Cowcumber Boats

Recipes Notes (by Alexia Moyer)

Next week you will read all about Charlottetown’s literary fare on our sister blog. To pique your appetite, behold . . . a recipe featuring a certain slate-breaking, mouse-saucing, kindred spirit-searching redhead.

Cucumber . . . concummer . . . cowcummer . . . cowcumber. All are variants of cucumber. Or so says the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). What the OED does not discuss are cucumbers in relation to boats. Is this vegetable sufficiently seaworthy? I – who have read at least four of Patrick O’Brian’s Jack Aubrey/Steven Maturin series and can therefore tell a luff from a lubber’s hole – would not venture to sail in one. The cucumber is, however, an excellent vessel for tuna salad. Or so says The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook from which this recipe is drawn.

Montgomery’s Anne books are chock-full of fare. At least two people have noticed this. The person who borrowed the Anne of Green Gables omnibus before me – from the Bibliotheque et Archives Nationales du Quebec – had discreetly (in pencil) underlined any and all mentions of food. I couldn’t help but feel a certain kinship with this unknown reader, vandal though s/he may be.

The second person is Kate McDonald, granddaughter of Montgomery and author of this literary cookbook. Within, you will find recipes for raspberry cordial (sans alcohol), plum pudding (sans mouse) and the cowcumber boats tested below.

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This recipe is simple and good and belongs in one’s potlock/summer picnic arsenal. Next time I will make smaller boats (bite-sized), will nix the pasta and the carrots, will switch out the tuna for crab, and will add fresh herbs . . . and diced shallots. My version is perhaps for the parents of this text’s intended reader.

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Macdonald, Kate, and Barbara DiLella. The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1985. Print.

Photo Credit: Alexia Moyer

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