Finding some real food in community efforts


Groups' cookbooks jammed with dishes people like to eat


April 02, 2003|By Sara Engram | Sara Engram,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Juxtapose a fancy coffee-table cookbook and a self-published collection from some local organization, and there's no question where you'll find the real food.

Community cookbooks usually have their share of recipes you'll want to shy away from because of inexact amounts of ingredients and imprecise directions, but they're also likely to be chock-full of dishes you'll want to prepare again and again.

For endearing comfort food and a glimpse at how real people really eat, it's worth searching out a community cookbook. Here are three recent ones from the Baltimore area:

Honey Hens and Hankerings: The House of Harbel Cookbook is available for $10 from HARBEL Community Organization, 5807 Harford Road, Baltimore, Md. 21214. It may be most notable for containing four crab-cake recipes -- one each from Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, former Gov. Parris N. Glendening and Frances Glendening, former wife of the former governor.

There's also a crab casserole from City Council President Sheila Dixon, as well as Dan's Chicken Polenta from The Sun's Dan Rodricks. And don't overlook Dan's Healthy Sandwich, instructions for a tuna-fish treat enlivened by Old Bay seasoning and a slice of cheese -- just the way Danny Price likes it. He's Harbel's United Parcel Service man.

Home Cooking: Recipes of the Employees and Friends of the Enterprise Family sells for $18 and is available online at

With nearly 300 recipes, this collection from the Enterprise Foundation features recipes from India, Africa, China, Ireland and the West Indies, along with such home-grown favorites as mock terrapin (caution: the stand-in for terrapin is muskrat), oyster stew and, of course, crab cakes -- all favorites of the late Jim Rouse, co-founder of the organization.

Tasty Memories: A Collection of Recipes From Roland Park Place (Morris Press Cookbooks, 2002, $12) is another attractive book with such tempting offerings as Fruited Pot Roast, enlivened with onions, carrots, red wine, tomato juice and dried fruit; Jeweled Rice, a Mideastern version of chicken and rice; and, for old time's sake, Hutzler's Cheese Bread. These slender volumes and countless others like them will stir your memory and maybe even inspire you to try a dish or two.

Hutzler's Cheese Bread

Makes 4 loaves

1 package yeast

1 cup lukewarm water

9 1/2 cups bread flour

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup sugar

13 1/2 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese

2 1/2 tablespoons butter

2 1/2 tablespoons margarine

2 cups milk

Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. Combine 9 1/2 cups bread flour, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 cup sugar and 13 1/2 ounces grated cheese. Melt butter and margarine, add to milk, then combine all ingredients. Knead, let rise 2 hours. Divide into 4 parts. Place in four greased 4-inch-by-8-inch loaf pans and let rise. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour.

-- Barbara Mosberg in "Tasty Memories: A Collection of Recipes From Roland Park Place" (Morris Press Cookbooks, 2002, $12)

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