Monthly Archives: June 2019

Greenlandic Cake

Greenlandic Appetizer

GREENLANDIC CAKE

INGREDIENTS – CAKE

7 tablespoons butter
1 cup lukewarm milk
2¼ teaspoons (1 packet) yeast
⅔ cup raisins
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
4 cups flour
no-stick spray
2 tablespoons cold coffee
1½ tablespoons sugar, pearl or confectioner’s

SPECIAL UTENSILS

bread maker (optional)
bread pan

Serves 8. Takes 2 hours.

PREPARATION – CAKE

Add butter to pan. Melt butter using medium heat. Add milk. Stir gently until well blended. Add in yeast, stirring gently as you do so. Mix gently until yeast dissolves. Add raisins, salt, and sugar. Mix until well blended. Add flour. Knead with bread maker or by hand for 10 minutes or until you get a smooth dough.

Place dough on flat surface, cover with towel, and let stand for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 390 degrees 15 minutes before dough has finished standing. Spray bread ban with no-stick spray. Add dough to bread pan. Spread coffee on top with brush. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 390 degrees for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

TIDBITS

1) The fierce Vikings of old loved cakes, particularly this cake. They got a might testy, particularly when they didn’t get their favorite dessert. Indeed, the Vikings were apt to loot whole cities when in such a mood. What towns did the berserk Norsemen target? Why, the ones with lots and lots of flour and milk, of course, there being no wheat fields or cowherds in icy, cold Greenland.

2) Why didn’t the Vikings simply move to mainland Europe where there were wheat and cows in abundance? Why not set up cake bakeries there? Because all the great Viking cake makers would only live in Greenland. Something about being able to always step out into cold Arctic air after a long day working beside hot ovens. So you can see, if air-conditioned kitchen had been available in the ninth century, there were have been no Fury of the Norsemen. Something to chew on.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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Are You A Fast Food Dick?

Are you a fast-food dick? Do you make the help or other customers’ time in the fast-food restaurant miserable? Take this test and find out.

Do you:

1) Wait until you get to the head of the line to read the menu? (2 points)

2) Refuse to let someone else order when you can’t make up your mind? (1 point)

3) Bring in the all-you-can drink cup you got from your last visit so you don’t have to pay for a soda this time? (2 points)

4) Write a check? It’s no longer the 20th century. (1 point. 0 points if you can’t get a credit card.)

5) Ask if the food is fresh? (1 point)

6) Ask if the food is fresh if you see it coming out of a freezer? (2 points)

7) Park in handicapped parking when you are totally healthy, just because you won’t be there long? (3 points)

8) Back out of your parking spot without looking, because who could have possibly expected other cars to be in a fast-food restaurant’s parking lot? (1 point)

9) Order over forty dollars of food? (0 points. This is okay, just be aware people behind you will hate you even though this is not dickish behavior.)

10)Talk loudly into your cell phone all the time? (1 point)

11) Yell at the low-paid store employees? (3 points)

12) Insist on using expired coupons? (1 point)

14) Get got completely by surprised that you will have to pay for your order? ( 1 point)

15) Try to pay with your order completely with unsorted coins? (1 point)

16) Yell at someone for not speaking your language? (3 points)

17) Steal a bagful of ketchup, mustard, taco sauce, or other condiment packages? (1 point)

18) Cause the fast-food restaurant to stop leaving out condiment packages? (2 points)

19) Have kids shrieking all the time and do nothing to stop them? (2 points)

************************************************************************

What does your total score mean?

0 points: You are in no way a fast-food dick. Congratulations.

1-4 points: It’s still okay for you go into a store unsupervised. See a doctor about your dickish traits while they’re still treatable.

5-8 points: Cause for alarm. You may still enter a restaurant unattended. You will, however, be under constant surveillance.

9-12 points: You’re awful. You must post a bond before you enter any restaurant. The bond will be forfeited to your surrounding shoppers, should you ever run up a score of nine or more points.

13-16: You’re nearly erect. You must post a double bond before going into any restaurant. You must also be accompanied by a guard who will taze if you accumulate a score of thirteen or more points.

17+: You dick! You will not be allowed inside any restaurant. You will be fitted with an ankle device that will incinerate you if you enter any fast-food eatery. A drone strike will obliterate you once you step outside.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

 

Categories: are you a dick | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Burmese Crepes

Burmese Entree

BURMESE CREPES

INGREDIENTS

¼ cup (drained and cooked) azuki beans, watana beans, red beans, or kidney beans*
⅓ cup shredded coconut*
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups rice flour
¾ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2½ cups water
no-stick spray
no-stick pan (You really don’t want the batter to stick to the pan, heavens to Betsy.)

