Our story today, Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo, is set in Bloor’s Academy, an eerie private school. To attend Bloor’s Academy you must either be gifted or rich. You can be gifted in the areas of art, music, drama, or be endowed with a special talent. Charlie Bone is one of these extra talented students because he can hear voices from photographs and (occasionally) paintings. After Charlie’s deranged aunts and grandmother (some of whom are also endowed) discover his gift, he is shipped to Bloor’s Academy.
While there, he meets other endowed children and learns that their powers come by being descendants of the Red King, an ancient enchanter. The other students have powers which allow them to feel emotions through clothes, talk to animals, lift items with their minds, and more. And while Charlie enjoys finding other Children of the Red King, he can’t help but feel like they are an equally split group, between good and evil.
Upon finding a mysterious photograph, and hearing the conversation inside, Charlie learns the story of a girl who has been missing for years. Determined to use his powers for good, Charlie sets on a quest to find the missing child. But there are many at Bloor’s, including the headmaster himself, who would love nothing more than for the girl’s disappearance to remain unsolved. Charlie must rally the other Children of the Red King to help him, and hope that the good outweighs the bad.
“A plate containing something brown and green was shoved into Charlie’s hands, and he followed Fidelio to an empty table. After a few mouthfuls, Charlie noticed that Fidelio seemed to be enjoying the rather disgusting cabbage and leaving the brown stuff.
“Vegetarian,” explained Fidelio. “They never give us a meal we can eat. I expect you’d like my hash.”
“Is that what it is? I wouldn’t mind a bit. You can have my cabbage.” – Midnight for Charlie Bone (hardcover) pages 170-171
Imagine my delight when finding a vegetarian character! I can sympathize with poor Fidelio (cafeterias don’t get any better in college), so I decided to make a vegan meal of hash and cabbage in honor of him.
I followed a recipe for corned bean hash, then sauteed some shredded cabbage in margarine and topped it with Lawry’s seasoning salt. I’ve never had hash before, so I can’t attest to this being similar to the omnivore version, but it was darn tasty.