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April 16, 2024

Cookbooks: Inspiring Culinary Journeys

Category: Culinary

Author: Trisha Ton, Culinary Director

For numerous chefs, there exists a pivotal cookbook that served as the catalyst for their culinary journey. This single book ignited an idea, unlocking a passion for cooking they may not have realized they possessed. Cookbooks transcend mere collections of recipes; they serve as windows into cultures, histories, and personal narratives. With each page turn, a new adventure, tradition, or innovative technique unfolds.

Every recipe and cookbook, whether passed down through generations or reimagined, enriches our culinary culture at The Wildwood Senior Living. Exploring culinary resources nurtures and evolves our love for food and cooking.

Appetizing meal with shrimp, rice, tomatoes, and broccoli served on a plate.

I have amassed over 100 books in my current cookbook collection, including my father’s collection. Among all these books, my favorite is titled Ratio by Michael Ruhlman. What I appreciate most about this cookbook is how Michael breaks down the basics into ratios, allowing for personalized recipes.

To captivate my interest, a cookbook must introduce me to new flavor combinations or components.

One of the recipes passed down to me is my great-grandpa’s venison jerky. My father retrieved this recipe from him, and it has become a family tradition after cleaning the deer. Additionally, one of my favorite recipes that I developed is the Raginredhead dressing and sauce. I use it for a strawberry feta salad or a strawberry chicken dish.

This recipe holds a special place among my favorite dishes.

Five Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

  • Get water on for macaroni
  • Sauté to a sweat – 3 C. diced onions, 2 C. diced celery, 3 Tbs. garlic – fresh  
  • Sauté in ½ C. bacon grease 
  • Pinch red pepper 
  • 1 ½ tbs. parsley 
  • Sprinkle of lemon pepper 
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg, 2 tbs. celery salt 
  • 1 tsp. Cajun seasoning 
  • 1 tbs. paprika 
  • Minced fresh dill and parsley
  • ½ C. flour 
  • ½ C. white cooking wine 
  • 4 qt. water – mix slow 
  • 1/3 C. chicken base 
  • 2 bay leaves, 1 qt. heavy cream, 2 C. water 
  • Bring to a slow boil then turn down to simmer
  • Add cheeses
    • 2 lb. American cheese 
    • ½ lb. shredded cheddar blend  
    • ½ lb. smoked cheddar  
    • ½ lb. Swiss cheese 
  • Simmer until cheese is melted
  • Stir 
  • Pour liberally over pasta
  • Cover with shredded cheese and breadcrumbs
  • Cover with foil and bake 20 to 30 minutes
Indulge in a cheesy delight! This metal pan holds a scrumptious mac and cheese dish, made with five different cheeses.

Generational recipes or new culinary creations can spark nostalgia and inspire our cooking journey. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a home cook, we all have that one foolproof recipe. Don’t overlook the power of beloved cookbooks and their stories. Keep sharing and savoring the diverse flavors that await us.

The Wildwood Senior Living in Joplin, MO offers independent senior apartments, assisted living, and memory care with a variety of services and a range of floor plan options. Amenities include restaurant dining, 24-hour bistro, concierge service, housekeeping, events and entertainment, personal care, transportation services, and more. Centrally located near Freeman Health System and Mercy Hospital with convenient access to major shopping centers and attractions, including Twin Hills Country Club, Northpark Mall, Grand Falls, Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center – National Audubon Society, Spiva Center for the Arts, and George Washington Carver National Monument.

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