Thursday, April 15, 2010

Remembering Farmer Boy, Painfully

"I'm not Almanzo," Emma said, sighing heavily as she backed away from the breakfast table, gripping her stomach. She had eaten half of her breakfast. Some time after the third or fourth bite she had suggested that we might need to go work in the fields.

I had made apple pancakes, incorporating our butter, real buttermilk, and yard eggs, and she and I had coated these terribly dense, steaming rounds with more butter and homemade fromage blanc and cinnamon sugar. We sucked down great draughts of creamy milk in between bites.

Of course, the "Almanzo" that Emma was referring to was Almanzo Wilder, specifically his boyhood as recounted in Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It's been years since we read it, but Nathaniel, Emma, and I vividly remember with reverent awe the incredibly huge and varied meals Almanzo's family consumed on a daily basis. Here's an excerpt from the book that is featured on this literary food blog.

[...] Almanzo ate the sweet, mellow baked beans. He ate the bit of salt pork that melted like cream in his mouth. He ate the mealy boiled potatoes, with brown ham-gravy. He ate the ham. He bit deep into velvety bread spread with sleek butter, and he ate the crisp golden crust. He demolished a tall heap of pale mashed turnips, and hill of stewed yellow pumpkin. Then he sighed, and tucked his napkin deeper into the neckband of his red waist. And he ate plum preserves and strawberry jam, and grape jelly, and spiced watermelon-rind pickles. He felt very comfortable inside. Slowly he ate a large piece of pumpkin pie.

Nathaniel skipped the fromage blanc and the milk and was able to put away three pancakes while still feeling "very comfortable inside".

Smart boy.

Emma and I suffered with the feeling of an immense weight in the core of our beings, that prevented us from doing anything other than groaning for a good half hour.


Eliza said...

Heavy sigh...

Fotofule said...

My word! I gained 5 pounds just reading this post! Sounds divine, Miss Wen :)

Wendy Haught said...

This diet is definitely not to be embarked upon without a full day of plowing behind a team of oxen.