Posts Tagged With: appetizer

Hot Pickled Carrots

Mexican Appetizer

HOT PICKLED CARROTS

INGREDIENTS

1 pound carrots
1 small onion
2 jalapeno peppers or 6 ounces sliced
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano or oregano
1 cup white vinegar or cider vinegar
1 cup water
2 bay leaves
½ tablespoon sea salt or salt
1 teaspoon sugar

SPECIAL UTENSILS

mandoline (optional, but so helpful)
2 3-cup Mason jars

Makes 4 cups. Takes 40 minutes preparation, 1 hour 30 minutes cooling to room temperature, and up to 1 day in refrigerator.

PREPARATION

Use mandoline to cut carrots into ¼”-to-½” thick diagonal slices. Use julienne blade, if possible. Use mandoline or knife to slice jalapenos into rings ¼”-to-½” thick.. Use mandoline to cut onion into ⅛” thick slices. Cut each garlic clove into 4 pieces.

Add vinegar and water to pot. Bring to boil using high heat. Add all other ingredients to pot. Let boil for 5 minutes. Stir until sugar dissolves, then enough to prevent burning. Remove pot from heat. Let cool for 1 hour 30 minutes or until contents, hot pickled carrots, reach room temperature.
Pour everything into Mason jars. Let sit in refrigerator for 1 day for best taste. They should keep for 1 week.

TIDBITS

1) To be “pickled” is slang for “to be drunk.” So, pickled carrots are drunken carrots. How do we know when carrots are drunk? Culinary patrolmen will tell you weaving while driving is a sure sign of an inebriation. Fortunately, drunk carrot driving remains quite rare as hardly any carrots attain the minimum driving age of 16.. Indeed, most carrots get eaten within days of being plucked from the ground. Another sign of a soused carrot is slurred speech. However, you really do need to listen carefully for this as carrots have tiny voices. Mostly, though, a drunken carrot resorts to giving people the silent treatment, which has proved to be a feeble defense against being eaten. And anyway, surly carrots are annoying. Just eat them. Show them you’re the boss.

 

Paul De Lancey, concerned citizen and 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 amazon.com.

Categories: international, observations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sow (Milk Drink from Senegal)

Senegalese Appetizer

SOW
(Milk Drink)

INGREDIENTS

8 cups (2 quarts) buttermilk*
⅔ cup sugar
¼ cup vanilla sugar**
¼ teaspoon nutmeg

* = Traditionally made by letting fresh milk go sour outside then adding sugar and ice.
** = Can be ordered online. PenzeysTM has it. Or make your own with vanilla beans and sugar.

Serves 8. Takes 5 minutes.

PREPARATION

Combine all ingredients into pitcher or jug. Stir with spoon until well blended.

TIDBITS

1) “Sow,” if pronounced incorrectly, in Woolof, a Senegalese language, means something bad.

2) What if calling someone “sow” in Woolof means something that would you get you roughed up, put in prison, or expelled from Senegal?

3) You wouldn’t want that especially after spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on four-star hotels and flying there for its magnificent food and scenery and friendly people. Okay, friendly as long you don’t say “sow” the wrong way to them.

4) So what can you do to keep your words from getting yourself assaulted?

5) Go to another country? Nope. Won’t work. Foreign countries have foreign languages just chock full of okay words that are similar in pronunciation to dirty words, offensive words, and words that if said a little different that will get you dumped off all alone at a glacier when all you really wanted was an ice cube for your orange juice.

6) Learn Woolof. Learn all the languages that are spoken in Senegal. Take those intense language courses! Conjugate those Woolofian verbs every chance you get.

7) Or just smile and point to glass of sow. Just be careful how you point? Pointing the wrong way in a foreign country can get you trouble.

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 amazon.com.

