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Sunday, 24 February 2013

ENGLISH LITERATURE and BRITISH COOKERY



My major for my first degree actually was in English literature, and then I lived in   London, England for two amazing years.  


Recently, I picked up The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women in a Thrift Store and I just have to share some interesting stuff I learned.
We all know about the witch hunts between the 14th and 17th centuries but did you know that the number of women tortured and killed may be in the millions! 
I also was amazed to learn that, back in the 1400s, a French woman, Christine de Pisan, dreamed and wrote of a “City of Ladies” where women could prove their worth.  In the 1500s, Aemilia Lanyer argued that it was men who crucified Christ and that that was far worse than Eve’s action in the Garden of Eden. 

Honestly, I just felt like saluting these early feminists.  J

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To accompany my English literature “share”, I’m giving you a recipe from BRITISH COOKERYA Complete Guide to Culinary Practice in the British Isles.  I marked it as excellent on Sunday, April 23,1989.   Elizabeth Boyd, the editor, says it was a “popular dish in the 17th and 18th centuries and traditional at Whitsun, with small new potatoes and fresh garden peas and mint”. 

DUCKLING with PEAS
1 duckling
1 oz seasoned flour
2 cups stock
Salt & pepper
1 lb peas
1 lettuce
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2-3 ounces whipping cream
Mint

1.   Preheat oven to 350.
2.  Joint the duckling.
3.  Dust the pieces with flour.
4.   Roast in oven for 30 minutes.
5.  Pour off the fat, add stock, salt & pepper.
6.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
7.  Add the peas and lettuce.
8.  Cover and simmer for one hour until the duck is tender.
9.   Chop enough mint for garnish.
10.              Remove the duck pieces and keep warm in a low oven.
11.              Blend the cooking liquid.  Add nutmeg and cream.
12.              Heat slowly to thicken, but do not boil.
13.              Check seasoning.  Pour over the duck. 
14.              Garnish with mint and serve.


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One of the worst and most wasteful recipes I ever made was from this cookbook, too.  Two pounds of pork simmered until tender and delicious, then minced and mixed with oatmeal to make Scrapple.  This disgusting loaf became crisp and brown on the outside, when sliced and fried in hot fat,  . . . but the inside remained gray and mushy.  In a brilliant old comic strip, the Wizard of Id says he has “a great new product made entirely of sawdust . . . Scrapple Helper”.  J