If you’ve checked the cookbook markets in the last year, you’ve probably noticed there is no dearth of cookbooks that endeavor to answer the eternal question of what to cook during a quarantine. The latest entry into this niche market has the distinction not only of functioning as a culinary travelogue but of being free of charge.
Titled simply “Quarantine Cookbook: A Community Collaborative Cookbook 2020 – 2021,” the book is a collection of recipes from friends and family of Liz Neumark, founder and CEO of New York catering, events, and hospitality company Great Performances.
The idea for the book came to Neumark the day before Thanksgiving 2020 when she was at client Rockefeller University helping distribute festive meals on behalf of university leadership to those who were going to be stuck on campus for the holiday. As she spoke to dozens of students, it became clear they were all exploring what they could produce in the kitchen, daily. The amount of cooking taking place sparked the idea of a collection of such recipes.
Among the 20 countries that can claim representation in the cookbook are Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Nepal, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, the U.S., and Uruguay.
Many of the book’s 110 recipes are accompanied by intriguing personal stories from contributors about their provenance, memories associated with them, the mothers and grandmothers who passed the recipes along to them and how they figured into the quarantine cooking experience.
One of the more interesting entries in terms of its back story is Toowoomba pasta, a tempting blend of fettucine, shrimp, mushrooms, and cream, that is hugely popular in South Korea, but credited to Outback Steakhouse, Toowoomba being the name of a small Australian city.
For your convenience, a recipe for that dish is reprinted below.
Adapted from “Welcome to Jun’s Bistro” on YouTube
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- Cooking oil
- 1/4 onion, chopped
- 7 oz (200ml) heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp chives, chopped
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp chicken bouillon powder
- 4 to 5 medium shrimp
- 4 to 5 cremini mushrooms, cut into bite sizes
- 1/2 tsp ketchup
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 3 1/2 oz (100g) fettucine
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat a skillet to medium-low, adding a few tablespoons of oil. Sauté sliced garlic until lightly browned. Add chopped onion and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
- Add heavy cream and crank the heat up to reduce.
- Transfer cream and onion mixture to a bowl. Add chives, cayenne, and bouillon powder.
- Heat the freshly wiped skillet, and cook the shrimp in a tablespoon or two of fresh oil until it is slightly opaque. Add the mushrooms and brown, taking care not to allow the shrimp to toughen.
- Reduce heat and add ketchup. Add butter and cream mixture. Allow to cook briefly to blend.
- Remove pan from heat, cover and set aside.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve about 150 ml of pasta cooking water in case the sauce is thick.
- Transfer the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to combine. Serve immediately, garnished with Parmesan cheese and parsley.
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