May/June Cook the Books pick: “A Little White Horse” by Elizabeth Goudge

20 05 2009

I hope everyone is enjoying this lovely little fantasy novel. If you are having trouble locating a copy to buy, I can try to help you out (I’m a used bookseller by day, Crispy Cook off-hours) so feel free to shoot me an email or leave a comment below. Otherwise, most librarians ought to be able to hunt up a copy of this juvenile fantasy classic through an interlibrary loan.

If you have read the book already, read on, but for others, BEWARE: plot spoilers and book discussion lurk ahead:

J.K. Rowling has noted that this book was one of her childhood favorites, and one can certainly see where the Harry Potter author got inspiration for some of her magical descriptions and mouthwatering images of Wizard food. Goudge conjured up the character of Marmaduke Scarlet, a tiny, temperamental kitchen artist with a “ham frill” of snowy white whiskers and pointy ears, who produces majestic veal pies, picnic hampers overflowing with iced fairy cakes, jam sandwiches, and cream horns, and other hearty spreads for our heroine, Maria, her governess Miss Heliotrope, her cousin/guardian Sir Benjamin and of course, Zachariah the Cat and Wrolf the Dog.  There are so many delightful scenes of feasting, fireside dinners and teatimes that I am sure everyone will easily find something wonderful to create in their own castle kitchens. littlewhitehorse

I was not familiar with some of the British food terms in the book and enjoyed learning about parkin (a kind of gingerbread), fairy cakes (small cupcakes with decorations), rock cakes (bite-sized cakes studded with currants or other dried fruit) and syllabub (a rich and frothy eggnog-like punch).

Remember, to participate in this round of Cook the Books, all you need to do is read the book, cook up something inspired by your reading and blog about it. Be sure to let me know when your post is up by sending me an email at oldsaratogabooks AT gmail DOT com by the deadline of Friday, June 26, 2009, so I can include you in the roundup.

So what did you think of this book?

Rachel, the Crispy Cook and host of this round of Cook the Books

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13 responses

20 05 2009
Foodycat

Well, as you know I LOVE this book! And anyone who enjoyed it should also pursue “Linnets and Valerians” by the same author, which is almost as enchanting. I think I have my mother (who introduced me to it and has a dog Wiggins would recognise) convinced to have a go at this one!

20 05 2009
girlichef

Okay, I totally just skipped over most of your post (thanks for the spoiler warning)…I did find the book through an intra-library loan (is that what it was called??)…so, yay! I’m finishing up my current book so that I can start on this one…can’t wait 🙂

21 05 2009
Natashya

I have my book and am looking forward to it, just have to finish PD James’s The Private Patient first.

21 05 2009
Arlene

I have my copy and it’s next in the queue to be read. Sounds like I’ll enjoy it.

28 05 2009
DebinHawaii

OK, It finally came up in the queue and I started it on Monday. I have not had much time to read but I am loving it and about 1/2 way through it. So descriptive and enchanting. Hmm… now what to make?!?!

28 05 2009
The Cat's Mother

Count me in!

28 05 2009
Foodycat

Deb – I am struggling on what to make too. Unlike my mother who has already done hers!

30 05 2009
Arlene

Finished the book. Dare I say it–just not my cup of tea and no one was more surprised than I. I love children’s literature and used to read to classes on a daily basis. Finding the perfect book for each group was one of the greatest joys of being principal. I did fall in love with several of the characters, but it was the prose that left me cold. I’m not sure what I’ll make, but there are plenty of choices.

30 05 2009
Foodycat

Arlene, do you think it was the “Englishness” of it?

31 05 2009
Arlene

I don’t think it was that, Foodycat. I taught English lit for years and I have too many favorite British authors to count. I think it was too wordy, too descriptive…I just can’t put my finger on what it was. I felt that I should have liked it, but I didn’t.

24 06 2009
maria v

due to various committments, i wasnt able to take part in this round of cook the books, but i’m definitely reading the book when i get a chance in the winter

all the cakes you have described in your spoiler remind me so much of the typical tea house in new zealand when i was growing up there in the 1980s, it’s made me very nostalgic. they are so different to the sweets i am used to eating in greece where i live now

25 06 2009
cantbelieveweate

This one actually inspired me more than Anthony Bourdain’s book! LOL!
I’m posted with Lemon Blueberry Scones…scones always fascinated me!

26 06 2009
Claudia

I didn’t see where to enter my post, but here it is:
http://standingstraight.blogspot.com/2009/06/fabulous-ginger-cake.html

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