There are those places in books that you long to go, but sadly they live in the author’s mind and not in the real world. In the series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor is such a place. Laini has created Poison Kitchen with such vivid detail that I really thought the restaurant had to be real.
Here is an excerpt from the book:
Down by the Devil’s Stream, Poison Kitchen was a place rarely stumbled upon by chance; you had to know it was there, and duck under an unmarked stone arch into a walled graveyard, beyond which glowed the lamp-lit windowpanes of the cafe.
Unfortunately, tourists no longer had to rely on chance to discover the place; the latest edition of the Lonely Planet guide had outed it to the world—
The church once attached to this medieval priory burned down some three hundred years ago, but the monks’ quarters remain, and have been converted to the strangest cafe you’ll find anywhere, crowded with classical statues all sporting the owner’s collection of WWI gas masks. Legend has it that back in the Middle Ages, the cook lost his mind and murdered the whole priory with a poisoned vat of goulash, hence the cafe’s ghoulish name and signature dish: goulash, of course. Sit on a velvet sofa and prop your feet up on a coffin. The skulls behind……the bar may or may not belong to the murdered monks….
—and for the past half year backpackers had been poking their heads through the arch, looking for some morbid Prague to write postcards about.
This evening, though, the girls found it quiet. In the corner a foreign couple was taking pictures of their children wearing gas masks, and a few men hunched at the bar, but most of the tables—coffins, flanked by low velvet settees—were unoccupied. Roman statues were everywhere, life-size gods and……nymphs with missing arms and wings, and in the middle of the room stood a copy of the huge equestrian Marcus Aurelius from Capitoline Hill.
“Oh, good, Pestilence is free,” said Karou, heading toward the sculpture. Massive emperor and horse both wore gas masks, like every other statue in the place, and it had always put Karou in mind of the first horseman of the Apocalypse, Pestilence, sowing plague with one outstretched arm. The girls’ preferred table was in its shadow, having the benefit of both privacy and a view of the bar—…
Two of the main characters, Karou and Zuzana, frequent Poison Kitchen to eat their world famous goulash! The traditional Czech goulash is a soup or stew of meat, noodles, and vegetables seasoned with paprika and other spices. It originally is from the Hungarian culture.
As a child I grew up eating a goulash made by my step-father that was a bit more modern and could be made with ingredients already in our kitchen. He wasn’t the best cook, but the goulash did taste like home! In honor of my love for Poison Kitchen and the third book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series release, Dreams of Gods and Monsters on April 8th, I decided to share my goulash recipe!
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large green pepper, chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 28 ounces petite diced tomatoes
- 15 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 lb elbow macaroni
- 1 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded
- Brown ground beef, onion and pepper.
- Season with garlic salt, paprika and pepper.
- Add tomatoes and tomato sauce.
- Simmer 10 minutes while macaroni is cooking.
- Boil macaroni al dente, drain, rinse.
- Return macaroni to pot, add beef mixture and stir in cheese until melted.
- Serve in bowls (makes great leftovers, the ingredients really meld together!)