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Archive for the ‘Eating’ Category

Caturday Night Fevah

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Well rounded bagel with

Cream cheese and sable

Green capers and onions (red)

No fish tale nor withered nasturtium bud

Considers this swallow their bed.

Hanatsubomi, hanayu? Yuzu you are, till eaten.

As farro! O farro!

Creeps into lasagna

(Ancient as Zeus’ old bolt)

Kakigori clouds delicately

Fall freezing

And the soft bun’d hot dogs onion-ly emote.

There was a river!

It was the Hudson

But I saw my friend’s face before it

Biting bright Bowery pickles

Always quite crunchy and

The fat strudel of poppyseed  can hardly be

Grumpy.

Let not my food love be called idolatry!

Since all edible, these bites and baubles be.

Three themes in one

My love is

I bid you

Each

A bite,

A swallow,

A ruminative

Chew.

………………………………………………………………….

There you are, Sonia, per your request – my love letter to the happy New York foods! 🙂

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A sable special at Murray’s bagels

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A box of wagashi, including one like the one above

Cover image of La Cucina Italiana for June, 2009

Farro lasagna

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Kakigori which froze my tongue so much that when I talked near the end of it I sounded drunk

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Hot dogs with lots of ‘Greek-style’ onions and papaya drinks

Waterfront dining above at SouthWest

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Katz’s and the ever-so-gently pickled pickles are so good

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Hungarian Pastry Shop

And last but not least, a link to the menu at Henry’s End.

How many days was I in NYC?

(Not enough!) 🙂

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No, I’m not suggesting that you eat the refrigerator – I was just looking for an excuse to use the illustration. But it does raise the question of whether we ‘understand’, or know, or experience, our food in the same way if that food is an icy plastic-covered super-industrialized product created by a corporation for mass consumption or if that food is rather the odd turnip or potato pulled up at the farm by Pappy then carefully washed, sliced and stewed by Mammy with the bit of salt pork from the pig slaughtered each autumn by Uncle Wilbur.

Have you ever considered eating something unusual for the purpose of ‘understanding’ it? (This is not the same thing as eating something strange for the purpose of  bragging about it afterwards to all your eagerly disgusted friends!)

One family in particular of a studious nature took to this idea. Their tables were graced with some very interesting foodstuffs.

Not only was his house filled with specimens – animal as well as mineral, live as well as dead – but he claimed to have eaten his way through the animal kingdom: zoophagy. The most distasteful items were mole and bluebottle; panther, crocodile and mouse were among the other dishes noted by guests. Augustus Hare, a famous English raconteur and contemporary, recalled, “Talk of strange relics led to mention of the heart of a French King preserved at Nuneham in a silver casket. Dr. Buckland, whilst looking at it, exclaimed, ‘I have eaten many strange things, but have never eaten the heart of a king before,’ and, before anyone could hinder him, he had gobbled it up, and the precious relic was lost for ever.” The heart in question is said to have been that of Louis XIV. Buckland was followed in this bizarre hobby by his son Frank.

Like father, like son – Francis Trevelyan Buckland followed his dad William in the ways of the table.

Buckland was a pioneer of zoöphagy: his favourite research was eating the animal kingdom. This habit he learnt from his father, whose residence, the Deanery, offered such rare delights as mice in batter, squirrel pie, horse’s tongue and ostrich. After the ‘Eland Dinner’ in 1859 at the London Tavern, organised by Richard Owen, Buckland set up the Acclimatization Society to further the search for new food. In 1862 100 guests at Willis’ Rooms sampled Japanese Sea slug (= sea cucumber, probably), kangaroo, guan, curassow and Honduras turkey. This was really quite a modest menu, though Buckland had his eye on Capybara for the future. Buckland’s home, 37 Albany Sreet, London, was famous for its menagerie and its varied menus. [4]

His writing was sometimes slapdash, but always vivid and racy, and made natural history attractive to the mass readership. This is an example:

“On Tuesday evening, at 5pm, Messrs Grove, of Bond Street, sent word that they had a very fine sturgeon on their slab. Of course, I went down at once to see it… The fish measured 9 feet in length [nearly three metres]. I wanted to make a cast of the fellow… and they offered me the fish for the night: he must be back in the shop the next morning by 10 am… [various adventures follow] I was determined to get him into the kitchen somehow; so, tying a rope to his tail, I let him slide down the stone stairs by his own weight. He started all right, but ‘getting way’ on him, I could hold the rope no more, and away he went sliding headlong down the stairs, like an avalanche down Mont Blanc… he smashed the door open… and slid right into the kitchen… till at last he brought himself to an anchor under the kitchen table. This sudden and unexpected appearance of the armour-clad sea monster, bursting open the door… instantly created a sensation. The cook screamed, the house-maid fainted, the cat jumped on the dresser, the dog retreated behind the copper and barked, the monkeys went mad with fright, and the sedate parrot has never spoken a word since.” [5]

Now that sounds like a fun place to visit! I never before thought the Dean of Westminster and his family so very exciting!

The only thing I feel really badly about is that I have not (yet) located their recipe for Rhinoceros Pie. Do you think perhaps Rhinoceros Pies is the magical thing inside the Holy Refrigerator illustrated above? Or is it a TV dinner in there? Or that famous organic turnip? Or some leftover canned spaghetti? Or . . . . ? What could it possibly be?!

And having eaten the things we eat, do we then understand them? Or do we write our own stories about them to suit our own pleasures and to fit our own mindsets . . . .

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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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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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Click here to view J.W. Buell Slideshow of ‘Sea and Land’ by stevelewalready (It’s possible to open this tab along with the music video at the same time . . . if you are so inclined – you’ll have to open another window. I rather enjoy the mix, myself.)

Welcome to the Jungle.

Hungry? Get your Sustainable Seafood Recipes right here.

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