In a book chock-full of psychoanalysts, feminine sexual liberation, and promiscuous sex, it’s no wonder that all the foodstuffs were in the shapes of sexual organs. Let alone the fact that most German food just feels so…masculine. From oysters to thick sausages to lieberknodel (breaded balls of calf’s liver) to yeasty German beer, it’s obvious that the food in Fear of Flying is meant to remind the reader of the conflicts and themes of the novel itself. No food is innocent, no knockwurst without it’s implicit Freudian allusion. Even without the use of some of Freud’s favorite phrases like “womb envy,” the presence of the notorious German analyst is everywhere. In fact, it’s through Freud and the science that he gave birth to that we truly get to know our protagonist, Isadora Wing, as she’s constantly analyzing herself through her many psychologists’ eyes.
Barring some obscure German recipes which I didn’t think anyone would eat anyway, I decided on the menu as follows: firstly (and arguably most importantly), German beer! I also bought a bottle of German white wine, which was characteristically sweet. The main course was knockwurst with sauerkraut, and the dessert was a homemade buche de noel, or, Yule Log.
Now, this entry is a little unique because, as opposed to making most of the meal, I bought most of this one. I went to this awesome German market in Costa Mesa called The Globe where they have everything from blood and tongue sausage to Kinder chocolates. I always love to find new places in my vicinity that I have never noticed before. So, I bought the knockwurst (similar to a polish sausage), some homemade sauerkraut, and some buns, as well as the wine and beer, which my friend Gustavo picked out, as he was visiting from Mexico and attempting to try every kind of beer he could get his hands on.
I did, however, make the buche de noel from scratch. I was a little worried because it was one of those things where you have to beat the eggs just right, which always makes me nervous, but it turned out to be so easy! I didn’t even have to buy anything, except instant coffee! It was all right out of my cupboard! The recipe came from the blog Eat, Live, Run:
One thing that always kind of annoys me about cooking is that my food never looks nearly as beautiful as it looks in the picture. I’ve been practicing though, and I think I’m getting better, but I’m proud to say that in this case, I was pretty damn happy with the way it came out and how it looked! And the mocha buttercream frosting was to die for, as you can tell from Gustavo’s bogarting of the mixing spoons.
Whenever I’m beating eggs until they form soft peaks, I can’t help but be grateful for my electric mixer, which produces said peaks within seconds. I can only imagine how much longer it would take to beat the eggs by hand. Maybe bakers past had exceptionally strong biceps on their beating arms?
If you’ve never seen a buche de noel before, it gets its name because of its shape, and of course, for the simple reason that it’s traditionally served around Christmas time. The best part about making this cake is that you don’t have to cut fancy shapes out of it in order to attain it’s log-like form. You simply let it cool, frost one side with the chocolate whipped cream, and then…roll!
Pretty, isn’t it? Next time, I just have to make sure to roll it tighter. This is about as pretty as it gets, unfortunately. I had a little left over frosting and decided to make leaves, but I made the hole in the bag too big, so it wasn’t as pretty as it looked in my head. But it never is, is it? However, the taste was out of this world. It was moist and spongy like an angel food cake, but the mocha buttercream on the outside was velvety and delicious. I could of licked all the frosting right off this puppy, easy.
So the buche de noel was definitely the crowning glory of the Fear of Flying feast, but the knockwurst and saeurkraut and beer and all the rest was equally satisfying. And so ends book #3 of my 1,001 Epicurean Nights. God, this is fun.
Next up, I’m reading one of my all-time favorite books again. I mentioned it in the book review, but I think Kate Chopin’s The Awakening is Fear of Flying, only written seventy-four years before. Both female heroines strive for the same independence and sexual satisfaction that is frowned on in their societies, but because the seventies were much more sex-friendly than the Victorian age, Isadora was much more successful than poor Edna. But I won’t give any more away! Stay tuned and thanks for reading