Yeah, that’s the title, Caramel Knowledge. Published in 1988, it’s a little newer (28 years ago?) a book than I like to collect but as we all know, I’m a sucker for a catchy title. Author Al Sicherman was a long time Food Writer/Food Editor for the Minneapolis Star & Tribune and this book pulls from his work on the newspaper.
I’ve got a collection of old food section cutouts, mostly saved from my dad, and I can tell you from experience that the recipes in this book are from the heyday of food sections. You see, children, in them olden daze we didn’t have no new-fangled corn-pewters, or the world-wide-webernet to read about food or recipes or cooking. We had the food section of the newspaper. It WAS our internet.
Today the food section is a tiny vestigial part of the already diminished entity we know as a newspaper, but in the 60s/70s/80s, it was a big deal. You looked forward to the food section, especially as holidays like Thanksgiving approached. It was a selling point of subscriptions, it was informative, entertaining, and, as we see from Sicherman’s work here, a lot of fun. This is not just a cookbook, it is a collection of the accompanying articles and it is a fun read.
He’s got standards, like Impossible Pumpkin Pie and Sauerkraut Fudge Cake, but he’s also got a lot of fun and interesting recipes highlighted in this book, like Choclava, Bostess Bupcakes, Herring in a Cloud, Chuck & Chick, Orange You Glad We Have Turkey?, and Mockaguole. I often take pictures of recipes I mention but the format, embedded as part of the various articles, makes that impractical. You’ll just have to take my word for it.
I wish I could have experienced the world of Al in his heyday but I found him on Facebook, I think I might drop him a message. Fun, fun stuff.