* = Diced green onion or soaked split peas that can also be used for the filling.

SPECIAL UTENSILS

kitchen mallet
trained squirrel with cannon

Serves 8. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION

Add beans to flat surface. Smash with fork or kitchen mallet until the beans become a paste. Add shredded coconut. Mix with hands until you get a bean/coconut paste.

Add baking soda, rice flour, salt, and sugar to large mixing bowl. Stir with fork until batter is well blended. Add water. Mix with fork until you get a runny batter. Spray pan with no-stick spray. Ladle ¼ cup of batter to pan. Tilt pan so that batter spreads over pan. Fry for 2 minutes at medium heat or until bubbles appear on the crepe’s surface. Sprinkle bean/coconut paste onto the crepe. Use spatula to fold crepe in half. Fry for 1 minute on each side until the outside turns golden brown. Repeat for each crepe.

Serve right away. If quests and family don’t scurry to the kitchen table, threaten them with the squirrel ready at the cannon.

TIDBITS

1) The squirrel to the right is Sergeant Bill Redtail. He’s quite fierce. Don’t disappoint him.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

Categories: cuisine, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Choripán

Argentinian Entree

CHORIPÁN
(Sausage Sandwich)

INGREDIENTS

1 small red or green chile
4 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
½ tablespoon oregano
½ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon minced red onion
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
⅓ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
½ cup olive oil (2 more tablespoons later)
3 Argentinian chorizo sausages or Italian sausages*
¾ cup fresh parsley or ¼ cup dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 crispy baguette
2 tablespoons olive oil

* = Italian sausages are more like Argentinian chorizo sausages than Mexican chorizos.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

outdoor or indoor grill

Serves 4. Takes 1 hour 10 minutes.

PREPARATION

Seed chile. Mince chile and garlic cloves. Add garlic, chile, bay leaf, oregano, pepper, red onion, red pepper flakes, red wine vinegar, and water to mixing bowl. Blend together with fork or whisk. Slowly add in ½ cup olive oil, blending as you do so. Mince parsley. Gradually add in parsley and salt, blending as you do so. Let sit for 30 minutes. This is the chimichurri sauce.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Grill sausages for 12 minutes on medium-high heat or until the sausage skins, or casings, are becoming crispy and starting to split open. Turn every 2 minutes to ensure even grilling. Remove sausages from grill and place on a plate. Cut sausages lengthwise ⅔ of the way through. Place sausages back on grill, cut-side down. Grill on medium-high heat for 6 minutes or until cut-side starts to char. Remove sausages to plate. Cover.

Cut baguette into 4 pieces Cut baguette pieces open along their length. Place cut-sides down on grill. Grill for 3 minutes or until cut-sides starts to char. Remove baguette pieces to plate. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil equally on open baguette pieces. Add 1 sausage to each baguette piece. Spoon chimichurri sauce equally over sausages. Close baguette pieces.

TIDBITS

1) Choripan is an anagram for Chopin, R.A.

2) R.A. is an abbreviation for Resident Assistant. A resident assistant is someone lives in the college dorms and makes sure the students living there don’t get out of control.

3) RAs get their tuition waived in exchange for this duty. This fact alone makes the RA position a highly desirable one, especially for poor students.

4) And so it was for Frédéric Chopin, who while not quite a poor as a church mouse, was still poorer than a manor mouse. In fact, many culinary historians put Chopin as being a poor as an ale house mouse, although this remains a contentious issue. Indeed, if you want to cause a riot a chefs’ convention just shout “Chopin.”

5) Anyway, Chopin The Mouse, left Poland for Argentina in 1830. Political historians believe he emigrated to avoid the Polish Revolution of 1830 against the Russians.

6) However, culinary historians insist that he immigrated to Argentina to get a free RA scholarship from Argentina National University. Dormitory historians believe the same. There your have it, two out of three historian types agree on this.

7) The Mouse’s life had been drifting along slowly and erratically because the author of these tidbits gets sidetracked so frequently.

8) Ahem, Chopin studied music in college, after a brief and disastrous fling with differential calculus.

