And then there was… ‘The Shining’


Researching  on info for this post, I was delighted to find out that Stephen is working on a sequel to ‘The Shining’, the only book that kept me awake at night.

I discovered Stephen King as many do, as an adolescent, through a school friend, who was a real nerd and conscientious as hell when it came down to studying. Dear Dora was the oracle we all turned to when we didn’t input the same dedication to the day’s study topic…

Her only vice was… reading Stephen King so she promptly introduced me. First, she lent me ‘Pet Sematary’ with its delightful introduction of a skull-exposed bulging brain (I was so disappointed when the film didn’t feature it). And then there was ‘The Shining’. I absolutely swallowed that book… on a couple of week nights. We were going to school in the morning so we had to be up really, (I mean REALLY) early. One particular night I was absolutely engrossed with Jack Torrance’s adventures but even I like some caution. It was 2 am and I correctly guessed it would be extremely unpleasant (if not downright impossible) to get up in 4 hours’ time. So, I finished the chapter I was reading and turned off the lights… Except it was the famous chapter where… you know, the door sequence with that unforgettable cinematic quote from (another) Jack? So, I stayed up, eyes wide open… for a full minute, until I threw caution to the winds and decided I’d better read the next chapter if I wanted to get some sleep at all. It was THAT good.

So yes, I have Stephen to thank for some of the scariest moments of my life (somehow reading and leaving things to your imagination can be so much more scary than having it all cooked up for you).

Now, it seems I also have to thank him for this Transylvanian stew, dark and Gothic, as befitting of him as the iron bats and gargoyles on the gates of his Maine house.


Stephen King’s Transylvanian Goulasch

This is what he wrote back in the 1980’s

Dear Ms Campbell,

                 Thank you for thinking of me in connection with your cookbook project. My specialty is Franco-American Spaghetti with hamburger –my kids love it- but I don’t think it would appeal to most people. The following recipe was culled from Family Circle magazine –it is probably more what people would expect of me. It is really called Transylvanian Cabbage Gulyas, I didn’t make that up.

Transylvanian Cabbage Gulyas

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 slices bacon, cut into small pieces

1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)

1 small clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons paprika (Hungarian, if available)

2 pounds lean boneless pork, cut into ½ inch cubes

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

¼ teaspoon caraway seeds

2 cups warm water

2 pounds fresh or canned sauerkraut (I used canned)

½ pound kielbasa (I used two kinds of Polish sausage, one of them made with garlic…)

1 container (8 ounces) dairy sour cream

at room temperature*

1.       Heat the oil and bacon in Dutch oven until bacon has rendered most of its fat. Saute onion and garlic in fat until soft (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat. Stir in paprika. Add pork to pan, stirring to coat with paprika.

2.       Return pan to heat; cook over low heat 10 minutes, stirring constantly so paprika does not burn.  Mix in salt, pepper, caraway and water.

Cover; simmer 45 minutes.

3.       While meat is cooking, wash sauerkraut under cold, running water. Squeeze dry. Cut sausages into ¼ inch slices.

4.       When meat is tender, stir in sauerkraut and sausage. Cook 15 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Gradually stir in sour cream just before serving. *This dish is best prepared a day before serving. Do not add sour cream until meat has been reheated.


I hope this recipe will help. Best of luck with your book. It sounds like a good idea.


                                                                                Stephen King

Now I also know why I am such a big ‘Lost’ fan…


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