(early march. number 15.)
"The famous kitchens of Redwall Abbey were abustle with activity that night. Friar Alder, the thin, lanky mouse in charge of it all, added wild plumjuice to an enormous hazlenut crumble he had just pulled from the oven..."
I (Andrew) am a preschool teacher, and in late January our librarian brought one of the classrooms a Redwall picture book called 'A Redwall Winter's Tale,' written by Brian Jacques and illustrated by Christopher Denise. It was written and released long after I "grew out" of reading this series popularized by nerdy 5th grade boys, so I'd never seen it. Neither had a coworker who was also excited by the books' appearance at school. This led me to discover the other two books made with the same illustrator– 'The Great Redwall Feast' and 'The Redwall Cookbook.'
I remember always being particularly enchanted by the descriptions of food in the books; flowery cordials and creamy cheeses and savory pies. I even made a Redwall cookbook around age 11, poorly laid out and haphazardly printed on my families' ink jet color printer in 1997. I'm not sure if I ever tried to make anything out of it. I probably just shoved it under my mother's nose and hoped for the best.
A few days after the wintry picture book had appeared, my coworker shared the news he'd learned of Jacques passing, from a heart attack at the age of 71, a few days earlier. I immediately became determined to pull off a Redwall themed Secret Restaurant, as an homage to Jacques and a celebration of the end of winter.
And yes, that first image is of a mouse hand sculpted out of marzipan by my roommate Kellen.