Dear readers, I will be candid: I would really prefer to live some hundred years ago. I would settle for 80, even. Or 120. For all its benefits, including refrigeration, antibacterial agents, and your esteemed selves, the modern age lacks a certain cozy charm to be found now only between the yellowing pages of novels: scenes of tea and toast before the fire, embroidered slippers, long hours of novel-reading, acrostics, baked apples, baked eggs, floral wallpapers, lemon-scented barley-water, candied violets, kippered herring, crumpets, puddings in the nursery…. It is not perhaps surprising that my interest centers on foods, fabrics, and the fireside. I confess that I have tried to recreate that coziness in my modern life. I bake apples. I cook kippers. I light fires at the slightest chill. I rest my feet on an embroidered footstool, and the quantity of novels lying about suggests more leisure time than I actually possess.
Yesterday in class, I posed the following riddle to my students: I will give you a list of ingredients, I told them, and you will tell me what the recipe is called.
2 Slices of Prosciutto
Crumbled Blue Cheese (Stella, or its international equivalent)
Is it an omelet? they asked. It is, but that’s a genre, not the name. Is it a cheese omelet? A blue cheese omelet? A ham and cheese omelet? Is it just called — Stella? Finally, I gave them a hint: if something is rotten in the state of Denmark, I told them, it had better not be those eggs.
Then finally, one of them perked up: Is it a Hamlet? he asked, somewhat tentatively.
Yes! I proclaimed. A Hamlet. Or a Hamelet. Or, if you’re being extra fancy about it, a Hamelette!
They’ve been living with the poor mad Prince of Denmark for the past week and more. And yet — not a single one of them laughed.
At least I amuse myself.
There’s something that’s brilliantly, deceptively pedestrian about a quiche Lorraine. We tend to think of it as elegant, perhaps because its name is French, or perhaps because Julia Child famously made one, or perhaps because so many people — so much to my confusion — seem to find shortcrust pastry to be a challenge. But in the immortal words of The Simpsons: would a rose by any other name still smell as sweet?
Not, conclude Bart and Homer, if you called it Stench Blossom. Or Crap Weed.
Alright folks — are you ready for this? Here it is. My geekiest dinner party fantasy. One day, some day when I don’t have quite so much other work hanging over my head, I’d like to host a sci-fi dinner. I’ve been thinking about it for years, on and off, slowly planning the menu. It […]
What, with Thanksgiving coming up and all that, I’ve been making a lot of ice cream lately. First vanilla (because you can’t properly have pie without vanilla ice cream) and then maple with pan-roasted pecan pieces (because something about that combination screams I’m for Thanksgiving!). I expect that some few of you out there would […]