KITCHEN CATASTROPHES #8: Boxing Day (or Close Enough)

KITCHEN CATASTROPHES #8: Boxing Day (or Close Enough)


It'll do as an introduction, I suppose. The hardest part was finding a deity of night starting with a "B". I mean, come on, I had to go Lituanian on that one. In any case, it's that most famous of holidays: BOXING DAY. Or, rather, it was. What's that? You don't know what Boxing day is? Come now, every good citizen of the English Empire knows that...excuse me, just got a tickertape telegram. Let me don the old bifocals and...Good god! India? Australia? What madness is this? The Empire, fallen? Well, this is what I get for living in what is apparently a mid-1800's African Hunting lodge. Where the hell do I find these sets?

Umm, Internet?

Well, given that once the natives learn I don't have gold to pay them, I'm in for a good thrashing, I think now would be a good time to take the old Zeppelin around to Lake Victoria, shoot me some invasive Nile Perch. Plenty of meat on the old flat-faces, and since they've caused the extinction of dozens of other species, it's the closest you can come to eating Fish Hitler. None of which is relevant to Boxing Day, my good boy. Let me explain it to your Yankee sensibilities. Plenty of people argue about the exact origin of Boxing Day, but the simplest one is this: it's Butler Christmas. See, a lord of the house like myself couldn't be expected to run a holiday like Christmas on his own, so the servants had to stay on for the holy day, but in return, I'd give them the next day off, and let them go home to their families, frequently with a box of gifts I bestowed on them. A cunning way to regift those sweaters the dowager aunt keeps sending me, right chaps? In any case, I found myself in need of a piping hot breakfast, and no manservant to make it! So I rolled up my sleeves, then rolled up the sleeves under them, removed my wasitcoat and travel vest, took a hit of my snuff box, and got to cooking.

I made myself a breakfast of Toad in a Hole, "Baked" Eggs, and, at the behest of my consumptive brother, "Gluten-Free" Monkey bread, which is as free of simians as it is wheat-based protein composites. I began with the Ape Loaf, as it would take the longest of my courses to prepare. When made by my mother, a formidable woman trained to feed 4 men who weigh nigh a half-ton between the lot of them, she uses premade pillsbury biscuit mix, from those tubes. She snaps open three tubes, separates the biscuits slices, and cuts them into quarters. UNfortunately, I could find no gluten free tube, resorting instead to a bag that promised to be "Gluten free Biscuit and Baking mix" which suggests the creators had some inventive ideas on biscuit preperation. It instructed me to mix the bag with butter to form a "coarse meal", a term I usually reserve for when I eat the beast before skinning it, or mistake the medicinal bark for my pemmican. Anywho, I blended them together until they looked like a good Morrocan beach's sand.

I threw away this bowl after this meal. DECADENCE.

That step achieved, I made a dough from the meal and good, clean, dirigible-distilled water. I worked it into 3 balls of dough, rolled a ball into a 3/4" wide snake, and cut it into little chunks. Then I rolled out another ball, and repeated. I tossed the chunks in cinnnamon and sugar, and then into a Bundt Pan, named after fabled scion of the Empire, Beatrice Beguin Bundt, known for continuing to have afternoon tea and cake through the entirety of the trying Boer Wars. The idea is to mostly fill the Bundt pan with the dough, while still leaving a modicum of room for it to rise. Much like England, this is an expansionist dish, restrained only by the amount of metal we encoutner.

The hole represents Ireland. The outside walls: Yankees.

Now, over this array of doughty British troopers, you will pour a hot syrup, consisting of something like a stick of butter and 1 c brown sugar. Maybe two sticks of butter. I've misplaced the recipe. Such things are for limited minds, like those who had me cast out from the Royal Academy. Fools! There will be a reckoning! My Fear-Powered Rocket Sled was brilliant! The faster it went, the more afraid the occupant! LIMITLESS POWER. Once I figured out a way to stop it, we would have been able to save young Winthrope. Not my fault the boy lacked moxie. In any case, melt the butter, dissolve the sugar into it, hit it with some cinnamon, maybe nutmeg, and boil that until it gets sticky and thick, then dump it on the dough. Thow all of it in a 177 degree ove-what? No, of course I used Celsius. What else would I use? Kelvin? ...Farenheit. You're telling me the majority of my readers use that Imperial measurement crap, while even the bloody EMPIRE went metric? Fine. Fine. Nearly had an apoplexy there. I guess you can use a... 350 degree oven. for around half an hour. 40 minutes perhaps. Take it out, and flip it over, and you'll get something like THIS:

Monkey Bread. Or Monkey Puzzle Bread. Or African Coffee Cake, or pinch-me loaf, or...

That out of the way, we'll make Baked Eggs. So named because you cook them in a microwave. SCIENCE. For this, you'll need Pyrex dishes, thin beef slices, eggs, cheese,salt/pepper,  and milk. While I could explain to you the entirety of the recipe, I've been practicing my visual shorthand, and condensed the entirety of the precooking procedures into a single image.

Had Mina Harker shorthand like this, she'd have never faced that beastly Count.

That accomplished, wrap in plastic wrap, and microwave 2 eggs at a time for 2-3 minutes, increasing the time as you increase eggs. The goal is to have an egg with a not-completely cooked yolk, but set whites. And the beef crisps up and makes a little dish! Inventive.  Next up, Toad in a Hole.

Toad-in-the-hole in proper British cuisine is sausages in a Yorkshire pudding, with vegetables and onion gravy. Which is far too involved, and uses too much greenery for my tastes. So we're making Toad-in-A-Hole, a recipe taught to me by my grandfather. So named, because as we all know, when eggs go bad, they turn green, they thicken, and eventually they turn into toads. The recipe preclucdes that by eating the egg fresh. It goes like this: Heat pan. Butter slice of bread. Using a glass, cut a hole in the center. Fry the bread for a minute on the pan, and then crack an egg into the hole. Wait until the egg is set, and adheres to the bread, then flip.

And you ruined it. Jesus on the Cross, are you an idiot.

Having shamed yourself and your grandfather, you finish that slice shamefacedly, and hurredly put it aside. This next one will be better. Things will go your way. Stiff upper lip, don't let Umbubu see your pain. (Umbubu is my personal manservant. I'd say it's unlikely he can see YOUR pain, but the man has surprised me before.) Fry the bread. Crack the egg. Wait longer. wait longer. Jesus, this has to be too long. Flip it! Flip it now before you burn it!

We probably could have waited longer.

Once you've gotten the bread, take the circle you cut out of it, butter it, toss in in cinnamon and sugar, and fry that. It's like a donut, but without a hole. I call it a wudnut. The first u is long.

And there you have it. Your Monkey Brain Loaf, Toad in A Hole, and Baked eggs. Every part of that dish falsely named, each non-Vegan, and one Gluten free. Make yourself a heaping plate of Imperialism, and wash it down with a glass of milk. Or beer.

I chose milk.

Next time, I don't inexplicably turn Steampunk or British. Probably. Ok, only maybe. Look, I wouldn't bet against it.