Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, April 1, 2017

What's the Fascination with Fairy Tales?

Girls night out (Mommy took the photo.)

Grace note: Any post last week would have been more like Shattered Mosaics - nothing awful happened, just too much going on - so let's hope this promised post on Bacon Bread & Beauty and the Beast doesn't turn out to be an April's Fool's prank!


Attending Disney's latest version of Beauty and the Beast set off today's blog topic, although I didn't realize how rich a topic it was until I started scribbling notes. Wow! No wonder fairy tales have survived the years, in the last couple of decades becoming even more popular with the overwhelming success of Harry Potter and the TV series, Once Upon a Time. I can't help but wonder if this revival of the fanstastical has come about because our world needs magic so badly. Because we look around, and what we see screams for heroics in the grand manner. For Faith, Love, Loyalty, Honesty, Caring, Leadership, Friendship, Integrity, Helpfulness, Humor, and perhaps above all, Redemption. We need these stories to tell us Happily Ever After has not completely fallen by the wayside. And on the reverse side, fairy tales make us all aware of the sins of Greed, Selfishness, Heedlessness, Power-grabbing, Marchivellian scheming, and flat-out Evil.

Yes, some of the original fairy tales were pretty grim (pardon the pun), but most of us remember with vivid fondness the exotic settings and amazing people, the happy endings, even if only one of the Three Little Pigs survived! We're quite sure the wolf didn't really eat Red Riding Hood - hey, it's just a long-ago tale to warn kids of Stranger-Danger, right? And Greed's bad - the story of Rumplestiltskin tells us so. Except Rumple didn't get the baby after all, so . . .

Okay, so fairy tales offer mixed messages, but they make us think. They not only provide lessons in good and evil for everyone, they offer challenges. For those whose lives are less than ideal, the tales provide a dream, a look at a world beyond poverty, violence, and despair. They say, Okay, this too can be yours. For the more privileged among us, fairy tales offer an opportunity to see evil not created by Marvel comics and learn to be wary. They prod the privileged and protected to be morally stronger than many of them have been challenged to be. Basically, fairy tales are lessons in right vs. wrong, heroism vs. cowardice, responsibility vs. leaving duty to someone else. And also lessons about evil lurking in the happiest of times.

The TV series, Once Upon a Time, takes bits and pieces from just about any fantasy you can name. From your favorite fairy tales to medieval classics, such as King Arthur (even a brief appearance by Beowulf!). And then there are the characters who never lived anywhere but in a Disney animated film. Plots, Characters, and Settings are juxtaposed, twisted, tumbled into nearly unrecognizable forms, and yet the classic "moral of the story" remains: Good versus Evil. Honor vs. Bad Deeds. And the ever-present hope of Redemption. A happy ending, even for the Bad Guys.

Powerful Stuff.

I don't want to leave out my favorite among the modern fairy-tale re-tellings, Snow White and the Huntsman. If you haven't seen it, make an effort to do so. It's a gem. Which, alas, was spoiled by a sequel that completely ruined the "up in the air" ending of "Oh wow, maybe she's going to marry the Huntsman instead of Prince Charming." Snow White and the Huntsman goes one-up on Once Upon a Time in providing a magnificent depiction of a twist to the classic tale. But through it all the "morals" are there. Love prevails, the good guys triumph, even when the road to success is long, harsh, and nearly lost to the machinations of the evil witch.

So don't be a cynic about fairy tales. (I exclude the modern versions created for the sole purpose of being horror stories.) We can learn a lot from these stories, including elements we need to include in our own books. No book is so "modern" or action-filled that it isn't enhanced by a bit of magical love, a goodly dollop of friendship, and the triumph of honor over temptation. And don't forget that soupçon of evil. 

Above all, fairy tales add Wonder to our lives, whether they're dealing with magic or only showing us a precious family moment. They show us the best and the worst of ourselves and show us, no matter how stupid or downright bad we are, redemption is possible. Though sometimes the price is high. 

Are there bad people who triumph in real life? Of course there are. But fairy tales keep hope alive. Consider the possibility that adding a bit of fairy tale magic to the next book you write just might give it that extra sparkle, that tug at the heart we all want our books to have. 

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My bacon bread, derived from a long-ago recipe found on the Internet, is always in demand, but on the Saturday before St. Patrick's Day I was invited to two parties on the same night. I told my daughter I had pledged my bacon bread to the choir party, but she informed me, "It's bacon bread or nothing." In other words, "Don't show up to my party without it." So after school on Friday, I solicited Cassidy's help, and together we made a bacon bread she could take home for her mother to reheat for her brother-in-law's birthday party. And on Saturday afternoon I made the one for the choir, resulting in back-to-back bacon breads. Whew! (At least I was able to have a few bites of the one at the choir's St. Pat's party. There wasn't a smidgin left by the time I arrived at the birthday party.)

The recipe below has been adapted from the original, which was created before Pillsbury began to produce only the larger "Grand" biscuits.

Pull-apart Bacon Bread made in a Bundt pan


Since it is almost impossible to buy the 7.5 oz. Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuits any more, I have attempted to revise the original recipe, using “Grands.” Two “Grands” make quite a bit more dough than three of the smaller biscuit packages, so I have adjusted the other ingredients accordingly. Needless to say, there is quite a bit of leeway for you to adjust the recipe to your taste, including increasing the amount of bacon, which remains the same in this recipe as in the original.

Grace Note: This recipe is much easier if you do the preparations ahead of time - several hours up to a whole day. Cook the bacon to crisp. Cool & crumble. (I cut the strips into quarters before frying.) Shred the cheese; sauté the onion & pepper. Refrigerate until an hour or two before putting the bread ring together. Just prior to opening the biscuit packages, melt the butter.

Prepare a Bundt pan with a generous coating of solid shortening (such as Crisco), plus a dusting of flour. (Do not use a spray. The bread will not unmold correctly.)

c. 1 cup finely chopped onion
c. 3/4 - 1 cup finely chopped green pepper (optional)
1½ teaspoons vegetable or olive oil*
1 lb. bacon, cooked & crumbled
3/4 c. butter, melted
3/4 - 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Fresh herbs, chopped (if available)
2 pkgs. (16.3 oz. ea.) Pillsbury “Grand” buttermilk biscuits

Grace note: No need to preheat the oven until you start cutting the biscuits.

Sauté onion & green pepper in oil until tender. Cut each biscuit into six sections. In a large bowl, gently toss onion & pepper mix, biscuits, bacon, butter, cheese & herbs, until combined.** Transfer to Bundt pan. Bake at 350° for c. 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes. Carefully run table knife around the outer & inner edges of the bread before inverting onto a serving plate. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers. Reheat in microwave before serving leftovers.

*I sauté the onion & green pepper in the bacon fat (pouring off all but what I need). But sautéing in olive oil would likely be considered more healthy.

**This is a hands-on process. You need to separate each hunk of dough and make sure it is coated with the butter mixture.

Please remember this is "finger food." Pull apart - do not slice!

~ * ~

Thanks for stopping by,


For Grace's website, listing all books as Blair Bancroft, click here.

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1 comment:

  1. So many stories are variations of beauty and the Beast or Cinderella. I do like the Beauty and the Beast one better One author said in The Uses of Enchantment( or something like that, that the Grimm brothers' fairy tales let us face dangers safely. All romances are fairy tales.