Author Archives: pauldelancey

Spotlight on Stacey Roberts – Author of “Trailer Trash with a Girl’s Name – Father Figures”

 Excerpt from Trailer Trash with a Girl’s Name – Father Figures

 

Tin Cup on Prison Bars

 

I had more sidebar conversations with law enforcement before the age of sixteen than a hustling middle-aged criminal attorney.

One of the high points was when I conferenced in our driveway with the federal marshals who had just arrested Ted the Drug Dealer in hopes of finding out where they were taking him and what he was being charged with. Layne the Favorite was too busy gloating over Ted’s downfall to worry about logistics, but I knew my mother would want to get her attorney on the case. Also, I had to get to school; I couldn’t spend my whole day on it.

Another was when I got hit by a car crossing the street near our trailer park. The ancient woman who had hit me had no recollection of doing so, even though my bike was pretzeled under the wheels of her Cadillac and there was a smear on her windshield where my face had hit. The police were quite sympathetic to my plight. I’m not so sure justice was served; I never got a new bike.

Then there was the time my Uncle George the Bastard had to come down to my Hebrew school after an unfortunate episode of bullying. He was a police lieutenant out of his jurisdiction, but he made quite an impression anyway. I like to think my involvement prevented some well-deserved police brutality against my oppressors.

Overall, I felt like I had a special connection with those sworn to protect and serve, a calming voice of reason amid the maelstrom of criminal happenings. Or it could be that in each case I was trying to keep my mother from getting involved.

Like the time Layne the Favorite clocked Steve the Rat Fink upside the head with a squeegee.

***

Steve the Rat Fink was fifth-generation trailer trash. His great-great grandfather had crossed the American plains in his Conestoga covered wagon and saw no reason to move out of it just because the group he was traveling with founded Sacramento and built houses without wheels. Steve’s tribe had no need for houses. Having a mobile home meant you could leave in a hurry when your neighbors came after you with pitchforks and torches. If Steve the Rat Fink’s ancestor was anything like him, the other members of his wagon train had likely tried to leave him in the desert or entice a marauding Indian tribe to engage in a pinpointed massacre of one.

It may have been wrong of me to think Steve the Rat Fink’s entire family tree was full of mean-spirited jerks, but I was twelve. Snap judgments are the hallmark of youth.

Also, apparently, of my mother. The first time she met Steve—he had slinked his way over to our Winnebago looking for food and things to steal—she made up her mind about him. She had been handing out titles like a medieval potentate trying to shore up support for her regime for as long as I could remember. It was how Uncle George became a Bastard and my father was anointed a Son of a Bitch. Steve was going to get his.

Mom: “That kid, Stan.”

Me: “Steve.”

Mom: “That’s what I said.”

Me: “He’s a real douchebag.”

Mom: “SSSSSSSSStace. You know what he is? He’s a rat fink.”

I had no idea what that was. I didn’t know it back in 1983, but what I really needed to do was invent some kind of globally interconnected network of computers that would have the sum total of human knowledge on it for easy and immediate recall. The modern equivalent of the lost Library of Alexandria, a world-spanning web of information. I’d call it the Webbernet. Or Interweb. Maybe Cybernet. Or, because it would be an international thing, the Infobahn. My mom would freak out if I used a German name. Better to let her name it. She liked naming things. Like Steve the Rat Fink.

Me: “What’s a rat fink?”

Mom: “SSSSStace. A rat fink! You know! A rat fink!”

Well, that explained it. Good thing the Department of Defense was already hard at work building that Cyberwebbernet thingy I wanted. Years later, I was able to use it to access urbandictionary.com and finally find out what rat fink meant:

Urbandictionary.com: “Rat fink: tattletale, stool pigeon, squealer, snitch, double-crosser, weasel.”

Steve the Rat Fink did look a bit like a weasel, but that didn’t tell the whole tale. Perhaps a more scientific definition:

Urbandictionary.com: “Rat fink: A bastard modifier. A person exhibiting especially abhorrent levels of bastardry is known as a “rat fink bastard.” Alternately, for a milder offense, the term “rat fink” can be used independently of bastard.”

That made more sense. Steve the Rat Fink did, at times, exhibit especially abhorrent levels of bastardry. I was getting there.

Urbandictionary.com: “Rat fink examples: Do you know where Louie is? Next time you see him, tell that rat fink bastard I’m going to tear out his scrotum for knocking up my sister.” Or: “Timmy’s the kind of lazy rat fink that leaves half a sheet of toilet paper on the roll just so he doesn’t have to replace it with a new one.”

 This Interwebobahn invention of mine was going to be a game changer. You’d never have to leave the house. Unless I invented some kind of portable device small enough to fit in your pocket that could access the Cybernetterweb from anywhere. That would be something.

Where was I? Right. Steve the Rat Fink. He was a real douchebag.

Mom: “SSSSSStace. I told you! That Sam, he’s a rat fink! A rat fink!”

Me: “Steve.”

Mom: “That’s what I said. He’s such a rat fink, that kid.”

***

Steve the Rat Fink looked like other trailer park kids I had known over the five years we had been trailer trash. He and I were both twelve but he was small; he was a full head shorter than me, and I come from a long line of short, stubby people. He was skinny and wiry, covered in ropy muscle and sinew. I never saw him wear a shirt, and the whole upper half of his body was burnished permanently brown from sun exposure. His blond hair was close-cropped and his light gray eyes squinted with a huckster’s conniving look. He moved furtively, like a rat, appearing one day at the inevitable grouping of trailer park kids that convened every day after school. We couldn’t stay inside the cramped boxes we lived in, so we stayed out until after dark. The trailer park had a lake at its center as a thin refuge against the possibility of all the bottled propane we used going up in a fiery maelstrom and igniting our stored sewage. We often hung around the shore, throwing rocks and looking for alligators.

My closest friend in the trailer park was Shawn the Black Belt. He lived alone with his father in a decent Airstream a few streets away from our Winnebago. He was lumpy and awkward, and his hair was always flopping all over the place. He had the limpid brown eyes of a nascent serial killer. I suspect his father got him into karate as a possible way to channel Shawn’s latent sideways tendencies, but it might have just made him a more effective killer later in life.

Shawn the Black Belt and I were standing in the shallows of the lake. I was alert, as ever, for the telltale yellow eyes of the gators. Shawn was talking about something, but I wasn’t listening. In my peripheral vision I saw Steve the Rat Fink scurry his way toward us. His head was cocked, his eyes narrowed; it occurred to me that even at his age he had the look of a smoker, but couldn’t get the cigarettes. Not because of age—they were just so expensive and precious to his chain-smoking parents that they wouldn’t share them.

