Friday, July 29, 2016

Bub’s Sangria

When I lived in Montana back in the 1990s, one of my coworkers shared with me a homemade cookbook—a smallish, green-covered loose-leaf job full of hand-typed recipes and hilarious commentary. The author, whom my coworker declined to identify (perhaps it was he himself), had apparently made the book just for fun. My coworker said he had encouraged this fellow to seek publication, but that he had repeatedly declined. Too bad!

I photocopied a few of the recipes, but I wish I’d copied the whole book.

The writer of this cookbook had adopted an alter-ego with the pseudonym “Snodgrass,” who was part hillbilly buffoon, part everyday Joe, a guy-in-the-kitchen making tasty chow with whatever’s available. Except this common Joe had an extraordinary vocabulary and wit. There’s a deceptively well-educated writer behind the bumbling cook sharing his culinary discoveries, describing his cooking techniques in hilariously perfect descriptive terms.

Today, I imagine this writer has a blog somewhere and is entertaining the hell out of his readers. I hope so. (Trust me, I’ve looked.)

And I hope the writer finds my post, here, and contacts me, because I’d like to thank him (her?) for creating such a fun cookbook. And like my coworker, I’d like to encourage him to seek publication—even if just an Amazon publication. Even if just online. And I’d love to credit him by name.

Below is one of the recipes I copied from “Snodgrass’s” little masterpiece. I hope you hoot at it just like I did when I first read it. By the way, it loses something when converted to prettified computer-kerned type. Its writer took great care in typing out the whole work in glorious Courier and hand-drawing text boxes and arrows, and affixing color prints on the pages. Yes, there were staged photographs of rustic characters sprinkled throughout the book, too. Apparently it was the author and his friends, in disguise.

After reading this recipe, you’ll wish I would also share the other recipe I copied from this book, three entertaining pages of “Wilson’s Legendary Incandescent De-Escalated Thermonuclear Enchiladas” . . . just as I wish I could peruse the entire “Snodgrass” cookbook again.

Enjoy! And if you are the original anonymous Snodgrass, I hope you’ll contact me.

33. Snodgrass’s Brother Robert’s Salubrious Native Fruit Elixir
and All-Purpose Inebriant
more generally known as

Snodgrass discovered the formula for this important health-food beverage during one of his latter-day expeditions to New England. Bub wrote it down on a piece of old Kleenex box and gave it to Wifey who lost it for several weeks before rediscovering it under a stack of five-week-old mail and paraphernalia on the kitchen counter.

This is an excellent way to dispose of about a gallon of cheap rot-gut Burgundy. It requires no cooking and very little proficiency in any enterprise other than pouring, mixing, and drinking. It does need to age at least a day after you’ve assembled it. The end product is a nice sharp fruity punch with certain edifying inebrious properties.

Bub’s original formula was for half a gallon of wyne. But Snodgrass has made a few strategic volumetric modifications in order to enhance the more efficient exploitation of metric wyne bottles. This recipe makes enough Sangria for a whole Sunday School picnic.

  • a 3-liter jug of BURGUNDY or some other cheap RED WYNE
  • 1½ cups of BRANDY
  • ¾ cup of SUGAR
  • 3 LEMONS—squoze
  • 3 ORANGES—squoze
  • 3 APPLES—sliced thin (greenish apples, Bub says)

1. Go down to the store and see what kind of BURGUNDY is on sale. Buy a 3-liter jug. When you get it home, drink 2 or 3 big mugfuls. You need that much space in the jug.
2. Squeeze Yr LEMONS and ORANGES into a big pitcher. And fish out the seeds. Pour in the BRANDY and the SUGAR and mix it up. Dissolve as much of the sugar as you can. Then pour it into the wyne jug.
3. Finally, slice Yr APPLES and stuff them into the jug with everything else. Shake it all up until everything seems to be properly scrambled and the sugar is dissolved.
4. Let it sit at least 24 hours before you drink it.

. . . Isn’t that a hoot? Wouldn’t you like to read more of Snodgrass’s recipes and culinary commentary?

In all seriousness, sangria is not exactly quantum physics; adjust everything to your tastes. Most people mix it in a big pitcher instead of stuffing the fruits all down the neck of a wine jug (as funny as that idea is). Basically, you fortify and sweeten the red wine with sugar and brandy and flavor it with sliced fruits; let it sit overnight, and the result should be rather syrupy and thick. Adjust flavors to taste. Sometimes I add some lemonade or orange juice.

Then, what most people do (which Bub’s recipe doesn’t mention—perhaps he misplaced the bit of Kleenex box this part was written on) is, upon serving, to add club soda or seltzer, or possibly a lemon-lime soda such as Sprite, to thin it out a bit and make it bubbly. Serve it over ice and garnish with fruit slices. A perfect punch for a hot summer evening!

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