I consider James Beard to be one of the biggest influences in my culinary journey. He was so far ahead of his time that we still have not caught up!
He had style and flair and never left a single detail out of his descriptions and menus.
One of my very favorite books is ‘James Beards Treasury of Outdoor Cooking’
1960 by Golden Press and The Ridge Press.
In honor of this great book, I wanted to include an excerpt. The restaurant in the Adirondack Mountains that I ran with my family from 2006-2016 was called Eat’n Meet Grill and larder. It was in many ways a tribute to this great American hospitality wizard.
Transcribed from the book: The larder section 9
“Our cellar in the month of October was a picture to behold: newly smoked hams and sausages, Gravenstein apples filling the air with fragrance, root vegetables, wheels of cheese-- all these bespoke glories that would be ours in the coming winter”
A properly functioning kitchen requires a well-stocked larder, and both need planning. I will not attempt to list everything you should stock in your larder, but the following suggestions may be useful to you in implementing meals or improvising when the chicken burns. I have listed the food I like to find in my larder when I plan a meal, and I have given, in most cases, brief comments on how to use them.
Asparagus Spears: Make superb salads. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese or with bacon crumbles, they serve as a good hot vegetable.
Baked Beans: Combined with bacon, garlic, and sausages, and a touch of vinegar to drown the sweetness, they are constantly useful.
Beets: May be used wherever fresh beets are called for. Also try them with a little vinegar, onions, and sour cream, served cold.
Celery Hearts: Marinate in your favorite French dressing and serve as a salad with strips of pimiento and you will find you have a superbly good appetizer. Heated in their juices and served with hollandaise, they are excellent.
Corn: Try the whole kernel corn marinated with French dressing and served with thin-sliced onion rings.
Kidney Beans: They make good salads and hot dishes, as various recipes elsewhere indicate.
Green Beans: Try heating them with parsley, cooked bacon, a little soy sauce, and a touch of chopped garlic.
Mushrooms: Chop very fine, saute in butter, a dash of onion, and plenty of freshly ground pepper. Heap on pieces of toast for a quick snack while you wait for the steak to broil.
Peas: These have a tremendously wide range of uses. The tiny French ones, some of which are canned in this country, are considered to be the classic vegetable for formal entertaining. The big ones come in varying degrees of sweetness and may be used plain, or mashed with potatoes, or whole, mixed with rice.
Potatoes: Canned potatoes heated with some brown butter and a little curry powder are sensationally good. Or, they may be diced, marinated with a basic French dressing, combined with chopped green onions, shredded cucumber, and parsley for an unusually good salad.
Tomatoes: Solid-pack may be chopped and cooked down with butter and basil for a basic tomato sauce. Use your seasoning sense for a variety of ways to use tomatoes in sauce. Also, put solid-pack tomatoes through a blender and season well with Tabasco, Worcestershire, lemon juice, and fresh basil. Chill well for the best tomato juice you ever drank.
Tomato Puree: Many people confuse puree and paste. Puree merely means strained tomato pulp. Paste means concentrated, thick, flavored tomato meat.
Tomato Juice: There are so many different brands and grades that it behooves the good cook to taste-test several kinds before deciding on the best one for her. In making Bloody Marys you will find that if you combine a little tomato paste with tomato juice, your cocktail will not separate.
Sauerkraut: An ever-ready addition to so many , many dishes. Cook with beer, with champagne, with white wine, or wine broth. It may be combined with meats or served as a vegetable. It is also often served cooked, cooled, and mixed with a French dressing or a mayonnaise as a salad.
Wax Beans: They have a fascinating color when they are of good quality, and combined with fresh dill and a good French dressing, they make an excellent addition to any vegetable salad. Heated, with toasted almonds and plenty of butter and chopped parsley, they make a delicious dish.
Asparagus: Combine with tomato soup and cream; it is most unusual. Or serve by itself with heated cream and grated Parmesan cheese.
Borsch: Combine with sour cream, serve chilled with a hot, boiled potato.
Bouillon: This is used in sauces, as an additive to marinades, and is combined with vegetables or meat leftovers- finely chopped or blended- to make soups. Try heating it with finely chopped boiled beef, onion, and hard-boiled eggs as a garnish.
Celery Soup: Add pea soup, cream, and grated onion, and serve with chopped parsley. Celery soup with bacon and a good dash of sherry is equally good.
Chicken Gumbo: Heat according to directions and serve with a large dollop of sour cream.
Consomme: Combine with claret. Given a healthy infusion of chopped chives and slices of marrow, it is even better. Combine a can of consomme with a can of peas, add some onions and put through a blender. Heat, add a little sherry and serve with salted, whipped cream. A sensational beginning to an outdoor meal on a cool evening.
