Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Fritz's Bread



When asked 'what fictional characters would you most like to dine with', I actually have an answer.

I'm terrible at making lists of favorites: people, songs, movies, whatever. But this one...I can do this.

If someone were to wave their magic wand or whatever magical item required, I'd want to sit down and enjoy a meal with Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, and Nero Wolfe.

Yes, I'm a mystery fan. I've read all three, still do. Their sleuthing techniques are a bit different from each other, and I'm sure the conversation would be both lively and intense, at intervals, as they discussed their methods.

But the real reason I'd invite these crime-solvers to dinner is the fact all three were interested in food.

It wasn't necessarily at the forefront, in the novels, but give them a read and you'll discover the attention to food detail.

Holmes and Watson try out a new vegetarian restaurant. Poirot goes to great length to set the perfect table for a special guest.

And Mr. Wolfe? Well, for him, it was always about the food.

Nero Wolfe and his long-suffering chef, Fritz Brenner, talked about food all the time. How many cardamom pods were acceptable in a dish. Whether or not to use juniper berries.

The meals Wolfe and Archie Goodwin ate were detailed in the stories, and some years back, the author, Rex Stout, offered fans of the detective series a real treat: The Nero Wolfe Cookbook.

The book is filled with the recipes mentioned throughout the Wolfe books. Main dishes, breakfast treats, sides...everything.

I've made four or five things from this book, and every one was a winner.

The most recent: Fritz's bread. To paraphrase Archie Goodwin, when Fritz dies, Wolfe will never eat bread again.

This bread is pretty darn good, I'll give him that.

Very solid, sandwich bread. It makes small loaves, but it works. Really good flavor. Dense.

This recipe requires three risings, but it was worth it. Not necessarily difficult, just set aside a few moments of your day for kneading and the like.

This also made the most excellent French toast.

Now, I very much doubt I'd give up eating bread if this were unavailable to me, but it's a pretty darn good loaf.

Blog Party#19 is under way, and this month, we're taking Comfort in our favorite feel-good foods. Turn your favorite comforting treats to appetizers by Thursday, 15 February (thehappysorceress at gmail dot com), and hope to see you there!

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12 Thoughts for food:

At 11:35 PM, Blogger Elle said...

Stephanie, I love mysteries, too. The early Spencer series by Robert Parker had some great sections where he cooked and talked about food. Nero Wolfe was a favorite author years ago, but I should read him again with more notice of the food. I remember the orchids, too.
Bread is ALWAYS wonderful if it's good bread.

At 11:39 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Elle; did you ever watch the TV series? Maury Chaykin and Tim Hutton, as Wolfe and Goodwin, respectfully...just brilliant. Love every episode.

I'd never given orchids much thought till I got into Rex Stout, that's for sure.

And yes...Nero Wolfe was ALL about the food!

At 9:51 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

Beautiful loaves. Farmgirl Susan, KitchenMage, and I are starting a bread blog next month calledA Year in Bread.

At 10:30 AM, Blogger Brilynn said...

I love that you actually have a response to that question. I also love bread. I would eat various breads for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Throw some pasta into that mix too and it's carb-tastic!

At 9:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That bread looks so very good!

At 12:07 AM, Blogger Elle said...

Ahh old brain, confusing Wolfe and Stout. Both great reads. Yes, I'm pretty sure I saw the TV show, although not every episode. My parents 'broke' our TV when I was 8, so I only was able to watch TV now and then at a friends house until I was into babysitting, many years later. Imagine all the American culture I missed. Did A LOT of reading instead.

At 1:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks fantastic! Looks like it has a nice, tight crumb!

At 3:42 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thank you, Kevin!

Oooh...that sounds like fun. I'll definitely be dropping by.

At 3:44 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Brilynn; I'm rather surprised, myself!

I'm lousy at the 'name your favorite...' questions, and pretty much any other form of 'make a big list' demands.

But this one? This I can do.

And by the way: you would be most welcome in our home. We're very carb-friendly here!

At 8:18 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

thanks, Kristen...it really was!

At 8:23 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Elle, no worries.

Actually, the show only came out in 2001, so we can let your folks off the hook for this one!

But I feel for you: my parents were reliqious zealots for a time (mainly my teen years, yippee for me), and about the only thing my sisters and I were allowed to watch were Disney films and reruns of the Cosby Show & the Brady Bunch!!

Books were my friends, too.

At 8:23 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thanks, Ellie! It was a remarkably good loaf.


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