9) The Mouse wrote many exciting etudes. Etude Seven, proved especially popular with Argentina’s gamblers. This is why so many fans of chance yell, “C’mon, seven.” Go to a casino; you’ll see I’m right.

10) Chopin made oodles of money selling his first eleven etudes to the local music halls.

11) Then he lost it all playing dice, coming out with a roll of twelve. Etude 12, “Craps,” remains to this day Chopin’s most melancholy work. And it’s likely to stay that way, him being dead and all.

12) But Number 12, earned him enough money to open his own little restaurant in the tenderloin district of Buenos Aires. “Screw it,” said The Mouse , “the real money is in sausage sandwiches.” He named it “Ra” after his college days.

13) The critics loved his restaurant. “Ra is Chopping Ra, the Pharoah of all restaurants.” The name soon shortened to Chopin’ Ra and finally, to Chopin Ra. This and many other rave reviews naturally drew in the rough-and-tumble anagramists of Buenos Aires who renamed it “Choripan,” after the King of Argentina.

14) His fortune made, The Mouse turned once again to music and wrote a tremendous number of etudes and polonaises. These made him so famous that we’ve forgotten his culinary achievements. Now you know.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

Categories: cuisine, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Pass Trucks on the Freeway

Over and over, we must drive slower than the speed limit. Ninety percent of the time, it’s because drivers in the fast lane find themselves unable to pass a truck. They get alongside the truck and can go no farther. As a result, traffic in both lanes proceed at the speed of the slow truck. What to do? How can we help these overwhelmed drivers? I decide to go to Mr. Wisdom for help.

 

 

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

 

Categories: cartoon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Tale of Three Countries.

Dear People of South Sudan and Afghanistan,

Your reading my blogs validates my self worth. However, you are not reading blogs even though they are brilliant and funny, a triple hee even. What is wrong with you? I know you’re both undergoing lengthy civil wars, but so is Syria and it has managed to read my blogs. I know this is an oversight on your part and you will be soon chortling along with Syria and, indeed, every important country in the world. I look forward to meeting you and to feeling better about myself

Thank you,

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

 

 

Categories: international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Spotlight On Arlene Schindler, Author of “Stand Up & Heartbreak”

About the Book

 

Stand Up & Heartbreak is a narrative non-fiction glimpse into the life of a budding stand-up comic who unknowingly marries a sex addict, and they both stop performing. Set in NYC in 1981, from comedy cellars to dive bars to Park Avenue high-rises, a female comic from Brooklyn meets the man of her dreams, not knowing his addictions and double life. With big hair and a satin jumpsuit, she confronts sexism, manages hecklers, says “next” to bad sex and endures a marriage gone awry, finally emerging with the punch line. Stand Up & Heartbreak spotlights being a comic at the wrong time in a world where timing is everything.

 

Excerpt from Stand Up & Heartbreak

 

Chapter 1:

 

DAY JOBS DON’T HAVE PUNCHLINES

 

I never said the word vagina in public until my parents were dead. That’s why you probably never heard of me.

Center stage: Comedy U, down-town Manhattan. Spotlight on me and my jokes.

Some people have stage presence. I have stage absence. In school, I was voted most likely to be forgotten. The teachers called me “Um.

Thrilled to be in front of an audience, I felt the hot lights on my face. As the crowd laughed long and loud, it seemed as if the room had embraced me in a loving hug. Nothing like a great set to make me feel fearless. Afterwards, taking compliments and congratulations from well-wishers, I grabbed my coat and left the club after midnight.

On nights like tonight that ran late, I’d ask a fellow comic if I could go home with them and sleep on their couch, then train home to Brooklyn in daylight. But after a few months of that, I’d now run out of couches.

I had to take the subway. Walking alone through the chilly April wind, my adrenaline surged as my heart beat kept pace with the clickety-clack of my spike heels on cement. One foot, then the other, echoing a half block away as I race-walked the five blocks to the urine-scented subway for a 45-minute ride home on the F train.

I was 25, with, big permed hair and, enormous shoulders thanks to the oversized pads I tucked into every garment. It was 1981, the most violent year for crime in New York City. A mugging was more common than a celebrity sighting. I may have had a big mouth and big dreams for a comedy career, thinking nothing could harm me when I was on stage, but my courage shrank on the streets. And with the spin of the subway turnstile, I went from fearless to fearful.

Old muggers don’t die; they just steal away.

