I’m often asked what book made me realize my desire to write and be an English teacher. A nearly impossible question. My mom, like me, is an obsessive reader, a book club member, and general lover of literature. So, from the time I was little, I poured over “the classics”—the Ramona series, Anne of Green Gables, and of course… anything and everything Sweet Valley Twins.
While I loved books, I thought they were just a hobby. Until my senior year of high school. My teacher was Ms. Cole and most of the class wasn’t a fan—they thought she was too tough. During her discussions of symbol and theme, they accused her of “making stuff up.” Predictable…I’ve heard similar comments from my own students. But Ms. Cole didn’t water down the discussions. She didn’t cheapen the text.
Two books stood out to me that term: Heart of Darkness and Lord of the Flies. I read each twice in the time it took the rest of the class to read them once (if at all); I just wanted to really understand. But most of all, I was amazed by the beauty of the words. These are two novels I still find impossible to read without subconsciously (in true Arthur Dimmesdale, fashion), placing a hand over my heart.
Simply put, and cliché as it may be, these books changed me. It made me realize that my love of literature was more than a hobby.
Shifting gears…food is obviously essential to the plot and theme of Lord of the Flies. The boys survive on fruit, mostly, until they begin hunting pigs. If you were expecting a yummy fruit salad or honey glazed ham recipe, I’m sorry to disappoint you. I’ve opted to go in a slightly different direction: Conch. Fried conch, to be exact. I can think of no better way to highlight the theme than cookin’ up the novel’s symbol of democracy and devouring it, leaving only a little pile of crumbs behind.
½ lb Cleaned, skinned conch
1 Egg, lightly beaten
½ cup All-purpose flour
¼ cup Corn meal
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Paprika
Cocktail or tartar sauce (depending on your preference)
Fill deep pot with vegetable oil and heat to 350 degrees.
Using a mallet, pound conch to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 1” strips.
Add conch to beaten egg. Toss lightly to coat thoroughly.
Dredge conch in flour mixture until well coated.
Using a spoon, carefully drop conch into oil.
Cook approximately 3 minutes or until the conch float to the top and are golden brown.
Drain well on paper towels or newspaper.
Serve with sauce.
***Note: depending on where you live, Conch may be a little hard to come by. This recipe can be used with scallops or shrimp. If you do substitute the protein, just skip step two (do not pound with a mallet).