October 2nd, 2009


Life Imitating Art

I'm continuing to edit Dragons Over London for submission to a contest, but in the meantime, I am doing one of those strange, researchy things that I sometimes do. I'm attempting to make food out of acorns.

More specifically, I am attempting to make acorns into flour, that I might add this flour to other ingredients that would be available to Rabbit's family in Rabbit and Cougar. Since there is a feast scene set in his remote forest village, I want to know that the ingredients available to the villagers (a) could, practically speaking, make all of the foods that appear in the scene, and (b) would not cause those foods to taste horrible, or to look bizarre in some way that I should note and have not.

So: acorn flour. I used the lovely instructions on the blog Ramshackle Solid and an online article from Backwoods Home Magazine for reference in the endeavor.

First off, I collected a big bag of acorns from a Chestnut Oak, convenient in its proximity and in that the acorns are huge, so needed fewer. I then attempted by various methods, including sunlight and the oven, to dry them. This was not especially successful, and the oven-drying business ended when my dad preheated the oven while my trays of acorns were in it.

It is difficult to tell whether these acorns are much worse for the wear, so I am continuing the attempt. I'm now shelling them and chopping the kernels. Next stop: blender! And rinsing acorn kernels of poisonous tannic acid!

Of course, my methods are not . . . um . . . canon? What I mean to say is that Rabbit's family does not have a blender. They could achieve the same effect with a mortar and pestle, but I don't think my family has one, and I don't have that kind of free time anyway. They would do a few other things differently, too: I've read that acorns can be effectively drained of tannic acid by being tied in a bag and left in moving water for about a week. For large volumes of acorns, this would probably be more efficient than the method I plan to use.

So, huzzah! Authenticity!