Without suggesting goosebumps are in order (well, maybe), I can't think of anything more exciting (ok, a few things) than cooking from the railroad recipe manuals of the past. I concede there's a dose of nostalgia in there, but why not... to re-create from the authentic recipes that were used to serve railroad diners during the 19th and 20th centuries, food to taste and enjoy, at least has some history behind it, than picking a random recipe from a modern cookbook. If you close your eyes, use a little imagination, you can follow the food across the country.
It's my intent (work in progress?) to actually DO something with all of the manuals rather than let them sit and collect dust. I want to present the recipes in a fun and entertaining way, perhaps show how they changed over the century, how they differed on the various railroads, and put a story along with it. Some of the manuals come wth the original snapshots taken inside the dining car, I think it would be fun and entertaining to build a story out of it...the audience being not only railroad dining car "lovers", but those who enjoy food, and those who just enjoy a good story. I think I have almost every modern book written about railroad dining cars, but I'm more interested in tellng a story, using the recipes as the main character.
I will try and post some of my favorite recipes from all of the manuals on my website, just have not gotten to it...I'm in DC at the moment, the manuals are back in Palo Alto. Odd, but some of the simplest recipes from those manuals have grown to become my favorite, although of late the kitchen and I have been distant dance partners. Example... cocktail sauce...amazing what just the right amount of lemon and horseradish will do :)
Anyway, yep, cooking from the manuals is an adventure (to me). If we have to eat, why not have some fun and make it an adventure...