Steve ignored me and glared at Shawn the Black Belt, who was taller than me. Shawn had turned to face the new kid; his arms hung lazily at his sides, but he had a dangerous look of capacity about him. The new kid really needed to tread lightly, make a good impression. That sort of thing.

Steve the Rat Fink: “What are you looking at, fuckstick?”

Two seconds later Steve the Rat Fink was face down in the sand, his right arm bent so far behind him that the backs of his fingers brushed his left ear. He squealed like a baby pig stuck in a blender.

Steve the Rat Fink: “I give! I give!”

Shawn the Black Belt looked over at me with his dead eyes.

Me: “I think you got him.”

Shawn the Black Belt got to his feet and glided backwards. Steve the Rat Fink got up slowly, covered in sand, his right arm held painfully away from his body. He glared at Shawn the Black Belt.

Steve the Rat Fink: “You got the drop on me that time, you fat fuck, but if I was ready—”

Shawn the Black Belt took an economical step forward and chopped Steve’s throat with the side of his left hand. Steve the Rat Fink’s pronouncement cut off with a harsh, choking bark. Shawn swept his right leg and Steve knelt in the sand just in time for Shawn’s knee to hit his nose and knock him flat. Steve the Rat Fink lay on his back, staring up at the sky, blood running down his cheeks. His eyes were wide and dazed. Shawn stood calmly, legs apart, arms up, waiting to see if Steve would get up.

After a minute or so Steve rolled over on his front and got to his feet, blood and snot dripping into the imprint of where his body had been in the sand. He limped away toward home, holding his head with his left hand. The right one hung numbly down at his side.

This was the picture we often had of Steve the Rat Fink—working his slow way home after someone beat the snot out of him.

***

We learned pretty quickly not to leave anything valuable outside our motor home; Steve was a conscienceless scavenger and had no problem taking whatever he wanted. Some of our neighbors who didn’t lock their doors started to complain about missing jewelry, cigarettes and food. After a while, everyone locked their doors.

We came home from school one day to find Steve the Rat Fink riding Layne the Favorite’s bike up and down the street in front of our Winnebago. He had to stand on the pedals because he was too short to reach them while sitting. He was going lightning fast, pedaling for all he was worth. He would suddenly slam the brakes, leaving scorch marks on the asphalt. Layne the Favorite was horrified—he treated his bike as if it had been made by the gods of Mount Olympus and presented to him by winged Mercury himself.

Layne the Favorite: “That’s my bike!”

Steve the Rat Fink skidded to a stop in front of us, smirking.

Steve the Rat Fink: “It’s mine now, shitbag, so shut the fuck up.” He took off on the bike. Layne the Favorite’s fists clenched at his sides and his face turned red.

Me: “When he comes back, let’s pull him off of it and beat his ass.” The two of us could surely take Steve down.

Layne the Favorite: “I’m telling mom.”

***

My mother got home right as it was getting dark. Layne the Favorite stood at the driver’s side of her car as she got out. I didn’t hear what was said, but she patted his cheek while glaring over his head at Steve the Rat Fink’s trailer, where Layne the Favorite’s stolen bike leaned brazenly against the hitch.

I had no skin in this game; my bike had been crushed by an old lady’s Cadillac a few months before and never replaced. There was no chance of me ever getting to use Layne the Favorite’s bike, either.

Mom: “SSSSSStace. That bike belongs to your brother. It’s important for him to have things that are just his.”

Me: “That does sound fun. Any chance I’ll get a bike soon?”

Mom: “SSSSStace. What do you need a bike for? Besides, walking is good for your ssssspleen.”

I was relegated to foot traffic for the foreseeable future. The problems of the bike-borne were above my humble station, but the confrontation between my mother and Steve’s parents promised high entertainment value. I followed my mother as she stalked across the street and pounded on the door of Rat Fink headquarters.

Steve the Rat Fink’s Father’s Common Law Wife, For which there Is No Convenient shorthand: “Just a minute! Jesus!”

The door opened and a blue cloud of marijuana smoke billowed out, revealing a hulking round woman with stringy brown hair dressed only in a shapeless muumuu. Her face was lumped with fat in occasional protrusions, like islands poking out of the surface of a lake. There was a cigarette in her mouth; she must have left the marijuana behind. My mother, her arms folded, her hair and makeup perfect, glared at her.

Mom: “Your sssssson stole my son’s bike.”

Steve the Rat Fink’s Father’s Common Law Wife, For which there Is No Convenient shorthand: “He ain’t my son.”

Mom: “Your hair’s so brittle. Disgusting. Don’t you use any product?”

Steve the Rat Fink’s Father’s Common Law Wife, For which there Is No Convenient shorthand:  “When’s your husband get home? We’re running low on weed.”

This was getting good. My mother was a world-class dispenser of non-sequiturs, and she had finally come across someone operating at her level. It also turned out that Ted the Drug Dealer was the Rat Fink Family’s pot supplier.

Complicated.

Me: “The bike?”

Mom: “SSSSStace. What is wrong with you? You’re obsessed with bikes. I told you: walking is good for your gall bladder. What do you need a bike for?”

Me: “Well, Layne needs one.”

Mom: “Of course he does!”

Me: “And Steve stole it.”

Mom: “Right!” She pointed a long fingernail at the woman in the trailer.

Steve the Rat Fink’s Father’s Common Law Wife, For which there Is No Convenient shorthand: “Take it.” She flapped a hand at the picnic table nearby. It was covered with mismatched items – a lamp, a cigar box with toy cars in it, two bathrobes, and a gravy boat. It looked like a reluctant hoarder’s booth at a flea market.

Steve the Rat Fink’s Father’s Common Law Wife, For which there Is No Convenient shorthand: “If any of that shit’s yours, take it with you. That fuckin’ kid’s always takin’ people’s stuff.”

Steve the Rat Fink appeared behind her. Only his weasel’s head was visible. He squinted at my mother.

Mom: “You! You know what you are, Seth?”

Me: “Steve.”

Mom: “That’s what I said! A rat fink, Scott! You’re a rat fink!”

Steve and the woman looked at us quizzically. I really should start on inventing the Webberinternetwork–these episodes of uncomfortable ignorance could be avoided.

We took the bike and went home. My mother chained the bike to the hitch on our Winnebago and locked it. Live and learn.

I looked back to see Steve leaning against his trailer hitch where the bike had recently been. His not-mom sat at the picnic table full of Steve’s ill-gotten acquisitions. They were the enemy; our families were now at war. After years of trailer park living, I was a full-fledged trailer trash redneck. My family was now one side of a blood feud that promised to be as epic as the Hatfields and McCoys. That night, breathing in the residual marijuana smoke drifting in the air, I could imagine the day in 2183 when my great-great-great granddaughter shot Steve the Rat Fink’s great-great-great grandson down dead in the street with a laser beam, ending our world-famous feud. Bystanders would record it on the devices I had invented, the ones permanently connected to the Webbycybernet.

