Cook Your Comics: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Quarantine Delivers Deliciously

ingredients and a toasty cauldron by Melanie Gillman, the cover of the recipe zine reviewed here

The recipe zine, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Quarantine, edited by Mel Gillman, dropped suddenly to great acclaim a few weeks ago! It features simple, easily-modifiable recipes from a large number of independent cartoonists. Designed to be beautiful, it’s welcome to those of us who may be getting tired of our own cooking all of a sudden, for some reason. Along with several other WWACers, I purchased it speedily and proceeded to make a lot of the stuff.  And you can do the same for a price $5 or above on Gumroad.

Overall, I’ve had great experiences with the recipes I’ve tried so far, two carbs projects and two protein projects, and I look forward to trying more. Read on for my review of Mel Gillman’s beer bread, GC Houle’s Pouding au Chomeur, Mathew New’s potato chip chicken, Kou Chen’s Taiwanese Style Tofu, and special guest contributor Rosie Knight’s review of Shing Yin Khor’s congee recipe!

First I made Mel Gillman’s beer bread, with the true quarantine spirit of using what I happen to have around. Loaf pan? It’s in storage! Normal beer? Ha! Flour sifter? N-no?

beer bread ingredients and part of Mel Gillman's recipe
The ingredients I used to make beer bread

As Mel promised, however, the beer bread was foolproof. (Me. I’m the fool.) They even kindly replied to my query about cook timing using an 8×8 pan instead of a loaf pan.

Excitingly, the beer bread turned out great, though denser than I think was intended. I sifted the flour (with a fork and spoon and jiggling) after I measured it, and in my next batch, which I plan to try with a Hoegaarden next week, I will sift the flour before measuring and probably get a fluffier product all around.

The version I did end up with is kind of between a scone and an American biscuit in texture and best served as a breakfast food, split, toasted, and buttered and jammed.

beer bread with jam in front of yogurt and clementines
Now part of this complete breakfast!

After my success with Mel Gillman’s beer bread, I made Mathew New’s potato chip chicken! The recipe is written for people who basically already know how to cook chicken, but it was easy and my whole family ate it enthusiastically, so it is going into the rotation for chicken nights in my household for sure.

a chicken thigh is covered in potato chip pieces
I used thighs!

The recipe doesn’t mention things like preheating the oven, blotting your chicken pieces dry ahead of time, checking the temperature with a meat thermometer, or letting the chicken rest after cooking, but as long as you know to do that stuff, you’ll be in good shape.

And crushing the potato chips was extremely cathartic.

I used boneless, skinless thighs instead of the piece Mathew New suggested, and it still took exactly the same amount of cooking time and measured ingredients as were listed in the recipe, leading me to believe it is super customizable. I think next time I might try spicing up the seasonings a bit, but also: I might not. My five year old daughter said, “I like the texture and the flavor,” and really, why mess with that ringing endorsement?

I made GC Houle’s Pouding au Chomeur, as well! Once again, I had the very rewarding experience of tweeting with the recipe writer for advice on how to modify the recipe for the pan and supplies I had, and once again it went great!

One thing I learned here is that the direction to flip it over immediately and serve hot is not a gentle suggestion, but rather mandatory for getting the pudding experience at all. For that reason, through no fault of the recipe (it was easy and it came out great), this is not a recipe I’ll repeat for our family lockdown situation. We have only two adults and one kid in our household and even though I halved the recipe it was way too much for us to consume while it was still good. We need more things that create delicious leftovers, not desserts that must be consumed immediately. Your household very well might, however! And I look forward to making this for a crowd when that becomes possible again.

Our Rosie Knight made Shing Yin Khor’s congee recipe! Rosie writes:

“I’d been experimenting with Congee since my lovely friend Pearl Lowe gave me a tip about the best way to make it. But Shing Yin Khor’s gorgeous comic recipe helped me hone my skills and pass on this delish comfort food to loved ones. The most exciting thing about this congee is that it takes just one cup of rice and around four cups of water to make a pot that will easily feed a family, or alternatively yourself for multiple days! Staying healthy and remembering to eat has been rough during this period and this recipe has been a blessing.

This time round I used Crispy Onions, Chilli Garlic, Scallions, Sesame Oil and some frozen veggie dumplings. But I often used fried mushrooms, grilled tofu, and whatever’s in the fridge! This is a fridge cleaner in the best sense of the term. My personal tip is to add a teaspoon of miso paste once you’re close to being done! But have fun and experiment, that’s the best thing about this recipe that Shing blessed us with. It gives you a delectable comfort food that’s both nourishing and yummy, that also gives you space to experiment and make your own! Plus the gorgeous comic Shing created is food for the soul!”

congee with toppings and dumplings
Rosie’s delicious-looking congee

And finally, I made Kou Chen’s Taiwanese-style tofu today for lunch! Once again, I modified it by using up things I happen to have around, which means scallions I have growing on the windowsill rounded off with sprouted garlic because I have some.

tofu squares frying in a pan
The beginning of the sizzle

It also turned out delicious and made my apartment smell fabulous. I usually marinate tofu for days and then bake it, and it will be nice to have a quicker and still delicious option in my repertoire.

Overall, that is what this collection is for: easily widening your repertoire to give yourself more options as you cook for yourself. It’s timely, sure, but honestly that goal is always a good one.

Series Navigation<< Cook Your Comics: Ash and Thorn’s Gingerbread is a Sweet Apocalyptic TreatCook Your Comics: Themysciran Daggers and Lady Blackhawk’s Buffalo Chicken Dip >>
Emily Lauer

Emily Lauer

Emily Lauer lives in Manhattan with her husband, daughter and dog. She teaches writing and literature at Suffolk County Community College where she studies comics, kids' books, adaptations and visual culture. She is a former Pubwatch Editor for WWAC, and frankly, there is a lot more gray in her hair than there was when this profile picture was taken.