For people looking to outfit a kitchen on the cheap or lovers of vintage cookbooks (yes, I’m in both those categories), Goodwill offers the opportunity to look for needles in the haystack of crap. For every 10 shelves full of “How to cook low-fat meals for in the microwave” there is one little book on the shelf that is everything you have ever wanted in a cookbook.
Yesterday, aside from a pizza wheel, a bamboo picnic mat and an amazing tapas tray, I found some great books, the best of which is from 1977 and called “Dining in Seattle”
“Dining in Seattle” is a collection of recipes from the finest restaurants in the city at that time. It starts with that still present classic, Canlis. Each restaurant gives a full dinner worth of recipes, from starter to dessert, about 5 recipes each, along with wine reccomendations. El Gaucho is in there as well and the forward is by Emett Watson (he of the oyster bar). But the segment I was most excited about? The Surrogate Hostess.
For those of you whose Grandmothers did not live up the street, let me explain first of all that you could smell the place from about a 5 block radius, not even exaggerated. To this day, I glare at the Tully’s Coffee that sits at the intersection of 17th and Aloha on Capitol Hill, remembering the walk down there on chilly autumn days, not unlike today. The smell of baked goods wafting, mingling with that woodsy autmun scent. Sigh.
I’d love to give you more details, but to be honest, I’m fairly certain that the Hostess closed down when I was about five, so I can’t even give you details about what I loved there (were there cinnamon rolls? I think there were…), but I honestly don’t remember too many specifics about the inside, about the food, what sticks with me are the smells. I can still smell the walk from my grandmothers house, the coffee and baking mingling as you waited for breakfast inside.
So now I have Dining in Seattle and while I haven’t heard of all the restaurants in there–it was, after all, published 6 years before I was born–I know I’m going to use it, if for nothing else, for the chance that my house might smell just like the Surrogate Hostess of my long half-forgotten memories.