Snow, snow, snow. Cold, cold, cold. Short days, but getting longer, but not nearly long enough. Long nights getting shorter, but not short enough. Not quite enough sunlight. At least the snow makes the full moon light brighter.
Beth went to some sort of Publishers Book Fair earlier this month and brought me back some samples. (Thank you Beth! XoX). These are books that haven’t yet been released, the advance reading copies, which makes them doubly delightful, being both new reads and being ahead of their own time, as it were.
One book had menus as chapter headings, and the first chapter was Xmas, so I dove in – what better to read in a snow storm/Jonas/apocalypse?
It turned out to be about a woman pursuing a career (that she’s AWFULLY ambivalent about) with a marriage that she’s outgrown and then she re-invents herself as a single in the city …and since she’s had a career for over 20 years, she’s not exactly a Spring Chicken, but on the other hand she has a young daughter…sometimes….and a non-romantic interest nonagenarian (that’s a 90 something) who is a cook/philosopher. And she finds a Mister Man of Her Unrealized (at the books opening) Dreams before the end.
But of course.
A Twenty-First Century Sleeping Beauty/Snow White/Cinderella Fairy Tale, complete with Disneyesque Princess and unnamed Prince Charming.
Each chapter in this fairy tale begins with a menu, and some of the dishes have descriptions or almost recipes written in, and good kitchen advice as well. And drinks. There is plenty of alcohol fueling this fairy tale, too.
As I was reading, I was imagining who would be cast in the movie version…Jennifer Lawrence, perhaps,
even though Sandra Bullock would be more age appropriate, and no doubt Dustin Hoffman
could play the Yoda/spatula wielding-leading man… or maybe it could be a limited run TV series, that’s part Drama/part Cooking show with cookbook/life manual to go with it. Since she doesn’t write about his death, and he’s ninety something in 2009, there’s sequel material out there……
And so I went to bed. It’s not until this morning that I realized the name of the leading lady is the same name as the author…both first AND last names, a woman who had done the sort of work that the leading lady had done and that the book is dedicated to someone who has the same name as the darling and mostly absent daughter, and
in a Dawn Breaking over Marblehead moment
did I realized this might be
As a novel, I’d have more to say about this, but as someone’s portrayal of their life……although my own life is sometimes
A Movie Directed By Mel Brooks,
it is not a telenovelas or a soap opera or reality show. And it certainly wouldn’t be in my written versions. That kind of DRAHMA I can’t sustain for longer than a cup of coffee. If that long.
On the other hand, Our Leading Man put a homemade blue cheese dressing on avocados, which make me want that combination in the worst way. And since I have some Blue cheese in the house, and a recipe for blue cheese dressing This one is a creamy version. I have another vinaigrette somewhere….If I can figure out where the book is -it might be on the shelf of the little bookcase that is still at the ancestral home.
Avocados are on my shopping list, even though I still don’t know how to buy one or keep it or eat it in the place between rock hard and tasteless and brown and slightly oozy and scary bad. But avocados and SuperBowl Sunday go together hand in glove, so there are plenty to go around and at a good price, too.
I’ve also been eating orange and red and yellow food, just for the color warmth.
Squash soup made with the frozen squash and some cranberry apple cider that got much sweeter as it cooked; I searched Anna Thomas Love Soup and she had a version of squash soup that had red lentils in it, so I added some of them, and some water. Her soup also had some spices, turmeric, cumin, red pepper – which sounds a lot like curry powder, of which there was none in the house. And although the vegetarian Anna Thomas wouldn’t suggest it, sausage would cut the sweet…
Curry powder and sausage go on the grocery list.
The lentils reminded me of Simon Mujumdar’s Life Saving Dahl, so find his book and put dahl on the list, too. Is Eating My Globe at the ancestral home, too? Interesting what got save first, and once safe was moved to the no worries list…..ah, internet:
And now, back to blues, as in foods.
I bought the bit of supermarket Stilton for a rarebit….and then took a little trip down a rabbit hole as well.
Just what IS the difference between rabbit and rarebit? When did this become a dish and not just toasted bread and cheese? Inquiring minds want to know!
The short version of which is: It’s confusing! Both rarebits and rabbits abound and there are also a few other names for cheese on toast.
Hannah Glasse (The Art Of Cookery Made Plain & Easy) has the earliest printed Welsh Rabbit recipe, and it’s a rabbit, in 1747. Welsh not the only rabbit in Glasse – there is also Scotch and English rabbits there. In the next chronological reference I could find (this is all rather haphazard and not the least academic) in 1753 (The Ladies Companion)there is A Scotch, A Welsh A Portuguese and An Italian…. and later on there is also Scotch Buck and English Monkey and Blushing Bunny….and the rabbit/rarebit divide isn’t just between England and the US or even between centuries. Both countries and both 19th and 20th centuries use both names. Rabbit Hole.
I’m close to crying ‘Uncle’ in all of this, and then it will be a Wicked WayBack Wednesday post.
In the meantime, this is the blue cheese rarebit that I clipped from Bon Apetit back in 1994 and have enjoyed numerous times since then, especially since I found that the local convenience store sells milk not only in Gallons and Half gallons and Quarts, but also in 14 oz. to-go bottles. As someone who doesn’t drink milk, buying even a quart means I have to come up with at least one other way to use it, so instead of 12 oz of milk, I use the 14 with no harm.
1 ½ T butter
1 ½ teas flour
1 tsp Coleman’s dry mustard
1 ½ C milk
1 C Stilton (4 oz)(an English blue cheese)
1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 slices WW bread, toasted
- …Whisk flour in and cook 30 seconds. Whisk in mustard.
- Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
- Reduce heat to med-low and simmer till thickened, whisking occasionally: 5-10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add ½ the cheese and whisk until melted. Add remaining cheese, whisk until melted and smooth.
- Season with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
- Cut toasted bread slices on diagonal and overlap 4 halves on each of 2 plates. Ladle rarebit over.
- Garnish with chopped walnuts.
Bon Appetit magazine. Dec 1994 issue (New Year’s supper 1994)
In my notebook it’s on a page with Dylan Thomas quote:
….there was sherry and walnuts and bottled beer and crackers by the dessertspoons….
By 1994 I knew that ‘cracker’s’ in this case were NOT saltines…..