Blog posts

The Outlander Kitchen 2012 Resolution Diet

The Outlander Kitchen 2012 Resolution Diet

Beyond the Books, Dragonfly in Amber, Outlander, The Fiery Cross, Voyager

“Am I sexually attractive?” I demanded. His eyes always reminded me of coffee drops, with their warm golden-brown color. Now they went completely round, enhancing the resemblance.

They they narrowed, but he didn’t answer immediately. He looked me over carefully, head to toe.

“It’s a trick question, right?” he said. “I give you and answer and one of those women’s libbers jumps out from behind the door, yells ‘Sexist pig!’ And hits me over the head with a sign that says ‘Castrate Male Chauvinists.’ Huh?”

“No,” I assured him. “A sexist male chauvinist answer is basically what I want.”

“Oh, okay. As long as we’re straight, then.” He resumed his perusal, squinting closely as I stood up straight.

“Skinny white broad with too much hair, but a great ass,” he said at last. “Nice tits, too,” he added, with a cordial nod. “That what you want to know?”

“Yes,”I said, relaxing my rigid posture. “That’s exactly what I wanted to know. It isn’t the sort of question you can ask just anybody.”

He pursed his lips in a silent whistle, then threw back his head and roared with delight.

“Lady Jane! You’ve got a man!”

Diana Gabaldon, Voyager (Chapter 20)

sun-worshipper bronze by LΓ‘szlΓ³ Kutas – photo by Bronze Gifts

Hands up: Who has asked the “How do I look?” version of Claire’s question and gotten the WRONG answer?

And just to make it clear, I do understand that the question is a mind field in the minds of men. My Englishman certainly weathered a few storms early on when his word choice or tone of voice didn’t meet my expectations.

Maybe Joe had it a little easier. Oh sure, he’s fearful of the women’s libbers, but the late 60s beauty ideal was much more inclusive than today’s. Twiggy in her skinny-mini is one thing. Near-anorexic, 15 year-old under-dressed girls, Photoshopped to anime proportions are another. The modern perception of beauty is warped and skewed to the point where brilliant, beautiful and average-sized women will tuck here and implant there, meditate on weight loss, purchase closets full of potentially dangerous weight-loss supplements AND convince themselves that fat-free sour cream not only makes sense, but also tastes good. (Which it does not. In either case.)

Now, that said, most of us could probably stand to Back Away From The Buffet and lose a pound or two after over indulging this holiday season. And that’s where The Outlander Kitchen 2012 Resolution Diet comes in! It works to boost your will power naturally — by pairing some of DG’s more graphic descriptions of the lowpoints in 18th Century cuisine with repugnant visual stimuli — in an anti-Pavlovian, gag-reflex approach to appetite suppression.

(It almost sounds scientific, doesn’t it?)

Simply pick the excerpt/picture combo that grosses you out the most, and focus until you’re salivating. In a bad way.

preparing blood sausage

photo by bernatff

1. Claire’s Blood Pudding

“There’s fresh coffee made,” I said. “And bannocks with honey, too.” My own stomach recoiled slightly at the thought of eating. Once spiced, stuffed, boiled and fried, black pudding was delicious. The earlier stages, involving as they did arm-deep manipulations in a barrel of semi-coagulated pig’s blood, were substantially less appetizing.

Diana Gabaldon, A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Chapter 71)

Thrush Nightingale

photo by Sergey Yeliseev

2. King Louis’s Baby Nightingales

As though frustrated by so much rustic simplicity, though, one of the chefs had provided a charming hors d’oeuvre — a nest, cunningly built from strips of pastry, ornamented with real sprigs of flowering apple, on the edge of which perched two nightingales, skinned and roasted, stuffed with apple and cinnamon, then redressed in their feathers. And in the nest was the entire family of baby birds, tiny stubs of outstretched wings brown and crispy, tender bare skins glazed with honey, blackened mouths agape to show the merest hint of the almond-paste stuffing within.