My orchestrated plan to avoid muggers was dressing in my “Ugly-Up-Get-Up” the shabbiest of coats over my nice club outfit, appearing to have the fashion sense of a bag woman. Carrying all money inside the coat, with no purse in evidence, I sat in the middle car of the train, near the conductor. Solo on the desolate ride, if anyone approached me, I’d start singing loudly about the solar system (Moon Over Miami was my favorite song/rant, encompassing both) so potential muggers would think I was insane.

The near-empty train chugged along the tracks as I worried about my safety, always anticipating the worst.

While my F train lingered at the West 4th Street station, waiting for it’s D train connection, I replayed the evening’s show in my head. How did I get to be in a smelly subway car around midnight after loitering in smoke filled comedy clubs with wacky guys?

My mother blamed my dad, a former comic, for my pursuits. In an era before Tina Fey, Lena Dunham, the Amys (Poehler and Schumer) or Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, my ambitions to write, direct, and star had but one role model: Elaine May. After an accomplished career in nightclubs, comedy records and TV, May was an idol to every funny girl my age. In 1963 Dad used to wake me up close to midnight to see the comedy team of Mike Nichols and Elaine May on The Jack Paar Show on our black-and-white television. A sleepy, pajama-clad second-grader, I was mesmerized watching her. Whip-smart, in a little black dress, May caused the all-male cast on the show to roar with laughter. Daddy had no idea that during our special times in front of the TV, when we were bonding in comedy, I was also setting a goal for my adult life.

When I was twelve, Dad and I saw A New Leaf, a movie in which Elaine May starred, wrote, and directed, on one of our cherished Saturday afternoon movie-and-a-meal dates. Although Dad’s comedy career ended in his twenties, his knowledge and opinions about the comedy business shaped my own.

Afterwards at a Chinese restaurant, he said, “You’re funny, kid. You saw what she did on screen. You could do that, too.”

Those words were emblazoned on my psyche for years. Dad neglected to mention, however, that I’d need lots of other people, bags of money, and most of all, unrelenting chutzpah—to turn my chubby, funny self into a funny girl onscreen.

Sadly, I was the roundest and most graceless in Madame Benet’s ballet class, where each girl had to leap into the air and then effortlessly tumble. Madame stood tall, inscrutable, black leotard, toe shoes, and that bun pulled painfully tight at the top of her head. She tapped her long wooden pointer as every girl began her tumble, counting the beats, “a one, two, three,” until each girl stood again.

Not me. Flat on my ass on the floor, legs in the air, I couldn’t get my chubby legs over my head. I was mortified as my body veered to the left or right, never quite overhead.

“Again, one, two, three.” Madame insisted. My legs were unresponsive. “One, two, three.” My body heated up with tension and embarrassment as my classmates stared at me. Just then, Madame Benet, and her trusty pointer, pounded down on the hardwood floor, again, again. Still, I was hopeful that on the next try, my legs would swing over my head. Meanwhile, Madame hit her pointer so hard, her impeccable bun was starting to unravel, as was she. After about five minutes of watching me fail, she retreated. “Let’s just move on.”

I told Mom about this, hoping she’d put a stop to my humiliations.

“It’s important to get rid of your klutziness. Ballet can turn you from a klutz into a swan.”

My dad tried to be sympathetic in the only way he knew how—with corny humor.

“A chubby girl doesn’t wear a two-two. It’s a four-four,” he said.

Compared to that, telling jokes in front of a roomful of strangers on a brightly lit stage didn’t seem scary. And years later, after hearing so many stories about my Dad performing in clubs and my watching Jack Parr, The Ed Sullivan Show, Woody Allen movies, and comedy everywhere, I decided this was my dream.

Meanwhile, still sitting in a blindingly bright subway car, trying not to be nervous or look at anyone, I ate raisins one at a time, like a chipmunk, to appear insane, and be left alone.

Two young punks running through the car, slowed to look at me. Fearing getting mugged on the train, head down, I struggled out loud with new jokes.

“I used to be so fat, they called me a Behemoth babe the size of a BUICK. Behemoth BABE the size of a Buick. BEHEMOTH babe the size of a Buick.”

The punks laughed, gesturing that I was crazy. Then they exited the car. Relieved, I stopped eating raisins. Just four more stops.

