I love old cookbooks. They hold so much potential for magic. One of the favorite cookbooks in my collection is a book I picked up in a used bookstore called Sunset Cookbook of Breads. I was quickly perusing this cookbook I remember and was slightly intrigued, when my son, strapped in a stroller, started telling me in no uncertain terms that I had spent long enough in the bookstore. Since the cookbook was only $3.50, I decided just to buy it and finish perusing it at home. Unbeknownst to me at the time of purchase, the cookbook was filled with newspaper clippings that had been pasted onto the back of the front cover and loose recipes stuck into the pages. The previous owner had found these recipes worthy to keep and had pasted or placed them in her well used and well loved cookbook. Already I knew that if she had taken the time to do that, the recipes must be good. The newspaper clipping was an old recipe for Basic White Bread that makes 6 loaves at once and has a fabulous crumb. That was the first recipe I tried from this "new" cookbook, not one that was printed in it. Another time I was reading the book thinking how nice it would be to find a cinnamon roll recipe that could be made the night before and merely placed in the oven the next morning. All of a sudden, I happened upon one of these loose recipes stuck inside the book that I hadn't noticed before, "Over Nite rolls. V. Good" it was labeled. How had I missed this recipe on previous readings? Ever since, I have re-named this cookbook the Magic Cookbook. Also ever since, whenever I am perusing cookbooks in used bookstores, I look for those with loose recipes stuck in. They tell me that the book had been loved, and that the loose recipe is probably noteworthy.
Along this same vein, my sons wanted me to make pizza this past Friday. As I was looking in my bread machine cookbook for the recipe I usually use (yes, I do cheat and use the bread machine most times....it is a relief to finally make that confession) I happened upon a loose recipe written in my own hand, Uncle Scott's Pizza. I faintly remember copying this recipe from my mother's recipe file although I didn't remember what it tasted like or even who Uncle Scott was, but, I was in the mood to try something new. It wasn't EXACTLY magic, although my husband said it tasted similar to a pizza crust made by a pizza chain from Southern California called Numero Uno that he remembers fondly from his youth. Who Uncle Scott is is still a mystery, although part of him lives on through his recipe, just as part of the woman who previously owned and loved Sunset Cookbook of Breads lives on through her recipes and magic.
Uncle Scott's Pizza by Joie de vivre
Makes 2 pizza crusts
1 c. warm water
1 Tbls. olive oil (plus more for greasing pans)
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbls. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. dry yeast
Add ingredients in the order listed to your bread machine and set to dough setting. When dough is finished, divide in two and spread each on a well greased pizza pan. Prick dough all over with a fork, cover with plastic wrap and let rise another 1/2 hour. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees) Spread with tomato sauce and toppings of your choice. Bake for 20 minutes until dough is cooked and is well browned.