By Melony Carey
Food by the Book
Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard, member of the Children’s Science Society of Greater London, is not your average heroine. Asthmatic and skinny, she has expended what bravery she had making it through her mother’s untimely death. But, as in all timeless children’s stories, the young can summon up the forces of good that allow them to conquer the adult evil that threatens the world.
So it is with Karen Foxlee’s new novel, “Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy.” Based loosely on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen,” the small novel also has elements of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series and Robert Pullman’s “The Golden Compass,” without so much of the underlying philosophical banter.
Ophelia and her 16-year-old sister, Alice, have come to a gloomy foreign city where it never stops snowing with their father, a renowned authority on swords. He has been commissioned to work on an upcoming exhibit on the history of swords set to open on Christmas Eve at the town’s magnificent, but strange museum. Before too long Ophelia has found an obscure door with a keyhole, behind which is trapped a small, but marvelous boy who was charged with saving the world from the evil Snow Queen more than 300 years ago. The Marvelous Boy tells Ophelia about the world’s impending doom.
With her mother’s voice guiding her, Ophelia dodges the museum’s beautiful, but sinister curator, Miss Kaminski, who has set the sword exhibit to open in correspondence with the chiming of the majestic Wintertide Clock on Dec. 24. Ophelia must race against time to help the Marvelous Boy find the One Other who can save the world from the perpetual cold of the Snow Queen.
If your children loved the Disney movie “Frozen,” they will enjoy “Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy.” Foxlee’s straightforward style is easy to follow, and at only 228 pages is very easy to read for ages 8 through 12.
Family traditions often include breakfast around the kitchen table with recipes handed down from one’s matriarchs. Try these recipes for the upcoming spring holidays from the family collection of Muskogee businessman Arch Chapman. His mother’s Schnecken recipe is surprisingly easy to make. You will want to eat the whole pan fresh out of the oven.
2 packets dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water (about 110 degrees)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup Crisco
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup scalded milk
2 stick or more melted butter
Pecans and pecan pieces
Dissolve 2 packets yeast in 1 cup lukewarm water and set aside. Cream sugar and Crisco in large bowl. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Add 2 eggs and mix together. Mix in flour and scalded milk (not boiling) alternately into the egg/sugar mixture. Add yeast and mix. Take the dough and place it in a large buttered bowl, cover with towel and place in a warm place for about 2 hours (depending on temperature) until dough doubles in size. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter two 12-cup muffin pans then place 1 tablespoon brown sugar in bottom of each cup. Place a pecan half in each tin. Remove 1/4 of the dough to a clean surface and roll out flat. Melt 2 sticks of butter. Slather the dough with butter (the more the better), 1/2 box of raisins, 1 cup approximately brown sugar mixed with a good amount of cinnamon, and pecan pieces. Roll up jelly roll-style then cut into 2 inch segments and place in muffin pan. Repeat with other pan. (I didn’t try using muffin liners, but it might work with the foil-type. This would help if you have only one or two muffin pans.) Bake in 400 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes until tops are golden brown. Repeat with rest of dough. So good.
1 pound sausage (regular or turkey)
1 package crescent rolls
1 cup frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
5 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup cream or milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook sausage in skillet until no longer pink. Unroll crescents and separate into triangles. Press into 12” pizza pan or pie plate, tips pointed inward, to form crust. Top crust with crumbled sausage, cheese, and hash browns. Combine eggs, cream, salt and pepper. Slowly pour over sausage mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake for approximately 25 minutes until eggs are set and crust is brown. Serves 8.
Can be doubled using a jelly roll pan or 9 x 13 baking dish.
Pioneer Woman Cooks Fruit
1 8-ounce container Greek yogurt
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
Assorted fruits — blueberries, raspberries, strawberries
Place yogurt in the bottom of a small bowl. Add cream and vanilla, blending well. Smooth out mixture and cover with the brown sugar. Set in the fridge for about 20 minutes until sugar is dissolving. In small individual parfait cups, wine goblets, ramekins or whatever you want to use, put a dollop of yogurt mixture (be careful to keep the distinctive sugar swirls) followed by fruit layer, then yogurt, then fruit, and top with yogurt. Source: Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays, Mother’s Day Brunch.