Like beautiful paintings, a few nostalgic stories, and a lot of old fashioned recipes with proceeds from all sales going to benefit a children’s hospital? Then this book is for you. Tastes, Tales and Traditions presented by the Palo Alto Auxiliary For Children benefiting Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital is a wonderfully original and beautiful cookbook that. I picked up when visiting the Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden in Palo Alto, California. for their Spring Garden Tour. Folks, this is one outstanding cookbook.
The book was at the garden’s vintage garage sale where gently used housewares, garden accessories, books and baskets were up for sale with all proceeds benefiting the Gamble garden. This book was piled up along with a bunch of other gardening and home decor books, and what drew me to this book was the lovely watercolor on the cover! The beautiful watercolor is what got my attention and I didn’t even care to know what the book was about. I just bought the book without really perusing through it.
I assumed the book would be a narrative on how to entertain the old fashioned way, but when I got around to actually perusing through it I was thrilled to see that it was a cookbook!
Tastes, Tales and Traditions is a collection of recipes published by the Palo Alto Auxiliary for Children Restaurant, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing financial help for children in need of medical care at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.
The Palo Alto Auxiliary’s mission is two-fold – to operate an all-volunteer Arts Guild Restaurant with all proceeds going towards medical care for children, and secondly to provide financial help for parents who cannot afford medical care at the Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital.
Here is a look at a few of the watercolors and recipes in this outstanding cookbook.
The standout presentation in this cookbook is what makes it so special. Gorgeous watercolors of the Spanish Mission style building and garden that houses the Auxiliary are noteworthy in this book. These beautiful, soothing, and cheerful paintings are sprinkled throughout the book giving readers a welcome dose of lovely art.
Another great feature in this cookbook are the little vignettes that partake of useful kitchen tips and tricks, entertaining stories about the cafe’s guests, along with a peek at some old fashioned traditions that have been part of the Auxiliary for decades. These stories are engaging, funny, and in some cases showcase the cultural nuances of decades past. For example, this little vignette titled The Ballet of the Hats reminded me of my lady friends who host a tea party every Spring complete with hats required, very similar to the olden days of the Auxiliary Club’s fashion show 👒👒👒.
For a someone like me who loves anything with pretty flowers, I love the little paintings of flowers at the top of every recipe page. This little feature adds to the charm of this cookbook and gives it that extra touch of old-fashioned appeal.
Surprisingly I would say a majority of the recipes in the book are vegetarian and very easy to make with ingredients that are readily available at any of our local grocery stores. With over 100 recipes, this is a treasure trove of tried and true dishes that have been made and served at the cafe for over seventy years.
With recipes like potato and green chili chowder, miniature herb biscuits, corn stuffed tomatoes, orange pecan scones, ribbon tea sandwiches, stuffed bread, old world moussaka, and so on, this is an old fashioned cookbook with an updated twist. Seriously folks, how can one resist making such tempting dishes like Santa Fe pumpkin soup, or caraway quiche, tomato chili cheese quiche, or salad with paprika salad dressing?
The book is categorized into eight chapters. Each chapter is extensive with twenty, some even have thirty-five recipes featured in each section!
- Teatime Favorites
- Breads, Spreads & Dips
- Soothing Soups
- Specialty Salads
- Vegetable Variations
- Exemplary Extras
- Encore Entrees
- Sweet Sensations
The book also includes restaurant style menu suggestions for special occasions such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and holiday celebrations. These menus give us ideas for what we can make at our own albeit more modest soirees.
If you are looking for a cookbook with loads of old fashioned recipes mixed in with an international twist; Tastes, Tales and Traditions will not disappoint. An added bonus is the beautiful collection of paintings and nostalgic stories that are scattered throughout the book. Another great reason to get this book is that 100% of proceeds go towards medical care for children at the Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, California.
Tastes, Tales and Traditions presented by the Palo Alto Auxiliary For Children benefiting Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital can be purchased at the Palo Alto Auxiliary web site.