Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ask A Ravenclaw

Soprano1's little owl Peck flaps into the Great Hall, bearing the following missive.  Soprano1 reads it and grins.

Dear Soprano1,

I'm hungry.  What's for dinner?


Dear Hungry,

Usually when faced with hunger pangs, we call upon eightlegeddj, our resident culinary arts student, to help us.  Meg is currently taking a Term Away with Hufflepuff, but she still comes back whenever we call with Culinary Questions.   However, last week, GazeboGal had a new and unusual answer to this timeless question in Ravenclaw Tower.  In a post, she wrote, "A Grouse has died by flinging itself against my window. Window = cracked, and we’ve gotten out the How to dress wild game book."

Of course, because the Tower is full of Ravenclaws, we didn't just pull up chairs to the dinner table, we had a discussion about it!  MightyGoodYarn told us that she wished her dinner would fling itself against her window--except for the mess the jar of marinara sauce would make.  Andryl shared a story about how an attempt to Avoid Bears led to a Grouse Horror Story, and confirmed for us all that the plural of grouse is, indeed, 'greese.'  SFCorgi chimed in with a tale of a mad sparrow (but not Sparrow) that tried to eat her through a glass window (unsuccessfully, thank Bob), and eightlegeddj came by with a suggestion for preparing the departed grouse (parsnips, potatoes, and rosemary.  Sounds yummy!  Now I'm waiting for a grouse to fling itself at my window!).  

Then Yakira started the best part of the discussion: the part about The Joy of Cooking.  I grew up worshiping Grandma's copy (published in 1936 according to, the online home of The Joy of Cooking) and Mom's, the 1975 version.  Truly, these books provided recipes for preparing just about anything you might shoot (or that might fling itself at your window).  The newer versions lack the all-around knowledge about how to prepare venison and elk, sadly, but the recipes are mighty tasty, and although we established that Julia Child did not write The Joy of Cooking, she certainly used it.  Here, thanks to Wikipedia, is a lovely picture of Julia's well-worn copies of Joy

At the end of the day, GazeboGal reported:

She has been dubbed Alice the Grouse, thanked for the gift of her life, and her tail feather added to my kitchen altar.
She dressed out to 312 grams without skin, and is being roasted even now on a bed of onions with a chicken broth sauce and bacon wrappings. (Alice, being a Wild Bird, had no fat of her own to speak of)
Fannie Farmer to the rescue for temperature and roasting time.
She will be served with bread-cube dressing and green salad and more prayers of thanks. And possible a sip of October beer.
We name them so that we will always remember that they are part of us.

Thank you, GG, for that wisdom, and for bringing Alice the Grouse to our hearts if not to our tables.  

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