Avon Calling! From Where??

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Who would have guessed that the company with lipsticks and lotions would have a cookbook! “The Avon International Cookbook” was published in 1983. It’s just a small hardback, about the size of a magazine, but filled with some great recipes. Avon representatives from 29 countries share their favorite family recipes.  Some sound exotic, yet easy to prepare. Along with the beautiful photos, each country listed gives a history and explanation of how the dishes originated. For example, in Belgium there is a recipe called “Ostend Waterzooi” which is said to be the favorite supper of the king. It’s a soup made with fish or chicken (in this case it’s lobster, mussels, and fillets) in an herbed broth thickened with eggs and cream. Distinctive foods of Belgium are, of course, Belgium endive, along with Brussels sprouts. Makes sense, right? As on the Wales page, classic Welsh Rarebit is offered, which is simply a cheese mixture spooned over toast. It is said that a Welshman created the dish when he ran out of meat and was forced to figure out something to make with just the cheese and bread he had on hand, but he added beer as the liquid to thin the cheese sauce. Some recipes we see now use milk or wine as the thinning liquid.

I was especially interested in the section on Thailand, because my daughter, Kristina, is traveling there for 10 days in April. She is very excited to taste the foods and learn about the culture. Many of the finest professional cooks in Thailand are women, a custom that began because only women could be employed in the palace apartments of the Siamese king’s wives.
In Brazil, a favorite dish is “Feijoada Completa,” an exuberant mixture of black beans along with as many as 15 different meats and vegetables, and numerous garnishes. Several platters are needed to serve this one-dish banquet! There is a strong Portuguese influence, which is apparent in the many candy and dessert dishes. Portuguese nuns were known for preparing tempting sweets called brigadeiros, which are rolled in eye-catching coatings and presented in intricate paper doilies.
My thoughts of Avon certainly never included a cookbook. My mother sold Avon products for a short time when I was in junior high, and I thoroughly enjoyed it because I got all the free samples. I loved those mini lipsticks which fit perfectly into a pocket or purse. They stopped giving those away a long time ago, but one item I still buy to this day is their lip balm called Dew Kiss. It’s  even still packaged in the same pink container. Even if you can’t travel to any of the exotic lands of the cookbook, at least you can still buy the Dew Kiss.



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