I recently came across this little verse and I think it’s sort of fantastic.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon.
It was written by Edward Lear in 1871 as part of a longer poem called The Owl and the Pussycat. I’ve only just heard of it – how is that possible? The poem is funny and charming and ridiculous, and discusses a “beautiful pea green boat,” a singing owl (an “elegant fowl”) and a “land where the Bong-tree grows.” And, as we’ve learned, something called a runcible spoon.
Illustration by Edward Lear
A runcible spoon. Couldn’t you just eat that up? Isn’t that the most satisfying morsel of verse? Don’t you want something you can call runcible?
Well, I do. I looked it up and found out that runcible isn’t even a real word; Edward Lear just made it up and put it into several of his poems. Isn’t that the greatest thing you’ve ever heard?
Here are six things I’d like to runcibly eat with a spoon:
1. Chocolate Ice Cream
2. Curried Squash Soup (here’s the recipe)
3. Aunt Marie’s granola with cranberries, pecans and dates (here’s the recipe)
5. Apple Betty (recipe here)
- 8 cups chicken stock (I like low-sodium)
- 2 large chicken breasts, boneless & skinless
- 1 head garlic
- 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
- 1 dried chipotle pepper
- 2 limes
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1.5 cups sweet corn kernels, fresh or frozen
- 2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- salt & pepper to taste
- shredded sharp cheese, for garnish
- toasted tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Once the oven is hot, roast the garlic: leave the garlic bulb whole and slice off the very top of the bulb, exposing the individual garlic cloves. Drizzle some olive oil to cover the exposed cloves, and wrap the entire bulb in some tin foil. Place the foil-covered garlic straight on an oven rack and roast for about 45 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant. Remove from oven and set aside.
In a large pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the whole chicken breasts and lower the stock to a simmer. Poach the chicken in the broth until fully cooked, about 25 minutes. Remove the chicken from the broth and let cool on a plate. Bring the stock back up to a boil.
Once boiling, add the diced onions, tomatoes, and chipotle pepper to the stock. Squeeze the individual cloves from the head of roasted garlic into the stock. Reduce soup to a simmer and cook gently for about 30 minutes.
While the soup is simmering, shred the cooled chicken breasts.
Once the soup has been simmering for about 30 minutes and smells a bit smoky from the chipotle, remove the chipotle chili from the soup and discard. Add the corn, lime juice, cilantro and shredded chicken. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes or until the chicken is warmed through.
Serve with a handful of shredded cheese, some toasted tortilla, and a spoon, runcible or otherwise.
Serves about 8.