Finally at my train stop, I rushed up the stairs of the desolate station to the street. Gusts of wind swirled through trees as I passed gated storefronts and groups of men congregating on the corners along the barely lit Church Avenue to home. As a chill brushed my cheek, the memory of my show’s laughter warmed me when a room full of strangers adored me. Now, I wished there was someone at my side to walk with me. Turning the corner to Ocean Parkway, house keys in hand, the warmth waned. This was the part of stand-up I hated—the profound after-show loneliness—the emotional crash of life alone in my studio apartment.

I hated being solo, with my inner voice screeching unrelenting criticisms.

“You idiot, you’re not funny enough. You blew that punch line. The neurotic guy with the mother issues, his set three comics before you, he could have saved it. He’s a crazy jerk, hungry for more stage time than you. He’s out six nights a week. Do you want this badly enough to keep coming back night after night? Can you do it all, clown girl?”

#

After the death of disco, New York City was a hotbed of new comedy—and male comedians (geeks, nerds, misfits, and man-children). The club scene was a man’s world where “girl comics” were allowed to participate, but not be taken seriously. Small clubs and restaurants needed performers yearning for stage time.

I’d worked my way through school writing jokes for other comedians, with plenty of gags to spare, but I wanted to tell my own. Dad, my comedy cheerleader agreed. When I’d started college, he’d waltz into my room early on Sunday mornings carrying a brown paper bag brimming with hot bagels, shaking the bag under my nose to rouse me, stirring the smells of fresh garlic and onions, saying, “Get out of the rag business. Become a comedian, your true calling. And don’t forget to find a husband.” He called this “bagel hypnosis.”

Dad was a Catskills comic in his early 20s, in the 1940s. His agent, Rose, also booked gigs for him at dinner theaters and supper clubs in Brooklyn and Manhattan, like Leon and Eddies, where food was served on fine china with cloth napkins and waiters wore tuxedos. That sounds worlds classier than working in dive bars, like me. Rose had two other comedians she booked on the circuit; Irwin Alan Kniberg, who became a comedy success as Alan King and Leonard Hacker who had a great comedy career as Buddy Hackett. In that era Jews either changed their names or their noses or both, to be accepted in the Gentile world. Rose revised Dad’s name too, from Al Schindler to Hal Chant. Sadly, neither Hal nor Al was as successful as Alan or Buddy or his other contemporaries Stubby Kaye, who went on to star in the original Guys and Dolls or Sammy Shore, comedian, club owner, and father of Pauly Shore. But Dad was happy, telling jokes in his comedy life, until his father made him quit and get an “adult job.” Former comedians may stop performing, but they don’t stop being funny. He hoped someone, somewhere in his world, would work in comedy and he was banking on me. So for me, performing was the natural progression of my comedy education, the way the son of a dentist goes into the family business.

“As I look into your faces, I see your faces need looking into.” That was a line from Dad’s act in the Catskills, years before I was born. Goofy to me, but he said it sparked laughter.

#

My first night onstage was at an open-mike night at a club called Good Times. The room brimmed with underworld bravado, like an early Scorsese film. Dark, ugly faces appeared interesting. I had a hard—or should I say, flat-out impossible—act to follow, the kind of “talent” many comedians have nightmares about. The comic, a guy dressed in one of those shiny, printed Huckapoo disco shirts from the late ‘70s—same era it was last washed—jumped on the dimly lit stage, cleared his throat and began reading from a small box in his hands.

“For relief of occasional constipation or bowel cleansing before rectal examinations.” Then he opened the box and continued reading. “Lie on left side with knee bent, arm resting comfortably.” He assumed the position. Curled up on his side, when he said the word insert, the crowd went wild. Maybe his comedy hero was Andy Kaufman, that was my only justification for why someone would read enema directions as their act. How could the audience find this funny?

“Why can’t I follow someone who has actual jokes?” I whispered to another comic for validation and a consolatory smile. There’s fight or flight. I chose a third way: complain.

Up next, I had no choice. I thought, “I should get in a cab right now.” Heart pounding, I paced the back of the room, longing to flee. Nervously running fingers through my hair, I mumbled my jokes to myself like a Buddhist chant till his set ended. It felt like forever.

Finally, Paul, the MC said, “Next, we have a girl from Brooklyn. Welcome, Arlene.”

I took the stage. The spotlight prevented me from seeing faces in the audience. Looking to the back of the room, I saw myself in a mirror, looking sleek in a black jumpsuit and low-heeled lace-up boots, pleased my hair had cooperated and didn’t frizz, just this once.

“Hey, that’s me!” said my little-girl inner voice in amazement.

