Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Sept. 21, 2021

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Check It Out: Ivar’s cookbook quite the catch


Well, it’s happening to me again. As soon as the temperatures take a slight dip, I get hungry. Does this happen to anyone else? I know that this seasonal change in appetite takes place every September because I reviewed the columns I wrote in 2012 and 2013, and you know what? I bring up food every September. Geez, I’m completely predictable! And when I realized I have this predilection for focusing on food once August concludes, I thought, OK, this time I won’t write about eating. This September will be different. Wrong. My stomach overruled my brain — again — and here I am — again — writing about food.

So, this month I’ve been thinking about soup — clam chowder in particular — and, not surprisingly, Ivar’s Restaurant flashed into my head. When my husband and I take a day trip to Seattle to visit the Pike Place Market, we usually make a point of having a meal at Ivar’s. Located along the Seattle waterfront, this seafood restaurant and bar is known for serving tasty seafood delights, as well as coming up with its famous slogan “Keep Clam.” Since about 1938, Ivar’s has a reputation for being Seattle’s “fish-and-chips institution,” a label that its founder, Ivar Haglund, surely would have applauded.

Since Seattle is a little bit far to travel to whenever we have a craving for chowder or fish-and-chips, my husband, who is a fantastic cook, wondered aloud one day, “Does Ivar’s have a cookbook?” Luckily he’s married to a librarian, so I immediately searched the library’s catalog, and “Voila!” — “Ivar’s Seafood Cookbook” popped up on my computer screen. “Isn’t the library awesome?” I queried my spouse. Of course, he agreed — he pretty much has to.

I can happily report that several recipes have been tested by this household. Even though our home doesn’t have quite the same atmosphere as the restaurant in Seattle (no seals and seagulls to keep us entertained during dinner (however, crows and squirrels work pretty well in a pinch), the homemade versions of Ivar’s menu tasted pretty darn good.

Even if the kitchen is the least-used room in your home, “Ivar’s Seafood Cookbook” is worth checking out for its behind-the-scenes look at a famous restaurant — not to mention the historical photographs, cooking tips, trivia and really bad puns. In fact, on the inside flap of the cover, readers are encouraged to look for the food puns sprinkled throughout the book (and an email address is provided for those who want to let the Ivar’s team know how many they find).

If warm chowders and sautéed clams have been “swimming” around in your brain, too, it just might be time to pull out your library card and check out my September 2014 food-related read, “Ivar’s Seafood Cookbook.” There’s more to life than food, but if September causes you hunger pangs, eat well and “keep clam.”

Jan Johnston is the collection Development coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. Email her at readingforfun@fvrl.org.