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 AllRecipes.com 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.
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.