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Archive for May, 2009

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Radical Chic, after all, is only radical in style; in its heart it is part of Society and its traditions. (Tom Wolfe, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers -1970)

Ramps. I’m sick and tired of ’em. You hear about them here there and everywhere. They are the new Darlings (or rather they are hanging on by a thread to being the new Darlings, but that is merely because there has been no contender for the title) of the Hip Veggie world.

For the past several years, ramps have been vociferously promenading the Red Carpet that was previously pranced upon by arugula merrily towing its attendant baby veggies.

Surely the time has come for a change. Ramps, my dears, are passé. I do not want to read of ramps anymore in drinks, salads, crusts, and soups. Soggy old ramps! Your day is past.

It is time for a New Star on the Red Carpet and it really should be Creasy Greens. From Dave’s Garden:

At the first hint of spring in the Appalachian Mountains, folks start looking for “creasy greens”. They are the earliest of any of the wild greens, often poking through the snow, and although traditionally hunted by foragers they are now grown commercially. Creasy greens are usually cooked long, like kale, mustard or turnip greens but they are equally good raw in a fresh salad.

Here’s a personal story about the Soon-To-Be-Star from The Herbwife’s Kitchen

When I was a tiny kid I used to love climbing around the hillside above our pasture looking for creasy greens in the early spring.

I still love creasy greens.

Creasy greens are Barbarea verna, in the mustard family. They taste a little mustardy, a little sweet, a little bitter. Reminiscent of very young collards, but wilder.

I like to pick them when they’re about to bloom, when they’re a lot like “wild broccoli” (or broccolini, rapini, broccoli raab, or whatever they’re calling it these days).

This season’s Spring Fashion is done with. Let’s get Cutting Edge. Start to think Creasy Greens.
You can even grow your own from Heirloom Seeds! To be ahead of the crowd!

Creasy Greens. Watch out for them. My fashion prediction is that you’ll see  them everywhere next Spring. And they won’t be cheap, dressed up in their new Red Carpet attire!

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Like any other thing we eat, there is the question of ‘why’? Why do we eat this particular thing? Do we eat it because we are really hungry? Or do we eat it because it just happens to be in front of us and available to eat? Or maybe simply because it happens to be the set time for a meal? These questions are the simpler ones. The more challenging questions have to do with tradition, history, culture, and power.

Power is not the least of things affecting what we eat – though in our culture that fact is not as apparent as it may be in other cultures.

In this short online documentary from National Geographic, the bush meat trade is summarized in a way that brings attention to some of the power issues circling around the eating of wild game or bushmeat such as rhinoceros in Africa. There was no mention of the lumber companies which have a hand in the story, but the players in this game – and the histories and traditions – all combine to create a not-so-small battle of ‘whose reality is the right one here’ – with very real results of the battle showing in day-to-day life in this place faraway from where we live and eat.

There is real hunger in some places. Hunger for food to stay alive. Then there are the other sorts of hungers. The complex hungers of status that play out in a number of ways.

Why would we want to eat rhinoceros? Or lion or tiger or bear? These things are not part of our cultural norms as edible things. Is the answer ‘I just want to know what it tastes like,’ a real answer – fully true and valid with no squirrelly levels of additional or alternate meaning underneath this flat-stated claim?

Perhaps in some cases it is for mere entertainment value.

We can buy wild game, including lion meat – online. Here, at this link, is a source. It is called ‘exotic meat’. Which of course has a different feel to the mind than ‘bush meat’ does. One of the satisfied customers giving testimonial on the website of this online exotic meat store was the pastor of a church in California, who states

“Anshu, The Lion Meat and the Python Meat was a hit. The guys found ways to cook it that were appealing. 500 people had a taste. Thanks for all your help.It was very nice to meet you and visit with you on the phone.” Yours, Jeff Beltz, Pastor, Hydesville Community Church

Dining upon the rhinoceros is certainly something to muse upon. We’ve come up close to the beast and have a few recipes ready if the need or urge arises.

The rhino is a homely beast,
For human eyes he’s not a feast.
Farwell, farewell, you old rhinoceros,
I’ll stare at something less prepoceros.

I think the rhino is rather cute, though Ogden Nash would disagree. Prepoceros, though – for sure.

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In studies of food and culture one fact crops up time and again: We do not like what the ‘others’ eat. We only like what ‘we’ eat. That is, until the ‘others’ become lovable to us in some way – acceptable companions at table. As the rhinoceros comes to the table to be eaten, it may be worthwhile to investigate who loves him before we cook him. Will he make the grade to be happily placed upon our tables for merry feasting?

The illustration above is from a 1959 children’s book titled ‘Rupert the Rhinoceros’. We can see that the dolphin loves the rhinoceros called Rupert but the story goes deeper than that. In this newspaper article from the Telegraph we learn of the tale of Rupert the Real Rhinoceros – who was for some time a family pet.

The question of whether one can eat a pet is a curious one. We eat things we love but not things we keep as pets, in most cases.

Other examples rhinoceros-as-dinner do exist. The Munster Family liked a bit of rhino for dinner – most particularly the tongue.

When it comes time for dinner, Lily is a whiz in the kitchen and always finds time to prepare a nice hot meal for Herman and family .Their mealtime included such delicacies as chopped lizard livers, cold rhinoceros tongue sandwiches, fillet of dragon, eggs (Gloomy side up), cream of vulture soup (Herman’s favorite), curried lizard casserole, rolled hyena-foot roast, bird’s nest stew (Grandpa’s favorite), warm ladyfingers with pickled frog ears, Dodo bird roast, cream of buzzard or iguana soup; cactus salad, and salamander salad with centipede dressing.

