Hard-boiled eggs, ham sandwiches, bacon, jars of potted meat, scones and homemade jam, crusty loaves of freshly baked bread, slabs of butter, fresh farm cheese, red radishes and lettuce, apple pies, short bread biscuits and homemade lemonade. Ring a bell? There’s more –
Tongue sandwiches (that’s the giveaway), cold ham, bacon and egg sandwiches, pork pies, tinned sardines, bars of chocolate, potatoes gleaming with melted butter, jars of fresh clotted cream, fruit cake, jugs of milk, cherry tarts, and ginger beer.
(I got real hungry when I put this list together).
Food Writing must be the best thing in the world – in what other genre would you not be irked by the author’s overuse of ‘fresh’? Fresh farm cheese and fresh clotted cream are a blessing!
I first read Enid Blyton without a clue of what scones/bacon/tarts/pies were and could only hope tongue sandwiches didn’t serve real tongue. When Famous Five and Secret Seven went on their picnic/teaparties, I would re-read the list of foods they got packed, savoring every single one, slowly. As if drooling the first time wasn’t enough.
The Faraway Tree with its Land of Goodies and Birthdays was every kid’s dream treat, though after sometime I restlessly turned pages to find the Land of Stationery (there was none). I mean what about tiny, aesthetic perfect-edged Faber Castell erasers? What kid isn’t obsessed with sketchpens and color pencils? Only flavored jellies and macaroons, honey-filled pop cakes, popsicles and icecream, pound cakes dipped in white candy and Blyton’s regulars of boiled eggs, ham, bacon and cucumber sandwiches could make up for it.
But the start-of-term Great Feast fare in Hogwarts was never as tempting as a plainly-written Enid Blyton afternoon-tea menu. Roast chicken, boiled and mashed potatoes are all I recall (and the movie scene where Ron chows down chicken legs). Of course there were grand coursemeals with bacon, beef, lamb and steak, Yorkshire pudding and gravy, but I was happiest during The Burrow visits, where Molly Weasley perpetually tipped sausages and fried eggs onto plates and sent extra helpings of chicken pie flying around.
Would I want to indulge in the elaborate spreads described in books? Not really, rousing (or is it torturing) my senses is indulgence enough. And only Enid Blyton can make cucumber sandwiches seem so appetizing.
Though I’d like to taste the gruel/porridge from Oliver Twist – because the way Sister Pramila mouthed “thin watery soup“ in Class 6 English made it sound like she regularly prepared it at the convent and it was in fact delicious.
And French onion soup! There was so much of it in the Harry Potter series, it pushed me to google the recipe (I mean I’m not that kind of person). I had pictured it a faded pinkish-brown, with soggy yet not mushy half-rings of onion submerged in a thick creamy broth. Savory than sweet.
Maybe I’ll try cooking it someday.
I like soup.
PS : I think this is the most fun I’ve had making a blogpost. My salivary glands are exhausted.