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The Prodea Cookbook, by Steven Posch and Magenta Griffith [Apr. 25th, 2014|10:41 am]
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Review copy provided by author (Magenta Griffith).


The full title of this book, which would have made for a very long blog post title, is The Prodea Cookbook: Good Food and Traditions from Paganistan’s Oldest Coven. I am not a pagan, but I am a cook, and when Magenta heard me talking about doing book reviews at Minicon, she asked if I only review science fiction and fantasy. “Not at all,” I said. She already knew that I was not a pagan from previous conversations, and so this interfaith collaboration/book review was born.


And thus the other night found me staring at the hockey game saying dreamily, “Those pagans sure know how to cook an eggplant.” (The key is that the recipes for eggplant dips in this cookbook call for the eggplant to be roasted longer and hotter than what I’m used to, which is entirely a good idea. Also cayenne is the other thing my previous eggplant dips were missing. This stray observation did, however, confuse Timprov as to what, exactly, I knew about Dany Heatley that he did not, or what metaphor I was using for the Colorado Avalanche’s maroon uniform, or something.)


Also in the highly useful category: the lentil and spinach soup. I keep trying to get the internet to tell me something to do with lentils that isn’t in the dal suite of flavors for when I don’t want that, and the internet was not being optimally useful. Basil in lo, great abundance. Thank you, Prodea. The other thing that I greeted with cries of joy: the oat-flour banana bread that looks like I will be able to make my cousin a gluten-free banana bread that is still made out of food and not artificial food-like products. Hurrah.


There are essays and stories interspersed with the recipes that will probably be of limited practical use to the non-pagan cook, but on the other hand I can’t see why they should upset the non-pagan cook either. If being exposed to someone else’s faith traditions and stories while finding out how to make a pretty tasty barley mushroom dish is going to be a problem, I suspect it’s a problem with you and not with this cookbook.


It should be noted that I am nearly physically incapable of following a recipe, but that’s not a slur on any one cookbook, that’s a personality trait. So if you pick up a cookbook I liked and say, “I looked at that recipe, but it had carrots and I don’t like carrots,” I am likely to look at you in bafflement and say, “Don’t make it with carrots, then; what are parsnips for?” and so on down the list.




Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux

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[User Picture]From: magentamn
2014-04-25 04:38 pm (UTC)

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Glad you liked it. It's available from Lulu, and if you are in the Twin Cities, Eye of Horus Bookstore on Lyndale.
[User Picture]From: wshaffer
2014-04-25 05:52 pm (UTC)

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I might have to pick that up just for the eggplant recipes. (I am used to roasting eggplant relatively low and slow for dips, although I do roast slices of eggplant at quite high heat and stuff them in pita with garlic-yogurt sauce.)

And one can never have too many recipes for delicious gluten-free baked goods.
[User Picture]From: brithistorian
2014-04-27 03:00 am (UTC)

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Given the nature of book titles, I waited until I got into your review before assuming that this actually was a cookbook. I'm glad to see that it is, and it definitely sounds like a good one. Since I don't know much of anything about cooking eggplant, and since I only know one way of cooking lentils, it sounds like this would be a good book to pick up. Thanks for recommending it. :-)
[User Picture]From: sam_t
2014-04-28 03:18 pm (UTC)

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Are you OK for lentil-related recipes now, or would you like more suggestions? I have a couple of things that aren't either dal or soup, if that would be useful.
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-04-28 03:38 pm (UTC)

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Always glad for more recipe ideas. Go ahead.
[User Picture]From: sam_t
2014-04-28 04:04 pm (UTC)

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With Puy lentils (or other dark-coloured whole lentils) I often do something along the lines of 'cook lentils with aromatics, combine with herbs, olive oil and two assertively-flavoured ingredients'. Something like this:

Rinse lentils, cook in vegetable stock with bay leaf until just tender. Drain.

Meanwhile, sweat finely chopped onion and/or finely chopped celery and/or finely chopped carrot and/or sliced garlic in olive oil until soft. Add chopped fresh thyme and/or rosemary (and/or fresh oregano/marjoram right at the end).

Stir in cubes of cooked beetroot, warm through, and add cubes of feta just before serving. Or chunks of roasted parsnip and cooked pork sausages. Or Spanish chorizo and sliced kale (add a bit of water and put a lid on until kale is cooked). Or sun-dried tomatoes and goat's cheese. Or mushrooms cooked with the onions, spinach stirred in until just wilted, and some sliced cooked new potatoes. Or slice the onions and cook until really sweet and caramelised and add rocket/arugula and a splash of balsamic vinegar at the end. And so on. Most of these work just as well at room temperature, sometimes with an extra splash of olive oil, or would work as the bottom of a shepherd's pie-type-thing.

That sort of turned into me listing ingredients I like. Hopefully it was slightly more useful than that... here's a lentil and sausage thing written up as a proper recipe.

I've also got a recipe for a red lentil/cheese/grated carrot bake but I can't remember how to make that off the top of my head. I can look it up if you're interested.
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-04-28 06:18 pm (UTC)

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Hmm. We have a little leftover andouille. Hmm.

Sadly, I am allergic to grating carrots in any quantity, where by allergic I mean far too lazy. I am willing to do immensely complicated things in the kitchen, but standing and grating carrots just never seems to make the list. If it can't be done with sliced or pureed carrots, it just never seems to happen to me.
[User Picture]From: rosefox
2014-04-29 04:23 am (UTC)

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This is what a food processor with a grating blade is for!
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2014-04-29 11:08 am (UTC)

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Yeah, our food processor has some advantages but some pretty big disadvantages too.
[User Picture]From: sam_t
2014-04-29 08:35 am (UTC)

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I don't mind grating carrots - much easier than grating cheese because carrots are firmer - but am less fond of cleaning up after grating carrots. I'm not sure whether it's me or the grater or inevitable, but bits of carrot seem to go everywhere.
[User Picture]From: mamapduck
2014-05-09 05:59 pm (UTC)

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And thus the other night found me staring at the hockey game saying dreamily, “Those pagans sure know how to cook an eggplant.”


Hee! :)