The New York Times describes a dinner in 1905 where rhinoceros was so devoutly desired that the menu was faked so as to deceive those so eagerly awaiting their bite of rhino.

The Canadian Camp had its annual dinner at the Hotel Astor last night, and the members and guests had a lot of fun despite scurrilous stories that the piece de resistance, which had been advertised as “filet of Bornean rhinoceros, sent from the Berlin Zoological Gardens with the compliments of his Royal Highness Prince Henry of Prussia,” was ordinary bear’s meat, or moose, or even plain, everyday beef.

The disillusionment must have been terrible.

The love of rhino can be very deep indeed. I leave you with a final story as example of a man who ‘glued himself to a rhinoceros’ buttocks’ to consider in the quest to decide whether rhinoceros is indeed loved (and if so, loved in the right sort of way to put it on the table for dinner).

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What they don’t tell you about eating rhinoceros is that before you take your first bite it is vitally important to know the beast! This is true of anything one eats. How can the taste of a thing be known if the sound of the word representing it is unknown, or if the look of a thing before you chow down upon it is unknown? The flavor would consist of a mere Tastebudian experience – bereft of all sensations of imagination upon experience.

You may never have seen rhinoceros in real life. Although you may have seen people who look or act like a rhinoceros in real life. (I have!)

Here are some rhinoceros images, and a poem before we eat.

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(My kind of man. Always poking sticks at the sky while grimacing . . .)

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Stiff upper lip there! Betray no expression of concern!

Our poem about rhinos is also a recipe for rhinoceros stew which can now be added to our recipe collection.

Cooking Rhino Stew (by James James)

Sieve some water in a pot, bring gently to the boil
When no lumps left then add some salt, a dash of diesel oil
For colour add some daffodils, a cup of kerosine
Then stir and boil it for a while, blend in some jumping beans.

Then set to cool and have a drink of vino red or white
And add a cup of pre-cooked goat, and stir with all your might.
Wait just a bit to moisturise, and stirring all the while
Then just to make it int’resting, add tongue of crocodile.

Turn the heat down just a notch, to let the juices thicken
Add more water, pinch of salt, and forty necks of chicken.
When this is bubblin’, nice and slow, it’s time to bone the rhino
But first, to still the nervous shakes drink some more of wino.

The rest of this poem can be found here. I am going out to gather recipe ingredients. Daffodils first!

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Our important discussion of dining on the hippopotamus – the subject matter of which has so much to do with current and vital issues of culture and society – will have to be briefly interrupted for the annual Parade of Men in Aprons.

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369296409_4ff9ee511d_oWe are sorry that these are the only clips we can provide you with, as the entries have been fewer this year than expected.

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It has come to my attention that we have not talked about eating the rhinoceros lately. This lack will be corrected in the following series.

The Oxford Companion to Food advises that rhinos are not to be considered as food due to their rarity. Larousse Gastronomique tells us that the meat of the rhinoceros is to be preferred to the meat of the elephant but that hippopotamus meat tops them both.

There are several recipes we will learn. The first is the easiest, and offers a bit of dietary advice along with cookery instructions:

It has recently been discovered that rhinos, caught and cooked fresh, are extremely delicious, almost as much so as pie, but also have up to 300 milligrams of caffeine per serving. Scientists are still researching why. One of the possible causes could be the stupidity of the scientists.

Recipe for Poached Rhino

Combine all ingredients into a large saucepan, place in microwave oven, and set on “poach” for 2 minutes. Serves 500 very small people.

The same reference is worthwhile in terms of discovering how to shop for a rhino – after all we do not do this every day!


According to our primary source, this is most definitely not a rhinoceros.

We will continue this series with more information on dining upon the rhinoceros till we are done talking about it as much as we possibly can. For additional information, if you can not bear to wait until the next post to learn more, please read the entry quoted from above at uncyclopedia.

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I had promised some hijinks to a friend. But then I had none ready. What to do? Why, put on the hijinks apron and whip some up of course!

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As you see I am ready to rock! My apron starched and laundered. And there are seven of me. Just to be sure the job gets done.

What I didn’t know, when I promised hijinks to my friend, was that ‘hijinks’ is a drinking game.

High jinks, a somewhat dated expression for fun and pranks, was originally the name of an ancient drinking game played wih dice, and the antics of the players gave birth to the phrase. Sir Walter Scott describes the game in his novel Guy Mannering (1815): “Most frequently the dice were thrown by the company, and those upon whom the lot fell were obliged to assume and maintain for a time a certain fictitious character or to repeat a certain number of fescennine (obscene) verses in a particular order. If they departed from the character assigned . . . they incurred forfeits, which were compounded for by swallowing an additional bumper, or by paying a small sum toward the reckoning.” (Word and Phrase Origins Third Edition, Robert Hendrickson)

Why, this seems perfect for me! I can throw dice and drink with the best of them! And as there are seven of me (already dressed in aprons and ready to work at this thing, feather duster in hand!) the game is on! I shall have to invent a few more fictitious characters because swallowing a bumper sounds like a bad idea. The only bumpers I know (well, aside from those guys on the subway and I wouldn’t want to swallow any part of them either) are the heavy steel things on cars. Horrible to swallow.

I’m off to gather my chickens and hijinks. See you soon!
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