This was going to be great.

My mother marched past me toward Steve’s trailer, her citrusy perfume trailing behind her. She must have thought of some biting remark, some gauntlet to throw down that would fan the flames of multigenerational clan warfare. I tagged along.

She marched up to Steve the Rat Fink’s not-mom and handed her a bottle.

Mom: “Listen. Rub this into your scalp after you wash your hair. Make sure you get it down to the rootssssss. Then your hair won’t be so stringy and fragile.”

Steve the Rat Fink’s Father’s Common Law Wife, For which there Is No Convenient shorthand: “Thanks.”

I stood there, dumbfounded, as my mother turned on her heel and marched back to our Winnebago. I thought frantically of some witty barb, some cutting rejoinder that would remind all concerned that we had begun a centuries-long battle that would only end with the extermination of one of our family lines. Perhaps with a laser beam.

Me: “Your descendants are so screwed.”

Steve the Rat Fink’s not-mom was studying the bottle my mother had just given her. Steve glared at me and shrugged.

Steve the Rat Fink: “Fuck off, weirdo.”

2183 was going to be a great year.

***

Friday night, nine p.m.

I had been consigned to my bunk an hour before. My mother still cleaved to her notion that I needed more sleep than Layne the Favorite, as if two extra hours a night would round out my rough edges and correct my many flaws. All I got out of it was two hours of staring up at the ceiling while my mother and Layne the Favorite watched TV together. In a house that was only twenty-five feet long, there was no way anyone could sleep if the TV was blaring and the sound of self-satisfied popcorn munching was going on.

I closed my eyes and tried to achieve a Zen-like state of calm. Maybe that was the first step in becoming more like Layne the Favorite. In this way, finally, I might get a bicycle of my own.

I heard a metallic rattle coming from the back of the Winnebago, a disjointed clanging sound. It stopped. I listened harder and heard it again. Someone was at the back of the trailer we towed behind the Winnebago, where all our earthly possessions were stored. I got out of bed.

Mom: “What are you doing out of bed, Buster? I told you. You need your rest. Do you know what will happen to your pancreas if you don’t get enough sleep?”

Me: “Ted. I think someone’s trying to break into the trailer.”

***

Ted the Drug Dealer was sitting opposite my mother and Layne, not watching TV and probably trying to ignore them. He was engaged in his usual nightly inventory—the small tabletop in front of him was covered in cash, coins, and his arsenal of weapons. In addition to his .22 pistol and his switchblade, he had recently gotten a telescoping baton, like the kind the police used. It was about the size of a can of mace, but if you pushed the button on the hilt, it sprang to full size. He gazed at it blearily and belched. Dinner had been a paprika-showered chicken roasted with asparagus and prunes. My mother had found a cookbook at a yard sale and was now adding fruit to the mélange of horrors she dished up every night.

Her chicken with asparagus and prunes tasted like being picked last for dodgeball at recess.

Me: “Ted. We’re being robbed.”

Ted the Drug Dealer stood up, grabbed his telescoping baton and went silently out the door, leaving it open. I scurried out behind him.

Mom: “Get back in bed, Buster!”

Ted went left instead of right once he got outside, going around the side of the Winnebago opposite the picnic table and awning. He meant to sneak up on the intruder from the other side, where the water, sewage, electricity and propane hookups were. I followed. We made no noise. The sound of the clanking got louder as we rounded the corner of the trailer.

There was a skinny, shirtless man wearing a ball cap and dirty jeans with holes in them. He had a crowbar in one hand, prying at the padlock on the back of the trailer. There was a cigarette jammed in the corner of his mouth; his tiny eyes squinted through the smoke.

It was Steve’s dad, Merle—the paterfamilias of the Rat Fink clan. He looked askance at Ted the Drug Dealer, standing there with the small round hilt of the baton in his hand.

Merle the Ratterfamilias: “The fuck you lookin’ at, asswipe?”

Ted the Drug Dealer pushed the button on the baton. There was a barely audible click and the weapon sprang to full size. He reached out and tapped Merle’s right wrist; I heard a sharp crack as his wrist broke and a clang when the crowbar fell to the ground.

Merle the Ratterfamilias howled. He clutched his wrist and hopped up and down. The cigarette stayed glued to his lip.

Merle the Ratterfamilias: “You cocksucking nutsack! You broke my hand!”

He lunged at Ted, who calmly brought the baton down on Merle’s right shoulder. There was another cracking sound. Merle’s face squinched up and he hissed in a painful breath.

Merle the Ratterfamilias: “I give! I give!” He backed away toward his own trailer, his right arm hanging at his side. After a few backward steps he turned around and slunk away with the same halting gait his son used after one of his confrontations. Ted the Drug Dealer picked up the crowbar to add to his weapons cache.

Merle’s common law wife stood outside their trailer, watching his approach, her arms crossed. She stood under the street light, a silhouetted, shapeless behemoth. My mother and Layne came out of the Winnebago to watch, their half-empty bowl of popcorn held between them.

Mom: “Look at her hair. See how shiny it is? She used the product. I know what I’m talking about!”

Some blood feuds were better than others. Maybe we’d get it right over the next couple of centuries.

***

Steve the Rat Fink tried to defend his family’s honor and orthopedic injuries the next day. I was hanging out with Layne the Favorite and Shawn the Black Belt down by the lake. I found out years later that the lake was crawling with alligators and water moccasins. And to think my mother thought the greatest danger to us back then was white flour, red meat and refined sugar. Who knows: maybe her cooking made us unappetizing to the marauding swamp beasts we lived alongside.

Steve the Rat Fink scurried over to me and glared up at me with his squinty eyes. He had not bathed in days; no wetland creature would make a meal of him either.

Steve the Rat Fink: “Your dad broke my dad’s arm.”

Me: “He was trying to break into our trailer.”

Steve the Rat Fink: “He was out of weed, numbnuts! What’d you expect him to do?”

Me: “Buy it?”

Steve the Rat Fink: “We ain’t got no money, shit for brains! Lurleen’s disability don’t come in till the first!”

Me: “So breaking into our trailer was like buying on credit? What kind of—”

Shawn the Black Belt had tried more than once to teach me karate. One of the things his sensei had taught him was strategic silence–apparently a lot of people got punched in the face mid-sentence.

Steve the Rat Fink punched me in the face mid-sentence.

I didn’t feel the hit; I was just suddenly on the ground looking up at the sky. There was a ringing in my ears. Steve the Rat Fink’s face loomed large suddenly. His mouth twisted angrily; he was saying something, but I didn’t hear it. I remember thinking how great it would be if someone punched him in the face mid-sentence.