“That’s me?” said my doubting inner critic. I almost froze from the thrill of being somewhere I’d always wanted to be. After practicing jokes as a girl in my bedroom, this was my moment. “I only wear designer clothes,” I said into the microphone, unaccustomed to the echo, my mouth too close to the mike. I pulled back. “My favorite designer is final sale.”

A few people chuckled.

The sweating began. I felt it drip down my sides and back. My scalp under my permed hair heated up slowly, then fiercely, feeling like a tin of Jiffy Pop popcorn cooking on top of my head. Was I pursuing comedy at the wrong time in a world where timing is everything?

In spite of my discomfort, somehow more jokes tumbled from my mouth, in a surreal out-of-body experience akin to being underwater, (which would have been refreshing). Everyone’s favorite joke from my set was, “I’m a procrastinating bulimic. When I’m ready to purge, it’s already turned to fat.”

I didn’t kill that night—but I didn’t bomb. I was hooked.

#

I quit a good job as a copywriter at an ad agency to become a gal du jour temp secretary, so I’d be available for auditions, cattle calls, and other forms of soul-crushing that entertainment hopefuls endure.

Think American Idol in a blender, with the top off.

Working odd jobs for sporadic paychecks at buttoned-down corporations around midtown Manhattan provided a small income. Writing new material, juggling appointments and a budget that never balanced, trying to maintain calm, my life was in turmoil. At the time, I didn’t realize I was living my dream, maybe because I thought I was supposed to have another goal, something stable.

Fantasizing about being onstage at night while I licked envelopes and made copies, all I wanted to do was perform and then go to sleep. It was all exhausting.

“Hey Vinnie, how about another Seven and Seven?” I asked the bartender one night. “Sorry, girlie, just one. A second would not be a good idea.” As I leaned over the bar to try again, a guy pinched my ass. At first I thought I had imagined it, but when he passed the bar again, he pretended to reach for something next to me—and got my tits.

Nights like these made it uncomfortable being in a club by myself. Plus, it’s scary to be onstage at the mercy of strangers’ approval. In retrospect, rather than feeling brave, I saw pursuing comedy as an alternative because I didn’t think I could get and keep a “regular” job (and didn’t want one). Onstage, I was queen of my universe, star of my show, writer, designer, music arranger, leader of my life. I liked that part.

Mornings, bleary eyed, sandwiched between other rush-hour subway strap-hangers on their way to work, I was a mere peon in the job world. Sometimes I was a temp copywriter at marketing companies, composing copy for catalogs and brochures, even dinner menus: “Succulent roast beef, piled high with mashed potatoes.” Remember that one? That was mine. Other times, I got to use my eight years of art training. I had attended the High School of Art and Design and Parsons School of Design, a prestigious art college in New York City, only to be faced with a recession in the clothing industry due to the over-use of polyester. Once, I designed an ad for cellulite cream that involved hours of poring over photos of models with cottage-cheese thighs. The ad ran in Harper’s Bazaar for six months.

Mostly though, I was a receptionist: answering phones, taking messages, and doing “lite” typing. I didn’t have a business card or know what to say when people asked, “What do you do?” I couldn’t sum up my catch-all career as copywriter, comic, girl Friday, and one other thing— itinerant overeater. Sure, I’d lost my post-adolescent emotional eating weight by putting a padlock on my dorm refrigerator (12-18-32). But anxiety led me to believe I was just one mood swing away from consuming enough food in one evening to gain it all back … and more.

When I turned 25 my parents put a sign in front of their house: Last girl before freeway…plus Salad Bar.

I had hopes for a romantic future, in spite of my pitiful romance-less present. The dating life of stand-up comics was laughably unglamorous, low-rent, and sometimes dangerous. One night, a lecherous fellow performer, asked me, “You live in Brooklyn? I can drive you home.”

I asked, “Where in Brooklyn do YOU live?”

“It doesn’t matter.” he tossed off.

I immediately pictured myself screaming and struggling to get out of a locked car trunk. A ride with a drunken, wild-eyed, ax-carrying hitchhiker would be safer than getting in the car with this guy.

