Tuesday, January 7, 2014
What would Josephine eat?
My copy of Heather Webb's book, Becoming Josephine, arrived in the mail yesterday. I pre-ordered it months ago when I first met Heather on this blog. She commented on one of my posts back in June. I had found another lover of France. We all seem to be kindred spirits.
This will be my second Josephine book. I read The Rose of Martinique by Andrea Stuart last fall. I have Sandra Gulland's trilogy at home waiting for me, courtesy of IronWoman. I really didn't know much at all about Josephine before reading Ms. Stuart's book. Josephine was a fascinating woman. Ms. Arizona visited Malmaison when we were in Paris in 2012 and has talked about Josephine for quite some time. Now I want to visit Josephine's home. I went on-line and checked out how to get there from Paris.
So I found myself thinking about Josephine's childhood in sunny Martinique on the coldest day of the year and the coldest day we are likely to have for a while. Truthfully, I really never wanted to know what a polar vortex is. Asheville, where Son #1 is now living and working, made the CBS Evening News tonight because of the low temperatures and loss of electricity for many of its citizens. Luckily, not Son #1.
What would Josephine eat? Pineapples are a very important crop in Martinique.
Fresh, canned, juice. I love pineapple. L'ananas in French. My students think this is a very funny word. Sometimes I hear the s pronounced, sometimes I don't. Weigh in on this one, Frenchies, please. Back to my pineapple. It just so happens that GB, one of my buddies at school, stopped me after the bell rang yesterday and asked what seemed to be a weird question. He asked me how I cut pineapple. I had to confess that I don't really. Too much of a mess. So, he pulls out a box with a little gift in it for me.
With a gleam in his eye, he promised me that this truc (do-dad) would amaze me. So, I graciously accepted the box even with IronWoman making jokes about GB selling stuff out of the back of his Gator. I stopped at Harris Teeter on the way home to pick up a couple of things, including a fresh pineapple so that I could take this thing for a test drive.
Nothing to it!
Just center it and twist. Voilà!
and a stack of pineapple rings in about 30 seconds.
Delicious. Now I can close my eyes and pretend to be in a warmer climate as I settle down to read about the future Empress of France as she dreams of leaving Martinique for Paris. We have that in common. I too am dreaming of Paris. 8 days.
I think I will make a cake. That is, if I save enough of the pineapple slices...
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
2 Tbsp. butter
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
2/3 c. milk
1/4 c. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Melt the 2 tablespoons butter in a 9 x 1 1/2-inch round cake pan. Stir in brown sugar and 1 tablespoon water. Arrange pineapple in the pan. Set pan aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, granulated sugar, and baking powder. Add milk, the 1/4 cup butter, egg, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Spoon batter carefully over the pineapple in the prepared pan.
Bake in 350˚F oven for 30-35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Loosen cake from pan; invert onto a plate. Serve warm.
Bon appétit, Josephine et merci, GB!!