Layne the Favorite had taken a few steps forward when I got hit, but Shawn the Black Belt was faster. He was always poised and waiting for an opportunity; I think he needed to release some violence on a regular basis or something horrific would befall an innocent person. It occurred to me that perhaps it was time to move to a new trailer park.

Shawn the Black Belt slammed an open palm under Steve’s chin. His head snapped back and the rest of his body followed him to the ground. Shawn stood immobile, legs apart, knees bent, hands up.

I got to my feet and swayed. The world wobbled before sliding back into place. I nearly puked on my shoes.

Steve the Rat Fink got up and faced me. There was a lurid red welt on his chin where Shawn hit him.

Steve the Rat Fink: “That’s it? You gonna let the dough boy do your fighting for you?”

I looked over Steve’s right shoulder, a look of alarm on my face. He turned his head to look and I kicked him in the nuts. His eyes opened wide, his mouth a huge O of surprise. His face crumpled and he folded in on himself, spinning slowly down to the ground.

Steve the Rat Fink: “I give! I give!”

***

We got back to our Winnebago right as my mother was pulling a roast pan out of the oven in a hellish parody of demon birth. It was lamb with an applesauce glaze, black pepper, and mandarin oranges.

It tasted like the pointed, helpless shame one feels at being ostracized by one’s community.

Layne the Favorite: “He got in a fight!”

Mom: “With who?”

Layne the Favorite: “Steve!”

Mom: “SSSSSSStace. You need to stay away from Sylvester. He’s a rat fink!”

Me: “Stuart.” My head was still ringing.

Mom: “That’s what I said!”

Layne the Favorite: “I hate that kid.”

***

Layne the Favorite and I were outside later that evening, trying to escape the wretched fumes of fruity lamb, when Steve the Rat Fink came sauntering along. He walked disjointedly down the middle of the street, shirtless and barefoot, his bruised head turning from side to side, scoping out whatever unsecured baubles might have been left out. Pickings were slim; the villagers had learned the hard way.

Layne the Favorite: “I hate that kid.”

Me: “Give it a couple centuries. There’ll be laser beams. We can’t lose.”

Layne jumped off the picnic table and walked over to the bucket with the squeegee in it. It was sitting next to the back of the Winnebago, because I was supposed to be cleaning the camper’s windows. My mother had been put out by some of the comments I had made about Mandarin Applesauce Pepper Sheep, and this chore was my punishment:

  1. “Is it supposed to taste like an orchard fire?”
  2. “What disease killed this sheep, anyway?”
  3. “Does all lamb smell like sweat?”
  4. “Can I go outside?”
  5. “You know what would be good? A baloney sandwich. Or a bike.”

My head still hurt from my earlier run-in with Steve. I didn’t feel like cleaning windows that were permanently shuttered anyway; my mother kept the curtains drawn. Besides, there was no punishment worse than Mandarin Applesauce Pepper Sheep.

Layne grabbed the squeegee and walked over to Steve the Rat Fink. Steve was preoccupied with his nightly scavenger hunt and didn’t notice Layne standing there until he nearly ran into him.

Steve the Rat Fink: “Holy shit, turdface. Why you sneakin’ up on me?”

Layne swung the squeegee. Steve jerked back, but the scraper edge sliced his forehead open. He spun around and landed flat on his face. I saw blood starting to pool in the street.

Maybe we wouldn’t have to wait two hundred years for the feud to come to an end.

***

One thing about trailer park living: you never knew who it was who called the cops. By the time the flashing lights arrived, everyone was out in the street standing around and affecting a dewy-eyed innocence. No one ever wanted to take the heat for bringing the police into our community. In such ways are blood feuds begun.

I suspect one of Steve’s larceny victims had watched him stagger toward home with his whole face and torso covered in blood and figured the rat fink had finally committed a crime that would get him sent away for good.

Layne the Favorite was sitting on top of our picnic table, the bloody squeegee held in his hand. He glared over at Rat Fink headquarters, where Steve sat at their picnic table. Lurleen held a bandanna to his bleeding head, a cigarette dangling from her lips. Merle the Ratterfamilias, shirtless, his arm in a makeshift sling, chain-smoked and gazed over at us. It was one of the few times I wanted Ted the Drug Dealer to be home; it looked like we were going to need better weapons than window cleaners. I wondered briefly if we could somehow force-feed the Rat Fink clan some Mandarin Apple Pepper Sheep, but there was no nobility in that. It was probably best if I just sat quietly and stayed out of it; I had recently been punched in the face.

The trailer park manager, predictably, showed up in his trusty golf cart.  He was in his fifties, enormous, balding, and sweaty. He always wore an incongruous short-sleeved button-down shirt with a tie. The top half of him looked like a third-rate accountant or substitute teacher. The bottom half of him was a golf cart, canted down toward the driver’s side. He had to weigh four hundred pounds. Despite the wet Florida heat, he kept a tan blanket over his lower half, so his shapeless body ended where the golf cart began.

He was the one we called when the water or electricity stopped working or the machines in the laundry room ate our quarters. He didn’t actually do anything – his right hand man was a mute, nameless Guatemalan, thin as a rail, bespectacled, a genius with mechanical things. The last time I had seen this team in action was when a sewer line across the street broke. The trailer park manager sat in his cantilevered cart while his silent manservant fixed the line, covering himself in unspeakable brown goo.

There was nothing to fix this time, so the trailer park manager showed up alone. His cart zoomed to a stop in the midst of the assembled villagers. He looked over at bloodstained Steve and then at me, sitting on top of our picnic table. He and I had had run-ins before—I was the last man standing at an unfortunate broken window incident, and he had been on the scene when I got hit by a car, which he thought was an appropriate karmic comeuppance for my backsass. His eyes lit up when he saw me. I had no interest in sparring with him today. My head hurt.

Trailer Park Manager: “What’d you do now?”

I was saved from answering by the arrival of a policeman. Interestingly enough, I recognized him. I had dealt with this cop before.

***

The officer was Patrolman 1, who had helped me out after I got hit by the Cadillac. I had served as translator for the ancient driver’s stream of old country invective. Angry Jewish women had been flinging intemperate Yiddish around me since I was a toddler, so it was easy to decipher her ranting.

Patrolman 1 quickly assessed the situation and walked over to where the Rat Fink family sat tending their wounds. Between Steve’s blood-soaked face and chest and his father’s broken bones, they looked like they had been on the business end of a nasty car wreck. Steve’s not-mom kept pointing over to our Winnebago.

Her hair was perfect.

Patrolman 1 headed over. He saw me sitting there and winked.

Patrolman 1: “So. This situation’s kind of facochta.”

Me: “Also a good bit of meshuga going on.”

My mother glared at Patrolman 1.

