"Silver Palate" and "New Basics": Dated? or Worth Keeping?
A friend who is moving abroad gave me a pile of cookbooks (lucky me!) and among them were The New Basics and The Silver Palate cookbooks. I know these books were very popular some time ago (10 years? 15 years?) but to me, upon flipping through them, they seem dated. Am I just being thrown off by the cheesy graphics? Are these books worth keeping? If so, any particular recipes you'd recommend?
I actually use both of mine. Only made one recipe with one of their products - some vile chicken dish. One of my favorite cookbooks is actually my BH&G "New Cook Book", with the gold cover, from 1965. I use all 3 for basics.
Silver Palate is a classic that is enjoying something of a revival and a new printing. Their Mango Chutney and Chicken Marbella (among others) are permanently in my favorites.
These books fall into a category I call flavor-based books. You really don't need to have much cooking expertise because the recipes rely on a combination of interesting on-the-bold-side flavors and very little on technique-based qualities like texture or subtle hints of flavor. At least that has been my experience with the Silver Palate books.
That said, I think all books are solid for those kinds of recipes. I particularly like the Full Of Beans Soup, Gingerbread, Chocolate Raspberry Cake a la Simca (sp?), and the vegetable lasagna (really really good). A friend was just telling me that her favorites from the New Basics are the corn cloudcakes and the Sticky Buns.
I'd keep 'em for sure.
I use the gravlax recipe in New Basics, and do refer to it from time to time - don't have the other one.
I've made Chicken Marbella and Berta's Chopped Liver more times than I can count. I like looking thru their cookbooks, they are well written and have lots of little tips and ideas.