Although I did read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone while in my late 20s, not long after it first came out, I read it quickly and dismissively. I wasn’t that impressed. My life has been fairly Potter-less until this fall when my middle son S picked up the first in the series at the library. Now, my vocabulary has enlarged to discuss Quidditch, snitches and quaffles, along with horcruxes, floo powder and apparition. And I use these terms every day as if they were REAL WORDS!
S inhaled the first three books on his own, then we began reading the rest as read alouds. Needless to say, we have some Potter-obsessed preteens around the house. They also seem to be fully indoctrinating their four-year-old younger brother. The other day while reading a Bible story out loud, I catch G.
“And Jesus apparated to his disciples…”
“Uh, G, I think you mean appeared.” Well, what’s the difference, right?
Not long after beginning Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I created a trivia quiz loosely inspired by British culinary culture as it appears haphazardly in the series. I asked them questions during our morning time together to motivate them for the day ahead. Here are some questions: (Please keep in mind my children, though worldly and knowledgeable in Indian, Italian, Japanese and Central European fare, are woefully ignorant of British food).
BRITISH FOOD QUIZ
1. Would you rather eat…
B. Bangers and mash
2. Which item would likely appear on a dessert tray?
A. Treacle tart
B. Black pudding
C. Yorkshire pudding
3. Which unusual food combo would Brits eat for breakfast?
A. Barley or oatmeal soup
B. Scones with clotted cream
C. Beans on toast
4. What does “pop into a chippy” mean?
5. What is the actual name of a famous dish made from leftover potatoes and vegetables fried on a stovetop skillet?
A. Sizzle and snap
B. Bubble and squeak
C. Spitter and spatter
6. What are sticking out of the crust in stargazy pie?
A. Fish heads
B. Balls of dried fruit
C. Sausage and sultanas
How did you do on the quiz?
We celebrated the end of each book by watching the movie together (that is, once we put G to bed, much to his profound chagrin.)
Our latest Harry Potter activity has been to indulge in our title character’s favorite sweets – the treacle tart. We found a pretty good recipe here. Many typical local U.S. supermarkets carry golden syrup, which is the closest to what Aunt Petunia might purchase in her local shop in Little Whinging.
When everyone had eaten as much as they could, the remains of the food faded from the plates leaving them sparkling clean as before. A moment later the puddings appeared. Blocks of ice cream in every flavor you could think of, apple pies, treacle tarts, chocolate eclairs and jam doughnuts, trifle, strawberries…
As Harry helped himself to a treacle tart, the talk turned to their families.
from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, p. 93
I have to admit, however, that I did not make the shortcrust pastry. As usual, I was executing most of this on the spur of the moment. This worked out just fine for using my family’s beloved “Miracle Pie Crust” recipe, which I originally learned from my mom. It goes something like this:
1 1/2 C flour
1/2 C oil
pinch of salt
4 T milk
With a spoon or fork mix all ingredients gingerly in pie plate and press out as best you can. That’s right, just in the pie plate. Believe me. It is flaky, moist and delicious. And it “miraculously” works with everything from quiches to cream pies.
Here is how ours turned out.
Super sweet, tangy, and a bit of a cross between a chess pie and the filling of a pecan pie, it almost smells as good as the scent of Ginny Weasley’s hair.