Sunday, November 11, 2007

The BrocanteHome Puttery Treats Challenge

Alison, the Vintage Housekeeper over at one of my favorite blogs, BrocanteHome, is having a "Puttery Treats Challenge." Puttery Treats are wonderful ideas for making the ordinary fun, cozy, or delicious. Alison has a very long list that she keeps adding to over time. So there are many, many to choose from to inspire a post.

I've been very excited about this contest, since it started just about the time I was setting up this blog. But I had fully intended to make something pretty out of vintage postcards. Instead, as I was preparing to leave work on Halloween night, realizing that I was getting sick - chills, achy joints - I decided to look at the Puttery Treats list - because just reading about these ideas are comforting. And there under the heading "Sniffles" I found:

"Nursery Suppers. Give up dinner for a few nights and instead offer the kids a very old fashioned high tea when they come home dithering from school and a light nursery supper (boiled egg and soldiers?) an hour before they go to bed.."

Well, it was too late for high tea, as E. was out trick-or-treating already (and the concept would be lost on him), but the phrase "Nursery Supper" sounded very cozy indeed. It conjured up images of Christopher Robin, the Velveteen Rabbit, and plump Nannies fussing about. And eggs - that would just hit the spot for dinner!

But what was "boiled egg and soldiers"? I feared the worst as I Googled the phrase - I figured at best, whatever soldiers were, I wouldn't have them on hand (My, they sounded a little intimidating). But I was fully expecting them to be some sausagey piggy sort of food that I could never eat anyway.

But wait! Great news - they are slices of buttered toast! I even watched an informative video on how to cook and eat them with the boiled egg. ("Soft-boiled" as a method for cooking eggs has always been about as appetizing as "stepped-on" would be, but by Gosh! if it didn't sound great with it's dynamic partner "soldiers!")

Now, to go home and make it - and sell it as dinner to the boys!

H. hadn't made a real meal that night so he was on board. E., however gave me exactly the whiny (yet emphatic) answer I was expecting: "Eggs are NOT for dinner. They are for breakfast."

No, no I told him. It's okay. It's British. It's "Nursery Supper!" We'll have soldiers with the eggs.

Well darned if that didn't win him over!

Now, the next challenge - did we own anything resembling an egg cup?

Yes! The depression glass wine cups that my mother-in-law gave us.
N0! They don't fit an egg. Fine. Not boiled eggs. Sunny-side-up. At least there would still be something to dip the toast into.

Okay, this was becoming less a puttery treat and more a pathetic dinner by the second.

Finally after only one other kitchen mishap (I said Puttery Treat, not Buttery Feet!) our Nursery Supper was ready. Were the yolks soft - of course not! Apparently I can only make two kinds of eggs - scrambled and fried. Mostly, because I'm such an attentive cook that I kept leaving the eggs unchaperoned to answer the door for all the adorable ghosts and goblins (all eight of them.)

However, when all was said and done everyone was fed, I felt only half as crummy as when I came home, and E. said, "Mmm, can I have some more soldiers?"


  1. Oh lovely post! good luck with your entry! Funny I never imagined soft boiled eggs and soldiers could be a mystery outside of the Uk! LOL! but slices of buttered bread, soldiers? I see how you could be confused, its us Brits, barking mad!

  2. Oh I loved this! I followed the link from Alison's vote glad I did! I never even dreamt that 'Soldiers' wouldn't be understood outside the shores of good ol' Blighty.

    They were a part of my Childhood, though in my case is was more of a nursery breakfast than supper. When I stayed over at my Grandparents, my Grandma would make me breakfast which included a little boat shaped basket lined with candy pink and white stripped napkins and bundled within were hot soldiers (with the crusts cut off, naturally). I would take my time to smother the solders first in butter and then with chocolate spread. Such a treat!

    When my Grandparents passed away and we packed up their belongings, I stumbled upon the pink and white striped napkins and I was instantly 5 again with chocolate smudges on my mouth. Solders are a wonderful wonderful memory from my childhood. You should have another go and who knows, perhaps you'll end up creating memories too!

  3. Soft boiled egg with soldiers was always home sick from school food for me. Brings back memories!

  4. It does actually sound yummy! I think I may have offended Alison once when she commented about something creamed cabbage or like. I just didn't know what it was =) Thank you for googling this one for me. Great picture to put with your post too!! Blessings.. Polly

  5. Thank you all for stopping by and sharing!

    Gena - Now I keep trying to think of an American food that might mystify someone from abroad. So far no luck.

    Philippa - your memory of your grandparents and soldiers is so lovely.

    Mandy - I hope the memories it brings back are of the comfort part and not the being sick part.

    Thanks Polly - I had just stumbled onto a book chock full of vintage children's illustrations and happened to open to that Humpty Dumpty one when I was getting ready to post.

  6. Haha! I would have to google that one and I'm still wondering what bubble and squeak is....
    cute post!

  7. Chaya - I posted earlier in the year about American foods which I didn't understand. I really is true, we are two nations divided by one language!



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