Grapes Romanoff “24”

20th Century Fox

The idea for this post came from Kathleen O’Quinn Jacobs of Macon, Georgia. Kathleen is one of my internet pen pals. I “met” her when she sold me a CD full of recipes and images from old movie magazines on eBay. (You’ll see some of them soon!)
Kathleen and her husband Jake love the television series 24. Knowing that I enjoy linking recipes to TV programs, she told me of their practice of nibbling on something special each year during the season finale of 24.
Since no one eats during the series (Kiefer Sutherland’s character, Jack Bauer, and his colleagues are too busy running around saving and shooting each other) the two have had to provide their own recipes.
Several years ago they came up with the idea of making something from a country featured in the previous season’s plot line for each finale.
Over the eight seasons of the series Kathleen and Jake have sampled Hungarian, Middle Eastern, and Mexican dishes, to name a few. This year Russians have resurfaced on the show so Kathleen is making Grapes Romanoff.
I haven’t been as faithful a viewer as Kathleen and Jake, but I have to admit to a certain fascination with 24.
I know that the “real time” gimmick is ridiculous. I haven’t spent much time in Los Angeles, but I do know that it can take hours to traverse Washington and New York, the settings of the last two years’ alleged 24-hour scenarios. Nevertheless, I’m willing to spend disbelief.
Here’s why: The producers have been astute over the years in courting a variety of audiences, not just lovers of action.
I am NOT an action fan. I find hero Jack Bauer really, really tedious. At least half (often more) of each episode is devoted to shots of Jack as he shoots people, blows up buildings, tortures bad guys, and so forth.
And the man has absolutely no sense of humor—probably because he never sleeps, eats, or goes to the bathroom.

20th Century Fox

So I push the fast-forward button on my DVR and skip straight to the good stuff.
That good stuff, as far as I’m concerned, comes when the storyline gets to the wonderful character actors who seem to find their way into each season’s narrative.
Over the years such luminaries as Dennis Hopper, Powers Boothe, James Cromwell, and Jon Voight—to name a few–have popped in (usually as bad guys) to sweeten the storyline.
And then the women come onscreen……..
Jack finds romantic interest only with skinny, rather tense babes. He has to deal professionally, however, with substantial women who are a force to be reckoned with.
The restrained yet authoritative Jayne Atkinson played Karen Hayes, who went from serving as the head of the fictional counter-terrorism unit to working as the president’s national-security adviser, in Seasons 6 and 7.

Jack’s ongoing friend and coworker Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) is blunt, smart, quirky, and ethical—if a bit too loyal to Jack for my taste. 

Cherry Jones (20th Century Fox)

One of my favorite stage actresses, Cherry Jones, has brought gravity to the series over the past two seasons as President Allison Taylor. 
I’m disappointed with what has happened to her character lately (my fellow viewers will know that the once ultra-honest President Taylor was easily led into abusing her powers by the Rasputin-like former President Logan), but I can’t help enjoying her performance anyway.
Most gloriously of all, the radiant Jean Smart completely stole Season 5 as troubled first lady Martha Logan. Martha was in turn paranoid (with good reason, it turned out), furious, pathetic, and strong. She was gorgeous throughout.
So despite the tedium of Jack’s shoot-‘em-up moments, despite the ridiculousness of many of the plot lines, I’ll miss 24 after this evening’s series finale.
I may just cry into my grapes a little tonight.
I forgot to ask Kathleen for guidance in preparing these grapes. I have a feeling I added a bit more sauce to the grapes than was required! It’s hard to make just a little sauce, however.
Even now I have leftover sour cream. Can Strawberries Romanoff be far behind?
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
24 whole red seedless grapes
Lightly combine the sour cream and brown sugar. Stir them gently into the grapes. Let stand a minute or two; then serve.
Serves 2. (Jack Bauer could probably eat the grapes all by himself at the end of a busy day.) 

In keeping with the grape theme, Kathleen sent me this vintage image of actress Betty Compson sipping grape soda. Jack Bauer would be a happier character if he could share her drink.

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8 Responses to “Grapes Romanoff “24””

  1. Alice P. says:

    This brought back memories of our honeymoon in 1954, when we were served this exotic dish at a friend’s home in San Francisco. . . Loved it, then and now!

  2. Adelaide says:

    From what you wrote about the tv series, I know I wouldn’t have liked it. However, I’m sure I shall like, if not love, the Grapes Romanoff. I bought red grapes today and will try it tonight.


  3. I’ve never watched 24 – and now you’ve described the programme – I don’t think I’ll be buying the box set!! Can I please use green grapes, as I much prefer them to red??!!
    To return to the subject of salt, thanks for the info – I can get both sea salt and rock salt, so I’ll try one of them.

  4. tinkyweisblat says:

    Alice, I’m happy to have brought back such great memories! Adelaide and Frayed, it IS definitely an acquired taste. As for the green grapes, certainly you may use them. I like the red ones a little better because they’re sweeter and prettier……..

  5. Adelaide says:

    Hi Tinky,

    I fully intended to follow this recipe to the letter, but my sour cream, alas, was nearly gone, so I had to use plain non-fat yogurt. Since I was forced to modify the recipe, I did some more changing. I used demerra brown sugar and added a sprinkling of nutmeg. Anyway, Joe pronounced it “very good,” and he is my chief taster and critic.


  6. tinkyweisblat says:

    Golly, Adelaide, I hope you never feel obliged to follow the recipes to the letter! I did also try it with low-fat Greek yogurt, which tasted pretty nice, although the consistency and look were a little less exciting. I’m glad to hear it works with non-fat, too. And I like nutmeg in everything… nice idea!

  7. Betsy says:

    Ahh…you bring back memories :-). My great-aunt, who lived to the ripe old age of 92, made this with blueberries every summer – divine (and I think she would’ve used the same adjective to describe them as well! LOL) I never thought of using grapes (nor did I know there was an actual name for the sauce). I was anxiously awaiting blueberry season to try this, but now I’ll just add grapes to my list of “Fruit-X” Romanoff. Thank you!

  8. tinkyweisblat says:

    Strawberries I knew of–but now you’ve got me dying to try the blueberries. Thanks, Betsy!

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