Friday, May 29, 2009

Cook the Books: The Little White Horse Interpreted by a Guest Blogger

The current book selection for the foodie book club, Cook the Books, is "The Little White Horse", by Elizabeth Goudge, a charming juvenile fantasy classic first published in 1946. This round of Cook the Books is being hosted by yours truly and I'll be accepting entries in which readers have cooked up something inspired by reading this book by the deadline of June 26, 2009. Anyone can join in the fun; there's no need to do anything other than read the book and cook up something delicious.

You don't even need to be a blogger to join our little group, as proven below by Bettina, an Australian food and book lover, who kindly asked me to post her toothsome Cook the Books submission below. She recreates a homey and satisfying meal as laid out by the kitchen staff at Moonacre Manor for the arrival of our young heroine, Maria, and her governess, Miss Heliotrope:

Bettina says:

"My CTB offering from The Little White Horse is the arrival meal. I have experienced travelling through the dark to an uncertain destination and found a warm welcome and a delicious meal waiting for me. There are other aspects of the book that resonate - including my part Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs and my quarter-Cornish ancestry husband who planted salmon pink geraniums in the garden and gave me a pearl necklace.

I first read TLWH in 1966 and re-read it regularly: literary comfort food.
We had home made crusty bread, hot onion soup, delicious stew, baked apples in a silver dish, honey, organic butter and a bottle of claret. Maria and Miss Heliotrope arrive at Moonacre Manor in late winter. It is not quite the end of autumn (fall) in Queensland so I made some adjustments due to seasonal availability. I used chicken instead of rabbit for the stew - using an English recipe for Gamekeeper's Casserole. Chestnut trees don't grow here, so I served Italian chestnut honey instead. Mulled claret seemed like a waste of good French wine and we enjoyed it without mulling.

I wanted to reflect the English-ness of the story and wasn't sure about how to make an English onion soup. After some research, I used leeks and onions with sage leaves and left out the floating crouton with melted cheese of the French version. I comforted myself with the thought that, despite the English pastoral of the story, there are definite French influences in the Old Parson and the descendants of Monsieur Coq de Noir.

Finally, TLWH always mentions the food served to the animals - a detail my two dogs approve of completely. I can report that they had the chicken wings, shared a slice of the bread with stew juices, finished off the apple cores and then retired to the sofa to digest the meal just like Wiggins."

Thank you Bettina, for a cozy, dreamy meal inspired by your reading. I look forward to reading the other entries submitted for this round of Cook the Books.


Heather S-G said...

Great! I'm not finished yet, but I also thought about how welcoming and yummy that meal sounded!

Deb in Hawaii said...

A great entry. Half-way through (loving it!) and still undecided on what to make. ;-)

Alicia Foodycat said...

Mother that is brilliant! It looks wonderful - and I know exactly how much Jake and Watson like those apple cores.

NKP said...

Yum, sounds so inviting!
I have just started the book, and have just ordered the next two - looking forward to cooking from the books!
..anyone know where I can get white horse meat?... (kidding!)

Unknown said...

Now that is a novel approach to cooking! This is great as often there are vivid descriptions of the foods being served at meals in great books. This meal looks very delicious.

Arlene Delloro said...

What a delicious looking meal you've recreated, Rachel.

Suzie said...

A very charming post on the book. I could think of nothing nicer than sitting down to your dinner at the end of a long journey.