Recipes For Disaster
8

Blancmange: A Tale of Failure and Delight

A series about recipes that may seem odd or outmoded and yet we're curious to try!

I don’t recall the moment that blancmange first appeared in my world as a concept, but it was certainly in a book (although, spoiler, not Little Women, which I’ve never read). Perhaps Jessica Kirwin’s website Encyclopedia of the Exquisite, which devotes a full entry to the medieval dessert, essentially a milk pudding, gave me my first encounter. Or, it could have been when I had a petite crush on Maxime de la Falaise, reading anything I could come across about her online, right up to the fact that she once did an [...]

25

Is Impossible Pie Impossible?

A series about recipes that may seem odd or outmoded and yet we're curious to try!

“I'm going to make an Impossible Pie today,” I announced.

“What's an Impossible Pie?” asked my six-year-old son, just as I hoped he would for the purpose of writing this introduction. “Is it a pie that no one's ever made before?”

“No,” I said.

I was about to go on when my husband spoke up, “Well, when you think about it, every pie is a pie that no one's ever made before…"

There was a brief silence.

My son later guessed that an Impossible Pie must be "very, very hard [...]

12

How To Make 17th-Century Delights: Curd Cakes

A series about recipes that may seem odd or outmoded and yet we're curious to try!

As 17th-century delights go, curd cakes sounded good. Kinda like comfort food. When the two of us first came across the recipe, we placed bets on where curd cakes might fall on the Elegance-Meter. Were they dukes or peasants? Might (Dame) Maggie Smith have said, "What is a curd cake?" on "Downton Abbey" (back when it was good), or would she have readily ordered them up for tea? On the whole, curd cakes seem less festive than our previous concoction, whipp'd syllabub, what with the latter’s spume and special [...]

24

Chemical Apple Pie: Apple Pie Without The Apples

The first in a series about recipes that may seem odd or outmoded and yet we're curious to try!

A couple of weeks ago, in the brief throes of a fit of domesticity after spending too much time looking at pictures on Martha Stewart's website, I took the kids to a local farm and purchased a five-pound bag of Gravensteins grown in the farm's orchard. We then went home to make a delicious apple pie. While I was double-checking the ingredients we would need—other than apples, of course—I happened upon a recipe for Chemical Apple Pie. This chemical pie was supposed to taste just like apple pie without [...]

15

How To Make 17th-Century Delights: Whipp’d Syllabub

A series about recipes that may seem odd or outmoded and yet we're curious to try!

Hospitality mavens of the 1690s knew that, if you were expecting company, you’d do well to serve up a nice cold syllabub. (As the nursery rhyme goes, the queen of clubs made syllabubs.) Syllabub, a foamy, marvelous vehicle for wine and cream and froth, inspired strong feelings. “I shall hate Sillabubs as long as I live,” announces Lady Addleplot, the “a highflown Stickler against Government” in Thomas d’Urfey’s play Love for Money. John Donne has a satire about two country bumpkins who choose a too-hot custard instead of “Choice Sillabubs with Sugar hill’d [...]