Inside the Theme September 2016

If love has a language, I’m pretty sure it’s food. Gastronomical delight can bridge all kinds of cultural divides if you have an open mind. This month, we reflect on the delectable aspects of our favorite culinary experiences, and some of their fictional counterparts. Do you love fall because apples are back in season? Snow White can tell you about some granny smiths you might want to avoid. Can’t wait for your next glass of mango juice or tiny chocolate people with raspberry filling? Delirium might point you in the right direction. Read along for our staff questions this month, then don’t forget to share your answers with us on social media or on the forums.

1) What two edible masterpieces inspire your inner chef?
2) Timeless Treasures. What family recipe do you most treasure or covet (if you don’t have it yet)?
3) In a box? With a fox? Where would you have dinner if you could partake in a fictional feast?
4) A feast for the senses. Comfort food goes beyond just eating, what kitchen scent is at the top of your list?
5) Most memorable or strangest meal you’ve ever eaten?!

Stewie

1) What two edible masterpieces inspire your inner chef?

bentogoomba

Bento boxes are as much art as they are food! And always so adorably packaged.

kiki-coffee-art

Coffee art combines 2 of my favorite things – caffeine and adorable foam craft. Okay maybe adorable foam craft isn’t one of my favorite things, but it should be.

2) Timeless Treasures. What family recipe do you most treasure or covet (if you don’t have it yet)?
Every once in a while, my mom would make us a very strange dinner. She would make these weird things called doughboys. It was like a fried batter ball and we’d get to cover it in syrup and sugar – hardly dinner at all! It was like dessert for dinner, and felt so wrong – but so right!

3) In a box? With a fox? Where would you have dinner if you could partake in a fictional feast?
Nothing beats the Chocolate Factory. I’d eat those giant gummi bears, drink from the chocolate river, and end it all with an everlasting gobstopper. As an extra sweet bonus – some of those inspired recipes are available here including 3-course dinner gum!

4) A feast for the senses. Comfort food goes beyond just eating, what kitchen scent is at the top of your list?
The smell of Indian food always makes me salivate like Pavlov’s dog. Give me Navratan Korma everyday all day. Navratan means Nine Gems, named for the vegetables in it, and is basically mixed veggies and yellow curry. It’s hearty and delicious and oh-so-comforting – check out the recipe here if you want to try to make it!

5) Most memorable or strangest meal you’ve ever eaten?!
I had alligator and reindeer on a Cruise ship, which tasted like chicken – go figure. I also had cow tongue as a kid. The best friend’s dad was a hunter. It was actually delicious, but looked exactly like a tongue – think Adam Maitland from Beetlejuice. (Ew!)

Jen

1) What two edible masterpieces inspire your inner chef?
This vanilla bean cake is incredible! It makes me want to head straight to the kitchen to bake a cake.

I absolutely love loafs – zucchini, banana, pumpkin, coffee crumble, carrot. Whenever I see one whether it’s savoury or sweet I get the urge to whip one up.

2) Timeless Treasures. What family recipe do you most treasure or covet (if you don’t have it yet)?
Two recipes: my Mom’s chocolate coconut macaroons. I have never tasted one better than hers. Also my great grandma’s recipe for Belgium cookies. They’re amazing and I try to duplicate them almost every Christmas. I think I’m lacking the patience to perfect them though.

3) In a box? With a fox? Where would you have dinner if you could partake in a fictional feast?
Definitely in the Great Hall of Hogwarts. I cannot watch the scenes in the movies when they’re eating a meal in the Great Hall without becoming super hungry. I want to dive into those feasts.

4) A feast for the senses. Comfort food goes beyond just eating, what kitchen scent is at the top of your list?
Bacon. I have so good memories of waking up at my parents’ or my grandparents’ and smelling bacon and getting really excited that a big breakfast was being made. Also, homemade apple sauce. Apples simmering with cinnamon is the perfect scent.

5) Most memorable or strangest meal you’ve ever eaten?!
Probably the time I went to Nova Scotia with family. We ate fresh shrimp and lobster almost every night. It was delicious and also a new experience for me. Never in my life had I seen lobsters walking around a garage or been taught how to take shrimp heads off. It was interesting, that’s for sure.

