Date: July 2, 2007
About: Roger Huff - Class of 1962
Quincy Native Travels Worlds, Shares Recipes In New Book
Imagine sailing the world and sampling the food at every port of call, and you'll have a taste of former Quincyan Roger Huff's newest book, "Captain Bucko's Galley Slave Cookbook."
From recipes "For Chowderheads" (soups) to "Nettable Edibles" (fish) and "Sweet Things" (desserts), Huff spices up his recipes with fascinating bits of background.
"Even noncooks will enjoy reading about how many of these (recipes) actually came to be," he said.
Among his epicurean excursions are stops in Quincy and Hannibal, Mo.
Since Quincy's Skyride Inn changed hands, and the owners jealously guard the family's secret recipe for fried catfish, Huff stepped next door to the River House which provided its recipe for fried buffalo fish.
"By the middle of the 19th century, the riverfront of my hometown was a bustling place. Within walking distance along Front Street, there was the Pacific House Hotel, the Kreitz Ice Company, Clat Adams General Store, several restaurants, and ol' Patrick Tooley's Saloon that catered to the needs of those who traveled and worked the mighty Mississippi," he writes. "The River House has been a landmark for many years, and is famous for (its) fried fish dinners."
A recipe for French toast from LulaBelle's in Hannibal is accompanied by a short description of the restaurant/B&B that operated as a brothel for about 30 years.
Locals might also find the recipe for Mayfair Salad Dressing nostalgically appealing. The Mayfair Hotel was a well-known St. Louis establishment that hosted Cary Grant, Irving Berlin and Harry Truman. It was famous for a bell captain who remembered everyone's name and for its unusual salad dressing.
"It contained champagne of all things," Huff said.
Most of the cookbook's recipes have been taste-tested, quite a few of them by high school friends in Quincy, Huff said. One friend advised him that he wouldn't serve his company the hardtack, one of several recipes collected from records of early ship's cooks. Mariners' typical daily rations in the 16th century included a pound of the biscuits, with which they were allowed a gallon of ale to wash down. Double or triple baking made them quite hard, but infestations of weevils or maggots were legendary.
For anyone who wants to eat like Captain Jack Sparrow, the fictional character from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies, plenty of recipes are available to choose from. However, Huff closes his book with advice for anyone who thinks he might like to be Captain Jack.
Ships were cramped and dirty, and many of the sailors were forced into a life of piracy by economic necessity or violence. Few lived long enough to enjoy their ill-gotten gains, according to Huff.
Better to enjoy the life vicariously, with Huff's recipes to evoke exotic ports of call.
Contact Staff Writer Holly Wagner at firstname.lastname@example.org or (217) 221-3374