Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Apple #173: Barbara Lauterbach

Recently, an intrepid reader asked for information about a woman named Barbara Lauterbach. I happen to have a cookbook that she wrote, which is all about potato salads.

Barbara Lauterbach's cookbook Potato Salad: Fifty Great Recipes

So let's find out more about Barbara and perhaps her potatoes.

  • Barbara did not start out to be a cook. She got her bachelor's degree in Art History. It wasn't until she had gotten married to a man whose job took her and their family to Europe that she went to cooking school.
  • She studied at various schools in Paris, England, West Germany, Florence, and Bologna in Italy.
  • When she and her family returned to the United States she accepted a pretty high-level job as director of the cooking school at Lazarus, a now-defunct department store chain based in Cincinnati. What a department store was doing with a cooking school, I have no idea. Nonetheless, she designed a curriculum, brought in guest chefs, and taught some of the classes herself.
  • While she held that position, she won some awards for being the best cook in Cincinnati.
  • In 1987, she and her family moved to New England. She became a spokesperson for King Arthur Flour Company and appeared on television and gave classes under that aegis.
  • Two years later, she moved to New Hampshire, but she is still affiliated with the King Arthur Flour Company, since she teaches at their Baking Center in Vermont.

This is Barbara
(Photo from the King Arthur Flour Company)

  • She also opened a bed and breakfast in Center Harbor, New Hampshire, called Watch Hill. In addition to receiving guests there, she also teaches cooking classes.
  • I don't know whether that B&B is still in operation because I tried to find a listing for it in the online yellow pages, and it didn't come up. I also found a listing for it with Century 21.
  • I wonder if she got divorced or something because she says she now lives with two old cats and a parrot. No mention of her husband or her two children.
  • Her recipes and columns often appear in Cooking Light, and she has also contributed to the Boston Globe and Yankee Magazine.

This Barbara's Moulton Farm Potato Salad, with fingerling potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, peas and peppers in a Dijon and tarragon sauce.
(Photo from her website)

  • As I noted above, I have her potato salad book. I like potato salad quite a lot, and she's got some really good recipes in there. I really like her Frog Potato Salad, which has artichokes and tomatoes and broccoli with Dijon mustard dressing. There's one that I would like to try but haven't yet called Hot Potato and Bratwurst Salad, and another one called Alpine Potato and Cheese Salad, which uses Gruyere or other Swiss cheese and walnuts.
  • See? If someone likes potato salad this much, how could you go wrong?
  • She also has some helpful tips on the best way to cook potatoes. For example, she says that when boiling potatoes, start with cold water and bring the water to boil with the potatoes in the pot. This keeps them from getting all mushy and flaking apart in the water.
  • She also says to boil them with the skins on because this keeps the potatoes from losing a lot of moisture. And she says that when you want to see if they're done, use a sharp knife to poke them rather than a fork because the potato will lose less moisture that way.
  • If you want to take a class with her, you can sign up for her online class called "Baking at the Bed & Breakfast," offered through the King Arthur Flour Baking Center. In this class, Barbara will teach people how to make her lemon poppy seed muffins, whole wheat granola bread, onion dill batter bread, maple walnut scones, and fruit streusel coffee cake. For information about the class, go here. For recipes and instructions, go here (sometimes this pdf had trouble loading).
Sources (many of which include some of Barbara's recipes)
Barbara Lauterbach
King Arthur Flour, Our instructors
Chef2Chef Recipe Club, Volume 3 Issue 041, August 26,2002
"Chicken Salad with an Attitude," Cincinnati Post, July 30, 2003

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