Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Food: Recipes, cookbook reviews, food notes, and restaurant reviews with a heavy emphasis on San Diego. Unless otherwise noted, I have personally tried each recipe that gets its own page, but not necessarily recipes listed as part of a cookbook review.

Mimsy Review: Cavalier Cooking

Reviewed by Jerry Stratton, May 23, 2001

This University of Virginia cookbook probably provides some nostalgia for alumni, but there is nothing otherwise special about it.

AuthorWilliam Butler
Year1987
Length348 pages
Book Rating3

The coolest part in this spiral-bound ‘regional’ cookbook is the first chapter, “A Jeffersonian Menu”: recipes from the cookbook of Jefferson’s granddaughter, “apparently copied from the Monticello cookbook” which is now lost: Oyster Soup, A White Fricassee, Beef a la Mode, Beef a la Daube, Nouilly a Maccaroni, Peas, Turnips, Snow Eggs, Ice Cream.

But you gotta be told: the “cavalier” in “Cavalier Cooking” does not apply to the cooking, it applies to the cooks. These are recipes submitted by University of Virginia alumni (Cavaliers). So, what you get are a wide variety that includes a disproportionate amount of college kid party foods. The appetizer chapter rangers from Austrian Cheese Dinzertart, Mock Blintzes (made with white bread), Cheese Krispies (made with cheddar, tabasco, and rice krispies), through to Fried Wontons, and quite a bit of Southwestern foods. Then there are Wahoo Balls: “Don’t let the chili sauce/grape jelly combination stop you—sounds terrible—tastes great!”

It is a big book with lots of recipes. It has that going for it! And the variety in each chapter remains as above. The chapters are appetizers, soups, meats, poultry, seafood, vegetables, eggs/cheese/pasta/rice, breads, salads, desserts, and beverages.

In the end, it probably provides some nostalgia for alumni, but there is nothing otherwise special about it. I actually acquired mine when the alumnus who purchased it realized she hadn’t used it since she bought it ten years past. But the closest she comes to cooking is using her bread machine (and that’s work).

Poor Man’s Cake (Debra Frederick ’80)

  • 1 lb raisins stewed, in 2 cups water 15 minutes,
  • ½ cup shortening,
  • 1 cup cold water,
  • 2 cups sugar,
  • 1 tsp nutmeg,
  • 1 tsp cinnamon,
  • 1 tsp cloves or allspice,
  • 1 tsp salt,
  • 4 cups flour,
  • 1 tbsp baking soda..
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Add the shortening to the stewed raisins and cool.
  3. Add cold water, sugar, spices, salt, flour, soda.
  4. Bake in a greased/floured cake pan 45 minutes.

Cavalier Cooking

William Butler

Recommendation: Special Interests