Meals to Die by, no. 17

This week we will be looking at death so truly corrupting, so horrifying, so despicable it should be banned. Quick lest our minds be perversed by such talk.

Banned Books Week is bringing this very special Meals to Die by. Lots, probably more than you realize, of books have made it to the banned and challenged list. Sure, every person who’s been a school age child knows of Huckleberry Finn; you may wonder if Lady Chatterley’s Lover could have ever avoided such a list, but did you know of books such as Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein? As a lover of books, and as a lover of establishments that sell and loan books, I perused multiple Banned Books Week displays.

Again and again I saw the tested and surviving books and then I saw the simple white background and black pen drawing of Where the Sidewalk Ends. Perusing the poems, I came to the conclusion that why, yes this book does support misbehaving, witchcraft, death, cannibalism and so much more. I wondered if it would ever end. From the very beginning it asks for liars in Invitation. In poem after poem from telling a child to believe in the possible and ignore the rules in Listen to the Mustn’ts to saying that being bad will keep a child safe in The Googies Are Coming to Me Stew where all the evils come together into one unmentionable pot. Truly, this is dark. This character willingly commits suicide and encourages cannibalism in 13 short lines. Worst of all, you chuckle. You know you do.

Stew – not me or Spicy Potato and Pea Curry
from Indian Vegetarian Cooking from an American Kitchen by Vasantha Prasad

2 tablespoons oil (I used sunflower)
1 onion thinly sliced (I used half an onion)
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
½ turmeric
2 tomatoes, chopped
10 ounce bag of frozen peas
heaping ½ teaspoon chili powder (I used hot chili powder)
½ teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lime juice (juice from half a lime plus one good squeeze around the pot with the other half)
5 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks (Hmm, what type and size potato? Based on time of night, grocery store selection and price I chose two very large russet baking potatoes.)
½ cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro for garnishing

Heat the oil in a medium sized pot. Add in the onions, ginger and turmeric and cook until the onions are soft – a few minutes. Now add in the tomatoes, peas, remaining spices, and lime juice. Cook over medium low heat for the length of time it takes to peel and chop the potatoes. Reduce the heat to low. Add in the potatoes and yogurt and cook over the low heat until the potatoes are done. This takes a while. The recipe instructs it must be low heat to avoid boiling which will result in curdled yogurt. I definitely saw bubbling. Honestly, I suspect something may have been missing from the recipe at about this point. When ready to eat garnish with the cilantro because garnishes should never be banned.

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