Culinary Glory During a Recession

I was perusing our cookbooks this morning hoping for some culinary inspiration, when I came across this volume gathering dust at the back of the very top shelf:

Gourmet cooking on a shoestring book

Although it was published almost 40 years ago, the theme of this book is certainly relevant today. “It is true that the price of absolutely everything is on the rise...” it begins, and the author goes on to offer a host of recipes “to take the sting out of the high cost of eating while covering you with culinary glory.” Culinary glory — now that’s what I’m talking about!

Of course, we had a somewhat different definition of culinary glory back in 1970; many of the recipes from this book will probably never make it on our family’s dining table: Cheese ‘n’ Frank Casserole (enriched with cottage cheese and garlic powder…errrghh), Surprise Biscuit Roll (the surprise being ground Spam) and Hawaiian Noodle Casserole (with canned pineapple and raisins for that at-home luau vibe). But some of the recipes sound pretty good and remind me of old favorites — like Beef Stroganoff, Moussaka, and Chicken & Rice — that help stretch the budget and also taste good.

Since I can’t vouch for any of the recipes in this 1970 tome of frugal fare, let me share a special recipe from our family archives. The ingredients sound a little weird, but if you like ribs I promise that you will go crazy for these. When they are cooking, they will fill your home with the most mouth-watering aroma imaginable….and they taste even better than they smell. 

Spareribs of Culinary Glory

4 pounds pork spareribs, cut into serving pieces
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup Liquid Smoke flavoring
2/3 cup orange marmalade

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Pour the water into the bottom of a roasting pan with a perforated rack. Replace the rack and arrange the ribs on top. Brush the ribs with the Liquid Smoke flavoring on both sides. Combine the garlic powder, salt and black pepper in a small dish. Sprinkle the ribs with the seasoning mixture on both sides. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 2 hours, adding water to the pan if needed. Remove the pan from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Remove the foil and brush the ribs on one side with half the marmalade. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, turn the ribs and brush the other side with the remaining marmalade. Return to the oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. 4 servings. Enjoy!

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About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of 15 books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

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