Mom: “You don’t look Jewish. How do you know Yiddish?”

Patrolman 1: “Your son taught me a few words. It’s come in pretty handy. There are a lot of crabby Jews on the wrong side of the law.”

Mom: “Jews don’t break the law, Lieutenant!”

Patrolman 1: “Sergeant.”

Mom: “That’s what I said! Jews are oppressed! We don’t ever do anything wrong. It’s always the goyim.

Patrolman 1: “It looks like your son hit that boy upside the head with a squeegee.”

Mom: “He was defending himself!”

Patrolman 1: “A couple of witnesses told me your son just swung at him for no reason.”

Mom: “He had a reason! Simon is always picking on him!”

Patrolman 1: “Who?”

Mom: “Stewart! Sheldon! Shane! You know—Spencer!”

Me: “Steve.”

Mom: “That’s what I said!”

Patrolman 1: “Even if they have a history, it’s irrelevant if your son just hits him without provocation. And because he used a weapon, it’s a serious crime.”

Mom: “It’s a squeegee! It’s not a weapon!”

Patrolman 1 gave up on her and walked over to where Layne sat, twirling the bloody squeegee. The officer drew himself up to his full height. All the leather he had—shoes, gun belt, holster—creaked as he walked. He stood in front of Layne the Favorite, his arms folded over his broad chest.

Patrolman 1: “You hit that boy. With a weapon. Unprovoked.”

Layne the Favorite: “I hate that kid. I’d like to hit him again.” He gripped the handle of the squeegee tighter. Patrolman 1 took it out of his hands.

Patrolman 1: “I’m going to have to take you in, son.”

My mother squawked and flew at him, pushing her way between Patrolman 1 and her son.

Mom: “No way, Buster! I won’t let you take my son to jail, you jakbooted tag.

Me: “Jackbooted thug.”

Patrolman 1: “Ah.”

Mom: “My son is innocent! This is not his fault! It’s that gneyvish ganev , az kleyn shtekhn!” Me: “Sneaky thief, that little prick.” My mother glared at me:

Mom: “SSSSSSStace! What is wrong with you? Why are you talking to this beyz khzir?”

Me: “Evil pig.”

Patrolman 1: “I knew ‘pig.’ I’ve been called that one before. Your people really don’t like them.”

Me: “It’s because we don’t know how to cook, and we’re afraid of trichinosis.”

Mom: “And God!”

Me: “Also, apparently, God.”

Mom: “Stop it! He wants to take your brother to jail!”

Patrolman 1: “Ma’am. He assaulted that boy with a weapon. I have to take him in.”

Mom: “Then you’ll have to take me too! You’ll have to lock me up with him!”

Layne the Favorite sat calmly. He seemed to accept the consequences of clocking Steve the Rat Fink upside the head. I liked to think he, at least, understood the gravity of a blood feud. Sacrifices had to be made. Although him and my mother sharing a cell at the Hollywood police station, mom sliding a cup across the bars, shrieking “Attica!” was a bit much. Dignity was a hallmark of the really good blood feuds.  I walked over to Patrolman 1.

Me: “Can I talk to you in private?”

Mom: “What for?  Why do you want to talk to this narish pots?”

Me: “Stupid dick.”

Mom: “Stop telling him what I’m saying! You’re making it worse! He’ll lock us up and throw away the key!”

Patrolman 1 led me over to his squad car. The trailer park manager, half man, half golf cart, grinned.

Trailer Park Manager: “Lock him up too, Officer!”

Patrolman 1: “I see you’re still winning people over wherever you go.”

Me: “It’s a gift.”

Patrolman 1: “You know I’m just trying to put a scare into your brother. And those lowlifes—” he jerked his head over at the clustered Rat Fink family. “—want to press charges.”

Me: “They won’t press charges. Just tell them you’ll need to step inside their trailer to take their statements in private. They’ll fall all over themselves to send you away.”

He grinned.

Patrolman 1: “And why is that? Do they not want me in their trailer for some reason?”

Me: “They do not.”

Patrolman 1: “Interesting. Tell me. Is your brother a danger to himself or others?”

Me: “Probably not. But my mother will be a danger to you if you take them to jail. Can you whip up some sort of hideous kosher meal for them? Will they get to watch TV together? And just wait till her lawyer shows up. She’ll sue you and the city for a hundred million dollars.”

Patrolman 1: “For what?”

Me: “Does it matter? Do we all want to be on the news, for God’s sake?”

Patrolman 1: “Probably not.”

Me: “Besides, if you haul Layne and his mother off to the big house, I’ll be left here alone. My stepfather’s working, and I’m a helpless minor.”

Patrolman 1 (chuckling): “You poor thing.”

Mom: “SSSSSStace! Quit talking to that Nazi!”

Patrolman 1: “I think she wants to go to jail.”

Me: “By now she does. She and her son are going to martyr themselves for the cause.”

Patrolman 1: “What cause is that?”

Me: “No one knows. But they can’t stop now or all will be lost.”

Patrolman 1: “That actually makes some kind of sense.”

Me: “We’ll make a Jew out of you yet. Can I come to your Bar Mitzvah?”

Patrolman 1: “As long as you bring a gift.”

Me: “That’s the spirit.”

I followed him back to where my mother and Layne sat side by side, waiting to be handcuffed, beaten with sticks, and shoved into the back of a patrol car.

Me: “Take them away, Officer.”

My mother glared at me.

Mom: “You’re just like your father, that son of a bitch.”

Patrolman 1: “Ma’am, I’m not taking your son in.”

Mom: “Because he’s innocent! I told you!”

Patrolman 1: “It would leave your other son here by himself.”

Mom: “Oh, him. He’ll be fine, that one.”

Me: “Do you want to go to jail?”

Patrolman 1 looked at Layne the Favorite.

Patrolman 1: “I’m going to let you off with a warning. Never pick up a weapon if you get in a fight. Unless you’re defending yourself.”

Layne the Favorite nodded.  Patrolman 1 walked over to the Rat Fink family, his arms folded. He said something to them. Merle the Ratterfamilias ripped the ball cap off his head with his one good arm and flung it on the ground. I could hear his voice raised as he yelled at Patrolman 1, but not what he was saying. Patrolman 1 gestured at their motor home and took a step toward it. Merle the Ratterfamilias got in front of him, his hand out, a toothless grin on his face. Patrolman 1 shrugged and walked back to his car. The crowd gazed at him expectantly. The trailer park manager kept looking between me and the cop. His face fell when Patrolman 1 got in his car and drove away.

Me: “Better luck next time.”

The trailer park manager glared at me and zoomed away, nearly clipping some of our neighbors with his golf cart. The crowd dispersed after that. The Rat Fink family retreated to their trailer, looking like survivors of a vicious animal attack.  It felt like we were winning this blood feud. We had them on the ropes.

