Cumberland Sauce

I am such a WEENIE!!!! I chickened out again and decided to focus on a sauce. K asked me the other night how I determine which recipes to make. “By the one that makes me cry least”, I said. They all really really frighten me.

Anyway, what I made tonight was a Cumberland Sauce. There were several different versions, so I went for the longest one. It makes about two cups and Joy (that’s what I’m calling her — the cookbook) says that it’s a “classic formula for cold ham and game (which includes squirrels). The sauce may be served cold. For quicker currant jelly sauces, see opposite.” Oh wait, forget that last part. You can’t see the opposite.

(click to make recipe larger) In this photo, there are two versions offered, I made the top one.

I laid out my ingredients, threw on my new (old — 1940s) apron, and went to work. Then I dumped flour on my face to up my self esteem.
Never did find red currant jelly and ended up replacing it with red plum jelly. Don’t ask me the basis for my decision. I have absolutely no idea, except that it looked the most curranty (whatever that looks like.)

Throw in all the spices and then add wine.

One for the pot….

…and one for the chef.
I’d upload a clearer shot, but this is a good representation of what I was seeing after 43 redo photos of me drinking from the bottle. If the flour didn’t help give me confidence to forge ahead, this certainly did. Well at the very least, it made me smile during the rest of the sauce-making. Permagrin Carolyn, that’s me.

Drop in the cornstarch mixture…

…along with grated lemon and orange rinds. Be sure to drop the whole fruit into the pot thirty times just to remind you to not drink while cooking.

And voila! There you have it. We bought some roast beef and drizzled the sauce over.

My thoughts? It wasn’t bad, but I think this is better suited for a fall/winter dinner. Again, purely preference, but the cloves gave it a distinct Christmasy vibe, which I love…around Christmastime. Other than that, I would try to make your own roast so that you can cut it up in thick chunks as opposed to the thin deli slices we have. Letting the sauce seep into the meat would make the dish that much tastier, I think.

Thanks again for following. One of these days I’ll bravely turn to the Meat section!


I kind of cheated with this first recipe, since I knew no stove burners nor oven sheets would be needed. Here’s the recipe. I modified it by removing the onion since R will not even sit in the same room as one. He can tolerate a green pepper, but just barely.

Just so we’re clear here, I’m no chef. But I like to cook, so you do the math. Yeah, I know. It doesn’t add up.
I lovingly placed all the ingredients out and bookmarked the Gazpacho page.

Then I started the prep work. We’ve been replacing out our knives little by little and currently do not own a chef’s knife. It’s been killing me, so I’ve had to make do with our serrated one…dragging instead of chopping.

The recipe said you could dice up the veggies or use a blender. I chose the blender, but later regretted it. The soup came out too pulpy. But this is purely your preference…I’m an extremist with soups… I want the soup creamy or I want crunchy bits. Nothing in between. And this was definitely in between. R, on the other hand, enjoyed the texture.

I poured the soup into a bowl and added the parsley. Does the parsley look chopped? Because it wasn’t. Chef’s knife just got added to my store list.

I think I’ll also add a new camera to that list too. If you didn’t read the title, would you have thought I was making chilli? I swear I had every light on too.

I had doubled the recipe to freeze some for later and used our extra ice cube trays to store the rest of it. If I want some later on, I can just pop out how ever many individual ice cubes I need and put it into the fridge to defrost. If it were a hot soup, then straight into a pot to reheat.

R broke our rule of not buying bread and brought home some french bread. Oh, it was so good. Threw in some ice cubes for an extra swirl of cold in your mouth, and there you have it. Gazpacho! My first Joy of Cooking recipe. Yes!


I thought I’d take you through my kitchen, since I’ll be in at least once a week. We’re still trying to think of creative storage solutions, so feel free to leave feedback and ideas. But please try not to be jealous of my glorious kitchen, it will be very unbecoming of you.

So you walk in from the living room and pass by random end tables that are housing about 1000 too many wine glasses. Do we have that many friends in Arkansas yet? For some reason I feel the need to keep them “on hand.” You know, just in case a party breaks out last minute.

And then you cross into the sink area. I’m sure the mirror was installed to make it look bigger, but it just accentuates how close the cabinets are behind you. So, in the end, you feel more claustrophobic than if no mirror were present.

What’s that drawing on the fridge?
Oh, just one of my favorite drawings by R. He actually is awesome artistically. His feet are exaggerated in this because I tease him of having “Froto feet”.

And then lastly, you turn around, bump into the stove and look out into the living room while making pancakes. There you have it. This is where the magic will happen.

Joyful Wednesdays

I was wandering around an antique store trying to find a table for our bathroom linens (no luck), when I came across this cookbook: The Joy of Cooking. My friend K had suggested the Better Homes & Garden one since it uses basic ingredients for most of its recipes and because we don’t have a microwave (my knee-jerk reaction to use it is slowly fading and it’s given me the excuse to buy vintage Pyrex refrigerator dishes). These would be the best for me at the moment. I found a BH&G cookbook at the store as well, but it being $12 and this one being $2 made the decision for me.

So, here’s what I’ve decided to do. I’m going to go through one recipe a week (or more) from this cookbook. Not only because I think it will get my cooking motor going, but also b/c my life is stagnate at the moment and I need something to write about. (Also, this was the premise for the new Julia & Julie movie and so I have to copy it.)

Prepare yourselves for some really bad lighting, smoky kitchens, and overly-salted foods. Did I mention that on page 515, it shows you how to skin a squirrel? No literally, there’s a drawing of a boot stepping on a squirrel’s tail while you pull the rest of the skin upwards. My stomach just turned. I’m definitely not feeling joyful at the moment.

We’ll call these wonderful experiences Joyful Wednesdays. Up first, Squirrel Soup.

me vs joy: who will win?