We were talking about Peg Bracken just last Saturday night. Ruth and Ralph came over for dinner and the subject of cookbooks came up. The Man of the House told them about my insane happiness whenever I found one of Peg Bracken’s cookbooks. Ralph, who just happens to be a chef, said he didn’t recognize her name. But later that evening he saw one of my copies of The I Hate to Cook Book and realized that he had two copies of it himself.
I wasn’t surprised. Peg’s recipes were always easy and good. What did surprise me was when I learned Peg passed away the twentieth of this month. She was 89.
Anyone who’s ever talked with me about cooking knows that I adored Peg. She was my cooking inspiration. Because of her I make banana jam, chicken pot pie and the notorious coca chicken. Her books are gems. If you see one at a used bookstore buy it. Don’t ask questions, don’t debate, just buy it. You’ll be glad you did.
Here’s a bit from the introduction to Peg’s The Compleat I Hate to Cook Book:
These recipes have not been tested by experts. That is why they are valuable. Experts in their sunny spotless test kitchens can make anything taste good. But even we can make these taste good.
And, if you hate to cook, expect no actual magic here, no Escoffier creations you can build in five minutes or even ten. But you might well find some recipes you’ll like “to use the word loosely” to make now and again. Perhaps you’ll even find some you will take to your heart. At the very least, you should find a hand-across-the-pantry feeling, coming right through the ink. It is always nice to know you are not alone.