Monday, October 6, 2008

How To Cook a Wolf

I'd like to introduce you to a new acquaintance of mine. She's a food lover, and a writer. Her name is MFK Fisher, and she wrote this book back in 1942 when food shortages and rations were at their worst. Her book is quirky, and reads more like a novel than a cookbook. There's a sly sensuousness about her writing that hints that she doesn't just savor food. I love the almost antique recipes she's picked up all over Europe, like bread baked in flower pots. Apparently, it's unforgettable. Here's a snippet:

"Why can you not make the kind of round loaf, perhaps with a cross slashed on the top of it, that you used to see through the cellar door when you walked home from the theater late at night in France? the white-faced baker's boy, with flour in his eyebrows, his pores, and probably his lungs, slid it surely, intensely, on a long shovel into the blaze of an open oven. It was naked, like a firm-hipped woman, without the benefit of metal girdings. It came out, in an hour or so ready for next breakfast, round and brownly even and filled with an honorable savor. It was good bread, and you can make it."

See what I mean about slightly naughty?

There are all kinds of recipes in this book. I carried this book around with me everywhere for a couple of weeks. It was very useful in entertaining Ammon through his minor surgery reading aloud the directions for frying calf brains. There was one recipe that just stuck in my imagination, and I had to try it last night.

Green Garden Soup
2 Tbs butter or good oil 1 handful parsley
1 bunch watercress 2 cans chicken or beef broth
1/2 head lettuce 1 egg yolk
3 small onions and tops 1/2 cup thick cream (if possible)
2 or 3 cabbage leaves 4 celery stalk tops
1 sprig thyme or marjoram salt and pepper

She uses a mortar and pestle to grind all the vegetables together. I'm fresh out to those, so I put a little broth in the blender and whirled away. Then you simmer the green stuff in oil for about 10 minutes. You add the broth, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes. Then you beat the egg yolk and cream together, and add after the soup is in the tureen, if you happen to have a tureen. Then you sprinkle with some pepper.

This soup had the most amazing taste. I served it with fresh baked bread. I could almost feel the vitamins in the soup!


Home of the Muddy Kids said...

A firm-hipped woman?! Augh! In the 40's that was probably just about pornographic!

Jodi said...

What? No picture of the soup??

It sounds yummy, but not sure how it would look! Now, the fresh baked bread....ahhh!!!!

SkinnyJeanGirl said...

Hmm, she does seem a bit naughty. But, entertaining nonetheless. I will have to check out the book, and the soup recipe. Mmmm, sounds good.

Anonymous said...

I found a website of Polish food + catalog: