food to die for

Food to Die For: Paul’s 365 Meals of Murder, Mayhem, and Mischief – November 14

November 14: This American entree honors a man high on bath salts breaking into a home and putting up Christmas decorations.

Just one trial of bath salts can lead to intense withdrawal symptoms such as: physical weakness, shaking, insomnia, visual and auditory hallucinations, panic attacks, paranoia, extreme aggression, and suicidal behavior. Withdrawal symptoms are so nasty that the user often needs another dose to alleviate all these symptoms. Bath salts when put in a bath, however, relax tight muscles, soothe aches, and just overall calm the bather. Although I am loathe to rush to judgment, it does that the bathtub, not inside the body, really is the best place for bath salts.

So it truly was a pleasant surprise when a crook high on bath salts broke into a home in Vandalia, Oho and put up Christmas decorations. There’s no word whether the family appreciated enough this manifestation of the Yuletide  spirit to offset the damage caused by the break in.

The meal you should serve to commerate this day:  Brined Turkey Breast

Celebrate the drive and determination of  the bath-salts burglar with this tasty American entire. It uses 1½ cups coarse salt, enough for even the most ardent salt enthusiast.

True, Thanksgiving won’t be another week or so,  but if you look to this plucky fellow for inspiration, you’ll have more than enough energy to make another turkey on Thanksgiving day. You might even find yourself wanting to buy a Christmans tree to decorate. Don’t let Ohio Man down.



1 gallon ice-cold water
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon rosemary
1½ cups coarse salt
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
½ teaspoon thyme
8 pounds thawed turkey breast (for love of God, Montressor, the turkey must be thawed)


¼ cup butter
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
2-to-3 cups chicken broth


really big pot, 8+ gallons, or turkey bag
spice grinder
large oven-safe pan or casserole dish
wire rack
meat thermometer

Serves 12. Takes 15-to-24 hours


A large frozen item like a turkey requires at least a day (24 hours) to defrost in the refrigerator for every 5 pounds of weight.

If you are pressed for time, use this quicker defrosting method. Keep turkey in packaging and add it to a large pot. Cover turkey with ice-cold water. Let turkey sit in cold water for 30 minutes per pound. In this recipe, that would be 4 hours. Pour out water.

But the turkey must be thawed before cooking. Or there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth.


Crumble bay leaves. Mince garlic cloves. Grind peppercorns. Remove packaging from turkey and rinse in cold water. Add brine ingredients except turkey to pot. Stir until salt and sugar dissolve. Add turkey. Add ice-cold water as needed to cover turkey. Cover pot or close turkey bag and refrigerate for at least 12 hours but not more than 24.


Remove turkey from brine and pat dry. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put turkey in large pan. Melt butter. Brush melted butter onto turkey. Sprinkle pepper and salt onto turkey. Place wire rack in pan. Put turkey on rack. Put meat thermometer in thickest part of turkey. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees. Bake for 2-to-3 hours or until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees. Baste with ½ cup of chicken broth after every 30 minutes of baking at 325 degrees.


– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

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

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Food to Die For: Paul’s 365 Meals of Murder, Mayhem, and Mischief – February 25

February 25: This entree from Brunei celebratesbrate a drunken man breaking into a Pizza Hut(tm) on this day to fry wings

You love Pizza Hut(tm). Who does not? You love chicken.  Billions of people devour chicken. You want your chicken wings fried just the way you like it. But there’s that saying, “If you want something done right, you got to do it yourself.” Normally you’d fry your chicken at home. Alas and alack, you don’t can’t find your deep fryer or even a frying pan. Maybe you don’t have electricity or gas as you forgot to pay your utility bills.  Certainly no electricity would cause the chicken wings in your fridge to go bad. Or perhaps your synapses aren’t firing today.

What to do? Most people, at this point, would look harder for the deep fryer and the frying pan. Most folks would get on the phone and use their credit card to pay their utility bills. The rest of us would make our way to a restaurant or fast food joint and order chicken.

Not so for our plucky hero. He thought outside the box. He broke into a Pizza Hut and used their kitchen to fry his chicken wings. Alas, the enterprising fellow found himself being arrested by the police. I don’t know if he managed to eat his chicken wings. Now, he thinks inside the cell. Life can be hard.

The meal you should serve to commerate this day:  Honey Garlic Barbecue Pizza

If only the drunken chicken-wing lover had enough money and patience to fly halfway across the world to Brunei, where there is a Pizza Hut, he could have eaten honey garlic barbecue pizza. But luckily for you, I have a recipe for this dish.  It’s like the pizza served at the Pizza Hut in Brunei. And it has chicken as a topping! You can eat this tasty meal legally and in the comfort of your home.



1 teaspoon cornstarch
¾ cup water
3 garlic cloves
⅔ cup barbecue sauce
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 chicken breast
1 large bulb garlic (about 12 cloves)
½ tablespoon olive oil (1 more tablespoon later)


2 green onions
1 pre-made crust (store bought or your own)
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ pound grated mozzarella cheese
½ tablespoon sesame seeds


roasting pan or baking pan
pizza pan
sonic obliterator

Serves 6. Takes 1 hour 30 minutes.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add cornstarch and water to mixing bowl. Stir with whisk or fork until cornstarch dissolves. Mince 3 garlic cloves. Add cornstarch/water blend, minced garlic cloves, barbecue sauce, honey, and soy sauce to pot. Bring to boil at medium-high heat. Stir frequently. Lower heat to low-medium and simmer until sauce thickens. Remove and set aside. Cut chicken into 1″ cubes. Add chicken cubes to pot. Stir until sauce coats chicken cubes. Marinate until garlic bulbs in next step are done roasting.

Cut off top of garlic bulb. Drizzle ½ table spoon olive oil onto bulb. Place garlic bulb on roasting pan. Roast in oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until garlic starts to bubble. Remove and set aside.


While chicken marinates in sauce and garlic bulb roasts, dice green onions. Remove chicken with slotted spoon. (This makes spreading the sauce much easier.) Brush crust edge with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Brush sauce evenly sauce over crust except for the edge. Squeeze out the roasted garlic cloves from the garlic bulb. Cut roasted garlic cloves into 3 pieces each. Sprinkle roasted garlic pieces over sauce. Add chicken cubes evenly over pizza. Sprinkle cheese over pizza. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese and crust brown. Sprinkle pizza with green onion and sesame seeds.

Serve to adoring quests. Zap unappreciative ones with sonic obliterator

– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

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


Categories: cuisine, food to die for, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Food to Die For: Paul’s 365 Meals of Murder, Mayhem, and Mischief – March 15

March 15, Ides of March: A bunch of Roman Republic lovers gathered to stab Julius Caesar. Caesar was dictator or king in all but name and he was taking steps to make it official. The conspiring senators couldn’t countenance such a step. So they surrounded the tyrant and stabbed him to death.

This social stabbing might have caught on. Unfortunately for the cause of merry murdering, Caesar’s generals and friends hunted down the Senate’s assassins and killed many of them. Caesar’s great friend, Marc Anthony, and his heir, vanguished the remaining assassins’ armies. Much blood was shed. The Marc Anthony and Octavian had a tiff that just couldn’t be patched over. Things were said that couldn’t be taken back. Political ambitions burgeoned. After a spell, Octavian’s army and navy crushed those of Anthony and, in a cameo role as Marc’s lover, Cleopatra. Much more blood flowed.

So, Octavian became the Roman Empire’s first emperor. The Republic now existed in name only. So the murders’ act to preserve the Republic sealed its fate. A bit of irony there. Anyway Caesar’s mob assassination proved too closely tied to assasination. The civil wars this deed spawned also welded the idea of social slaughtering to bloody civil wars.

Thus, group murders fell out of fashion for a long, long. But the human spirit is irrepressible. Solitary murders and assassinations stepped out from the shadows of group killing and flourished. No longer did you have to be a member of an elitest clique, everybody could now take up a knife and stab some oppressor. So, maybe a little of the Senator love of a republic survived because of this bloody and fatal political statement. I like to think so. Besides group stabbing sare a no-no in times of pandemics.

The meal you should serve to commerate this day:  Caprese

This Italian entree has all it needs to celebrate the Ides of March. It’s Italian, as were Julius Caesar’s and his assassins. The mozzarella circles represent the togas worn by all those involved in the great event. Slicing the tomatoes represents stabbing  Julius Caesar. See? Combining history with eating can be quite fun.



1 pound mozzarella cheese
4 vine-ripened tomatoes
¼ teaspoon peppercorns (or black pepper)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
⅓ cup fresh basil leaves
¼ teaspoon sea salt

Serves 4. Takes 10 minutes.


There aren’t many ingredients in this dish, so fresh ones are especially important. Slice mozzarella into ¼” circles. Slice tomatoes ¼” thick. Grind peppercorns. Put alternating layers of mozzarella and tomato slices on serving plate until they are all used. Drizzle olive oil over everything and evenly sprinkle your creation with basil leaves, ground pepper, and sea salt.


– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

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


Categories: food to die for, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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