Mom: “Her hair really does look good. I’m going to go ask her to come down to the salon for a conditioner treatment.”  I sighed. Hopefully my descendants would do better.

You can buy Trailer Trash With A Girl’s Name: Father Figures on Amazon.com.  Follow Stacey Roberts on Facebook and Twitter

Bio

Stacey Roberts spent his childhood traveling the country in his family’s Winnebago. They eventually settled in Florida, where he attended Florida State University and the University of Miami. To his mother’s consternation, he pursued a major in English literature instead of finance. He rebelled further by receiving his master’s degree in early-modern European history from the University of Cincinnati. He can now both impress and frustrate the room with obscure references to Roman emperors and English monarchs.

Roberts founded his own computer consulting firm in 1994. He lives in Northern Kentucky with his wife, Nikki, and their Goldendoodle, Augustus.

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

Paul De Lancey
www.pauldelancey.com
www.lordsoffun.com

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Spotlight on Wil 3 – Author of “Heartly God?”

Excerpt from Heartly God?

 

Chapter Three

The protestors’ movement, if it can be deservingly titled as such, was aimed at the removal of Father O’Toole from St. Mary’s Parish and the whole Catholic Church. It started with a few unhappy parishioners who didn’t take kindly to Father O’Toole’s most recent and more progressive sermons. A few unhappy parishioners led to a few unhappy families, who then enlisted the help of other, very concerned, non-parishioners who were equally offended by what Father O’Toole had to say. Although they never actually heard it first-hand, but through their friends, which apparently was good enough to cause them to be offended.

At first, the movement was easily ignored by the remaining St. Mary’s faithful and by Father O’Toole. But when it became apparent that it had grown and was not going away, Father O’Toole decided it was time to engage the protestors in dialogue. That was a mistake. The dialogue was short-lived and within a matter of minutes, Father O’Toole’s Irish got the better of him and he had to be physically restrained and separated from the group. The “swear jar” Father O’Toole kept in the office behind the altar was contributed to heavily that day by him.

It used to be easy for Father O’Toole to bridge gaps between those who were with him and those who were against him. He made a short career of that in the Army prior to the priesthood. It seemed to him that he was losing that ability due to his old age in the same way that he was losing his hair and his hearing. Sadly, Father O’Toole’s lack of statesmanship only fueled the fire of the protestors’ movement. The following week, after word got out via social media, the movement doubled in size. The week after that, the local media was at the 9:00 AM. Mass to cover the protestors. A thirty-second clip of the protestors aired on local news the following Monday.

“We are protesting Father O’Toole’s ludicrous message! The Bible says that a man should not lay down with another man. That is a sin. It’s an abomination against nature! Women who have abortions are killing babies! They don’t need forgiveness; they need to be locked up!!”

Once the media coverage of the protestors’ movement aired, the Bishop and other higher-ups in the Church became heavily involved in the situation. The Bishop didn’t necessarily agree with Father O’Toole’s new message or ministry. In fact, he never really saw eye-to-eye with Father O’Toole on much of anything. But more importantly, he did not like to see one of his churches under siege. It was bad for business. Attendance at Mass was down because many of the remaining parishioners felt uneasy trying to navigate amongst the protestors as they tried to get into the church. Accordingly, the weekly collection started to come up short … very short at times.

The stress on the income stream necessitated constant communication, which Father O’Toole equated to constant aggravation, between him and the Bishop. If he wasn’t talking to the Bishop, he was talking to one of the Bishop’s underbosses. If it wasn’t an underboss, it was someone from the Diocese public relations department. If it wasn’t public relations, it was a Diocese lawyer. All the stress and constant watchdogging of Father O’Toole made him physically tired and mentally weak. Making the situation worse was Father O’Toole’s acknowledgment that he simply did not have the time to devote to the parishioners who still needed him, or to those unfortunate sick and dying people that he would minister to in three of the local hospitals.

Father O’Toole was no longer a young man. Far from it. He should have retired years ago, by his age. But he grew up in the Strip District, went to St. Mary’s grade school and he welcomed the opportunity to become the pastor at St. Mary’s when the opportunity presented itself. Truth be told, St. Mary’s was on the verge of collapse before Father O’Toole’s arrival. The Diocese plan was to let Father O’Toole run the parish for one or maybe two years, then close it down and sell it to a developer for a big profit. It was expected that Father O’Toole would retire after that. It was a clever and convenient strategy by the Diocese and their legal think tank. Fortunately, or unfortunately, Father O’Toole actually grew the parish in the short time that he had been pastor. Prior to the protestors’ movement, St. Mary’s Parish had become bigger and stronger than ever. Father O’Toole initially felt a youthful resurgence as the parish grew around him, but in the wake of this protest movement, Father O’Toole was not sure how much longer he could last. He was clearly nearing his breaking point.

The easiest way to resolve the problem would have been to reassign Father O’Toole to another parish. However, the higher-ups in the Diocese thought that move would signal the Church’s acquiescence to the will of the protestors. Besides, reassignment did not guarantee that the same thing would not happen at a different location. The last thing the Diocese wanted was to engage in war on two fronts. The Diocesan leaders asked Father O’Toole to retire, but that conversation was even shorter than Father O’Toole’s attempt at dialogue with the protestors. With all the brain power and money of the Diocese, nobody had any clear solution for resolving the situation. And they also knew that they were dealing equally with a very hard-headed old Irishman who never backed down from a fight before. Thus, they were all stuck and decided nothing could be done other than to ride it out. The situation evolved into a chicken fight between three entities to see just who had the most stamina.

One thing was for sure—the thick concrete walls and enormous oak doors of St. Mary’s that once created a spiritual and a physical safe-haven for the parishioners could no longer keep the din and ruckus of the protestors outside. In calmer days, the only sound that might have been heard from the outside during a Mass was the occasional siren on a police car or ambulance. Now, even the sirens couldn’t be heard over the protestors’ fanatical rants and chanting.

Bio

Wil 3 is a father, an educator and a retired college assistant basketball coach who graduated from Washington and Jefferson college with a double major in Political Science and Secondary Education. He has worked as a teacher and curriculum developer in several school districts and post-secondary institutions.  An advocate to end homelessness, Wil currently sits as a Board Member at “Hearts of the Homeless,” a 501(c)3 non-profit and regularly volunteers at Light of Life Mission in the North Side of Pittsburgh, PA.  Prior to releasing Heartly God?, Wil authored several one-act plays that have been performed by various theater groups in Western Pennsylvania.  Heartly God? is his first full-length novel.  When not writing, Wil can be found trout fishing or on a stand-up paddle board with his son Rider and occasionally practicing law, if time permits.

