March 16, 2018

Shamrock Biscuits | The Little White Horse

"...She sipped the milk, and it was warm and sweet, just as she liked it. And the sugar biscuit that she ate with it, a long-shaped one decorated with a green shamrock, was delicious too."
The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge

Green Bean Soup | Jack: The True Story of Jack & the Beanstalk

"Mamma made me go up the beanstalk and harvest all the beans that were fully grown. Before the day was done, our cellar was piled to the ceiling with nothing but giant green beans and Mamma started cooking again. She boiled the beans, pickled them, dried them, mashed them into soups and cakes. She even made a bean porridge for breakfast."
–– Jack: The True Story of Jack & the Beanstalk by Liesl Shurtliff

March 14, 2018

New England Boiled Dinner | The Evil Wizard Smallbone

          Corned beef and cabbage! Also known as a New England boiled dinner in parts of New England in the US (though some people use ham instead of beef) brought about via Irish immigrants in the 1800s. Which is fitting for the story The Evil Wizard Smallbone by Delia Sherman because it has a flavor of Irish folklore mixed with a bit of this and that lore as well. ;)
          I read this book at the end of January and really, really enjoyed it. It was so atmospheric and cozy and interesting, with a great voice, and even now it comes to my mind and I'd like to revisit it.

     Smallbone sat in the rocker and got out his pipe. “Behind that door is a larder. Pull out some potatoes, some onions and carrots, and a head of cabbage, and I’ll tell you how to make a New England boiled dinner.” 
     Nick wanted to tell Smallbone what he could do with his New England boiled dinner, but the spider episode was fresh in his mind, and he was hungry. Under Smallbone’s direction, he peeled and chopped, filled a big pot with water, and put it on the stove to heat. Then he opened the refrigerator to get out the corned beef and saw a large glass jar full of round white things floating in a cloudy liquid.
     His stomach lurched. 
     “What’s that? Eyeballs?” 
     “Pickled eggs,” Smallbone said. “The eyeballs’re in the freezer. I wouldn’t eat what’s in the striped bowl, either, unless you got a taste for beetles. And don't touch that package there. That's powdered frog."
     Nick found the corned beef and put it in the pot, then made sandwiches with the pickled eggs and mayo while Smallbone smoked and commented on his progress."
. . . .
     They ate the New England boiled dinner. Smallbone grumbled at the overcooked cabbage and made lavish use of the mustard, but he didn’t turn Nick into anything. 
–– The Evil Wizard Smallbone by Delia Sherman

February 19, 2018

Old-Fashioned Grits | Hoodoo

          I recently read the Coretta Scott King award-winning novel Hoodoo by Ronald L. Smith (The Mesmerist, Black Panther: The Young Prince) and really enjoyed it. It's a quick read with a great voice set in 1930s Alabama. It's narrated in the sparse perspective of the young main character, Hoodoo, who comes from a family of folk magick practitioners. Hoodoo's voice lights around on this and that with few lingering words painting a prosaic and rich setting of the South in summer filled with local and family culture and ingrained spirituality, and stepping through an experience of mystery and atmosphere and old stories. Of course, one of the things that would stand out to a growing boy is food, especially food made by those he cares about. In the midst of a slew of food, one dish reappeared at least five seperate times; grits.
"Mama Frances was stirring a big pot of grits on the stove. Grits are like rice but creamier, if you didn't know."
"Mama Frances sat down and pushed a bowl of hot buttered grits across the table. Wisps of steam rose off it like little ghosts."

–– Hoodoo by Ronald L. Smith

February 3, 2018

Brisket Sandwich | Orphan Black

(Originally published June 2015 for Fiction Kitchen Podcast Episode 16.)
       To keep her energy up from her exhausting schedule for Orphan Black, Tatiana Maslany loves to chow down between takes on the brisket sandwiches provided on set. She's mentioned brisket in several interviews and even has "Acting. Brisket" as her bio on Twitter (as of the writing of this post in 2015). Gotta love this girl.

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