Monday, September 5, 2011

Not really about food (much)

Acerodon celebensis
Except for the recipe for sweet potato pancakes, which the Tall Guy wondered to me why I didn't post here.  Since I didn't have a good reason at the time for not posting it, three weeks later I have gotten around to it. Anyway, the Tall Guy and I get to spatially intersect this week. And I expect to feed him dinner tomorrow. (Early forecasts are smoked salmon with a chance of pizza, with scattered bacon wrapped dates clearing off before the entree. If what I am thinking of really works, I am going to be blogging the meal in gratuitous detail.) So I really had better post the recipe. 

A few weeks ago I had leftover mashed sweet potatoes to contend with. I now know what to do with leftover mashed sweet potatoes.  This is not a normal problem, leftover sweet potatoes.  They pretty generally get eaten up with enthusiasm around here, but the other day I made a bunch, and there was a giant salad, and hamburgers, so I ended up with sweet potatoes.

I made pancakes.

Sweet Potato Pancakes
Call it a cup and a half of mashed sweet potatoes (mine had butter, garlic, and too much nutmeg* in them), 2 eggs, 1/3 cup flour,1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking powder. Fry at a lower temp than you otherwise might do pancakes, because they come out kind of thick. Maple syrup and butter are just dandy on them, but I couldn't help wishing for something a bit sharper like plain yogurt or chevre.

So my informal recipe for sweet potato pancakes is now revealed.  However the real reason for this post is that JVW and I were emailing each other one night recently and for reasons that I attribute to the lateness of the hour and the general ambient silliness of the people involved in the correspondence, we began writing parodies of Romantic verse with fruit bats inserted willy-nilly.  JVW has asked me to post them here.  I suspect that this is a ploy to get me blogging more regularly again.  For reasons that I find utterly obscure, she thinks my recipes are funny.

In this outbreak of pastiche, Byron and Shelley were probably the most deeply wronged, and you are about to see. (If one clicks on the titles, one will be whisked to the original poems.)

It Flaps in Beauty

 It flies in beauty like the night
Of muggy climes and buggy skies
And only stops to take a bite
As past the mango tree it flies
Though you may wish it on a plate
Upon a bun and edged with fries
One wing the more, one wing the less?
Deeply impair'd the nameless grace
Which soars on tropic ev'ning breeze,
  Or, clumsy, crashes into place
among the dense papaya trees.
  How pure, how dear its little face!

That furry cheek, and markéd brow,
  So soft, so calm, yet eloquent;
The the feet that grip, that cunning toe, 
  that tells of days unconscious spent;
A mind at peace with all below,
  A heart whose love is innocent!

That was a joint effort.  What follows is definitive proof that JVW is not only sillier than I am, but she is also better at formal verse.

The Destruction of the Orchards

The fruit bats came down like a wolf on the trees
And their membranous wings sang their song on the breeze
The sheen of their claws was like sun on a pond
And their fur was bright auburn or brownish or blond
Like the locusts of Joel of each separate kind
The fruit bats flew down for the fruit they might find
Their goal was to gorge on those mangos so sweet
Then roost in the trees, hanging on by their feet
But behold! for the villagers had quite enough
They wanted to keep their papayas and stuff
Their nets were in place in the branches aloft
To catch all the fruit bats, so darling and soft
And then one by one all the fruit bats were caught
The cleverer primates had captured the lot
The fruit bats did tremble, their eyes got as big
As the eyes of the Chinese Prohibitous Pig
And some of the people said, “Stir-fry the bats!”
And some said, “Slow-cook them in monstrous great vats!”
And some said, “Fillet them and put them to freeze
And then we can eat them whenever we please!”
And while they were arguing, the fruit bats broke free
And on the night wind far away did they flee
They swore they would no more rob orchards of men
At least not until they got hungry again
The following can also be squarely blamed on JVW.  Well JVW and Percy Shelley.  (Shelley makes me want to smack him on grounds of both verse and biography, so this effusion particularly pleased me.)

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said, “Two vast and trunkless wings of stone
Flop in the desert.  Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered muzzle lies, whose crown
And outsize ears, and look of silliness
Tell that its sculptor knew with fear and dread
The hunger for papayas and the stress
Of having such a great big furry head.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Batymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my fruit, but don’t you even dare
To steal a mango.’  There is nothing more:
Behold the ruined giant frugivore.”

*My relationship with nutmeg is intense and complex. I can't stand the flavor, when I can taste the flavor.  When it is a faint trace, setting off all the other flavors in a dish, I adore it. When I explained to my friend JVW that I hated nutmeg,  she responded in tones of deep bemusement, "but you put it in all sorts of things." This is true.  As I said, it's a complex relationship, and the line between love and hate is very very fine indeed.

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