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Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

American Appetizer

BUTTERMILK RANCH DRESSING

INGREDIENTS – MIX

1 cup buttermilk powder
2½ teaspoons dill weed
4 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion flakes
4 teaspoons onion powder
6 tablespoons parsley
2 teaspoon salt

INGREDIENTS – DRESSING

½ cup mayonnaise
⅔ cup milk
½ cup sour cream

SPECIAL UTENSIL

mason jar or other airtight jar

Makes 1⅔ cups mix. Takes 5 minutes, Mix keeps for about 6 months.
Makes 14 cups dressing (1⅔ cups at a time.) Dressing keeps for up to a week in refrigerator.

PREPARATION – MIX

Aid all mix ingredients to mixing bowl. Mix with whisk or fork until well blended. Transfer to mason jar.

PREPARATION – DRESSIN

Add 3 tablespoons from above mix and all dressing ingredients to mixing bowl. Stir with whisk or fork until well blended. Transfer to mason jar. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

TIDBITS

1) Cowboys herd cows. Playwrights write about cows. See Shakespeare’s lost classic, “Two Cows of Padua.” Buttermilkboys, however, herd buttermilk cows. Buttermilk cows give buttermilk.

2) Shakespeare is one of the very few to have made a living from writing. Indeed, even he had to take on a second job as a cow righter to make ends. A cow righter is a farm hand whose job is to right the cows that have been tipped over by hooligans during the night. You have to be quite strong to push up a tipped-over cow. Shakespeare was quite buff. A list of history’s top muscular cow-righting/playwrights also includes: Sophocles, Henrik Ibsen, Oscar Wilde, and Neil Simon.

– 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 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Chicharrones

Mexican Appetizer

CHICHARRONES

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds pork skin*
1 cup lard
½ teaspoon salt

* = The best source is a Mexican supermarket. It can be quite difficult to find online.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

electric skillet

Serves 8. Takes 1 hour 20 minutes.

PREPARATION

Cut pork skin into 3″ squares. Add lard to electric skillet. Heat lard at 375 degrees until a tiny bit of pork skin will start to dance in the oil. Use spatula to carefully add pork-skin squares to electric skillet. Be careful, adding the squares might cause the hot oil to splatter. (May I suggest wearing an apron, standing an arm-length from the skillet and holding the skillet lid in the other hand when adding the squares?)

Fry the pork squares at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until the pork skin starts to pop and then turn golden brown. Stir frequently to the squares from sticking to the bottom of the skillet and burning. Remove deep-fried pork squares, chicharrones, and let cool on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. Chicharrones may be eaten as is or broken into smaller pieces.

TIDBITS

1) Ronaldo Gonzalez used to operate a Mexican supermarket. One of his items was chicharrones. This clever Ronaldo did anagrams in his spare time. He soon discovered that chicarrones is an anagram for Ron’s Chic Hare.

2) He asked his wife, Desdemona, a talented seamstress to design a stylish outfit for his hare, Harry. Here is her design. I’m sure you’ll agree that the outfit is très chic.

3) Indeed, D&R Designers, in just two years has leaped from selling a hundred hare outfits to dominating the global rabbit clothing scene. Runway shows for bunny models appear to be their next business step. Tryouts will be held soon.

– 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, humor, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hummus

Jordanian Appetizer

HUMMUS

INGREDIENTS

1½ pounds canned chickpeas
½ cup tahini
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt

SPECIAL UTENSIL

food processor

Makes 3 cups. Takes 15 minutes.

PREPARATION

Drain water from canned chick peas and reserve. Add all ingredients except reserved water to food processor. Blend until smooth. Add reserved water and blend again until you get a medium-thick paste.

TIDBITS

1) Hummus is an anagram for Mumu HS.

2) Mumu High School is home of the Fighting Mumus.

3) Michael Jordan, the basketball legend, was never a Fighting Mumu. His high school was Laney in North Carolina.

4) Mr. Jordan did not make his school’s varsity basketball team in his sophomore year.

5) I’m sure he could have made varsity basketball his very first year at Mumu High.

6) MJ’s relegation to junior varsity rankled deeply. He channeled his anger into a ferocious desire to be the best. No basketball player has ever possessed a great desired to succeed than he.

7) However, he could have made the lackluster Fighting Mumus without a minute of practice. He would have had no need to tap his astounding drive. Even worse, could he have braved crowds tittering at him and his teams dressed head to toe in mumus? He might have abandoned basketball altogether. Basketball fans everywhere can be grateful for his momentary setback at Laney High.

– 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: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Falafel (Tamiya) From Egypt

Egyptian Appetizer

FALAFEL
(Tamiya)

INGREDIENTS

2 cups dried fava beans* (aka broad beans)
1 small onion
8 green onions
2 garlic cloves
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2½ tablespoons fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh parsley
4 cups vegetable oil (Enough to cover falafel patties)

* = Look in Middle Eastern supermarkets, supermarkets selling mostly organic food, or online. Also see if you can get these dried beans with the skins already removed. If you can only find canned fava beans, be sure to rinse them thoroughly before using.)

SPECIAL UTENSILS

food processor
large no-stick pan

Serves 6. Takes overnight for soaking plus 30 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add fava beans to large pot. Cover with water. Cover with lid and let soak overnight.

Rinse fava beans. Rub skins off beans. Add onion, green onion, garlic, baking powder, coriander, cumin, salt, fresh cilantro, and fresh parsley to food processor. Blend until everything is blended and minced. Add beans, Blend only until beans form a paste. (If the beans are blended more, your falafel might fall apart later.) Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Shape bean paste in 1″ balls. Flatten balls until they are ½” thick patties. Add oil, enough to cover patties, to large no-stick pan. Heat oil at high heat until bubbles form on the bottom. Carefully add falafel patties to pan. Don’t let them touch each other. (You will need to cook in batches.) Fry patties until golden brown. (This happens quickly.) Remove patties and drain on paper towels. Goes quite well with warm pita bread, hummus, and tomato salad.

TIDBITS

1) This dish is an appetizer. Culinary cryptographers will tell you that “appetizer” comes from an anagram for “Zap Peter I.”

2) And culinary linguists know that “zap” comes from the Russian “zapkya.” This word means to assassinate, kill, plot against, and otherwise dethrone and overthrow by means of feeding appetizers to the hated tsar.”

3) So, zap Peter I means to overthrow Peter I, perhaps even kill. Tsar Peter I was not completely enamored of this concept. Particularly so when the streltsky, Russian musketeers, engineered coups against him by serving appetizers to the palace guard. “Have some appetizers,” they said to the guards, “They’re quite tasty.” And they were. So much so that the entire guard ate and ate until they all had to take lengthy naps.

4) While the palace guard napped, the musketeers rounded up Peter’s supporters and imprisoned them. The streltsky would then enthrone in a figurehead, one who could be counted on the double the daily vodka ration.

5) Doubling the vodka ration made the musketeers drunk and pass out. Peter then reclaimed power while the streltsky lolled around in drunken stupors. Eventually, the musketeers sobered up and fed appetizers to the palace guards again.

6) And so it went, appetizers put the musketeers’ figurehead in power again. Drunken binges enabled Peter I to get back in control.

7) Then on April 1, 1698, Peter I experienced a brainstorm. Why not try giving the musketeers rivers of vodka AND appetizers? The idea worked. The besotted musketeers became so logy from eating platter after platter of appetizers, they slept themselves into oblivion.

8) Peter I, tsar of all the Russias, took advantage of the streltsky’s lasting inertia to tie them up. When they came to, they found themselves on a giant iceberg in the Arctic Ocean. The musketeers had enough food to last 30 days, along with hundreds of ping pong battles and ping pong balls. Tsar Peter had thoughtfully provided them also with enough pencils and entry forms to the First Winter Ping Pong Arctic Ocean Tournament.

9) Culinary historians doubt that the musketeers ever finished the tournament. The strong winter gales prevalent would have simply blown one ping pong ball after another into oblivion. At any rate, the marooned men would have found hitting remaining white ping pong balls quite difficult in the ever present white blizzards.

10) But the constant appetizer-fed revolts burned a lesson into Tsar Peter I’s brain. Never let any Russian eat appetizers. In 1699, he ordered the destruction of all the restaurants making appetizers.
No one would ever “Zap Peter I.”

11) But in 1917, Tsar Nicholas II foolishly permitted the making of appetizers. Lenin and Trotsky fed appetizers to the palace guard who fell asleep. The communists seized power. We are still living with the consequences of the Russian Revolution. Now you know why.

– 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Risotto

Italian Appetizer

RISOTTO

INGREDIENTS

5½ cups chicken broth
2 garlic cloves
1 onion
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, or oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Arborio* rice
½ cup dry white wine
¾ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons butter

* = The properties of Arborio are important to this dish. The best substitute for Arborio is Carnaroli, with regular short-grain rice to be used only in a pinch.

Serves 10 or 5 if served as an entree. Takes 45 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add chicken broth to pot. Simmer at warm heat. While broth simmers, mince garlic cloves and onion. Dice Italian parsley. Add garlic, onion, and olive oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir frequently

Add rice. Reduce heat to medium. Sauté for 3 minutes or until rice smells toasty and turns translucent. Stir frequently, making sure rice is thoroughly coated with olive oil. Add wine. Sauté until rice absorbs all the liquid. Stir frequently. Add broth 1 cup at time. Stir gently after each addition until the rice absorbs the broth. This should take about 25 minutes with the rice being creamy and al dente, just a little bit firm. Remove from heat and gently stir in butter and Parmesan cheese. Garnish with Italian parsley. Serve immediately.

TIDBITS

1) Karl Marx visited lovely Florence in 1848. While waiting forever for an espresso, Crabby Karl listened as workers at the next table complained loudly and endlessly about the oppressive Austrian rule over their city. His patience exhausted, he yelled at the workers, “So, riot.” They did. Fortunately, the chef had been whipping up a new rice dish. He served the workers just as they were about to go and throw bricks at the constabulary. The workers loved their risotto. They completely lost their urge to run amuck. The anagramist among them said, “no ‘so, riot.’” He lifted up his bowl of rice. “Risoto.” A typo turned that into “Risotto. Oh, and Karl would go on to other things.

– 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tuna Stuffed Eggs (Uova Ripiene di Tonno)

Italian Appetizer

TUNA STUFFED EGGS

(Uova Ripiene di Tonno)

INGREDIENTS

4 eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 4-ounce can tuna, drained
1 teaspoon capers, drained
⅛ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 leaves lettuce
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley

SPECIAL UTENSIL

small food processor

Serves 4. Takes 35 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add enough water to cover eggs with 1″ extra. Bring water to boil. Use a large spoon to carefully add eggs. Boil for 12 minutes. Remove eggs and put in a bowl of cold water. Peel eggs. Cut eggs in half along their length. Remove yolks and set aside.

Add yolks, mayonnaise, tuna, capers, pepper, salt, and lemon juice to small food processor. Blend until creamy. Fill egg-white halves with equal amounts of creamy mixture. Tear lettuce leaves in half. Place filled egg-white haves on lettuce-leaf halves. Dice parsley. Garnish with parsley.

TIDBITS

1) One night Contessina de’ Bardi dreamed this entire recipe in modern Italian. Unfortunately, she and many others on the Italian peninsula still spoke Latin. She had no idea what she had imagined.

2) So asked her husband Cosimo de’ Medici (1389-1464), “We don’t we all learn Italian? That way we can all understand this recipe and make a yummy appetizer. “But,” said Cosimo, “there are sorts of proto-Italian dialects around. How will we get everyone to agree on just one version?”

3) “Well,” said Contessina, “We’ll make Florence the center of the art world. All Italy will come here to marvel at our artistic glory. The visitors will all pick up Florentine Italian. So will I. Then I’ll be able to make you Tuna Stuffed Eggs.” Cosimo said, “Sounds good.” And so began The Renaissance.

– 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Tibet Yak Butter Tea

Tibetan Appetizer

YAK BUTTER TEA

INGREDIENTS

3½ cups water
2 tablespoons loose-leaf black tea or 6 black-tea bags
2 tablespoons yak ghee, yak butter*, or cow butter
½ cup whole milk
¼ teaspoon salt

* = Yak butter can be found in Tibet and nowhere else apparently, not even online. Yak ghee, however, can be purchased on line. I really tried to find yak butter. There are yaks farm in Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming. You can order yak meat from them or even an entire yak. Simply drive to a yak farm and buy the animal.. Somehow put the yak in your van or pickup truck. (I recommend against using the tiny Honda FitTM for this purpose.) Drive the yak back to your humble abode. Milk the yak. (You did buy a female yak, didn’t you?) Put the yak milk in your food processor. Blend until the yak milk separates into yak butter and yak buttermilk. Easy peasy. Drink the yak buttermilk as is or use it to make yak-buttermilk pancakes.

SPECIAL UTENSILS

stool (If you’re milking a yak.)
colander (If you’re using loose tea.)
blender
sonic obliterator

Serves 5. Takes 15 minutes.
.
PREPARATION

Add water to 1st pot. Bring water to boil using high heat. Add black tea. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 3 minutes. Stir enough times to prevent burning. While tea simmers, build a financial empire. Remove tea leaves or tea bags from tea. Add tea, yak butter or ghee, milk, and salt to blender. Blend on low speed for 3 minutes. Serve the tea right away. Zap un-appreciative guests with your sonic obliterator. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

TIDBITS

1) This dish is truly difficult to assemble and make. How difficult, you ask?

2) You have to go to a yak farm in west-central America to even find yaks.

3) Suppose you don’t want to buy a yak and take it home. (As suggested earlier in the recipe.)

4) You could ask the yak ranchers if you could milk the yaks right there.

5) They might refuse. They might charge you a lot for milking privileges. They might let you do it for free if they’re in the mood for a laugh and it has been a plumb stressful week of yak ranching.

6) Suppose you get some yak milk. Good. Now you have to transport it back home and that’s likely to be a long drive. And you’ll need to keep that milk cold all the way back or it’ll go bad.

7) The distance from my home to the Colorado yak ranch is 1,155 miles. That would take me 16.5 hours.

8) I wouldn’t risk using a cooler for such a lengthy venture. I think it’s likely the milk would still get warm and go bad in a cooler.

9) I’d be ticked off beyond measure if I drove 16.5 hours to get to the ranch, got laughed at the ranch hands while I milked the yaks, and took the same time to get back home only to find the yak milk went bad.

10) Nothing’s worse than spoiled yak milk

11) Best to put a refrigerator in your care. Plug the fridge into the cigarette lighter. Could you get enough electricity from the cigarette lighter to power the refrigerator? Even if you could, how many miles to the gallon would your get? Two?

12) You could try taking a portable electric generator with you. Could such a generator power your fridge all the way back from Colorado, where you were laughed at while milking yak cows? Doubtful.

13) It’s simpler to fly to Lhasa, Tibet, then buy some yak butter there. As of today, I can fly round trip from near my home to Lhasa, Tibet for $867 with each flight taking 50 hours, a scant 27 hours each way for a scant $1,344.

14) Then buy a really, really tight container, one that doesn’t let heat in at all. Pack the container with ice. Mail it from Lhasa. Pick package up at home. Is this at possible?

15) Don’t know. That’s why I ordered some yak ghee.

