Jamie Fraser. Sigh. The kilt-wearing, sword-wielding, quick-witted, torture-bearing, Scottish hunk with a heart of gold who ensnared me several years ago from the pages of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander is finally coming to the screen. And that photo right there above (actor Sam Heughen) is him. Let me pause to jump up and down for several minutes.
I’m back. And I have even more fun! A Pocket Jamie, courtesy of the Starz network which will be bringing Jamie (oh, and Claire) to life beginning August 9. Not that I’ve set my DVR or anything. I can now copy and paste Jamie Fraser into all my favorite Facebook photos. Want one of your own? www.starz.com/PublishingImages/Originals/Outlander/Extras/downloadable_pocketjamie.pdf
So, let me begin again. In Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, Claire Randall drops through a stone circle in the Scottish highlands in 1946 and falls into 1743 and the hands of the villainous Black Jack Randall, from whom her current husband is descended. Claire needs to escape Black Jack in the worst way, and Jamie Fraser and his family, the Clan MacKenzie help her do it by abducting her.
Along the way, Claire must marry Jamie for her own safety and the two fall desperately in love. Which means that on many lovely occasions, Jamie wraps Claire in the great swatch of MacKenzie plaid cloth that he generally wears as a kilt to keep her warm. And he runs about heaving massive muscles having worn his kilt in the true Scottish way. Which is great. As they say, when in Scotland two centuries ago . . .
As Claire is trained as a nurse, and worked as a combat nurse in WW2, she has lots of specialized knowledge that helps out in the Clan wars. And of course makes her suspect as a witch.
Amid trying to convince the Clan and town that Claire isn’t a witch, avoiding Black Jack Randall who has a very special and perverted yen to torture Jaime, and trying to decide which century to live in or whether she even has a choice, Outlander tells a whopping good story.
Did I mention Jamie Frasier? The series begins on Starz on August 9. And Diana Gabaldon’s latest novel in the Outlander series is called Written in My Own Heart’s Blood and was released in hard back on June 10, 2014. Diana has a really lovely website that has excerpts from all of her books and fan art (she vehemently is opposed to fan fiction) and videos and lots of other stuff. Find her at http://www.dianagabaldon.com.
Jamie and Claire’s wedding feast includes “fresh bread, roast beef and wine.” Claire collects herbs in order to supply her makeshift pharmacy. Based on that, for a book club meeting where we were discussing Outlander I would serve:
Fresh bread with butter: This I would buy. I know my limits.
Arugula Salad with Dunlop (A Scottish cheddar) cheese, apples and herb vinaigrette.
Vinaigrette: 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, fresh herbs (tarragon, thyme, mint even) finely chopped, salt, pepper to taste and a smidge of sugar. Stir together then drizzle in olive oil until you have the consistency you like.
Roast Beef. This is from my grandmother’s recipe vault: Wipe the roast with a clean, damp cloth. Dredge with flour. Place in roasting pan with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 2 tablespoons Crisco. Put in a very hot, 500 degree, oven for 15-20 minutes. Reduce heat to 400 and cook, allowing 8 to 10 minutes per pound. Baste frequently but do not add water. My grandmother the Southern Baptist would disagree, but you could add some red wine. Add carrots, celery and turnips when you turn down the heat.
Oatmeal Shortbread for dessert. You can’t do Scottish without oats! There’s a lovely recipe for Oatmeal Shortbread with Whiskey Chocolates, Marinated Raspberries and Whiskey Caramel on the Scotland.org website and it has lots of other Scottish recipes as well. I think I’d try that. http://www.scotland.org/whats-on/recipes/.
You could definitely do the bagpipe thing or find a Celtic music c.d., but it might be fun to intersperse that with some WW2 songs. Then, like Claire, you will find yourself somehow in two centuries at one time.
No need for me to cast this, as Starz has already done so. But I can’t wait to see if I agree!