Food probably never before seen at the Manse

The lobster goes into the pot

What is going on in this photo, you ask? Well, people, I’ll tell you: this is a live lobster going into the pot on the Manse’s vintage Harvest Gold stove. Which I am pretty sure is a first.

A while back I did a post about one of my favourite vegetables, artichokes, and speculated that when Raymond and I enjoyed some, freshly steamed, here at the Manse, it was very probably the first time such a thing had ever been consumed in this 126-year-old rural minister’s house. Well, there have been a few more probable firsts on the food front since then. And I have the photographic evidence!

Had someone told me when I was a kid growing up here that one day I would be eating fresh raw oysters in this very same place, I suspect I would have been hornswoggled. But here they are (and they were delicious):

Oysters

A dozen Malpeques, bought at the Metro supermarket in Belleville (and opened by Raymond). I hope you note our Blue Heaven plates!

And then there was the cheese fondue, a 1970s fad in North America that never caught on (back then) here at the Manse. And if you still think of cheese fondue as merely a 1970s fad, well, I just don’t care, because it’s the best way I can think of to eat a lot of bread and melted cheese all at once. (Well, and broccoli. For Raymond.) I’m afraid I have to tell you that the bread, a proper baguette from Première Moisson, and the cheese (raw-milk Gruyère and Emmenthal) all came from Montreal, and another time I’ll rant about the impossibility of getting a good baguette and good cheese (other than cheddar) in central Hastings County – and, for that matter, in much of Ontario.

Cheese fondue

And then there was the pizza. But not just any pizza: it was Raymond’s (Newly) Famous Pizza, on awesome homemade crust that came from a recipe in from the New York Times‘s Sam Sifton (it’s here, and here is the accompanying article; try it, and you’ll thank me!) and was made with 00 flour – very fine Italian flour that neither of us had ever heard of before and that, you guessed it, was obtained in Montreal. (You can use regular flour instead.) With the bacon, onions and mushrooms (and of course cheese) on top (not to mention a glass of chunky Italian wine), it was absolutely delicious:

Homemade pizza

And finally – the lobsters. Perhaps you’ll recall that in my post this week about East Coast mystery writer (and our friend) Hilary MacLeod speaking at the Tweed Public Library Thursday evening (May 1, 7 p.m., and you’re invited!), appropriately themed refreshments would be served. Well, among those refreshments will be lobster salad on crackers, yum! Which Raymond has made thanks to these three sea creatures giving up their lives for a good cause:

Lobsters in the sink

Live lobsters and raw oysters and cheese fondue and 00-flour pizza at the Manse, wow. Culinary craziness!

2 thoughts on “Food probably never before seen at the Manse

  1. Well, it all looks delicious! I remember when fondue enjoyed some popularity around 1970, but I can’t say I can recall anybody in the Madoc area ever saying they had lobster or oysters for supper. Most of us were having meat loaf, macaroni & cheese, that sort of thing. There is a new recipe I’ve found for baguettes and once I try it, and if I’m pleased with the way the bread turns out, I’ll let you know. It’s not Julia Child’s method, but as she said about her recipes, “if I can do it, then so can you.”

    Also, I am going to try to track down that 00 flour. There is a rice/flour vendor at St. Lawrence Market (Rube’s — they have all sorts of unusual types of flour and rice, things I’d never seen before until I started shopping there).

    Happy dining!

    • Thanks, Sash – and I look forward to news about your latest baguette efforts. I am full of admiration for you, making baguettes at home; that is so impressive. Meanwhile, thanks for making mention of meat loaf and mac and cheese – two of my very favourite foods!

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