I am near completion of making one of those ‘do-it-yourself’ cookbooks on line, where you enter recipes, divide them into chapters, add a few photos, and hey, presto! you have your own cookbook. Mine doesn’t have any original recipes; it is a gallimaufry  of favorites which are scattered throughout dozens of my cookbooks. I will have them all condensed into one tome, my own Sybillane Book of Spo-recipes. As the project nears completion, I step back from the contents and reflect went into it. It is curious to see how these chosen recipes mirror my being.

The majority of  these recipes are not ‘gourmet” but simple Midwest concoctions (think casseroles and busy day hot dishes) the matrons of the family made to feed as many as possible within a budget. These are the ‘comfort’ dishes; they remind me of Aunt This and Grandmother That.

The chapter on cocktails is rather extensive oh dear. In contrast to the intrepid eats these recipes reflect my zeal to try things new and adventuresome. Of no surprise to me most of these libations have exotic ingredients and they are quite colorful to reflect my fondness for such. After all there are few edibles in life that are bright blue.

There are many recipes for dressings, rubs, and sauces.  There are six recipes just for BBQ. As a boy I hoped to find or make a bona-fide book of magic full mysterious ingredients for potions and fairy dust. Culinary magic is as close as I have come.

There aren’t too many recipes for sweets and such, which correlate to my panache for starches rather. There are several recipes for bread for the intrepid bread machine, my adult version of an easy-bake oven.

Fascinating! In among the time-honored old favorites is one recipe I have never made. It is from the first cookbook I ever had: “Betty Crocker’s Boys and Girls Cookbook” . It is for a topping for ice cream. I’ve been meaning to make this now for over forty years. It’s been carried along on index cards and preliminary cookbooks etc. and I haven’t the heart to abandon it now. Perhaps if I include it in The Cookbook of Spo-eats I might finally make it. The recipe reminds me there is more to cooking than the familiar.

Red Devil Sundae Topping

8 ounce can of crushed pineapple, drained

2 T light corn syrup

1 T red cinnamon candies.


Simmer the ingredients over medium heat in a sauce pan, stirring occasionally until the candies have dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool; chill in the refrigerator. This makes about a cup of sauce.