have anything for breakfast. I grabbed a couple of those, defrosted them in the microwave, finished them in the toaster oven, and it was fabulous. I actually have two of this series. I have this one and this one.

It made me remember how much I used to enjoy those books. I first encountered them on my first visit to Calgary (where my husband is from) in 2008. We were at the Costco and it looked interesting. Now looking at their web page I see how many author signings they have at the Calgary Costco, and it all comes full circle. These women seem to be very popular in Canada.

I like these cookbooks because they are simple. When I was just learning how to cook they were ideal for me, but the thing is the recipes are actually tasty too. I started out with the carrot ginger soup and the hamburger soup when I still lived alone (before I had a camera, unfortunately). My friend once said when she was growing up "We were so poor we ate hamburger soup!". Scott said to her "But it is actually good too!" Their recipe has barley in it, and it is super cheap but also filling and tasty. I realize now how much I was cooking with this book when I went home for the holidays with my sister. Here we made a spinach and gruyère strata. It was ideal for Christmas morning because it gets assembled the night before and just gets put into the oven to bake shortly before serving.

Here's the corn muffins I made again recently (photos are from 2009):

I also made the gingerbread cake from this book for Christmas in 2009.

Depending on your sense of humor you may find their jokes scattered throughout the book funny or silly. I will absolutely endorse their breakfast recipes though, especially for the holidays. I think my sister and I also tried the Huevos Racheros and Eggs Olé. There are lots of breakfast casserole dishes which is great if you have a lot of people to serve (no waiting for the waffle maker). I also really recommend the soups, especially if you haven't been cooking for very long. I also recommend organizing things like we do and keeping the cookbooks near the dining room so you are reminded to revisit cookbooks you liked every so often for years to come.

Here's everyone enjoying our breakfast strata on Christmas morning:


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