Usually, I was the only woman on the bill. If there were others, many were either unattractive, anorexic, wore overalls, got their hair cut with a bowl on their head or were just plain freakish. As for me, I’d lost 40 pounds in my last year of college. Still thrilled that I could choose clothes that weren’t pastel polyester in a size 18, I wore slinky black jump suits, secretly hoping I was channeling a sleek, sophisticated Audrey Hepburn or Marlene Dietrich. I looked pretty onstage, I was told. Not a good thing for comedy. Audiences watched the first few minutes of my show, nodding and smiling, thinking this was the singer’s intro patter. When they realized I was the comic, my set was over. Maybe I’d dressed too prettily for the job.

I spent my 20s in a holding pattern. Was it marriage or a career? I wasn’t sure … but I was waiting. While I waited, I bought “good-enough” sheets along with make-do furniture, dishes, and pots and pans. My first apartment and all of its contents were like a training bra for my adult lifestyle. When this “thing” I was waiting for came, then I’d buy my dream house and fill it with the best.

Hopefully I’d have a spouse, soul mate, or life partner to share it with too.

I have a new way to sexually satisfy my wife. I let her sleep.

That was my joke! I sold it to a Catskills comic when I was 25. I had no idea it would be the prophetic punch line for my future, riskier than a fearless vagina joke.

 

Bio:

 

Arlene Schindler, born in Brooklyn, N.Y. is an author and speaker sharing humorous tales of women’s secrets and desires. She originated the comedy column for The New York Post, writing reviews and profiles of comedians appearing in New York City. It was the first of its kind in the country, helping spur comedy’s greatest growth period. Her writing has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Daily Variety, Purple Clover, The Huffington Post and many other publications. Her novel The Last Place She’d Look is a raucous romp through the hidden sex lives of today’s mature women.

Contact Arlene

Twitter @SmunnySchindler
Website: http://www.arleneschindler.com/
Goodreads: Arlene Schindler

 

**********************

Paul De Lancey
www.pauldelancey.com

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Chicken Angolana

Angolan Entree

CHICKEN ANGOLANA

INGREDIENTS

2 boneless chicken breasts
2 boneless chicken thighs
1 garlic clove
1 medium onion
1 bay leaf
1½ tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon salt
1 12-ounce can beer
1 tablespoon olive oil
1½ tablespoons palm oil
2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons vinegar

Serves 4. Takes 45 minutes.

PREPARATION

Cut chicken breasts and chicken thighs into 1″ cubes. Dice garlic clove and onion. Put all ingredients in pot. Simmer at low-medium heat for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to low and stir for another 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

TIDBITS

1) Chickens d’Angola look fierce.

2) They do everything as a flock. Indeed traveling as flock on the ground–Oh, I so want to use the word herd–is the only activity that stimulates to urge to mate.

3) There you have it; chickens d’Angola are fierce and engage in mobile, group sex.

4) Which, are of course, the two requirements for a successful play.

5) Indeed, in 1932, the great playwright Bertold Brecht wrote the satirical play, Chicken Angolana.

6) Unfortunately, chickens d’Angolana are black and Himmler, had just issued black uniforms to his evil SS. He felt that the black chickens were a metaphor for the SS, took offense, and banned the play.

7) Indeed, Himmler hounded Brecht until the great playwright left Germany. Bertold’s brilliant play remained shelved for decades. Even now, productions of Chicken Angolana can only be found in neighborhood theaters in Berlin and, strangely enough, in Paducah, Kentucky.

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

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Smoked Paprika Chicken

American Entree

SMOKED PAPRIKA CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS

2 teaspoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ tablespoon garlic salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons sea salt
5 chicken breasts
1 bags wood chips (alder, apple, maple, olive, pecan, or walnut)

SPECIAL UTENSILS

electric smoker
digital thermometer (if your smoker doesn’t have one)
tin foil

Serves 5. Takes 2 hours.*

PREPARATION

Preheat smoker to 225 degrees. Add all ingredients except chicken breasts and wood chips to small mixing bowl. Mix with fork until spice mix is well blended. Rub spice mix equally over chicken breasts. Add wood chips to smoker. Add spiced chicken to smoker. Smoke chicken at 225 degrees until internal temperature of chicken is at least 165 degrees. The thermometer should be inserted into the thicket part of the meat.

Check every 15 minutes. This should take 1-to-2 hours.* If you’re lucky, your smoker will be set up so that your smart phone will tell you when it’s done. Carefully remove chicken breasts from smoker, place them on a plate, cover them with tin foil, and let sit for 15 minutes.

* = Please note that the various smokers perform differently. So, check the manual for placement of chicken in smoker, cooking temperature, how to use wood chips, and other pertinent information.

