Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Edible Word: Scrambled Eggs, Grilled Cheese and Mushrooms.

It's funny how things work out sometimes. Ever since last Thursday, when I finished reading the book, I've been wondering what I could cook for The Edible Word - a new blog event run by Stephanie and Cath (from Dispensing Happiness and A Blithe Palate respectively). The Edible Word is a foodie book club involving (in Stephanie's words) "a little reading (it IS a book club), a bit of cooking, and hopefully, a lot of fun. We thought it would be an interesting challenge to build a blog event around a food-related book (where the characters cook, eat, talk about food or are otherwise obsessed with food — an example is Like Water for Chocolate).

So...what's involved? Well, we'd like to start this book club with the book Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs. The story is about a food tv star who's approaching 50, not too thrilled about it, and dealing with the various characters.

Now, the deadline for this blog event is Saturday, and given you all know how pregnant I currently am (41 weeks today!) I was starting to despair of ever getting this one done. But after Stephanie took the trouble to get me a couple of the book (sent over from America no less!) I would have felt terrible about not posting anything. My first thought was cake. I read the first chapter online off Kate Jacobs' website (link above) twice, and what struck me most was that Gus (the lead character) like to make cakes. But I didn't really find that was a stand out point of her character throughout the book, and also, from a practical point of view, we don't eat a lot of sweets. Sure I could have taken the route that I did a few days ago with the Mini Mars Bar Cheesecakes and made a cake to freeze for when guests came around, but I've always thought "real" cakes were a bit fragile for that, and although it's doable, (my mum does it with sponges!) it's not likely something that would work if I tried. One of the main characters was spanish, so there was a lot of spanish influenced food, and I would have been more than happy to try a new dish for the event, but all of them seemed to be seafood, which neither DP or I eat.

The main character, Gus, the aforementioned cooking show host who is turning 50, sees herself as a nuturer. She looks after others, and tries to solve their problems, mostly by cooking for them. There's a little of me in that character. I love to cook for people. I cook food for dinner that I don't like because I know that DP and the kids like it (ie my very scone-like pizza scrolls) or meals that bore me as a cook (steak and three veg) because I know DP loves it. Which is why, at 41 weeks pregnant, at 10:30pm at night, instead of heading off to bed to wade through a little more of Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, I found myself in the kitchen, cooking. DP and I had just finished watching CSI: New York, and DP had mentioned how hungry he was, prompting me to psychosomatically start feeling a little peckish too.

Standing in front of the stove, thinking how much a Gus type thing to do this was, I was stirring the scrambled eggs, when a part of the book came back to me. I didn't pick this snack on purpose, I made it because DP loves scrambled eggs, but can't cook them for himself (apparently) and I hadn't made them in a while. But as I was stirring, a scene in the book came back to me, as I said. Gus's eldest daughter was making scrambled eggs, and repeating the well worn phrase that her mother had always used when teaching her how to cook them, when her mother finished the phrase. The poor girl who was alone in her own apartment thought she was going mad until she realised her mother was on the Today show, cooking the exact same dish.

I didn't hear voices while I was cooking, and unlike Aimee, I didn't get distracted by the sight of my mother on television, and forget about my eggs until they were a rubbery mess. I did slightly burn the edges of the homemade bread with grated cheese under the griller, but that had more to do with the fact that I sliced big, thick, rustic slices, that were, lets be honest, uneven. So some edges cooked quicker than the others. But my mushrooms were all buttery and garlic-y, and the eggs were perfect, all fluffy and light. And that's another small thing I have in common with Gus - I know that good eggs require patience.

Have a look here for the round-up for The Edible Word, and in the meantime, grab yourself a copy of Comfort Food. It's a good, light read, whether you're a foodie or not.