The Book of the Pun Cow

3 11 2010

No, the title of this post is not a typo. It’s what happens when a book group hostess is driven to last resorts.

Tuesday evening I hosted a discussion of Walt Wangerin’s wonderful story, The Book of the Dun Cow. If you read my recent post on The Master’s Artist about Making a Book Group Fun, you know we always serve food at our monthly meetings. Here’s what I wrote:

“We begin our meeting with the meal. This can be as elaborate or simple as the hostess decides to make it. Some print sentences or paragraphs from the book on cards, indicating the passage that inspired each dish. Others take a more general approach, preparing traditional dishes that would have been standard fare for the author or characters. We’ve had a Russian feast (Dostoevsky), Southern comfort food (O’Connor and others), and British high tea (Austen, Lewis, et al). We always have chocolate in some form.”

This being our MO, I read Dun Cow on the constant lookout for any mention of food. When I turned the last page and tallied the results, the foods mentioned had reached a grand total of zero. Oh sure, once or twice the animals “fed,” but on what I knew not. Also, the ants were praised for their under-the-radar food-toting skills, but they never marched into a single scene with a variety of tasty casserole dishes balanced on their backs.

No matter, I thought. I could always go with the author’s traditional fare. A quick glance at Wangerin’s bio revealed he was born in Portland, Oregon. Ah, yes. Portland. Famous for foods such as . . . hmmm. Okay. He’s also Lutheran, which could mean lutefisk, but lutefisk is made from fish, and I’d already decided there would be no meat at this meal. I mean, hello. After reading a book peopled with talking animals, eating any kind of meat would be like eating your friends.

At this point I considered settling for a nice pot of vegetable soup, salad, and rolls, but it felt like defeat. My only consolation was the idea I’d had for dessert. I wanted to make Macaroons and put a sign on them that said, “MACAROOOOOONED!” (If you’ve read the book, this will make perfect sense to you.) That plan was the only bright spot in my book group refreshment dilemma.

Tuesday morning dawned and I still hadn’t made  a final decision. I’m not ashamed to tell you I’d even prayed for a creative idea, but so far, nothing. I logged on to and started typing related phrases into the search bar. “Chicken feed” brought up no results. (Can you imagine?) I don’t remember my exact train of thought, but MACAROOOOOONED kept nosing its way into my consciousness, and I started toying with using plays on words for all the dishes. I picked up the book and flipped through it for ideas, and then it happened. One of those little light bulbs appeared above my head. Of course! THE BOOK OF THE PUN COW!

Our meal came together, one pun at a time.

The Three PINeapplesS came.

BARE PITA (Hare Pika — this was the biggest stretch, but I wanted Simply Naked Pita Chips for the hummus, so you do what you have to do.)

And Seven LAYER Dip that roosted cozily in its little tortilla chip nests.

For dessert we enjoyed the company of Lord TRUFFLES, a Fox of Good Sense, and of course we were MACAROOOOONED!

And finally, if anyone was still hungry, they were welcome to a sCOOP of Death by Chocolate Ice Cream. As it turned out, no one wanted to die. The Pun Cow had satisfied our tummies and we were ready to discuss our book.

If you haven’t read The Book of the Dun Cow, I highly recommend it (and not just so you can understand my silly puns). You can read more of my thoughts about the book today on The Master’s Artist.



10 responses

4 11 2010
Tina F

I read your post over at TMA. Love this one! Your book clubs sound fun.

4 11 2010

Thanks, Tina. Loved your comment on TMA. We do have fun at our book group!

4 11 2010
A Simple Country Girl

I reckon I will check out the other site soon… I am on my way out to sCOOP some manure–in my pajamas and rubber boots. Lovely, I know.

As a vegan, I love your non-animal meal! 😉


4 11 2010

I’ll definitely pass on one of your sCOOPs, but I’m sure you look darlin’ in your jammies and boots. 🙂

4 11 2010

Your book club knows how to dish in style! YOu sound like a fun bunch. I’ve never read this book, but you make me curious. Especially with the “Macaroooooned!” 🙂

4 11 2010

If you love beautiful, poetic writing (which I have every reason to believe you do), you would LOVE this book. Good gravy, it’s gorgeous. Oh, and MACAROOOOONED will make sense by the third page. 🙂

4 11 2010
Kirsten Wilson

Jeanne, I think I love you. Not in the weird stalker sort of way. But in the you made me laugh out loud while I was trying to get my daughter settled down to sleep (oops!) sort of way. The Book of the Dun Cow is a wonderful book–I love it dearly. What a delightful inspiration to go with pun-food for your book club. I thought I would come unglued at the idea of MACAROOOOOOONED!!! Hahahaha! Complete and utter brilliance. Way to go.

4 11 2010

Thank you, Kirsten. I admit I was rather pleased with myself. It doubles the fun when other people appreciate my humor as much as I do. 😉

5 11 2010

You are so clever.

22 11 2010
deb@talk at the table

I so have to find a book group in my area.

this is beyond brilliant. and I will note the book as well.

(catching up …. don’t hate me ;(

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