Jo

1) What two edible masterpieces inspire your inner chef?
I am not sure where to begin answering this question. I am 100% more likely to eat something if it is pretty. But I’m not sure I could narrow it down to just two things!

2) Timeless Treasures. What family recipe do you most treasure or covet (if you don’t have it yet)?
My great grandmother’s cornbread dressing. We didn’t even have the right recipe until about 10 years ago because my grandma forgot to tell us about a key ingredient that wasn’t on the passed-down recipe card– hot water at a particular stage keeps it nice and moist! When my mom and I asked her why that step wasn’t on the card, she said, “Well… water isn’t an ingredient, that’s just how it’s done!” I feel like that’s the epitome of old family recipes.

3) In a box? With a fox? Where would you have dinner if you could partake in a fictional feast?
Redwall Abbey! I’d love to experience a big seasonal feast there, though I guess I’d have to shrink down a little bit first….

4) A feast for the senses. Comfort food goes beyond just eating, what kitchen scent is at the top of your list?
This is hard. There’s nothing quite like coming home to something that’s been in the slow cooker all day…. but I have to say I think the smell of anything with cinnamon would probably be it.

5) Most memorable or strangest meal you’ve ever eaten?!
If I thought longer I might come up with something better, but I had the opportunity to eat at Be Our Guest Restaurant at Walt Disney World a couple of years ago and it was magical. The whole place is decorated to be like the Beast’s castle, and we tried all seven (YES, ALL SEVEN) desserts! I can confirm: the gray stuff is, in fact, delicious!

Rosa

1) What two edible masterpieces inspire your inner chef?
So we all know The Great British Bake Off is practically the greatest invention of human kind. Remember back in 2012, when sweater-clad, contrabass-playing medical student (and possibly man of my dreams) James Morton made a gingerbread barn? I saw that, and thought a) “WHAT! HOW COOL IS THAT!” and b) “I should probably try making a gingerbread house.” So when I take over the world with my gingerbread empire, I will send him a thank you note.

gingerbread_barn

My second pick is the Official A Song of Ice and Fire Cookbook; A Feast of Ice and Fire. (Many of the recipes can also be found on the accompanying blog Inn At The Crossroads.) An entire book devoted to recreating the feasts of Westeros (although when it comes to weddings, it’s recommended to go for the less authentic approach), and the authors show great respect to not only the food described in the novels, but also the history of cooking.

51io0qntvml

2) Timeless Treasures. What family recipe do you most treasure or covet (if you don’t have it yet)?
I don’t really have any memories of my family ever cooking or baking. But my favourite recipe is for “Pebernødder” (a Danish Christmas cookie), and I got that from a friend, who in turn got it from her great-grandmother. So it technically is a family recipe, just not my family.

3) In a box? With a fox? Where would you have dinner if you could partake in a fictional feast?
The Halloween Feast at Hogwarts. I’m sure the Christmas feast is every bit as commendable, but I have to be honest with you, and say that I can’t entirely get behind the British version of a Christmas dinner (sorry, Emily).

4)A feast for the senses. Comfort food goes beyond just eating, what kitchen scent is at the top of your list?
So cinnamon seems to be very popular. But that’s because cinnamon is obviously the best answer to this question.

5)Most memorable or strangest meal you’ve ever eaten?!
I am the absolute least adventurous eater you will ever meet, so when I consider a meal memorable or strange, it has nothing to do with the food, and everything to do with the company or surroundings. I once ate a piece of chocolate Viggo Mortensen gave me. I’m allergic to chocolate. But I was not about to turn down food from Aragorn!

Summer

1) What two edible masterpieces inspire your inner chef?

recaps-masterchef-junior

I watch a lot of tv cooking shows. Ever since I was a kid and my dad spent all weekend watching Julia Childs and Rick Bayless on PBS. Nowadays I’m more partial to Master Chef Junior and Top Chef. I love the challenges and the final presentations. They inspire me to do creative things with what I have lying around.

cropped-outlander-kitchen-favicon-500x500

For my second choice, I was going to pick the Inn at the Crossroads cookbook, but Rosa beat me to it! Instead I’ll pick a book that’s still on my wishlist, the Outlander Kitchen. I really gather inspiration from all over! It was hard to pick just two!

