Today’s recipe came from what is essentially an encyclopaedia of American food, USA by Sheila Lukins. Now, I’m not what rappers would call a hater normally, but this Sheila had the task of travelling around every state and eating loads of delicious American dishes. So this woman gets to eat pancakes, waffles, burgers, steaks, sandwiches, ribs, fried chicken, lobster, pies, ice cream, milkshakes…. Phew, I think you get the point. And she gets to eat this for work. Just think of that when your alarms going off tomorrow morning, and you’ll realise why it’s easy to hate on this woman. In all seriousness though, if my job was to travel, eat and then write about it I’d be pretty darn happy, so fair play to her. If it makes you feel any better, she must be either really overweight or spends a huge amount of time at the gym. Every silver lining has a cloud! I seem to have amassed quite a few cookbooks centred around the States, I just love the food I eat when on holiday over there, and there is so much variation due to the sheer size of the place. It’s wrong to pigeonhole all American food as junk, although you’d be an idiot to not realise the amount of junk food there is there. 52 states, climates ranging from tropical to the tundra, swathes of the country covered by farmland (the cynical might say to keep McDonald’s in burgers and fries) and you’ve got a country that can produce a huge and varied amount of ingredients. And all I can say about the service over there is that it puts the UK’s service industry to shame.
I sadly don’t have the budget for a trip around America to satisfy my hungry palette, so cooking from this book will have to suffice until I have made my millions. I had really wanted to cook the recipe Apple Puff Pancakes from USA this morning to aid my hangover recovery, but soon found I didn’t have any ground cinnamon, and if I can’t do it right then I won’t do it. So I had to make do with regular pancakes smothered in syrup, poor me. In the end I made myself dinner with the recipe Beaufort Shrimp Burgers, which the author first tasted in South Carolina, which is supposed to be a beautiful part of the country, lucky cow. The recipe was intended for 6 people so I tried to round it down as best as I could to make enough for 2, which I couldn’t quite pull off. Miscalculated how much mayo to add to the chunks of prawn so I ended up with burgers that were a little too runny and couldn’t quite hold their shape in the frying pan (or skillet as the Americans call it, which I think is a much better word if you happen to sing made up ditties while cooking. Not that I do,cough). Not that this mattered too much, the burgers tasted good and because it was made up of shellfish and not minced beef it didn’t feel heavy, greasy or unhealthy. The recipe advises spreading the rolls with tartare sauce which I did but I felt this overpowered the delicate taste of prawns, as without the sauce the burger tasted a lot more fresh and vibrant. Its definitely not your run of the mill burger, but sometimes it’s nice to make a change and try something different. Would I make it again? Not sure, it’s nothing spectacular, and while it’s nice to have a change, no burger can ever top the mighty beef. Not bad for the first recipe I’ve cooked from this book. The book is over 600 pages long, so plenty more recipes for me to sink my teeth into, both figuratively and literally. Bring it on!