Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Fire Breathing Peacock 

Didn't photograph well at all. I suppose we need a better camera or a better photographer than me!

It looked really cool. And it was really quite easy to make - especially with those beer can chicken racks cheaply available at WalMart and other such stores.

I was really hoping the pictures would turn out well enough to use as the cover, but we'll just go with the photo of the cracked cauldron that inspired the name of this bakery - filled with baked goodies.

There is this about the fire-breathing peacock - using a chicken is cheap and simple and tasty, and the bulk of the feather "coat" is inexpensive enough to make from store bought feathers. The head is molded from a baked bread clay and painted to match the body. Gilding the beak with inexpensive gold leaf makes it really nifty - and has the bonus of being able to shape the beak so the cotton ball soaked with volatile liquids (in this case, cheap bourbon because that's what we had - the flame was too pale to see on film, though) burns with the flame coming out correctly.

I remember back when I first started making such spectacle foods, and used real chicken heads, the beaks almost never pointed the right way or were shaped to fit the cotton ball. Burned fingers from trying to light the mouth were common, and that's why I started keeping aloes in the kitchen.

Anyway, all the recipes have all been test cooked. Most of them have pictures, and the book itself should be constructed and written fairly soon.

The anecdotes are not limited to just food ones, although the Ent and the Strawberry Newburg is a cool little tale, as is the story of the Hamadryad, the Burping Contest, and a few other such tales. Most of the stories involve the people working at the Faire, either as the food vendors themselves, or as the performers who had something amusing happening involving food. And there are a few tales of the pets who involved themselves with food at the Faire - the wolf hybrid who loves Scottish Eggs, the Irish Wolfhound who learned to check under the tables for snacks, and more.

See, MedFaire isn't just a medieval faire with booths and performers and people dressed in medieval fashions, it's also the premiere dog show of the year. There are almost as many dogs there as people, it seems like - from the towering Irish Wolfhounds to the dinkiest toy Chihuahuas. A few cats find their way onto the Fairgrounds as well, along with pet rats, tarantulas, ferrets, and monkeys. Just wait until you read the Tale of the Monkey Food Fight.

Then there are the mythical beasts that show up at the Faire each year - the Unicorn, the Jabberwock, the Ent and Hamadryad, the Dragons, and more. They, too, have food tales.

Even the equipment has to get involved - the story of the Corn Kettle is shadenfreude at its best.

So, rather than blogging about it, I ought to get back to actually writing the book.

If you don't hear much from us in the next few days, it's because we're getting this book ready for production.

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