Friday, December 19, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Images courtesy of http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page
My kids covet the food at Hogwarts. We watched a double header of Harry Potter movies last night and another one the night before.
Whenever the camera does a long shot of the Great Hall and the endless tables of confections and meats, my kids say in trance-like unison, "Oohh that looks so good."
"What looks the best?" I ask them.
"The chicken ... and the cakes."
Meats and sweets.
For all the Fresh Mouth zeal, effort and learning curve, we always come back to the meats and sweets.
Dirk and I don't fault the little guys for it. It's the roasted brown hues of the warm starch-saturated meals and the sheen of a perfectly plump and roasted foul that lure us right in there with them. And what child, let alone rational adult, could resist the temptations of a Halloween fete that includes cauldrons of swirling orange gems and sugar dusted towers?
When Aidan was a only a year, he would begin our dinners by reciting the Dumbledore line, "Let the feast begin." He would also imitate the exact open-armed fan of the hands and slightly tilted head nod of Richard Harris' stately Dumbledore. To this day, we don't sit down to a nice home-cooked meal without someone initiating this wizard call to eat.
The Harry Potter beef and buns culinary world isn't healthy, but it's tempting. In an essay titled, "Food and Drink in the Potter Universe," there's a list of the film's fantastical favorites that includes:
"Roast beef, roast chicken, fried sausages, stew, casserole, tripe (which McGonagall ironically offers Trelawney in PA), pork chops, shepherd's pie, steak, Cornish pasties, lamb chops, sausages, bacon and steak, steak and kidney pudding, steak and kidney pie, black pudding, sandwiches (chicken and ham, for Harry and Ron in CS5); bread, marshmallows and crumpets (Harry and Ron roast them over the common room fire during the Christmas holidays in PS12), baked pumpkin (at Halloween), roast potatoes, jacket potatoes, boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, chips, Yorkshire pudding, peas, sprouts, carrots, gravy, ketchup, custard tart, mint humbugs, ice cream, apple pies, treacle tart, spotted dick, chocolate éclairs, chocolate gateau, jam doughnuts, trifle, strawberries, jelly, and rice pudding. An impressive list of heavy, traditional British food. Only in GF14, when the delegations from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang arrive, two non-British dishes appear on the tables: Bouillabaisse and "some kind of strange blancmange." More.
This kind of gastronomy could kill the less-than-magical Muggle, but in doses it's a dream. It's the warm, comfort food that a kid needs to battle the underworld. And it's exactly the same kind of food an elementary school kid needs to sustain the cold and the excitement of only 8 1/2 days before school ends for Christmas break. It's the time to eat like a wizard.
Our Sunday supper will include some kind of roast depending on what's on sale today at the store and these little treats:
Spice cakes from the film sold on the Hogwarts Express.
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup softened butter or softened margarine
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix eggs, sugar, butter,cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla in large mixing bowl on whip for 2 minutes.
3. Mix other solid ingredients and milk in gradually in the large mixing bowl.
4. Put batter in muffin tins (DO NOT FILL TO HIGH THESE CAKES SHOULD BE SEMI-FLAT). Bake 25 minutes.
5. Decorate with sprinkles and frosting if desired.
6. These cakes go well with honey.
Nugget o' the Moment: "The president-elect orders corned beef and cherry pie to go. Now there's a stimulus package. Manny's corned beef sandwiches are large enough to have their own electoral votes." - from "Obama's Lunch Love" on NPR. President-elect Obama orders this for lunch from Manny's Deli in Chicago. That's presidential food worthy of a wizard. I'm telling you ... meats and sweets.
P.S. Don't miss the Food Issue of the NYTimes Magazine from October. I'm late to reading it, but it's super.