Browned, and So Tender


I haven’t come across any memorable descriptions of food in my recent reading so I thought I’d post the Ingalls family’s blackbird supper froom Little Town on the Prairie.

Pa’s corn crop is attacked by blackbirds, but Ma won’t be beaten:

[Ma] opened the oven door, and took out the tin milk pan. It was full of something covered thickly over with delicately browned biscuit crust. She set it before Pa and he looked at it amazed. ‘Chicken pie!’


‘Sing a song of sixpence–‘ said Ma.

Laura went on from there, and so did Carrie and Ma and even Grace.

‘A pocket full of rye,

Four and twenty blackbirds,

Baked in a pie!

When the pie was opened

The birds began to sing.

Was not that a dainty dish

To set before the king?’

‘Well, I’ll be switched!’ said Pa. He cut into the pie’s crust with a big spoon, and turned over a big chunk of it onto a plate.. The underside was steamed and fluffy. Over it he poured spoonfuls of thin brown gravy, and beside it he laid half a blackbird, browned and so tender that the meat was slipping from the bones. He handed that first plate across the table to Ma.

The scent of that opened pie was making all their mouths water so that they had to swallow again and again while they waited for their portions, and under the table the kitty curved against their legs, her hungry purring running into anxious miaows.

‘The pan held twelve birds,’ said Ma. ‘Just two apiece, but one is all that Grace can possibly eat, so that leaves three for you, Charles.’

‘It takes you think up a chicken pie, a year before there’s chickens to make it with,’ Pa said. He ate a mouthful and said, ‘This beats a chicken pie all hollow.’

They all agreed that blackbird pie was even better than chicken pie. There were, besides, new potatoes and peas, and sliced cucumbers, and young boiled carrots that Ma had thinned from the rows, and creamy cottage cheese. And the day was not even Sunday. As long as the blackbirds lasted, and the garden was green, they could eat like this every day.

Makes me hungry for some blackbird chicken pie!

Say Ahhh …

For a change, something from a graphic novel.

Uncomfortably Happily is comic book artist Yeoh-Sik Hong’s memoir of the two years he and his wife spent living in the countryside.

With pristine forests and clear mountain streams at their doorstep, the pair spend a lot of time outdoors, including having picnics and campfire barbecues. Often they are broke and can’t afford to eat much more than vegetables or even plain rice, but sometimes they treat themselves …


These next six pages are near the end of the book and the couple’s pet cats and dog join in the fun. Even if it didn’t happen exactly this way, Hong’s depiction of the couple and their pets bonding over delicious food and drink feels spot on.

Wine, Cheese, Olives, Weekend …

It’s Friday!

This weekend, I wish myself wine and cheese.

This article tells you how to host a wine-and-cheese-pairing party. Sounds stressful.

I’m not adventurous when it comes to cheeses. I can’t stand anything smelly or that looks like it may walk away by itself, or like it’s involved in trials for new antibiotics.

And I can’t drink red wine – I break out in a rash.

So, it’ll be a medium white, with some unremarkable cheeses. Oh and olives. There will be olives.

wine and cheese 2


PS Here’s an article about wine and junk food pairings. The sweet stuff sounds sick-making, but I could go with bacon-wrapped anything with a dry Marsala; and jalapeno poppers with German Pradikat Riesling.