Mushroom cooking, 96pp.
by Garibaldi M Lapolla
André Deutsch Ltd, London, 1954
Cooking on page 32
I love mushrooms and have cooked out of this book many times over the years. I bought it secondhand for $4 in Canberra, not long after moving to Australia in the early 1980s.
Garibaldi Lapolla, a Brooklyn school teacher who also did cookery demonstrations on television back then, wrote the book, but I think the publisher and editor were the more interesting people behind its creation.
André Deutsch was born in Budapest in 1917 and became one of a group of central European émigrés who played an important role in expanding Britain’s publishing industry from the 1950s. Deutsch started his publishing house in 1952. Within two years, he had released 12 cookery books, with cooking goddess, Elizabeth David, as the primary editor.
Over the years, Deutsch, who died in 2000, also published work by some of the most important names in post-war fiction, including John Updike, V.S. Naipaul, Philip Roth and Norman Mailer.
I’ve been lucky enough to read all of those authors, but today we go to one of Deutsch’s cookbooks.
Mushroom and oil sauce
The introduction says the recipe makes enough sauce to pour over 1 1/2 pounds of cooked spaghetti or other pasta, which will serve 6.
1 cup of olive oil or butter, melted
1 lb of mushrooms, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper
In a deep saucepan, heat oil slowly. Then add mushrooms and garlic and brown for 5 minutes. Season. Lower flame and simmer for 10 minutes. Sauce is now ready for the pasta.
How it played out
Not a recipe that reflects modern thinking. Who would use a cup of olive oil or butter in a pasta sauce? Good grief, the calorie count is 1910 for oil and 1627 for butter.
Trying to be kind to my waistline, I went for the lower-cal option of butter. Okay, pick yourself up off the floor. I used just over half a cup, so got the calorie count down to about 900, which meant not such a horrific amount when spread over enough cooked fettucini for six.
Also sprinkled it all with a good amount of chives that needed to be used up. Perfect addition.
But one thing puzzled me. Why did Lapolla name it a mushroom and oil sauce, when butter was a great option. It would have made more sense to call it mushroom sauce.
Well, of course it was delicious—what recipe doesn’t benefit from an overwhelming whack of butter? But it’s so fattening that I won’t repeat it often. But hey, it’s Christmas, so go for it. You’ll love it. We did.
P.S. And be sure to check out my travel blog.