The first cookbook I cooked from when I was a child was Betty Crocker’s New Good and Easy Cook Book. That’s not entirely true, of course, because I used to help my mother with recipes before I started to cook on my own. She had (and still has) a black-bound spiral notebook of her mother’s recipes, a number of different cookbooks on the shelf and a head full of recipes that she never wrote down. When I was ready to start making things on my own, though, I chose the Betty Crocker. I was mostly interested in baking and there were plenty of simple recipes to work my way through. My first brownies (regular and golden), snickerdoodles, Nanaimo bars and chocolate crinkles were made with recipes from this book. I delved into cakes and quick breads, too, eschewing the recipes that used boxed mixes, but embracing the Bisquick ones.
This week’s French Fridays recipe reminds me of the simplicity of the recipes I made when I was a kid, but with a sophisticated twist. The Gruyère alone makes this bread stand head and shoulders above the cheese bread I made with generic cheddar back then. Still, it’s a recipe that a child could make, once they’re ready to start baking on their own. That’s what I love about quick breads; they’re simple to make, with lovely results. When I made one loaf gluten-free, I didn’t even have to worry about over-mixing the dry ingredients, as it’s gluten that can make quick breads tough.
I’ve actually made this recipe twice. The first time, back in October when I first got Around My French Table, I made it with standard flour and a sharp, good cheddar cheese. I was at my parents’ house and baked it for them to use for lunches. I didn’t have the opportunity to taste it, but I heard that everyone enjoyed it. This week, I made it with a gluten-free all purpose flour and used Gruyère. I also added some tiny cubes of red pepper along with the chives. (Before I added the peppers to the mixture, I dried them out a little in a skillet over low heat on the stovetop.) Gluten-free breads can often have a very dry and crumbly texture, but not so for this bread. Though it was a little denser than the standard flour version, it was very moist and not at all gritty. I think this would be a good recipe to use a g-f flour mix that has teff in it, which might make the texture a little closer to the standard flour version. I’m also looking forward to trying some of Dorie’s bonnes idées for this recipe – it lends itself to a lot of variation.
Since there’s only two of us and because gluten-free bread doesn’t have a very long shelf life, I think I’m going to use the rest of the loaf to make a savoury bread pudding. There are some great ideas here.
I’m going to leave you with a shot of one of my favourite pages from my Betty Crocker cookbook. (I found two copies at a library book sale years ago, bought them both and gave one to my sister.) It shows lunch suggestions for various family members and it reminds me that we live in a very different era from the one in which that book was created. Thank goodness we have Dorie to update home cookery for us today.
You can find many other blogged descriptions of this week’s FFWD recipe here: Savoury Cheese and Chive Bread
42 thoughts on “FFWD – Savoury Cheese and Chive Bread”
Excellent post! First of all, that bread looks so scrumptious. I wish I could eat that. Lovely photos, as always. I love reading about how you change a recipe by substituting different ingredients. As one who is no good at following recipes, I enjoy learning about the process — you describe it in a way that makes cooking/baking seem less daunting than it might otherwise. And good commentary on the old cookbooks. That’s where so many people of our generation started with learning to cook. I like it when people remember that rather than throwing away their history.
Thanks, Tricia! I love the cultural history that old cookbooks provide. There are recipes in there that I wouldn’t consider making, but it’s fascinating to see how people approached food at different times and what assumptions and ideas are imbedded in their views.
I bet it was so good with the Gruyere. I’ll have to try that next time. Love your photos and Betty’s book. I have that one also!
Thanks, Elaine. Now I’m curious to know which are your favourite recipes from Betty’s book. I find the snickerdoodles and chocolate crinkles are always a hit at meetings. I’ve often baked a batch of each and put them in a basket. They look great and there are never any leftovers.
My mother swears by Betty’s scalloped potatoes recipe, and I know that she knows best! Your loaf looks super delicious 😉
Those old cookbooks are great – fun to see how our meals have changed over the years (and definitely for the better – this “Business Girl” would never bring hot bouillon to the office. Bouillon? Really?) Also good to hear that a gluten-free version is not dry and crumbly! Well done!
Thanks, Karen! The Business Girl lunch menu never fails to make me laugh, especially when you contrast it with the Man’s Stick-to-the-Ribs menu.
Omg, I want your old cookbooks! “Box lunch for a business girl.” Amazing. I like that you added the red pepper for color.
I always keep an eye out for them at library sales and garage sales. This one is my favourite, though, it’s a reprint of a 1962 edition and the photos, graphics and type evoke that era perfectly!
Ilove the old fashioned cookbook! Your bread looks good! I love all the colorful goodies!!
Thanks, Michelle! The red pepper especially gave it some nice colour.
Don’t you love those old cook books that had recipes which started off with boxes of mixes? lol. My mom gave me Joy of Cooking when I was 18 and moved out of the house. lol. My other friend’s moms were always bringing them dinners wrapped up and mine knew I wanted to make ’em myself and gave me cookbooks.
I’d probably frame that page it is so enjoyable! Thanks for sharing it.
That’s a wonderful gift. My parents gave me a very good set of pots and pans (which I still have) when I moved out of the house for University. My friends thought I was crazy for wanting them, but they all enjoyed the meals I cooked for them.
I’ve thought about making a colour photocopy and hanging it in the kitchen, but Kevin thinks it’s too sexist!
Our family cookbook was the American Woman’s Cookbook. Not only sexist you can learn how to cook squirrel. I luckily found one in a 2nd hand book store as my parents won’t give up theirs. We absolutely adore it too!
Your bread looks amazing!
