January 18, 2010

Winning Recipes or Winning Advertising?

I was looking for a chili recipe and remembered that I had a copy of 50 Winning Chili Recipes (2002, 108 pp.) on my bookshelf. This cookbook was published by Philip Morris Inc. and was one of the many tobacco premiums that they "gave away" throughout the years. One could obtain the cookbook, or any number of other items, by sending in UPC's from Marlboro brand cigarettes. Someone probably had to smoke about 8,000 packs of cigarettes to get this cookbook.

Seriously, though, Philip Morris never skimped on the quality of the Marlboro items that were offered and this cookbook is a prime example. (There were other cookbook titles published besides this one.)

Although it's only a softcover book with a spiral wire binding, it is a super quality softcover book. It's printed on thick, glossy paper, lies flat and is full of great photography. Oh, the photography! I want to rip out the pages and frame them.

The book's predominant colors are the reds, greens, yellows and oranges of chile peppers, which are, I believe, some of the colors that are also supposed to make you hungry. I don't know if it makes me hungry, but this book is pleasing to touch and to look through. The size is compact, measuring only about 5-1/2 x 5-1/2 inches.

The 50 recipes were chosen from 25,000 entries in the Marlboro Chili Roundup cooking contest. Some of the recipes have really interesting names like Jamaican Me Some More Chili, Grandma's Chili at It's Best, Three Way Burn, Reno Rob's Chili, Georgia Jenny's Cow Friendly Chili and Crazy Horse Chili.

The recipes come from all over the United States, although not every state is represented, and some states have several entries. I was surprised at the number of recipes from the midwest and northeast. Being a Texan, I tend to think of chili as a southwestern thing.

Looking through the book, I forgot all about the recipes and became immersed in the photographs. Books that are as pretty as this is why a Kindle and ebooks will never totally replace my dead tree books.

The theme is a mixture of Western and chile peppers. Look at these boots. Nice!

Look closely. This is a matchbook. If they still even make matchbooks, I'll bet they're not nearly as nice as this one.

This is the recipe for Heaven'n Hell Chocolate Jalapeno Chili. A perfect pepper.

If you'll notice, this buffalo has a string of chile pepper lights wrapped around his head. Did they use a live buffalo for this shot?

This is a recipe for Fiesta Chili. Don't those peppers look gorgeous?

I love the contrast between the crackled paint and the crackled chile pepper skin.

A lovely bouquet with peppers instead of flowers:

Even rusty old license plates are charming.

Got to have neon.