in which I feast at Redwall Abbey

Grad students are, by nature, anti-social creatures.

They can most typically be spotted in their natural habitat, the library or a quiet corner of the apartment. They are usually drinking tea, wearing a large cardigan or two, and sporting thick-rimmed glasses. You will know you are approaching the den of a grad student by the stacks of books that mark the way and the tell-tale sound of furious typing. Be careful not to startle them. They startle easy.

However, every once in a while the wild graduate student will venture out into the wide world to engage in social activities, usually with others of their kind. And usually, after engaging in said social activity, they utter the phrase, “We should do this more often.”

They don’t, but it’s worth a try.

At the beginning of the term, Milton and I made a pact to engage in more social activities for the reason above—we always have fun once we get out and do it. It’s the getting and doing that can be a challenge. So in order to fulfill that pact, this past weekend, Milton hosted a dinner party.

The theme: Redwall.

You may remember Redwall from your childhood, or the childhood of your children depending on how old you are. It was Brian Jaques’s fantasy series starring a colorful cast of mice, rats, otters, weasels and other assorted varmints wielding swords and building fortresses and, most notably, eating fantastically delicious feast. Seriously, the descriptions of food are 90% of the reason you read the Redwall books. A sample:

“Tender freshwater shrimp garnished with cream and rose leaves, devilled barley pearls in acorn puree, apple and carrot chews, marinated cabbage stalks steeped in creamed white turnip with nutmeg.”

While I don’t like rose leaves, acorns, or barley pearls, reading that made my mouth water.

So this weekend, we gathered at Milton’s apartment and made a feast to rival that of Redwall Abbey.


Main course. Complete with the very Redwallian iPad in the background.

French onion soup! Cinnamon tea scones1! Sweet potatoes and risotto! Turnip and cabbage mash! Pumpkin bread and meadow cream! And to cap it all, spiced cider and mulled wine.


Dessert! Most important part of any meal.

I ate…so much food. So much delicious food. I’m not sure how these mice aren’t all grossly obese after eating like that every day. It’s a marvel they don’t have to be rolled onto the battlefields.


  1. This was my contribution. I spent at least two hours that morning wrangling them into shape because they did not work as well as The Pioneer Woman promised they would. Mine also did not turn out half as pretty as hers. But since the primary ingredients were butter, sugar, and cream, they tasted just fine.
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4 thoughts on “in which I feast at Redwall Abbey

  1. Oh my gosh, I love everything about this. Your description of grad students is right on – I’m so glad my husband’s done with that (don’t worry – your time will come!). And what a delightful way to spend a day – making food from books. :) Pretty much every time I’m super into a book, I start trying to eat and dress the way they do. The other day I was perfectly happy with the scant lunch I could find of bread and cherry tomatoes because it reminded me of food they would eat on a quest or something. Your food all looks amazing, too, I wish I could have tried some!
    Also, sad story, my husband (who does not really like reading- gasp!) tried to read the Redwall books as a kid and was enjoying them until his dad offhandedly suggested that he read something with a bit more substance. Terry put the book down and – well – that was that. Just goes to show, never discourage a reader.

    • MackenziLee says:

      That’s such a sad story about your husband! This is why you always let people read whatever they want ! But in defense of your husband’s father….those books really don’t hold up :)

      But I’m so glad you love Redwall, Caitlin!

  2. Billy says:

    Anything and everything tastes better if there is enough butter and cream! Just ask Julia Child! :)

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