2)Timeless Treasures. What family recipe do you most treasure or covet (if you don’t have it yet)?
My grandmother’s blueberry muffin recipe. I have so many good memories of these muffins, and now I make them when I need a pick me up.

In a box? With a fox? Where would you have dinner if you could partake in a fictional feast?
Don’t say Hogwarts, Don’t say Hogwarts, Don’t say Hogwarts… HOBBITS. I WANT TO EAT DINNER WITH HOBBITS.

A feast for the senses. Comfort food goes beyond just eating, what kitchen scent is at the top of your list?
I’m a huge fan of vanilla, but I think I’m going to say curry – like Stewie, oops. (Unlike the Rosa & Jo, I actually don’t like the scent of cinnamon much at all.)

Most memorable or strangest meal you’ve ever eaten?!
UM…….. This one is super hard. MOST memorable or strangest? I love food too much to answer this question. One Christmas I made a duo of handmade lasagnas. My friends and family in attendance still talk abut that being one of their favorite meals, so I’ll go with that one!

Toasty

1) What two edible masterpieces inspire your inner chef?
First off, any of Olga Noskova’s cakes. She is a genius and every cake she posts on instagram is a masterpiece. Just look at this work of art:

View this post on Instagram

Moscow never sleeps 😉#Moscowneversleeps

A post shared by Olga Noskova 🇷🇺 (@olganoskovaa) on

Second are the macarons made by Macarons by Tiffany in Hawaii. They’re so fun and colorful!

2) Timeless Treasures. What family recipe do you most treasure or covet (if you don’t have it yet)?
The only real family recipe we have is my Oma’s rouladen. She taught me how to make it a couple years ago, so hopefully I can make it well into the future! (It’s basically a roll of meat with onions and bacon stuffed inside and gravy on top)

3) In a box? With a fox? Where would you have dinner if you could partake in a fictional feast?
Any of the feasts in the Redwall books. They always sounded so delicious and amazing!

4) A feast for the senses. Comfort food goes beyond just eating, what kitchen scent is at the top of your list?
The smell of pie baking in the oven. *drools*

5) Most memorable or strangest meal you’ve ever eaten?!
Most memorable, but not strange, was when we ate at the only ramen restaurant to ever get a Michelin star, Japanese Soba Noodles Tsuta. It was a really cool experience and the only time I’ve ever eaten somewhere with a Michelin star and something I’ll remember forever!

Kimberlee

1) What two edible masterpieces inspire your inner chef?
Thug Kitchen, because veggies and fruits are beautiful AND delicious. (Also because I swear a lot too.)

Also one of my favourite ever food photographers, Sukaina Rajabali. The dishes she photographs remind me that even the simplest things can feed your spirit not just your body.

 

2) Timeless Treasures. What family recipe do you most treasure or covet (if you don’t have it yet)?
That’s a tough call. I really wish that I had been able to find my grandmother’s recipe for snow muffins, she used freshly fallen snow in the recipe (folded in to the batter as I recall) but then, there’s not much of that available as an ingredient in Alabama. I’m so thankful to have a few recipes from my mom, corn casserole being one of them. Not a complicated dish, but one that occupies dozens of memories in my childhood from huge family gatherings and feasts.

3) In a box? With a fox? Where would you have dinner if you could partake in a fictional feast?
So, while Hogwarts is the obvious answer, I would love to have high tea in basically any regency era reproduction movie, the food always looks amazing!

4) A feast for the senses. Comfort food goes beyond just eating, what kitchen scent is at the top of your list?
The smell of my mom’s apple pies cooking. Not just the scent of the apples, but the cinnamon, some brown sugar sweetness and the buttery goodness of her amazing pastry.

5) Most memorable or strangest meal you’ve ever eaten?!
The memory I’ll share today is eating koshari in Cairo, Egypt. Much like ceviche in central and south america, it can be found everywhere and every recipe is just a bit different from the one made by the next vendor.

******

Remember to share your answers to these questions either in the forums or on social media, we want to hear what you have to say!

******

Image credits for theme photo go to TheJudyLab, Thugkitchen, and MacaronsbyTiffany on Instagram, also: Gingerbread Sagas, outlanderkitchen.com, omnivorescookbook.com, original source for the Sailor Moon Bento is uncredited but possibly from a user on amelbo.jp