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

Paul De Lancey
www.pauldelancey.com
www.lordsoffun.com

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Brazilian Shredded Collard Greens

Brazilian Appetizer

SHREDDED COLLARD GREENS

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds collard greens (about 4 bunches)
4 garlic cloves
3½ tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Serves 6. Takes 40 minutes.

PREPARATION

Wash collard greens. Remove the thick part of the stems. Bundle up 8 leaves at a time. Cut bundle crosswise into ¼” strips. Mince garlic cloves. Add olive oil to large pan. Sauté garlic on medium-high heat for 1 minute or until fragrant. Stir occasionally. Add collard greens. Reduce heat to medium and sauté for 5 minutes or until greens have started to wilt, but still are semi-firm. Stir frequently. Add pepper and salt. Stir until well blended.

TIDBITS

1) In Greek mythology, Ancient Earth was not peopled with people. It was horsed with horses. Zeus let the horses roam free with the stipulation that they never ate all the tacos from the Olympian taco truck.

2) But they did and Zeus was so angry for he loved the mighty taco. As who would not? So Zeus put green collars made from veggies on the horses and tied the beasts to trees. He could eat tacos again. And he was happy. So happy, in fact, that he created humans.

3) Zeus kept the gift of fire from the humans. People who knew how to use fire, would learn to make crispy shredded tacos. With that knowledge people would soon become powerful enough to overthrow Zeus. They would send him to clean restrooms in casinos for all eternity.

4) Then, on August 10th, Prometheus, the first poor sport, lost a game of ScrabbleTM to Zeus. Enraged, he set loose all the horses and gave fire to humanity. Zeus took his revenge on Prometheus, but it was not enough. Humanity soon dethroned him.

5) Right now, Zeus cleans men’s rooms at a casino in Monaco. Be sure to live him a small tip. He really is in a bad way. Oh my gosh, his apartment is tiny. It got a lot better for us humans, though. We learned how to make tacos and have become ever more advanced since them. Now you know.

Chef Paul

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

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SPAM Fried Rice

Guamanian Entree

SPAM(TM) FRIED RICE

INGREDIENTS

1 cup rice
2 garlic cloves
1 small onion
1 12-ounce can SPAM
2 tablespoons oil
3 eggs
¼ cup soy sauce

Serves 4. Takes 35 minutes.

PREPARATION

Cook rice according to instructions on package. Mince garlic cloves and onion. Cut SPAM into ½” cubes. Add garlic cloves, onion, and oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Remove garlic and onion and set aside. Keep any oil. Add eggs to pan. Scramble eggs at medium heat for 2 minutes or until eggs are done to your liking. Remove scrambled eggs and slice any large bits into ¼” wide strips.

Add SPAM cubes to pan. Cook at high heat for 3 minutes or until SPAM starts to brown. Stir occasionally. Add garlic, onion, and eggs back to pan. Add rice and soy sauce. Cook at medium heat for 2 minutes or until all is warm and the rice is brown.

TIDBITS

1) Guamanian is the adjective for something from Guam. Ché Guevarra–If this is spelled correctly, it is purely by chance–was a revolutionary.

2) A Guavanian is someone from Guava. Well no, it isn’t. Guava is a bush. The guava bush’s fruit is a guava. No, people live in or around a guava bush. Thus, there are no Guavanians. Indeed, there is no guavanian anything. The adjective for guava is guava.

3) Indeed, this has been the case since prehistoric times. Exactly sometime ago, Cro Magnons switched from herding mastodons and sabertooth tigers to herding the rather more stationary and easygoing guava bush.

4) Che Chevarra–How the heck do you spell his name?–loved sedentary guavas. You can tell he was direct descendant of Cro Magnons. However, Ché didn’t know how to spell guavas. So, if he couldn’t spell guavas, you can’t really expect people to spell his last name correctly. It’s kinda like spelling Benadryl(TM) Cumberbund’s name correctly, who by the way also descends from Cro Magnons.

Chef Paulcookbookhunks

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

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Burmese Fried Fish Cakes

Burmese Entree

FRIED FISH CAKES

INGREDIENTS

1 pound filleted flounder, cod, or other whitefish
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon red chile flakes
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon fish sauce
½ cup peanut oil or vegetable oil

SPECIAL UTENSIL

food processor

Makes 8 fish cakes. Takes 20 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add flounder, garlic cloves, ginger, red chile flakes, salt, and turmeric to food processor. Process the ingredients until you get a well-blended paste. Dip your fingers in fish sauce. Take 1 teaspoon of paste in your hands and smoosh it flat until you get a patty 3″ across. Repeat until you use all the paste. Keep dipping your fingers in fish sauce to keep them moist.

Add oil to large pan or wok. Heat oil in pan using medium-high heat. Oil is hot enough when a tiny bit of paste in the oil starts to dance. Carefully use spatula to add fish patties to oil. Don’t let patties touch each other. You might need to cook in batches. Deep fry for 3 minutes or until bottom of patties turns golden brown. Flip patties over and deep fry for 3 minutes or under the new bottoms are golden brown as well. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all patties have been deep fried.

TIDBITS

1) The original birthday cake was deep fried on November 7, 1769 was made of cod, not flour. It was made for Captain James Cook’s 41st birthday. It was made, as far as I can tell from the same ingredients used in this recipe. Cook was in the second year of his first voyage of discovery and circumnavigation. His officers loved him. The crew loved him. Seals and tuna swam by the boat just to be near him. Captain Cook was that kind of guy. So his birthday had to be celebrated. But there was no flour for the traditional birthday bread roll. So the cook whipped up this dish and shaped it like a roll, well sorta. He stuck 41 candles in it to symbolize his age and the stars they sailed under. The idea caught on like wildfire and everybody had fish cakes for their birthday.

2) Alas, on February 14, 1779, Captain Cook was killed in a skirmish in Hawaii. Fish birthday cakes rapidly fell out of favor. Bakers kept the cake shape, but switched back to flour. Now you know.

Chef Paulcookbookhunks

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

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Hatch Chile Onion Pie

American Entree

HATCH CHILE ONION PIE

INGREDIENTS

3 medium onions
4 tablespoons butter
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons flour
¼ cup milk
1 cup sour cream
4 Hatch chiles or 1 can Hatch chiles
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
2 9-inch pie shells
6 ounces white Mexican cheeses or any desired white cheeses

SPECIAL UTENSIL

mandoline

Makes 2 pies. Takes 1 hour 30 minutes.

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Use mandoline or knife to slice onions ⅛” thick. Add butter and onion slices to pan. Sauté on medium-heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Add onion and its drippings, eggs, flour, milk, sour cream, pepper, and salt to large mixing bowl. Blend well with whisk. Pour into pie shell. Grate cheese. Sprinkle pie with cheese. Bake in oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Lower temperature to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 20-to-40 minutes or until center of pie is firm.

