Inspiration comes from the most varied of places, and ends up in the most varied of results
(First of all I need to apologise for the belated posting. Real life ended up getting in the way, sadly, and I brought this a day later. I still hope you all like it!)
So, I might have just started to learn how to cook.
At my age (which I will not disclose here) it was due time. In my defense, I will say that I have a mother that cooks at international-chef level, and who could kick the bums of several of said international chefs if there were to be some hypothetical showdown between them. She even enjoys it, and it shows.
But alas, a bet between sisters happened, and thus here I am. So far, my first attempt (a Bornholm salad and danish meatballs) has turned out rather nicely. Don’t know how the rest will go, but I sure shall update you all in further developments.
The thing is that I’ve been currently obsessing over creating a recipe of my own. (Basically everything that happens when I discover I’m somewhat good at a new discipline) And funnily enough the inspiration has struck when I chose this weeks’ poem: Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale.
And no, my friends, I’m not cooking a nightingale.
The recipe itself is as much at the very beginning of being created as I am in my story of cooking. But I think it would work nicely with a quail. Quails are small but delicious and all that.
As for the rest of the recipe, if you search, you can find mentions or references of food (or interpretations by yours truly) in this poem.
There is a whole stanza dedicated to wine that begins with “Oh for a draught of vintage!“. Vintage, as of general, are the wines whose grapes all come from a single year. Sadly, unlike my father, whose knowledge of wine was as legendary as his CD collection of classical music, my wine knowledge is fairly mediocre aside from the basics. Thus, this begs for further investigation to choose the wine and how to exactly use it in this plate.
This same stanza makes a reference to Provençal song, and while it is obviously not a direct reference to food, my brain instantly made the connection to the Herbes de Provence, which let’s be honest, are an excellent seasoning. Specially if you want to keep on with the theme of nature of the poem.
The next mentions come a few stanzas later, and of course, some of them require some interpretation. There’ s a reference in general to flowers, to violets, and later to two types of roses, the eglantine and the musk-rose. Surprisingly enough to, me both of those are edible, and since I’ve always liked the idea of flowers in a recipe, this begs for further investigation.
The part that needs more interpretation is the following one:
guess each sweetWherewith the seasonable month endowsThe grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
The thicket and the fruit-tree are of particular interest. After this, Keats mentions the white hawthorn, whose fruit is also edible and apparently has a similar taste to overripe apples. Which is, coincidentally, the fruit that came up to mind in with the fruit-tree mention. Probably because religious imaginery (though IMHO it would be the only instance in this poem), probably because it is the only fruit that came to mind in an english landscape.
But one has to admit that having an acidic flavor to counteract the potential sweetness of flowers or the wine sounds like a lovely idea.
The last mention is to corn, which makes me wonder how it would fit in the whole recipe. So far I have no idea at all. But I’ll sure find a way to fit it in.
And this is all so far. When I come with the actual recipe (and try it) I promise that I shall post the results here.
Sources for this post:
- Ode to a Nightingale (Wikisource)