– 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Pork Shumai

Chinese Appetizer

PORK SHUMAI

INGREDIENTS

2 garlic cloves
1″ ginger root
2 green onions
1 pound ground pork
½ tablespoon cornstarch
¾ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons rice wine or dry sherry
½ tablespoon sesame oil
1½ tablespoons light soy sauce or soy sauce
40 wonton or gyoza wrappers
3 or so leaves Napa cabbage (You may substitute parchment paper. Be sure to punch holes in it.)
soy sauce for dipping

SPECIAL UTENSILS

kitchen towel
steamer
x-ray goggles

Makes 40 pork shumai. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION

Mince garlic, ginger root, and green onion. Add garlic, ginger root, green onions, ground pork, cornstarch, salt, rice wine, sesame oil, and soy sauce to large mixing bowl. Mix with hands. Add 1 tablespoon pork mixture to middle of wonton wrapper. Wet finger with water. Run finger around edges of wrapper. Wrap sides of wrappers around pork mixture. Seal edges with together with hands, starting at the bottom. Repeat until you have enough dumplings to fill steamer’s basket. Covered completed dumplings, shumai, with damp kitchen towel until they are ready for the steamer. You will likely need to steam the shumai in batches. Make another batch while the previous batch is being steamed.

Add water to bottom part of steamer until it is 1″ from reaching the steamer basket. Bring to boil using high heat. While water comes to boil, line steamer basket with 2 Napa cabbage leaves. Place dumplings on cabbage leaves.(This keeps dumplings from sticking to basket.) Leave ½” gaps between shumai. Cover steamer and steam at high heat for 5 minutes or until done. (If you neglected to pick up x-ray vision goggles at your store, you may sample one.) Remove steamed dumplings, shumai and serve. Continue until all batches have been steamed. Dip in soy sauce as desired.

TIDBITS

1) Pork shumai comes from China.

2) Chinese spare ribs also come from China.

3) As do Chinese horoscopes.

4) And Chinese fireworks.

5) We can thus conclude someone from China invented Chinese checkers.

6) Although glass marbles have been invented and produced several times throughout history and in many different locations, their popularity is cyclical.

7) Indeed in the Middle Ages, adults generally forbade children to engage in any games, whether it was Pin the Tail on the Giraffe’s Neck (PTGN) or play marbles.

8) PTGN would have died out naturally as a recreational pursuit as no child during the Middle Ages could have pinned that high on a giraffe, even if he stood on his tippy does.

9) Playing Marbles (M) also waned in popularity. Medieval Children (MC) had to hike to the wheat fields to get away from parental supervision. Unfortunately, marbles got lost immediately in the amber waves of grain. (This image would ultimately inspire our great song “America the Beautiful.”) No more marbles for play, no more games of Marbles.

10) The game Marbles came to China with the Polo brothers in the thirteenth century.

11) The Great Khan loved the game. And since he loved the game so did all his Chinese subjects. Marbles Mania (MM) was poised to take off in the Land of the Panda.

12) But alas, the Polo brothers only brought enough marbles for one game of Chinese checkers. Then tragedy struck, a mighty wind blew away two marbles. A diligent search by the palace guard recovered one marble. Not enough for a game.

13) The Polo brothers, Marco and Ralph, tried diverting the Great Khan’s wrath by giving him three-and-twenty shirts with short sleeves, and a button-down collar. Sad to say, Khan didn’t cotton to these Polo Shirts. He even ordered the brothers’ execution. Things looked grim for the Polos. Only an IRS audit could have made things worse.

14) Then woo hoo, a divine wind blew dozens of pork shumais from the imperial kitchen onto Khan’s Chinese checkers boards. The game was saved for imperial household. The Chinese peasants could now partake as well. Laborers, at the end of a hot day, would invite neighbors over for a nice game of Chinese checkers, then dine on the pork-shumai marbles after playing was done.

15) Health restrictions in 1857 prohibited the use of pork-shumai marbles. (See Dr. Amos Keeto’s work, The Great Chinese Pork-Shumai-Marble Plague of 1856.) From that year on, Chinese checkers would be played only with glass marbles. 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: history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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