Sunday, 2 February 2014

Red Riding Hood's Goodies!

Her Cakes, of course. What goodies did you think I meant?

Like the good little red riding hood that she is, she does as her mother instructs and delivers cake and wine to her sick grandmother. Er...... Cake? What happened to chicken broth or soup for when you're sick?
What's next, spicy Thai food when you have the flu? Uhhmmm, Thai food.....

But it was cake she was on her way to delivering. "Grandmother is to have something good, to make her stronger". I know, I know, I'm thinking it too, it seems an odd choice of food to give to an old woman who's sick but maybe they had different social mores at the time. This was written a long time ago after all. Although it seems to be more of a treat rather than something like broth, something sweet to take her mind off her sickness. It's also a bit of a role reversal as most likely when red riding hood visited her grandmother she would make her something sweet as a treat. Perhaps, something like this?

( the recipe is also here)

Unfortunately for them, the wolf also wants a treat. "What a nice plump mouthful- she will be better to eat than the old woman. I must act craftily so as to catch both". Within these two sentences the themes of cannibalism and deception are offered in children's stories. You would think this unusual, but actually it's quite common. From a Freudian perspective, it would not be read as the wolf 'eating' her. Particularly as there is an overly sexual theme in the story. The "plump mouthful", "devoured her", and of course red riding hood's famous line "Oh! but Grandmother, what a terrible big mouth you have!". The wolf's response "the better to eat you with".    

Saturday, 1 February 2014

An Introduction to the Grimm Brother's Fairy Tales

The brains behind our favorite childhood stories: the Brothers Grimm.

The two boys, Jacob and Wilhelm, close in age had always been the best of friends and their lives began in prosperity. Their father a successful lawyer continuing onto greater things. Their mother from a good family, the daughter of a councilman, who then went on to have six children surviving into adulthood, unfortunately this meant three did not. The first tragedy to strike.
The second strike occurred when their father suddenly died from pneumonia, forcing them to leave their beloved home behind, dismiss their servants and live more frugally.
The mother became depressed, viewing this as another burden he must shoulder the eldest Grimm, Jacob, went off to school. Feeling responsible for his family and honor bound to follow in his late fathers footsteps, he studied to become a lawyer. Jacob and Wilhelm had studied and boarded together at their local high school, after their father had died, and had become known for being hard working students. So when Jacob, in strong health went to study at University level, it was unfortunate that Wilhelm, who suffered from asthma and attacks of scarlet fever could not yet join his brother.
Disaster hit again as their grandfather passed away, along with any financial support they received.
The boys did, however reunite and achieved honors in their respective studies. They began to relate to the lower class as they were no longer looking down in sympathy but looking across in empathy as they had become one among them.
During Jacob's time at University, he dutifully studied law but as he made acquaintances he discovered what he was passionate about: folklore, romantic literature, poetry and especially German  Literature. He introduced Wilhelm and both were never the same again.  

Now, is it just me, or was this like a fairy story in itself? They suffered, they knew impoverishment, felt duty-bound to continue a legacy despite the yearning in their own hearts but against the odds they become a success. A legacy of their own to build upon.
It makes sense, now that you know their history for them to include the theme of food into a lot of their fairy tales. The children leave a trail of breadcrumbs, their hunger lures them into danger by a house made of sweets, a lonely girl wanders into a small house with many bowls set on the table, a girl in a cloak takes food in a basket to her sick grandmother, I could go on. And will, so look out for the next installment of Craving Grimm Foods!!