TIDBITS

1) Cro Magnon chefs felt unfulfilled serving the same old berries year after year. One day a caveman chef pointed to a mastodon. “Why not eat that?” he asked. “Yes, let’s,” said his tribe. So, the Twofoot Tribe organized mastodon hunts which became more successful when they attacked with rocks instead of berries. And the tribe would dine on raw mastodon chunks.

2) A century later, an enfant terrible chef pointed to some chickens. “Why not eat those?” “Yes, let’s,” said the Hatch Valley clan. And the cavemen started to herd chickens.  A decade later, through a series of fortuitous accidents, the H.V. Clan invented pie crusts. It was a natural step to get their chickens to lay eggs into the pie crusts, add a few Hatch chiles, onions, and sour cream from sour cows. Then cook the pie over an open flame, thank goodness for the invention of fire. And so Hatch Chile Onion Pies were first made. You can see finger paintings of them in the famous Lascaux Caves. Oh, we’ve made improvements since then. We pick the egg shells out of the pies.

Chef Paulcookbookhunks

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

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Newfoundland Pork Buns

Canadian Appetizer

NEWFOUNDLAND PORK BUNS

INGREDIENTS

½ pound salt pork
¼ cup shortening or butter
3 cups flour (2 tablespoons more later)
2 tablespoons baking powder
¼ cup sugar
1 cup water

SPECIAL UTENSIL

cookie sheet

Makes 7 buns. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION

Dice salt pork. Add salt pork and shortening to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until salt pork browns. Add 3 cups flour, baking powder, and sugar to large mixing bowl. Mix with whisk until well blended. Use first to make well in flour. Add salt pork and fat from pan to well in flour. Add water. Mix with fork until well blended.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Dust flat surface with 2 tablespoons flour. Roll out flour until it is ½” thick. Cut out 4″-wide circles or any other shape or size you desire. Arrange dough circles on cookie sheet. Allow at least 1″ between dough circles. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick stuck in the center of a bun comes out clean.

TIDBITS

1) Ancient Japanese samurai got into so many sword fights that they had to have swords in both hands at all times. If you were a pork-bun-holding samurai, you’d die if a ninja armed with knives, axes, swords, and death stars jumped out of the shadows to attack you. Sure, you might in the first blow, but the best you could hope is crumbs all over the murderous assailant’s face. Then you’d die.

2) Which would be a bummer. So, samurai learned to cook pork buns. They’d poke a hole in the pork bun just wide enough to fit around the warrior’s pony tail. The fierce samurai would then tie the pony into a knot. The knot kept the pork bun from falling off. This freed the samurai’s hands to hold swords. Sword wielding samurai no longer got assassinated by ninjas. The now long-living samurai of 1178 were free to pick flowers and inhale their fragrance.

3) Which didn’t happen, of course. The fierce samurai sought out danger. Since there was none at home, they traveled to Newfound in search of it. They took their pork bun recipe with them, which is why Newfoundland has the recipe. Indeed, culinary archaeologists expect to find  evidence of  samurai habitation in Newfoundland just as they did with the Vikings at L’anse aux Meadows.

Chef Paulcookbookhunks

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

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Bananas With Split Peas

Rwandan Entree

BANANAS WITH SPLIT PEAS

INGREDIENTS

1¾ cups dried split peas
4 cups water or enough to cover split peas
4 ripe bananas¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons palm oil or peanut oil
1 medium onion

SPECIAL UTENSIL

mandoline

Makes 4 bowls. Takes 1 hour 30 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add split peas and water to large pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour or until peas soften. Stir occasionally.
Peel bananas. Place entire bananas on top of mushy peas. Cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep peas from burning. (Stir gently so that bananas don’t break into pieces.)

While bananas and peas simmer, use mandoline to cut onion into slices ⅛” thick. Add onion, palm oil, and onion to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens and browns. Add cayenne pepper and salt. Ladle onion and oil over bananas. Stir gently until oil blends in with the peas.

TIDBITS

1) This recipe calls for a medium onion. Onion mediums help us, the living, communicate with those who have gone to the Great Beyond.

2) This differs from musicians communicating to the great Beyoncé. They do that by cell phone.

3) Anyway, the most commonly question asked of the dearly departed was, “Our are missing socks over there with you?” The answer was always, “Yes. you’ll soon see them again.”

4) Unfortunately, people asked that question so often that the onion mediums became unable to channel any other questions between our world and the next. So, frustrated truth seekers took to eating the mediums. The onions proved to be tasty. This is why they are in so many recipes. But do try to cook with medium onions, they’ll leave you more than enlightened than will the other sizes.

Chef Paulcookbookhunks

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocaly

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Chicken Chipotle

Mexican Entree

CHICKEN CHIPOTLE

 

INGREDIENTS

1 medium onion
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 chicken breasts
1 cup crema Mexicana
1 tablespoon chipotle powder
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon fresh parsley or oregano
2 limes

SPECIAL UTENSIL

mandoline

Serves 6.  Takes 50 minutes.

PREPARATION

Use mandoline or knife to slice onion as thinly as possible. Add onion and oil to large pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently. Remove onion. Add chicken breasts. Sauté at medium heat for 15 or until browned on both sides. Flip chicken breasts once. While chicken sautés, add crema Mexicana, chipotle powder, pepper, and salt to pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir constantly.

Ladle crema Mexican/chipotle sauce over chicken breasts. Simmer at low heat for 15 minutes. Flip chicken breasts once. Stir occasionally. Ladle chicken stock over breasts. Simmer at low heat for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally

While chicken simmers, dice parsley and slice limes into quarters. Add sautéed onion to serving dish. Place chicken breasts on onion. Ladle crema Mexicana/chipotle powder sauce over chicken. Garnish with parsley and lime quarters. Goes well with rice and warm corn tortillas.

TIDBITS

1) A conga line is a fun way to dance. A mango line has people dancing while slicing mangoes. This idea proved to be dangerous as mango bits on the floor made people slip and fall. The dancing stopped. Knives were replaced by mangolines. Then a typo in the influential cookbook, Latin Cooking, by Auntie Matter, changed mangolines forever into mandolines.

2) Chefs soon discovered that mandolines sliced onions better than mangoes. Within a week of Latin Cooking’s publication, the timid Juan Chipotle created Chicken Chipotle. Life is good.

Chef Paulcookbookhunks

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

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Paul’s K-IT-CHEN

Gentle Readers,

Today’s blog is short and sweet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chef Paul De Lancey

 

 

(Please click on my name and submit scruff questions to my Facebook page and simply make a comment to this post. I look
forward to hearing from you.)

 

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

 

 

 

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