Baked Eggs, for this or any century

Baked Eggs, for this or any century

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.

Not to Crack the Wind of a Poor Phrase

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.

Not to crack the wind of a poor phrase -- a Hamlet riddle

3 Eggs
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.

Quiche Lorraine

Quiche Lorraine

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.