That sounds great! I love looking in second hand shops for books – you can find amazing ones. I found a copy of the Tassajara Bread Book years ago and learned so much. My Dad has a back-to-the land guide that I covet – it tells you how to do everything to be completely self-sufficient (provided you have some land, that is). I’ve been watching out for it for a while now.
I just love looking through old cookbooks to see how things have changed (and sometimes how they haven’t!) – your bread looks great! I agree too that I can’t wait to try some of the other variations.
Thanks, Katrina! What amazes me about many of the mid-Century cookbooks I’ve seen is how so many of those recipes are being revived – ingredients, too.
Oh, I totally related to your story of your baking with your mom! I, too, had a mother who sometimes wrote recipes down, and most of the time did NOT! Your bread looks delish and moist–GREAT idea for a bread pudding. Yum!
I keep bugging her to write them down. I bought her a notebook, wow, 20 years ago now and will pull it out once in a while when I’m visiting to get her to add more. I think it will mean a lot to my nephews and nieces especially. My brother is a chef, so he has a different approach. He works out recipes based on hers and he is really good at getting it right. Of course, he doesn’t write them down, either. He’s chef at an Irish-themed restaurant and has a couple of these adapted recipes on the menu. My sister’s complained (jokingly) that there’s no point in eating at his restaurant, because she can get the same thing for free at our parents’ house.
I love those old cookbooks. The Runner Girl & her Grandpa Rocky (my dad) made brownies out of my mom’s circa 1950 cookbook last week – it didn’t give the best measurements, so they ended up putting too much unsweetened chocolate in. Epic food fail, but my girl sure got a kick out of using the old cookbook.
I inherited my grandmother’s scribbled recipes and have been trying to decode them so that the rest of the family can have them – not simple, but it is such a treat to have that little piece of her all to myself now that she’s gone.
Thanks for the walk down memory lane.
That sounds like it was a lot of fun for them, even if it didn’t work out. Some of those old recipes can be challenging, as they’re based on cooking by ratio and through experience. Have you seen the posts for the Gluten-Free Ratio Rally? It’s a really interesting process they’re all going through and it seems to be bringing people back to this older style of baking.
Your bread looks amazing! Love the photos from the Betty book, too. 🙂
I loved this post!!! I am an appreciator of old cookbooks, and find your story and photos so charming!!
Also, great information on the gluten-free version. I have a good friend that I often find myself cooking for, so that was terrific advice. Did you add anything additional, or just the GF flour? Thanks for the tips!!
Thanks, Candy! I love old cookbooks. Their baked goods are usually stellar and as Tricia said at the top of the comments, they provide a cultural history, too.
I added about a teaspoon of xantham gum and didn’t need to vary the quantity of the flour at all. The flour mix I generally use (when I’m not experimenting) is one I get from our local food co-op that uses brown rice flour, white rice flour, potato starch and tapioca flour.
Enjoyed your post. Cooking with my mom is one of my earliest and best memories. The red pepper in the bread is an excellent addition.
I enjoyed this too. I like your addition of red pepper to add colour and flavour.
@Lola – I still cook with my mom on occasion, along with my nieces. It’s a great inter-generational bonding activity. Cooking together makes wonderful memories and it creates a sense of connectedness to generations sometimes far in the past.
@Cakelaw – thanks! I’m glad I used the pepper, drying it out meant it didn’t affect the texture and I think it intensified the flavour a little, too.
I love your story about your first cookbook. Mine was Betty Crocker too, but it was the Cooky Book. I still have it and use it.
I love the color the red pepper adds to your loaf of bread.
I love seeing your Betty Crocker cookbook. It looks so familiar, I wonder if one of those copies was in my house too! Great job on the bread. I enjoyed making this and am already wondering what I will add next time I make it.
You probably did have one!
I love recipes like this, great springboards for creativity and thrifty use of pantry items.
Adored your post ! Nana and I each enjoyed this week’s recipe as well ( a quick cheese bread had virtually no chance of failure 🙂 I especially loved your cookbook theme. I recently rec’d Julia Childs as a birthday gift from a friend and Nana surprised me by giving me her beautifully well worn copy of the same book. It is priceless for me to have both and I will share a shot next week !
I enjoyed reading your post. Your bread looks good with the green and orange specks. 🙂
@Betsy – I bet the recipes in that cookbook are great!
@Tricia – That’s wonderful that you have both copies. I love how much meaning books can carry, both on the page and as artifacts.
@Ker-Ying – Thanks!
I loved my mom’s and grandmother’s cookbooks! But the recipes were not recipes, they were more reminders, aimed at the experienced cooks who did not need additional information. It used to drive me crazy!
Red peppers would have been a great addition in my bread – they look great in yours:)
Thanks, Lana. I love seeing people’s cooking shorthand, but don’t love trying to figure it out! I recommend the red peppers, they were a nice addition.
Enjoyed your post! I have so many old cookbooks, that I’ve inherited and collected through the years. I really enjoy browsing through those books. Your bread looks great and the idea of a savory bread pudding sounds interesting! You’ll have to let us know how it came out.
The red pepper bits made ur loaf look great 🙂
Love those old betty crocker books. I love all the home keeping notes, like the photo above, the photos, the styling. A different era indeed,
@Kathy – I have a few old cookbooks, too, and I love looking through my mother’s books, as well.
@Chefpandita – Thanks, it added a nice flavour, too.
@Peaseporridgepdx – It’s true – some of the advice is almost shocking, it’s so out-of-date.
Savory bread pudding sounds great! Love the Betty Crocker shots. Definitely a different time.