Kevin L. Hoover
ARCATA – Liberal Arcatans worried about what Republicans will cook up next needn't furrow their brows in speculation any longer. All they have to do is open up the local GOP’s new cookbook, Tantalizing Cuisine.
Compiled by the Humboldt Republican Women Federated (HRWF), Tantalizing Cuisine is jam-packed with 342 recipes from 92 mostly conservative chefs along with kitchen tips, a calorie counter and even a step-by-step guide to folding your cloth napkin five different ways.
The kitchen-friendly book is bound in three-ring binder-style (and will lay flat), with tabs separating sections, all within a sepia-tone faux-leather cover.
Categories of cuisine include appetizers and beverages, soups and salads, vegetables and side dishes, desserts, miscellany and more. The most memorable dishes, though, might be on the tabbed dividers. Each features an HRWF member holding a sample of that section’s food category. Many are well-known outside Republican circles, including Sally Arnot, Cherie Arkley, Johanna Rodoni and Ronnie Pellegrini. The photos were taken by Hopkins Portraits.
The book’s cover replicates a historical photo provided by the HSU Library’s Humboldt Room.
Inexplicably (and disappointingly) not pictured is Arcata Republican Margaret Stafford. But Stafford – still a curmudgeon and proud of it, as the ’90s saying goes – is happy enough to be represented by her contributed recipes.
Those include Ann Landers’ Meat Loaf and Arcata Pioneer Katie Rice’s Cornbread. “Of all the meat loafs I’ve made, that is my favorite,” Stafford said. And the cornbread is a huge hit with her children.
The idea for Tantalizing Cuisine emerged last summer, Stafford said. “We were talking one day about what we could do as a fundraiser,” she said. “We have a lot of ladies who are really great cooks.” Soon the cookbook concept came up, and, Stafford said, “We just thought it was really a neat idea.”
That idea was brought to tasteful reality with Republican efficiency. A Cookbook Committee was formed, and meetings were exuberant and efficient. “We all work really well together,” Stafford said. “We met and tossed out ideas,” then requested recipes from the HRWF’s 264 members and were “inundated.”
The resulting compendium includes “a lot of family recipes or just favorites,” Stafford said. Her cornbread, for example, was culled from the Arcata Union newspaper.
Light on politics
Comparisons and contrasts with that other recently published cookbook and resource, Locally Delicious, are probably inevitable. But where the book by the progressive ladies known as “Heirloom Tomatoes” is well-stocked with mentally nourishing essays and information on local food and sustainable agriculture, plus recipes, the Republican Women’s tome sticks mostly to your ribs with more traditional food fare and little philosophizing.
That is, except for the inspirational quotation at the beginning by Ronald Reagan, plus a brief history of the HRWF.
“We tried not to be divisive,” Stafford said. “We wanted it to be something that the general public could enjoy.” She hasn’t yet had a look at Locally Delicious.
The book is even bipartisan – barely – with what HRWF President Colleen Hedrick calls a “token Democrat.” Cindy Watter, who at one time headed the Democratic Party in Humboldt County, is a longtime friend of Hedrick’s and readily agreed to be in the book. Her recipe for “Country Captain” chicken appears on page 63.
Said Hedrick, “Another friend of mine offered to buy the book for his wife. She is a lifelong Democrat and refused his gift. I suggested that he remind her that ‘recipes are not the least bit political.’”
Tantalizing Cuisine may be purchased from HRWF members for $15. Contact Margaret Stafford at [email protected]
Ann Landers’ Meat Loaf
2 lbs. ground beef
1 1/2 c. bread crumbs
3/4 c. ketchup
1 tsp. Accent
1/2 c. warm water
1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix
Mix thoroughly meat, eggs, crumbs, ketchup, Accent, water and soup mix. Put into loaf pan. Cover with two strips of bacon, if desired. Pour one can tomato sauce over all. Bake one hour at 350°F. Serves six. – Margaret Stafford, p. 86.
Margaret Goble’s Tuna Mold
2 pkgs. Lemon Jell-O
1 pkg. gelatin
2 c. boiling water
1 can chicken gumbo soup, condensed
1 can chicken & rice soup, condensed
2 T. lemon juice
4 T. chopped green pepper
2 T. chopped green onion
1 c. diced celery
3 c. white tuna, flaked
1 c. whipping cream
1 c. mayonnaise
Dissolve Jell-O and gelatin in boiling water. Add soups and juice. Chill until syrupy. Stir together pepper, onion, celery, tuna and whipping cream. Blend in mayonnaise. Fold into Jell-O mixture. Put in 9 x 13-inch pan or mold and refrigerate until set. – Muriel Dinsmore, p. 167