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Food and Film, an Oscar Celebration: Mrs. Miniver and English Country Rye Bread

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The Oscar's, or Academy Awards, have become an international yearly tradition for film fans the world over. Millions of people look forward to the one day of the year when a gold plated little naked bald man takes over the media universe. Whether you love or hate the choices of the academy members, the fact-of-the-matter is, the Oscar's are a cause for celebration -- and what better way to celebrate than with food! This year we'll celebrate with some great food from the films which have taken home the Oscar for Best Picture.

Mrs. Miniver (Best Picture, 1942): It was the era when Hollywood truly was golden and the movies were magical. Mrs. Miniver is a classic Hollywood drama of the time about an typical English woman (Greer Garson) whose life changes via the perils of World War II. Mrs. Miniver won six Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Greer Garson), Best Supporting Actress (Teresa Wright) and Best Director (William Wyler). In 2006, Mrs. Miniver was named one of the most inspirational films of all-time by the American Film Institute and in 2009, added to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

When it comes to the food associated with Mrs. Miniver, it is very unassuming yet, at the same time, very typically British. One of my favorite British breads was also one of the most popular breads in the era depicted in Mrs. Miniver. English Country Rye Bread, is not only a classic of international breads, it is also very simple to make at home.

By-the-way, if you happen to be a fan of rye bread, you will find that English Country Rye Bread makes an exceptional toast and when served with some orange marmalade, will make you feel as if you were Mrs. Miniver herself.

Ingredients needed to make English Country Rye Bread (makes 2 loves):

  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. yeast
  • 1 Tbs. caraway seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 Tbs. corn oil
  • 2 cups rye flour
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tbs. water

Steps:

  1. In a large bowl whisk together 2 cups of flour, brown sugar, yeast, caraway seeds and salt. Stir in the warm water and oil. Set the bowl aside 10 minutes for the yeast to proof (foam).
  2. Into the bowl stir 1/2 cup flour to form a soft (wet) dough.
  3. Stir in the remaining flour and rye flour to form a dough (it will be somewhat stiff).
  4. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead 10 minutes.
  5. Place the dough back into the bowl. cover and let rise 1 hour.
  6. Punch the dough down (yes, put your fist into it). Divide the dough in half and form each half into a round loaf.
  7. Place each loaf on a baking pan and let rise 1 hour.
  8. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  9. In a small bowl whisk together the egg white and water (this is an egg wash). Brush the egg wash on each loaf.
  10. Place the loaves into the oven and bake 40 minutes.
  11. Remove the loaves from the oven and let cool on a rack.

The internationally bestselling cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards, "Edwardian Cooking: 80 Recipes Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals," is now in it's third printing and available worldwide in both hard cover and e-book versions. The paperback version will be released March 4, 2014.

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