Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Completing Someone Else's Story, Books in General, Lunch and Oysters
I have just finished The Well of Ascension which is book two of the Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson and have started book three The Hero of Ages. These are excellent books and extremely well written with a completely different magical concept which totally explains why the family of Robert Jordan would ask this young author to finish the Wheel of Time Series. However, I cannot imagine anyone taking on such an undertaking. He will have to totally immerse himself in Robert Jordan's world by reading and re-reading all the previous books he has written, eleven of them, and presumably making story boards of all the characters and what they have been doing and what has happened to them in every one of these eleven books not to mention the prequel novel and the companion book. The final book is to be published in three volumes the first in November 2009. I wish Brandon Sanderson all the luck in the world with this venture but I don't envy him the job one little bit. I have seriously been thinking about re-reading these novels myself because I really don't remember what happened to everyone in all the books other than the principle characters. There are a lot of smaller stories running alongside the main one and trying to keep them straight is difficult enough for me and I don't have to make sense of it all in order to write the sequels. He does have Robert Jordan's notes and I believe an outline of where he was intending to go with the story. But what a job! I am not too keen on stories with lots of books involved for the simple reason that I figure either I or the author will not be around to finish up. Robert Jordan being a case in point. George R.R. Martin is another who's books are taking a long time and Jean M. Auel is one of the worst offenders of all. One wonders if she will ever finish her Clan of the Cave Bear series whether in my lifetime or not. I guess I have kind of got to the stage of not caring one way or the other with her novels. Pity really as the first book was such a wonderful story. There are other novelistrs who's books are so far apart, I totally forget I have read the first one. I guess I should sympathise more with the authors as from all I understand from those authors I 'talk' to, it is not an easy business to be in. However, I assume when you start on these endless epics, you have some idea of where you are going and some kind of outline planned. I've said it before, I prefer duologies or trilogies and even they can take a long time from start to finish. Maybe I should start reading only books by authors who are dead and gone and who's novels I know are completed!!! My apologies to all you authors out there who do happen to read this, I know you have a pretty difficult time of it and I know I could not do it. We are off to have lunch with some friends we haven't seen for a while. We are going to Cora's in Cambridge. We know nothing about this restaurant so will tell you about it later. Yesterday I saw a programme on Food TV with a check preparing oysters I was green with envy seeing him scarf down these lovely delicacies which I haven't eaten in a long while. Used to get lots of oysters in the Carolinas, but if you find them here they are very expensive. He made Oysters Rockefeller, which I have never eaten, and oysters on the half shell with a Mignionette Sauce, both dishes looked delightful. The last time I had oysters was at Heathrow Airport in London about 3 years ago. Only got two on my whole plateful of seafood, but they were delicious. Oysters Rockefeller Source Emeril Lagasse Serves 6 (the way I eat oysters, you would need a lot more for this amount of people) Ingredients 1. Rock salt 2. 2 1/2 dozen oysters in their shells, freshly shucked and drained, the deeper bottom shell rinsed and reserved for baking 3. 1 recipe Rockefeller Sauce Base (see below) Directions 1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Spread a 1/2-inch-thick layer of rock salt on a large baking sheet and across the bottoms of 6 large plates. 2. Arrange the reserved oyster shells on the baking sheet. Put 1 oyster in each shell and top with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the sauce, spreading the sauce evenly out to the edge of the shell to completely cover the oyster. (Alternatively, transfer the sauce to a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip and pipe the sauce over the oysters.) 3. Bake until the sauce is lightly browned and the oysters begin to curl around the edges, about 20 minutes. 4. Using tongs or a spatula, carefully transfer the hot shells to the salt-covered plates and serve immediately. Rockerfeller Sauce Base Ingredients 1. 6 ounces spinach, stems removed and rinsed 2. 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter 3. 2 3/4 cups finely chopped yellow onions 4. 1/4 cup finely chopped celery 5. 1 tablespoon minced garlic 6. 2 tablespoons Herbsaint or other anise-flavored liqueur, such as Pernod or Pastis 7. 1/2 teaspoon salt 8. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 9. 1/2 cup cracker meal or cracker crumbs 10. 5 drops green food coloring (optional) Directions 1. Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the spinach and cook until very tender and the water is green, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the spinach in a colander set over a large bowl and reserve 2 3/4 cups of the cooking liquid. Let the spinach sit until cool enough to handle, then finely chop, and set aside. 2. Melt the butter in a medium pot over moderately high heat. When the butter is foamy, add the onions, celery and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved spinach water, bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped spinach, liqueur, salt and pepper and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reduces slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the cracker meal and food coloring, and stir well to combine. Cool completely before using. The sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Have a great day.