Cream of Chicken: Serve with curry and cream, and accompany with crisp, toasted noodles.
Cream of Mushroom: With chopped, hard-boiled eggs, curry and sour cream, this makes a very exciting soup.
Lobster Bisque: Add Madeira or sherry and 1 tablespoon of chopped lobster meat on top of each cup; a good soup and substantial one.
Onion-soup Mix: Chicken broth with a white wine added to it instead of water makes a truly Epicurean soup. Or, try it with beef broth instead of water and place in a casserole with grated Gruyere cheese and a jigger of port wine. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 375 F. Serve with garlicked French bread.
Pea Soup: Combine with cream, chopped fresh mint, and some chicken broth. Chill and serve with chopped parsley.
Tomato Soup: Combine tomato soup with chopped, fresh basil, chopped chives and parsley, and sour cream. Shake in a cocktail shaker with ice for a quick, easily chilled soup.
Vichyssoise: Combine frozen or fresh-cooked potato soup with cooked leeks and chicken broth put through a blender or food mill. Serve fresh or sour cream and chopped chives. Add a touch of nutmeg.
Macaroni: Try it with your favorite tomato sauce combined with garlic and tuna fish. Quick and easy and substantial.
Noodles: Excellent combined with a sauce made of curry, tomato sauce, and browned, chopped beef.
Ravioli: Should be coated, rather than drowned, with sauce. If you wish, additional sauce can be served on the side.It is also very good served with butter and cheese only.
Rice: Cooked for a few minutes in olive oil or sesame oil, and steamed over boiling water, it is extremely good.
Spaghetti: Cook the way you like it, drain, drench with butter, and garnish with grated white truffles. Elegant.
Anchovies: I always keep a half-dozen cans around. Fillets arranged on pieces of buttered toast make a superb bed for scrambled eggs. They come in handy for giving a fillip to sauces, to salads, and snacks.
Crabmeat: Add to celery soup with heavy cream and a dash of scotch whisky.
Herring: I use it out of the tin for hors d'oeuvres. I often combine it with cold veal, apples, beets, potatoes, dill, and mayonnaise to bind, for an excellent salad.
Minced Clams: Cream, blend with corn, and combine with eggs, makes a fine souffle’.
Sardines: The boneless, skinless variety from Spain or France is the best by far. With hard-boiled eggs, thinly sliced potatoes and onion rings, and romaine lettuce, sardines make a substantial salad. They are also delicious grilled or heated with a little curry. Serve on toast.
Shrimp: Canned shrimp blended with or pressed with some heavy cream and mace to a paste-like consistency, seasoned with a little chive and parsley, make a quick and delicious dip or cocktail spread.
Tuna: Flaked and placed in a pie shell with a little onion, chopped parsley, and a cream-and-egg custard mixture, it makes an extremely good hot hors d’oeuvres.
Lobster: Combine with mushroom soup, curry, and a dash of sherry.
Smoked Oysters: Try folding them into scrambled eggs or an omelet.
Beef Stew: Mix 1 can of potatoes, one can onions, 2 cans of stew, and 1 cup of red wine and you have a campers’ Beef Bourguignonne.
Corned Beef: Chopped and combined with canned potatoes, it makes a hash superior to the canned ones. Add a chopped onion, and nutmeg for flavor.
Roast Beef Hash: For an unusual casserole, combine with onion-soup mix and sour cream, and bake for 20 minutes.
Tongue: Cut in shreds, combine with sliced, canned potatoes, onion slices, and sliced canned beets; mix with French dressing or mayonnaise.
Turkey: Sliced, canned turkey placed on a bed of canned, whole-kernel corn, with a sauce of cream of mushroom soup, topped with grated Parmesan cheese, gives you a sensational main dish in a hurry. Flavor it with a little sherry.
I find the following items indispensable. Foie Gras: Always a treat for cocktails or for a snack. I keep 6 or 8 cans on hand. Green chilis: Invaluable accent for many dishes. Not available everywhere, so when I find the California chilis I prefer, I get about a dozen cans. Mole powder: Essential if you are partial to Mexican food, as I am. Also tortillas: I buy them canned and serve them steamed, as bread. Italian cannelini beans: Canned variety is available in many supermarkets, otherwise in Italian groceries. They are excellent when drained, washed, and covered with a good French dressing; mix in some chopped raw onion, a little garlic, and a generous amount of chopped parsley. Or they may be used for a bean puree with meat sauce. Or they are fine in a cassoulet.