Saturday, September 8, 2007

Mrs. Murray's Beef Stew

When they got back to the house Mrs. Murray was still in the lab. She was watching a pale blue fluid move slowly through a tube from a beaker to a retort. Over a Bunsen burner bubbled a big, earthenware dish of stew. "Don't tell Sandy and Dennys I'm cooking out here," she said. "They're always suspicious that a few chemicals may get in with the meat, but I had an experiment I wanted to stay with."
In tribute to the late Madeleine L'Engle. A Wrinkle in Time was one of my favorite books as a kid. It's one of the few children's adventure books that actually has a strong mother character: a brilliant scientist as well as a doting parent, even if she did occasionally ignore her basic lab safety regulations. Enjoy with Jello and homemade cookies, and you'll be well-nourished for your galactic adventuring.
  • 2 pounds cubed stew beef
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1 minced clove of garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 large potatoes, chopped
  • 4 large carrots, chopped
  • 6 small onions
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
Coat meat with flour, brown in hot oil. Combine meat, sliced onion, seasonings and water in stew pot, cover and simmer over a Bunsen burner medium heat 2 hours. Add remaining vegetables, cover and cook over low heat for 30 more minutes.
[Meg] realized she had had nothing to eat since the horrible fake turkey dinner on Camazotz which she had barely tasted. How long ago was her mother's stew? Time no longer had any meaning.

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