Mushrooms, Snicket Salad, Ceviche and The Bitter End
We find ourselves at The End of this torturous tale of treachery, replete with poisonous fungi, bitter apples and spiceless ceviche. There is more misery and woe in these final volumes than I can bring myself to recount, but I have done what I could by deliciously spicing up the ceviche and creating Snicket Salad as an homage to three noble siblings.
Book The Eleventh: Poisonous Fungi
We have always found the notion that mushrooms are fungi, which means they are neither plant nor animal, to be quite fascinating. But Violet, Klaus and Sunny were undoubtedly terrified, rather than fascinated, by the exceedingly poisonous Medusoid Mycelium mushroom fungi that threatened them in The Grim Grotto (Book 11).
We enjoyed learning about various mushroom varieties in class, and we ate some some delicious (and completely non-poisonous) cremini mushrooms in class.
Book The Twelfth: A Picnic with Kit Snicket
As we gradually learn a bit about the Snicket siblings we meet Kit Snicket, a wonderful woman with excellent taste in food and noble people. Near the beginning of The Penultimate Peril (Book 12), the Baudelaire children join Kit for a glorious picnic, complete with monogrammed napkins, silver and china.
According to the book, "The blanket was heaped with enough food to feed an army, had an army decided that morning to invade.... There were three loaves of bread, each baked into a different shape, lined up in front of little bowls of butter, jam, and what looked like melted chocolate. Alongside the bread was an enormous basket containing all sorts of pastries, from muffins to donuts to custard eclairs, which happened to be a favorite of Klaus's. There were two round tins containing quiche, which is a sort of pie made of eggs, cheese and vegetables, and a large platter of smoked fish, and a wooden tray piled high with a pyramid of fruit. Three glass pitchers held three different kinds of juice, and there were silver pots containing coffee and tea, and laid out in a sort of fan was silverware with which to eat it all, and three napkins that were monogrammed, a word which here means 'had the iniitals V. B., K. B., and S. B. embroidered on them.'"
We are told picnics such as this are kept safe by the policy of the secret organization that all picnics travel separately from the volunteers. "If our enemies capture the picnic, they won't get their clutches on us, and if our enemies capture us, they won't get the picnic." A very sound policy, indeed.
In The Slippery Slope (Book 10), we were told that Lemony Snicket's sister once made the picnic-related suggestion that "a simple combination of sliced mango, black beans, and chopped celery mixed with black pepper, lime juice and olive oil would make a delicious chilled salad." In honor of all three Snicket siblings, we have recreated this salad and proudly call it Snicket Salad.
Book the Thirteenth: Ceviche and The Bitter End
In The End, the thirteenth and final book of the series, Violet, Klaus and Sunny find themselves living among castaways on a tropical island. There are some very strange customs among the people on this island, enforced by peer pressure. One of these is to eat all their meals with no spices or seasonings whatsoever. This includes "spiceless ceviche," which, without any additional ingredients, is simply a bowl of unseasoned, unmarinated and unappetizing raw fish. As Lemony Snicket describes, spiceless ceviche would taste like "whatever you might find in a fish's mouth while it's eating."
The thought of eating plain chopped-up raw fish for lunch every day was simply too much for us to bear. In order to redeem this deliciously bright, flavorful dish to its truly savory nature, we made real ceviche in class. Marinated in the juice of fresh limes, tossed with fresh tomatoes, cilantro, chiles and fresh-squeezed orange juice, and seasoned with salt, our ceviche is just as delicious as the classic Latin American dish ought to be.
We cannot bring ourselves to relate the ending of the terrible tale on this website, but the Baudelaire children do stumble upon some bitter apples, the juice of which we are told "has a slight, sharp edge, like the air on a winter morning." We added a bit of horseradish to applesauce in class to find out what those apples may have tasted like.
"...a simple combination of sliced mango, black beans, and chopped celery mixed with black pepper, lime juice and olive oil" does indeed made a delicious chilled salad for a picnic, or anytime.
If none of the apple trees near you have been hybridized with horseradish, you can make sweet, delicious applesauce from the apples you find at the nearest apple orchard or grocery store.