By Kara Kimbrough
King Charles just can't win. As the cameras rolled last Saturday on Coronation Day, he threw a tantrum while seated in his gold carriage on Coronation Day. Professional lipreaders say he testily shouted, "This is boring!" as he cooled his heels in the gold pumpkin. Turns out, Prince William and his wife were late in arriving with their children. As a result, the royal couple was forced to enter Westminster Abbey ahead of his much more photogenic son and daughter-in-law. The Wales' grand entrance with cute kids in tow upstaged the stodgy future King and his wife (sorry, I just can't call her queen). But this wasn't the only blunder of the weeklong build-up to the heralded Coronation Day.
The King - or at least, the palace chef, released a special recipe ahead of the big day called "Coronation Quiche." To say it was downright horrid would be an understatement. The British aren't known for their fine cuisine, but this was ridiculous, even for them.
According to chefs around the world who tried, unsuccessfully, to make a dish worthy of serving, the end result was a soggy, tasteless mess. Turns out, the palace's version produced a soft, not firm crust, runny sauce and tasteless, inedible toppings. To save the day, another English chef modified the recipe and reintroduced it, receiving much better reviews.
All the negative publicity about the world's worst quiche brought to mind a statement I'd heard decades ago: "Real Men Don't Eat Quiche." I thought former Commissioner of Agriculture Jim Buck Ross had uttered the famous words. A little research proved it was the title of a book written years ago about the stereotypes often assigned to men.
The incorrigible Ross' famous statement, "Down here, men don't cook!" was actually uttered in the early 1980's to Geraldine Ferraro, then-running mate to Presidential candidate Walter Mondale. While bragging about Mississippi's prolific blueberry crops, he asked her if she could bake a blueberry muffin. She shot back, "I sure can- can you?" Ross then famously uttered the lines that immediately hit the national airwaves - and not exactly in a favorable way.
Capitalizing on the furor over Ross' statement, Mississippians Carol Taff and Linda Ross Aldy put it on the cover of a cookbook containing recipes from well-known Mississippi men like Trent Lott, Thad Cochran and others. Published reports say recipes included barbecued chicken, hush puppies and wild game. However, I was surprised to learn about one omission -a recipe for blueberry muffins.
Back to quiche - it's not a dish of which I'm fond. I just don't understand the point. If there's a crust situation going on, I want to taste tangy apples, sugar and cinnamon...maybe lemon filling and meringue...or even better, sugary custard topped with crispy cooked pecans. Not baked eggs, bacon pieces or vegetable slices, the filling of most quiches.
Call me a purist, but I've never been a fan of those baked breakfast dishes in which eggs, bacon or sausage and some type of bread are combined, then baked into a thick, dense dish. Just give me fried (very well done) eggs, crispy bacon and crisp, buttered toast topped with homemade jelly. And yes, I want each item to occupy separate, distinct areas on the plate.
The same goes for a dish called spaghetti pie. I love pie...I adore spaghetti...but don't combine the two. Give me a bowl of pasta topped with tomato sauce, meat sauce or meatballs. Or a combination of all three. I just don't care to compress it into a pie plate and slice it like a pie. Why...just why?
All this talk about quiche, pies, coronations, and impatient British kings caused me to unearth a cookbook a friend brought me from England. I'd planned to include a recipe, but after scrolling the list of steak and kidney pie, bubble and squeak, Eton mess and rice pudding, I decided to pass. Instead, I'm sharing an incredibly simple, but utterly delicious recipe for a dish that's part pie, part cake, a little like cobbler and unlike Coronation Quiche, 100% American - and amazing!
1 bag Pepperidge Farm Chessmen Cookies
1 can blueberry pie filling
1 can lemon pie filling
1 box Lemon Supreme cake mix
1-1/2 sticks butter
Arrange a single layer of cookies, sides touching, on the bottom of a 13x9 inch baking dish. Spread blueberry filling on top with a spatula, followed by a layer of lemon filling. Spread dry cake mix on top - do not mix everything together. Top with thin slices of butter, then bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Cut into squares.
Kara Kimbrough is a food and travel writer from Mississippi. Email her at email@example.com.