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Posts Tagged ‘Eating’

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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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Pigs, Unblanketed

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What is a pig, as far as food goes? The alphabet pertaining to pig in Bruno’s Cantus Circaeus is more esoteric than practical, for most purposes. And rather unkind, too! My own philosophy of pigs is much like Grimod de la Reyniere’s.

Everything in a pig is good. What ingratitude has permitted his name to become a term of opprobruim?

Therefore, it is imperative to have an alphabet to remember him by. I’m not aware of any pig alphabets, so we’ll have to make one up! At least we’ve got a start, from the chart posted above.

B – Butt (and Bacon!)

C – Chop

F – Feet (also known as Trotters)

H – Ham (also Ham Steak)

J – Jowl

R – Roast

S – Sausage (also Spareribs)

Lots of letters to go. Can it be done?

Some inspiration, from a man named (of course) Charles Lamb:

He must be roasted . . . . There is no flavor comparable, I will contend to that of the crisp, tawny, well-watched, not over-roasted, crackling, as it is well called – the very teeth are invited to their share of the pleasure at this banquet in overcoming the coy, brittle resistance – with the adhesive oleginous – O call it not fat! but an indefinable sweetness growing up to it – the tender blossoming of fat – fat cropped in the bud – taken in the shoot – in the first innocence – the cream and quintessence of the child-pig’s yet pure food – the lean, no lean, but a kind of animal manna – or, rather, fat and lean (if it must be so) so blended and running into each other, that both together make but one ambrosian result or common substance.

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‘In a pig’s eye’ is an American colloquialism meaning ‘not a chance in hell’. I’ve never heard anyone actually use it, but it does pop into my mind once in a while.

Rote memorization of facts someone else thinks go together because they were told at one time to memorize them sometimes strikes me as worthy of the phrase. “Here’s what you need to memorize,” they may say to me, and I may say back to them, “Why?,” and they may say “Because it’s always been that way,” and I may think to myself in response “I’ll do it your way in a pig’s eye!”

But a long time ago when magic and memory were topics happily married in the same sentence, there was a book which helped people do magic or memorize things they wanted to memorize, or some combination of the two.

The book was written by a man named Giordano Bruno. His ideas didn’t fit the general thinking of the thinkers of the times, so naturally they killed him off and he is now defined as a ‘martyr of science’. The name of the book with the cute picture of the hairy pig posted above is ‘Cantus Circaeus’.

Cantus Circaeus (“Incantation of Circe”) is an early work by Bruno on the art of memory with strong magical elements. It is written in the form of a dialogue between the great sorceress Circe and her assistant or apprentice Moeris. It opens with Circe’s incantations to the planets which appear to be based on Agrippa, De Occult. Phil. II, lix. These incantations are described as “barbara & arcana”. These are accompanied by various magical operations including the use of an altar, fumigations, and notae. This is followed by an Art of Memory.

According to I.P. Couliano, “Giordano Bruno’s magic is based not only upon the Ficinian tradition but also on techniques relating to the art of memory. This art consisted of a manipulation of phantasms or inner images, whose purpose varied from the mere learning by heart of a text to mystical contemplation.” (‘Magic in Medieval and Renaissance Europe’ in Hidden Truths: Magic, Alchemy, and the Occult: 1987).

About right now I bet you’re thinking “What does this have to do with food?”, and “When can I get something to eat around here?”. Patience. And besides, if you are sitting here on the computer it’s likely you eat three hearty meals a day plus all the snacks you want, anyway. What’s the rush?

Today we don’t worry about Circe and magic too much. But we do think about pork a lot. So I’ve decided that knowing your pork and knowing it well (and being able to memorize what you know!) just may be important.

Above you see pig. Nice hairy pig. There is an alphabet surrounding the pig. For each letter there should be some piggy-thing which connects to eating the pig. Or cooking the pig. Or growing the pig.

Do you know what they are?

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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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