The Racketty-Packetty House
Week of June 23, 2008

Block 5:

This chapter tells us of the fine family living at Tidy Castle and of the enjoyment the Racketty Packetty family is having watching them. The Castle dolls are grand beyond words, and they are all lords and ladies. There is Lady Gwendolen Vere de Vere, who is haughty and has dark eyes and hair and carries her head thrown back and her nose in the air. Lady Muriel Vere de Vere is lovely, but cold and indifferent and looks down the bridge of her delicate nose. Lady Doris has fluffy golden hair and laughs mockingly at everybody. Lord Hubert, Lord Rupert and Lord Francis, are all very handsome. And there is their mother, the Duchess of Tidyshire. There are, of course, all sorts of maids and footmen and cooks and scullery maids and even gardeners to tend to their needs.
Peter Piper thought it a “kind of blessing” to see such grand society. Meg, Peg, and Kilmanskeg thought it almost like being grand themselves just to be able to watch them.
From her scullery window, Ridiklis watches the Tidy Castle servants prepare a ten-course meal. She is sad that all she has are turnips for the Racketty-Packetty family. However, Peter Piper says they should all have a ten course meal of turnips and pretend each course is exactly like they one they are having at the Castle. So that’s what they decide to do. Meg, Peg, and Kilmanskeg will find out what the courses are and will write up a menu on a piece of pink tissue paper.

The Racketty-Packetty family is having lots of fun watching their neighbors in Tidy Castle go about their business. There is no jealousy or longing to live in Tidy Castle. They are perfectly happy right where they were, watching and enjoying the goings on at the Castle.

I guess Cynthia never gave a thought about getting the Racketty-Packetty dolls fixed up in a proper manner and putting them in the Castle with the others. I wonder how the story would have gone if they had moved into the Castle, perhaps being distant relatives or something.

How creative Peter Piper is. He turns Ridiklis’s sadness about the turnip meal into such happiness and gaiety when he declares that they shall all pretend they will have a ten course meal such as the Lords and Ladies of Tidy Castle are having. No matter that all ten courses will be turnips. They will enjoy themselves immensely. This is a great little chapter. Such a simple idea and so much fun to be had over it.

It would be fun to come up with a ten course menu using turnips. I found a very interesting cake made from turnips, and using buttermilk (can one still buy buttermilk?). I am definitely going to try that sometime. I am sure there are stews, breads, casseroles, etc. There must be a turnip "Hors d'oeuvres" and "Ices" recipe out there somewhere, ha ha. Anyone have any good turnip recipes to share?? We can call it our Hittygirls Ten Course Meal of Turnips!! I personally love turnips. It is one of my favorite all time vegetables!!!

I don't have a turnip recipe, but I do have a turnip story—

In 1977, when we lived in NC, a farmer down the road offered us some turnips. He said they made salad (sallet) out of them. I was curious--like, with potato salad? Ick! So, he turns up the next day with a sack of turnip greens! They made their turnip "sallet" by frying them in bacon fat. I was appalled at that (although later, when tasting, was immediately addicted!) and they were appalled when we asked if we could have the turnip bottoms. They had never heard of anyone eating that part, and fed it to their pigs. They, in turn, decided that turnips mashed with potatoes, salt, pepper, and butter were pretty good after all.

Now that's a good one. I have never eaten the "greens", just the "bottoms" I'm not sure I would like the greens cooked up in bacon fat, but one never knows. I'm sure I would love them in a salad.

We now have your 3 recipes even though you didn't realize it: (1) greens cooked up in bacon fat; (2) turnips and potato mashed together with butter; and (3) turnip green salad. I have never had potato and turnip mashed together either. Always potato and turnip separate.

We cook beet greens, but have never tried turnip greens.

The way I like, and my mom too, to eat turnips is raw.

I've cooked the greens by steaming and serving with butter and salt/pepper. It is healthier, although not as good as with the bacon.