Monday, June 4, 2007

"The Best in American Cooking - Recipes Collected by Clementine Paddleford" - Citrus Spareribs

Date I made this recipe: June 2, 2007

The Best In American Cooking – Recipes Collected by Clementine Paddleford
Published by: Charles Scribner’s Sons
Recipe: Citrus Spareribs (submitted by Mrs. John Powell, Calif.) – p. 132

Had you been cooking in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, you likely would have been familiar with the name Clementine Paddleford. Born in 1900, Clementine became one of the country’s leading food editors. To this date, I can’t recall how I came to know of her but I do have a couple of her books in my collection, including perhaps her most well-known book, How America Eats. This one, The Best In American Cooking, was published in 1970 a few years after her death. I found it interesting that the copyright is held by The Chase Manhattan Bank, Executors of the Estate of Clementine Paddleford. Imagine; the same people who once held my mortgage helped get her cookbook published!

Ever since we rounded the corner on summer (last weekend being Memorial Day), I’ve had this jag to cook from my vast collection of “American” cookbooks. This one jumped out at me as did the spareribs recipe.

This recipe is very easy (and believe it or not, this is the first time I’ve made ribs). Since we are a family of two, I only made 2 pounds of ribs and since I only made half the ribs, I reasoned I should only make half the sauce. Big mistake. The sauce was pretty tasty and I didn’t have near enough to baste as required. But that’s the only thing I’d change.

I served this with some baked potatoes and a vegetable, just like mom would have done, and it worked for us.

Some of the recipes in this book are from restaurants, some long-gone, others still thriving and so it was fun to read through the collection to see who submitted what. Other recipes, like the recipe I made, were gathered from American housewives across the country, back in the day when women were known by their husband’s name (Mrs. John Smith), when ingredients were simple and the recipes, basic. And so some days, when life is a whirlwind, it’s nice just to pop back in time to make something as simple and tasty as citrus spareribs.

Citrus Spareribs – Mrs. John Powell, Calif. – serves 4 to 6
4 pounds spareribs
1 large lemon
1 large orange
1 large onion
1 cup catsup
2 cups water
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes Tabasco

Cut ribs into serving size pieces (ours were precut). Place in a shallow roasting pan, meaty side up. On each piece arrange a slice of unpeeled lemon, unpeeled orange and onion. Bake at 450F for 20 minutes. Combine remaining ingredients, bring to a boiling point and pour over ribs. Continue baking at 350F until tender, about 1 hour, basting twice.

Note: half the recipe fed the two of us just fine.

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