Chef Monica Pope writes about eating & cooking where your food lives

Hard to Swallow February 1, 2010

Pan-roasted Turnips

Green Plum Cooking School: Sat, Jan 16 and Jan 23

NOTE: The recipes used in my Green Plum Cooking School classes can be found in my online cookbook, “Eat Where Your Food Lives,” available for purchase at

“Hippo Eats Dwarf” is the title of a news report out of Bangkok that someone gave me a while ago and it stills hangs in my kitchen office. The gist of the news story is that a circus dwarf, named Od, bounces sideways on a trampoline and, by accident, ends up in the yawning mouth of a hippopotamus waiting in the wings to be in the next act. The vet explains that Hilda the Hippo has a gag reflex that caused her to swallow the dwarf, instead of spitting him out. The crowd loved it, applauded wildly, until they realized there had been a tragic mistake. I lead with this because, well, just because…tragedy happens.

It’s been a tough two weeks. I’m procrastinating writing this blog because two Saturdays ago, NOTHING happened in the class or at least I couldn’t think of anything (neither could my trusted memory keeper-researcher-assistant, Lisa). I was making my favorite dates: medjool dates stuffed with maple syrup and real Italian mascarpone, topped with pistachios and drizzled with orange blossom water. At one point, I thought that I had created a new word, “striration.” I was trying to say “striate,” meaning I wanted to leave streaks of maple syrup in my mascarpone, but I couldn’t think of the word “streak” and “striation” came to mind but came out as “striration.” While not spelled correctly, it turns out “striration” is most used (or mis-used) to mean the “ripped muscles of a body builder.”

Dates with Maple Mascarpone & Pistachios

I didn’t even make up a new word. So, I guess nothing (still) happened.



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