After a triumphal tour of the table to show it off — to the accompaniment of murmurs of admiration all round — the dainty dish was set before the King, who turned from his conversation with Madame de La Tourelle long enough to pluck one of the nestlings from its place and pop it into his mouth.

Crunch, crunch, crunch went Louis’s teeth. Mesmerized, I watched the muscles of his throat ripple, and felt the rubble of small bones slide down my own gullet. Brown fingers reached casually for another baby.

At this point, I concluded that there were probably worse things than insulting His Majesty by leaving the table, and bolted.

Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber (Chapter 9)

Dr. Who Head Cheese

photo by Père Ubu

3. Possibly Poisonous Headcheese

I had made it according to the instructions of one of the Mueller women, as translated by Jamie, but I had never seen headcheese myself, and was not quite sure it was meant to look like that. I lifted the lid and sniffed cautiously, but it smelled all right: mildly spiced with garlic and peppercorn, and no scent at all of putrefaction. Perhaps we wouldn’t die of ptomaine poisoning, though I had it in mind to invite Gerhard Mueller to try it first.

Diana Gabaldon, The Fiery Cross (Chapter 22)

(I had a choice of hundreds of head cheese photos, but I had to go with the Dr. Who package, because of the roundabout role one episode played in the birth of our favourite red-headed Scotsman).

thieves' hole slops

photo by mikething

4. Thieves’ Hole Slops

There was a grating sound from overhead and a sudden shaft of light. I pressed myself against the wall, barely in time to avoid a shower of mud and filth that cascaded through a small opening in the roof of our prison. A single soft plop followed the deluge. Geilie bent and picked up something from the floor. The opening above remained, and I could see that what she held was a small loaf, stale and smeared with assorted muck. She dusted in gingerly with a fold of her skirt.

“Dinner,” she said. “Hungry, are you?”

Diana Gabaldon, Outlander (Chapter 25)

baby eels

photo by saragoldsmith

5. Baby Eels Slick with Butter

“The parlormaid says that His Highness Prince Charles has been paying calls on the Princesse Louise de La Tour de Rohan,” I said, plucking a single eel off the fork and chewing slowly. They were delicious, but felt rather disconcerting if swallowed whole, as though the creature were still alive. I swallowed carefully. So far, so good.

Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber (Chapter 7)

baby eels

photo by Nesster

And just because it’s the most surreal photo of baby eels I found, I’ll leave you with this. There’s even a short story to go along with the picture — these are time-traveling baby eels. All named Ernest.

Compared to that, explaining Outlander is a breeze. πŸ˜‰


  1. Lee Ann
    January 3, 2012 at 6:49 am

    LOL. Maybe I should have waited until after breakfast to read this one!

    • Theresa
      January 3, 2012 at 9:09 am

      Perhaps I should of had a warning…;)

  2. Julia Marks Zuniga
    January 3, 2012 at 8:50 am

    This was priceless – great post!!

    • Theresa
      January 3, 2012 at 9:10 am

      Thanks Julia…I had a lot of fun writing this one. Tell all your Outlander-obsessed friends about Outlander Kitchen, won’t you?

  3. outlanderfan
    January 3, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Thanks, this should work like a charm, lol! I think the black pudding is the strangest- makes you wonder who was the first person to think of it (and why?)

    • Theresa
      January 3, 2012 at 9:44 pm

      Humans have been drinking, eating and cooking with blood for centuries…it’s only recently that we let all that protein go to waste!

  4. Alayna
    January 3, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Ok, here you have it….. Listen up lassie. I don’t think I want to eat pig guts, but i will leave very racy & inappropriate comments just for you. Ok, I won’t but hell that is fun. I think you have a clever little thing going here. I like to play the “guessing game” with you!! Ha! The items listed in this particular blog, will keep on my diet too. Ugh.

    • Theresa
      January 3, 2012 at 10:03 am


  5. Connie Barlow
    January 3, 2012 at 9:39 am

    I lost 5lbs just scanning through! “Don’t dig your grave with your own knife and fork!:D

    • Theresa
      January 3, 2012 at 10:03 am

      See, it works!

