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Showing posts from 2017

How to Cook a Moose

Kate Christensen’s How to Cook a Moose isn’t the type of book I may have bought for myself, so I consider myself fortunate that my mom has been following this blog and knows my love for MFK Fisher’s work. As with Fisher’s How to Cook a Wolf, Christensen’s book offers practical advice and a series of anecdotes that are both humorous and thoughtful. Equal parts how to Cook a Wolf; Eat, Pray, Love; and A Year in Provence, the book offers a delightful selection of recipes. Some are classics, like traditional New England chowder and the super basic lobster and steamers, with a recipe for Thermidor thrown in for good measure. 

The book shines when Christensen discusses the environmental impact on food with climate change as well as the agricultural industry. Her advice on farmers markets, gardening, and CSA programs rings especially important in view of Fisher’s advice on cooking and eating well in the lean times of WWII. Much like my own style, the author finds solace in cooking, as a means…

Bread of Dreams

Historical fiction often brings to mind stylized romance novels set against a picturesque backdrop, usually an account of a well-known noble’s life—not that they don’t have merit, but how many novelizations are there about Elizabeth I or Cleopatra? And of course we can’t forget the rags-to-riches story of a commoner who rises in society through a combination of cleverness and good looks (almost always humble, too!). Granted, readers often seek to be swept away in an escapist fantasy, but what about the stories hidden in the vast swaths of the population that are usually consigned to a sea of extras—the angry and mocking mob or the admiring crowd in the presence of gentle nobles—you know, the royal wedding of the unlikely-but-charming couple?
In the words of Piero Camporesi, author of Bread of Dreams, “The voices of the wretched, the miserable and alienated, weak and plaintive, have never found citizenship in the beautiful palace that is literary history.” He covers quite a bit in this …

A Medieval Breakfast for the Dark Lady of Doona

“You must be the beloved cook I’ve heard so much about,” I said. She had a lilting laugh. “Ah, these men, they know no better. They’re just grateful for a hot meal.” Her gentle demeanor reminded me of my daughter. I wondered what Margaret must have thought sometimes when Carraigahowley Castle was overrun with men from my fleet.  “Well, you have an admirer in me, too,” I said. I glanced with interest at the stone griddle she placed before the fire. “What are you making?”  “Now that everyone has eaten, I’m having my own breakfast. Care to join me for some oatcakes and leeks?” She smiled as she reached for a wooden bowl.  —Dark Lady of