26 October 2009

A Surprise in Every Dinner

Sometimes when I pull a cookbook, I find that I end up looking several cookbooks by the author. I drag them out and then they end up still sitting on my desk some time later. A short time ago, I featured Edwardian Glamour Cooking Without Tears by Oswell Blakeston and got to do a post featuring the poet H.D., which doesn’t always happen in cookbook blurbs. I will spare you the modernist poetry this time, but I did want to share this recipe from Blakeston’s, A Surprise in Every Dinner.

In this book, Blakeston is not really concerned with cooking times or amounts of ingredients. (He’s my kind of cook!) He states:
“In the old days cooks would weigh out materials as carefully as chemists and then time the cooking to the fraction of an ounce. Today one cannot expect such time-consuming precision.”
His favorite time saver is the modern butcher who should be able to allay any fears you have when cooking pork chops or lamb. He will sell you the proper joint and give you the time it takes to cook prepare it properly. (This book is from the 1960’s; good luck finding that butcher, today.)

I went meatless with this recipe, however. You will need a good florist instead of a good butcher. It is that tie of year when mums are everywhere, and here is a recipe that incorporates them into you dinner meal instead of simply in your decorating scheme.

Chrysanthemum Soup

chrysanthemums, 4 blooms
milk, 1 pint
butter, 1 tablespoon
cornflour, 2 tablespoons

Soak the chrysanthemums in boiling water for two minutes. Take them out and pull off the petals. Chop the petals. Warm up the milk, and dissolve the butter in it. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cornflour, and stir till the milk thickens. Add the chopped petals, and cook for two minutes.

Here is the COOKING WITH FLOWERS caveat: Know where your flowers come from. Your yard is the best location. What you don’t want is soup of boiling pesticide, so ask questions before you cook.

In the meantime, now when see pot after pot of chrysanthemums you can think: "Maybe I’ll have those for dinner."

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