When writing my first children’s book, Phillip’s Quest, Book 1, Winterfrost, I found it was necessary to spend many hours at the main library in the Village of Twistedoak, to research the species genomos or “earth dweller.” One cannot simply look at the commercialized and sometimes obnoxious “garden gnome” as popularized by a certain travel company and think, “Ugh! Why would you write about those creepy creatures!” Mais, non! To know a gnome, is to love a gnome. And so, my love of Phillip began.
Gnomes are self-sufficient and resilient, by nature. Very easily pleased, their normal psyche is that of loving, caring beings, with huge hearts and a general joie de vivre. Although small in stature, smaller than their dwarf counterparts in height, their hands and feet are disproportionately larger. Requiring very little physical care, the gnome is naturally quite healthy due to its diet, rich in organic fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and occasional raw dairy and eggs. Even though rarely sad or depressed, a tasty cookie or wiskit, will change the mood of the gnome from sad to glad! Not comfortable with confrontation, the gnome is a master diplomat. One of the favorite gnome mottos is, “Don’t worry, be happy.” (Yes, it originally came from the gnome community and found on Rune stone in 1579 A.D. by Swiss alchemist, Paracelsus.) Since the gnome is not normally equipped for protecting itself, it has many natural predators; goblins, trolls, orcs, snakes, wolves, giant spiders, bats, ice hornets, etc… and evil witches. Their only means of protection comes from the help of a higher being, i.e. humans, blue witches, wizards.
The gnome’s eating habits differ, slightly, from region to region. The gnomes of Twistedoak are vegetarians while other gnomes add dairy, fish and poultry to their diet. The female gnome, given to having a large family, are excellent cooks. They can turn anything into a feast. The gnomes of Twistedoak arrived from their Old Country as mushroom farmers, many millennia ago. They “settled at the edge of the Great Granite Mountains and the Vast Enchanted Forest… They grew the most lovely mushrooms. Some looked like little white pearls. The farmers called them ‘candy ‘shrooms.’ They were as sweet as sugar and the wee ones would steal them as quickly as they popped out of the ground. Their mothers and fathers always knew when they’d eaten too much, because they would come running home, crying, with tummy aches. Some of the mushrooms were golden and big enough to feed a family of four…” However, due to circumstances beyond their control, these resilient gnomes have learned to adapt their diets to the main crops of “taters and onions.”
Not for a lack of recipes, the female gnomes are very sharing, often having recipe trading parties. Before the passing of Ivy, she was kind enough to share some wonderful recipes that she loved, as well as recipes from the Great Granma Polli. A recipe from Oli, the squirrel and a favorite of Phillip’s were also shared for our book. They are:
Ivy’s Tater Buns
Ivy’s Tater Dumplings
Ivy’s Tater and Onion Pancakes
Oli’s Nutty Cakes
Phillip’s Mater Sauce with Hazelnuts
All recipes can be found in Phillip’s Quest, Book 1: Winterfrost. An upcoming cookbook, adapted for human consumption, is in the works!