About a month ago I was craving apples -- good, local apples harvested in season. And then, like a bit of wish fulfillment, walking through the farmers market, my eyes landed on a pile of freshly picked Gravensteins.
These first apples of the season put me in mind of a watercolor illustration by Karima Cammell from The Troll Cookbook, which she co-authored with Clint Marsh.
I've been intending to tell you about this book since it's publication last February, but now that apple-season is here, it seems the perfect time.
The Troll Cookbook acts as an instruction manual for how to prepare food as trolls do: relying on seasonal produce, guided by appetite, and enjoyment of all four senses. The recipes are organized by season, interspersed with insight into troll-wisdom, sensibilities and folk-tales. For example, this information appears under the heading Goblin Fruit: Visiting the Troll Market:
All vegetables taste best when they are fresh and grown in soil, ideally with a bit of dirt still clinging to them when they are displayed in the market. What sort of dark magic, thinks the troll, is responsible for hydroponic tomatoes grown in the dead of winter?
... Moving beyond the produce section, the troll is equally frustrated with much of the rest of the supermarket, with its aisles of packages plastered with photographs of the food inside, or worse, of happy people. Trolls appreciate truth in advertising. Not once has a troll torn open a box of cereal and found actual people to eat inside. It's disappointing.
This quote points, alas, to the one deficit in this book. Trolls are known for tossing hapless humans into their cookpots, and yet I could not find one recipe for how to cook a human among the collected recipes. This is probably for the best. Personally, I'd much rather have a book filled with instructions for preparing apples, breads & cakes, pickled vegetables, preserved lemons, rose-hip jam and warming winter soups. How about you?