It is time again for a Cook the Books post!
Cook the Books is hosted by Rachel, Deb and Jo, and is a book club for the
avid, ardent, impassioned, and zealous literary foodie. Everything we have read has been an awakening for me on some level. (Check out my older posts here.) This selection brought back very fond memories from childhood with Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Some films from childhood stay with you. In my case, these would have to be Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Dahl wrote the screen play for this as well), The Sound of Music, and of course, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I am referring to the 1971 classic with Gene Wilder not the Johnny Depp one—can you guess my age now? Ding, ding ding: You are correct—-I am 29! (The Oompa Loompas are now singing the “face up to reality” song for the unrealistic, unruly adult.)
So it was an odd revelation that I had never read Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory since I loved that film so much. (We never missed that annual re-run.) How did I make it to adulthood without not having read this classic?
I borrowed the book from our school library and jumped in. I love Wilder’s wild Willy Wonka from the film and as I read the book, I could see how well Wilder portrayed this eccentric confectionery genius. In fact, I was very impressed with how all the actors nailed their characters, especially Grandpa Joe and Charlie. They really made them come to life from the pages of Dahl’s book.
I was anxious to read the Violet Beuregarde “incident” because I so vividly remember the scene where Violet swells up like a big purple beach ball in the film. (This of course after she swipes Wonka’s best held secret and newest invention.)
These are the tastes that selfish and gum-chewing brat discovers and relishes as she chews the ultra-secret and experimental Dinner Chewing Gum which ultimately leads her to the fateful blueberry balloon-like incident:
- Tomato soup
- Roast beef and baked potato
- Blueberry pie
- Ice cream
Any of these would have been fantastic recipes to play with for this CTB post, but I had to go for the ice cream. And as I read through all the fantastical (and calorific) treats in Dahl’s book, I couldn’t help but wonder what Charlie might be doing with that factory today. In fact, I kept reading thinking, “OMG, what about all the calories and refined sugar these kids were taking in!!!!”
How would Charlie “healthify” the Chocolate Factory?
If Charlie wanted to make his treats healthier (and if he shopped at Whole Foods), this is the dessert I think he would end that gum with today! (This recipe is actually based on one I found on the Whole Foods website.) Charlie would actually be an adult by now, so I added a bit of an adult twist to this treat.
Frozen Dark Sweet Cherry Yogurt with Chocolate and Amaretto
Based on Whole Foods Cherry Frozen Yogurt
1 lb. dark sweet cherries, frozen
2 c. plain Greek yogurt
1/4 c. agave nectar
2 T. fresh lemon juice (I used some Meyer lemons that I had on hand—nope not from our green house tree.)
2 T. Amaretto
1 to 2 cups grated high quality chocolate (I grated up an entire 9.2 oz. bar of Scharffen Berger chocolate. I used two cups but will use the rest in cookies or some other fine confection.)
Place cherries, yogurt, agave, lemon juice, Amaretto and 1 cup grated chocolate in a food processor and pulse to incorporate. Place in ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturers directions. (At this point while it is freezing, you can add more chocolate if you desire.)
I could have done this with blueberries in true regard for Violet, but I really wanted to incorporate chocolate and what goes better with chocolate than cherries? And the color—-the color reminds me so much of Violet’s demise as a purple balloon.
As always, this ice cream was a hit with us.
(And, since we are still purging our freezer, the cherries came out for our Clean Out.)
Please join CTB for the next round:
Jo from Food Junkie Not Junk Food will wind up our spring with her foodie history pick of United States of Arugula: The Sun Dried, Cold Pressed, Dark Roasted, Extra Virgin Story of the American Food Revolution by David Kamp. From the author’s site: United States of Arugula is a book about one of the happiest developments of our time: the quantum leap forward in food choice, food quality, and culinary sophistication in America in the last sixty years or so. The book examines not only the social forces that effected this transformation, but the visionaries who changed American food for the better: among them James Beard, Julia Child, Craig Claiborne, and Alice Waters.” We should all find plenty of inspiration to cook from this fun look at the world of food.
The deadline for your entry for United States of Arugula is Monday, May 28th.
Thanks, Deb, for choosing this book. I enjoyed revisiting my childhood.