Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fictional Cooking

I am not much of a cook - in fact, I really don't get a great deal of pleasure from cooking at all & every day, approaching dinner time, I go into a mild state of panic.

Running 2 businesses, a home, 2 kids, a husband, 8 chickens, a cat & a dog - not to mention an endless list of books that must be read - doesn't leave much time to experiment in the kitchen. But I still suffer much guilt if I serve frozen oven meals, and refuse to put MSG-laden meals or corn syrup substitutes on the dining table. Experimenting, for me, has very varied results. There's usually at least one family member at the table who doesn't like what I cook. Unless it's homemade spaghetti bolognese.

So, fictional cooking.... Amongst the very many novels I've read over the years, I'm often envious of some of meals whipped up by the stories' characters. Kay Scarpetta's meals, in Patricia Cornwell's long running series, have me salivating, but truly, her Italian cooking is way beyond my capabilities.

I recently read Al Past's fun & dramatic sci-fi series, Distant Cousin where the main character - Ana Darcy from a distant planet - has a great fascination for Earthling foods, and wastes no time whipping up some experimental delights. One of these was a meatloaf recipe - and I have to be honest, I've tried about 2 dozen meatloaf recipes. Being from England, I'd never had meatloaf until I came to America 6 years ago. I love meatloaf, but with hundreds of "Grandma's recipes" out there, I frequently experiment with it.

Mr Past recently announced a challenge on Ana Darcy's blog - to re-create Ana's meatloaf recipe! It is an entirely fictional recipe, never before tested, and uses an Egyptian grain called Kamut. I've taken up his challenge, although living in rural Pennsylvania, I guess I'll be looking for a readily available Kamut-substitute.

Off shopping I go! I'll post my results later!


  1. You've already inspired me to try it too. I'll be awaiting further details and the results--subsitutions? Quantities? Oh, boy: yum!

  2. I always make double when I make a meatloaf (one for the freezer) so this makes 2 loaf pans.

    It had mixed results - 3 liked it, 1 didn't. Never can please everyone!
    I also couldn't get anything like Kamut or any decent grain/ wheat, so I had to stick to breadcrumbs.

    Oh, and I forgot the cloves!

    What I did:
    1.5 lbs beef, 1.5 lbs pork
    1 cup breadcrumbs
    1 egg
    1 cup red wine (more next time! Great addition)
    2 cloves garlic
    3/4 tablespoon thyme (less next time! was pretty strong)
    1 med onion, chopped
    1 cup HP sauce (from UK, like A1 but spicier and thicker)

  3. Most encouraging. Since you have kids, I think I'll attribute the "no" vote to one of them, probably a "No New Foods" kid.

    Here's what I think I'll do: we have some small loaf pans, about the size of two or three cupcakes. I'm going to get me some kind of fancy wheat, either bulgur or kamut or the like, some red wine, and try one little loaf at a time.

    One of 'em's got to be terrific!

    Great experiment you did! Kudos! Brava, Madame!