  6. sireesanwar
    January 3, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Oh yes, I’ve lost all will to eat.

    And I love that moment in Voyager with Joe. Great choice!

  7. Some of these dishes, like the head cheese and blood pudding, I can understand being made at that time when nothing could be wasted since they had nothing to start with. But the baby nightingales? That’s obscene and would only be served at a king’s table! Yuck. Way big yuck.

    • Theresa
      January 3, 2012 at 9:41 pm

      Yeah, it’s definitely a no go for me too, Christiane!

  8. Kate
    January 3, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    very good idea! I got to the bit about headcheese and couldn’t go on. πŸ™‚

    • Theresa
      January 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm


  9. Cathy V
    January 3, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Great post, the picture at the end had me laughing out loud πŸ™‚

    • Theresa
      January 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm

      Thanks, Cathy V!

  10. Judi Nadreau (@JudiNadreau)
    January 3, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Hi !

    I grew up in a French-Canadian family and ate both bloodsausage and hogs-head cheese as a child. My grandmother made both and I loved both. I didn’t see her actually make the sausage but did see her grind different parts for the cheese.

    Having grown up in this kind of culture certainly has made a difference! As for the other foods, just keep the other stuff away from me, please. No eels, or baby birds, or other delicacies for me! πŸ˜‰

  11. Karen Henry
    January 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Wow. LOL! This post is going to give me nightmares! πŸ™‚

    Very creative idea, and I love the pictures!


    • Theresa
      January 3, 2012 at 5:15 pm

      Thanks Karen! Perhaps a wee dram before bedtime to keep the worst of the dreams away? πŸ˜‰

  12. Diane
    January 3, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    I am from rural South Dakota, and have made and ate blood sausage and head cheese both. Not big favorites, but my German, depression era Grandma never let anything go to waste. This reminded me of a time my MIL cooked beef tongue. It smelled wonderful, but when I lifted the lid of the kettle, the water was boiling, and with every roll of the boil, a tongue would pop up and stick out at you!!!I never even tasted it after that!

    • Theresa
      January 3, 2012 at 5:10 pm

      That made me laugh out loud, Diane! Believe it or not, I ordered a beef tongue just yesterday…

  13. deniz
    January 3, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Love that Doctor Who headcheese!
    Must burn these images into my mind for next time I want some cookies…
    Great idea for a blog post.

    Happy new year!

    • Theresa
      January 3, 2012 at 9:08 pm

      No need to burn these images into your brain…just bookmark the page and return as required! πŸ˜‰

  14. Bri
    January 3, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    My poor vegetarian heart canna take it! Just kidding, this is truly hilarious. I love your blog πŸ™‚

    • Theresa
      January 3, 2012 at 9:07 pm

      Thanks Bri — Happy New Year! A happy and healthy 2012 to you and yours.

  15. Ana
    January 3, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    LOVE this

  16. Carolyn
    January 4, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Hilarious post, Theresa. Love it!

    • Theresa
      January 4, 2012 at 12:14 pm

      Coming from a very funny woman, I’ll take that as an huge compliment…thanks Carolyn! And Ana too…Theresa

  17. Viky
    January 4, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Wow, definitely not eating breakfast now!! The eel did it for me, I can’t stand any type of water based food! Nightingales a close second though….

  18. Lesley
    January 5, 2012 at 6:32 am

    Fab Theresa,
    I was going to start weightwatchers soon but I don’t think I’ll neeed to now lol. The baby nightingales do it for me YUCK. Now if I can just train myself to look at a bar of chocolate or a cake and hear it go “cheep cheep” I reckon the 2+stones will fall off.
    Happy New Year

    • Theresa
      January 5, 2012 at 8:27 am

      LOL, Lesley!

  19. CarSto
    April 24, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Only just saw this post…. Thank you!!!! πŸ˜‰

    Bye the way, I always thought “headcheese” is just some strange type of cheese – I never thought it might actually be more head than cheese…. :-&

Comments are closed.