TIDBITS

1) The Southern tobacco crop failed in 1858. Desperate good ol’ boys took to smoking spinach, cauliflower, and squash. These all proved to be quite distasteful failures. In 1859, Andrew Calhoun rolled paprika-spiced chicken in his cigarette papers. It tasted great. Things were fine. Then, in 1860, Lincoln ran for president on the anti-smoked chicken platform. Prominent Southerners claimed he was trying to destroy their way of life. The South seceded. But the North won the Civil War and banned chicken smoking. This is why we only smoke tobacco.

– Chef Paul

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

 

Categories: cuisine, history | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pot Roast

American Entree

POT ROAST

INGREDIENTS

1 pound carrots
2 celery stalks
1 medium onion
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 pounds trimmed boneless beef chuck roast
1⅓ cups beef broth
2 tablespoons red wine
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon rosemary

¼ cup flour

SPECIAL UTENSILS

Dutch oven
slow cooker

Serves 6. Takes 7 hours 30 minutes.

PREPARATION – MAIN

Peel carrots. Cut carrots, celery stalks, and onion into 1″ slices. Cut potatoes into 1½” cubes. Add oil to Dutch oven. Heat oil at medium-high heat. Carefully add chuck roast to pan. (Hot splattered oil is painful.) Brown chuck roast for 5 minutes at medium-high heat. Turn occasionally to ensure even browning. (This is also good advice for yourself when sunbathing at the beach.) Remove and set aside roast. Scoop off with large spoon any fat that has risen to surface of liquid.

Add carrot, celery, onion, and potato to slow cooker. Cut roast as necessary to fit in slow cooker. Add roast. Add beef broth, red wine, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, and rosemary. Cover and cook at high setting for 6 hours 30 minutes or until meat can be pulled apart with fork.

Remove roast and veggies to large service plate. Discard bay leaves. Tear roast into 1″ pieces using fork. Use large spoon to scoop off any grease atop the liquid. Reserve liquid. Add flour, and liquid from slow cooker to pan. Whisk until well blended. If necessary, add enough water to make 2 cups total liquid. Cook at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until mixture bubbles and thickens into gravy. Stir frequently. Ladle gravy over veggies and pot-roast pieces.

TIDBITS

1) Pot roast is a good entree.

2) In fact, it is just plain good. Life is good when pot roast is around.

3) However, pot roast didn’t exist in 1250 B.C.

4) This is why constant wars and murders engulfed the ancient world.

5) Somehting had to be done.

6) Spelling something correctly would be the first step.

7) Creating the chef that would make pot roast would be the next great stride.

8) And in 1251 BC, Mr. and Mrs. Pot, pot makers of eastern Iran, loved each other vary much.

9) In 1250 BC, Mrs. Pot gave birth to a healthy, bouncy boy.

10) Their boy bounced as all Iranians of that time used trampolines as cribs.

11) “What should we call this son?” asked the father as he watched the boy closely enough to keep it from bouncing off the edge of the trampoline.

12) The mother glanced at the boy’s eyes whenever he bounced that way. “There is much goodness in him. As surely as one follows zero, he will turn evil into goodness wherever he goes. And as our priests say, roast, the food of the gods, is pure goodness. So we will name him, “Zero Roast.”

13) “How about naming him Zoroaster?” asked the father who loved anagrams. The mother agreed.

14) Little Zoroaster was a fine boy. He loved the truth. He never even looked at the answers at the back of crossword puzzles whenever he got stuck on a clue.

15) Wherever the honest boy went, honesty bloomed. Life got a little better all around him.

16) But not a lot. True happiness lies in eating good, honest food prepared by a great chef.

17) The people of Iran all told Zoroaster, “Become a chef and create a magic roast.”

18) So he did. He used the same ingredients and preparation in this dish. I know, that’s spooky, but I swear Zoroaster and I never met each other. How could I? I’ve never even been to Iran.

19) Anyway, Zoroaster made this dish. He called it Pot Roast after his parents. And it was good. Zoroaster saw the truth of its goodness. He thereupon came up with the religion that aša, truth, was good and that druj, lies was bad. Goodness would triumph when enough of us ate pot roast and told the truth.

20) To this day, the golden days of humanity have been when we have been honest and ate our pot roast as well. Wars and pestilence have stalked the Earth whenever we have not. So tell the truth and eat pot roast, for goodness sake.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on amazon.com.

Categories: cuisine, history | Leave a comment

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