Thursday, May 15, 2008

Books and Food; What Else Do You Need?

Ta-da! Internet! In our home! Isn't technology amazing? To celebrate, I've spent far too long on the Internet already today. Although, to be fair, I thought I had completely recovered from birth, and so went to a church production of "From Cumorah's Hill" last Saturday, and it turns out I hadn't fully recovered, and all the activity was too much for me. So now I've been trying to take it really easy and comfortable-like, which mainly means sitting around the house reading, and trying to convince Lydia to not mess the house up, since I don't want to make Avram clean it up. So it's actually been a very nice change to have the Internet on where I can reach it from my comfy Living Room chair.

I've started Little Women, which is a lot preachier than I remember it being the last time I read it. Regardless, it's fun to read because of all the nice memories I have of it, like the first time I read the book, and I was in third grade at Bennion Elementary, where I did full time ELP (extended learning program - a gifted school thingy), and I rode the city buses to and from school (by myself, I might add, and I was only nine. Not only did my Mom not think this was weird, no one else seemed to, either. My, how times have changed). I remember once on the bus, when I was reading Little Women for the first time ever, I reached the part where Beth dies, and I sat bawling my eyes out, while simultaneously trying to hide it because I was embarrassed to be crying in public. Good times.

The edition I'm reading right now is a British one, and is annotated for a British audience, which I love, because then you get things like: "Beth clapped her hands, regardless of the hot biscuit* she held," and then in the back of the book, "American biscuits resemble English scones and are usually eaten hot, with butter."

The book also defines buckwheat pancakes and other such food 'oddities.' It's fun to be more in the know than the average assumed reader.

Speaking of food and reading, whenever I read a book with strong food passages/mentions/culture associated with it, I pick up a hankering for that very food. Like when I read Lord of the Rings, I'm always eating chunks of meat, with buttered bread and sliced cheese and apples, because for some reason in my mind this adds up to traveling food. Or of course, there are the Little House books, which always send me into a cooking tizzy; I even have the Little House cookbook, although my personal copy is completely hashed, without any cover at all, and half of the index fallen off, from all the use I've given it.

Reading To Kill a Mockingbird (as a note to Camilla; I don't know how I managed to miss being assigned this book in all my years of schooling either. It chalked on point up to Avram; we're always being variously surprised by the other's comparative ignorance of some piece of knowledge or literature. If it's something he hasn't read, than I usually make some comment about homeschooling missing things, and if it's something that I haven't Avram will be surprised at how public schooling could miss it.) made my latent (very, very latent) Southern tendencies come out, and that night for dinner I made Southern fried chicken (except for in the oven, so it wasn't completely artery clogging, while still tasting very good because I still used real butter) and cornbread. I would have had butter beans too, because they always seem to be going on about them in Southern books, but I don't actually know what they are. Avram thinks they are probably lima beans, and a quick check on the Internet seems to support that theory. As I heartily dislike lima beans, maybe it was a good thing I didn't have access to them, because then I may have made them in a fit of Southerness, but that doesn't mean anyone in our house, myself included, would have eaten them.

What I need to do is find a book that makes me think of fresh vegetables and fruit, and not of chocolate or anything with sugar in it, and read that book. Any suggestions?


  1. An Embarrassment of Mangoes is a great food book. It is written about an actual trip the author took. She is a food editor for a magazine and includes recipes at the end of every chapter. I copied all that sounded good and regularly make some of them.

  2. hmm dont know about any books that made me want veggies. but your post just made my mouth water for some fried chicken. I have never made it on my own... i always assumed ti was really hard. Is it? how do you know what spices to use? did you use a recipie from online or are you just that awesome that you know how to make it? please do share as i am 7 months pregnant and when i start craving something its an obsession till i eat it... and otherwise i have to go to KFC!

  3. A book without chocolate, or sugar, or anything but fresh fruits and veggies? H'm.

    How about Robinson Crusoe?

  4. I really don't associate books with eating. I wouldn't be much help on that.

  5. I got the recipe off of the back of the cornmeal box that Mom and Don brought me from America. Here it is in all its glory (I halved the recipe, and used two large thighs and a breast for the meat).

    Oven-Fried Chicken
    2 Tbs. butter, melted
    2 large eggs, beaten
    2 Tbs. milk
    1/2 c. cornmeal
    1/2 c. flour
    1 1/2 tsp salt (we thought it was a little too salty, so I would use less then called for)
    1 1/4 tsp. paprika
    3/4 tsp. garlic powder
    3/4 tsp. ground black powder
    2 1/2 to 3 lbs. chicken, cut up and skinned.

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Put butter in the pan and put pan in heating oven until butter is melted, and then pull the pan out again.

    Combine eggs and milk in medium bowl. Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, paprika, garlic powder and pepper in medium bowl. Dip chicken pieces into egg mixture, coating both sides, then into corn meal mixture. Place in prepared baking dish.

    Bake, brushing chicken once during baking with juices from pan (there weren't really any juices in the pan, so we just turned the chicken over, so both sides got plenty of butter, and that worked very well). Bake for 45-50 minutes (ours took 65 minutes to be done) or until chicken is no longer pink near bone.

    And voila, fried chicken. It doesn't taste anything like KFC, but I really liked it (actually, I don't like kfc, so it's not hard to beat).

  6. Bunnicula!

    What could be better than vampire bunnies?? You'll never look at vegetables quite the same.

  7. A rather unusual one is "On the Ice", about a woman doctor who wintered over at the South Pole, then had to be extracted for treatment of breast cancer. Some strange recipes, depending on what would keep.

    The easy way to make Southern Fried chicken is with Shake 'N' Bake, but I prefer Todd's recipe for BBQ chicken:

    Mix up 1 part 7-up (I use Coca-Cola) to 2 parts BBQ sauce. Baste 15 to 30 minutes before cooking, and seal in plastic wrap until cooking time. Grill, minus plastic, in a covered grill for an hour, turning and basting at least once. Yum! El cheapo BBQ sauce works as well as any.