The Summer Menu

DiscussãoThe Black Orchid (A Nero Wolfe Group)

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The Summer Menu

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Maio 15, 2008, 3:48 am

What does Wolfe prefer to eat in the summertime (as summer is fast approaching)? I recall that one story revolved around his need to have sweet-corn picked at precisely the right time and shipped to the brownstone.

Maio 15, 2008, 5:26 pm

I can't quite place the time of year, but weren't there specially raised and fed quail or grouse? I also don't know when shad roe is in season. Like you, the corn is a standout memory for me. :)

Maio 21, 2008, 12:00 pm

The novel Murder is Corny is inside "Trio for Blunt instruments". Yes it was in Summer:" By an arrangement with a farmer named Duncan McLeod up in Putman County, every Tuesday from July 20 to October 5, sixteen ears of just-picked corn were delivered".

I don't remember another summer menu, i'll check

Maio 21, 2008, 12:27 pm

Wolfe's speech in Too Many Cooks might give a clue, I'm not sure he mentions specific seasons though. Possibly just specific regions in America. I love that speech.

Maio 23, 2008, 3:21 pm

So, I just bought a book while visiting Boston, which gives the answer. It's The New England Table, and in the Conneticut section we find a very Wolfe-ian menu: Sauteed Shad Roe, Steamed Fiddlehead Ferns, Jazzy Brown Rice, and Lemon Pudding Cake. It says Conneticut River shad roe "turn up in fish markets in late March and early April". I am assuming other rivers in the region cannot be far off in season. It looks like very early spring.

Hopefully, tonight, I can post on some of the summer menus in The Nero Wolfe Cookbook. :) Now I must run.

Great speech, I agree, MrsLee!

Until later....

Maio 23, 2008, 11:46 pm

Well, now I want that dinner! Sadly, I'm in California and I've never heard of shad in our streams. I know they harvest Fiddlehead Ferns in S.F., but not sure if they are up here or not.

Jun 2, 2008, 11:15 am

There is also a book that mentions blackbirds, if I recall correctly, and another that mentions some other fowl fed on blueberries. Very particular was Mr. Wolfe.

I have The Nero Wolfe Cookbook at home, as well. I'm going to have to look at some of the summer dishes. And as far as I could tell, every season was shad roe season at Wolfe's table!

Jun 5, 2008, 12:54 am

The Nero Wolfe Cookbook has a recipe for a simple but wonderful summer salad, with cantaloupe and celery. Turmeric is among the seasonings. I was surprised by how good it was.

Jun 27, 2008, 1:37 pm

Ostrom, nice to have the recommendation. But did you mean coriander? It sounds more likely, if still unexpected - with its gentle, slightly lemony flavor - and I don't see turmeric in my recipe.

Lobster, shrimp, and cold beef dishes seem to head the summer-entree list. If I could afford lobster, what fun it would be! Brazilian lobster salad with a green salad of six kinds of greens and a light vinaigrette sounds lovely. Wouldn't the papaya custard (laced with coconut!) suit it?

Maybe I'll try shrimp bordelaise and what - salad beatrice? pineapple sherbet? - or curried beef roll, salad, and blueberry grunt. I think we need fried chicken and mush, with cream gravy, and three kinds of pie, for Archie; or an abbreviated version of the dinner of clam cakes, beef braised in red wine, zucchini with sour cream and dill, and avocado with watercress and black walnuts, which Lon Cohen got. :)

Maybe pork loin medallions or lamb chops with white wine, plus tomato tarts, a mixed green salad, and... raspberries in sherry cream?

Or just corn fritters with savory toppings, then sweet, and - breaking a Wolfe norm, I think - beer.

You can see how dangerous it is to let me loose with cookbooks.... ;)

Best wishes to all of you on your summer eating. I'll try to make something that would please Fritz, however small, before the season ends.

Jun 30, 2008, 9:47 pm

It might have been coriander, but I seem to remember adding some turmeric, which isn't as spicy as I expected--rather sweet. Anyway, the combination of celery and cantaloupe is inspired.