Posts Tagged With: checkers

I Simplify Checkers

Has this happened to you? You’re playing the part of Jean Valjean for the Broadway premier of Les Miserables. Curtain goes up in about a hour. You’re a bit nervous. Who wouldn’t be? So you ask the actor for Javert to play a board game with you. He agrees. He’s nervous as well. The two of you vote against chess. It’d take way too long. So you play checkers. You become engrossed in the game. Neither of you hears the five-minutes call. The producer, frantic with worry, gives your roles to your understudy. Neither of you will ever act again. What could have been done?

Play Paul’s Simplified Checkers. It’s played on a three-by-three board. Each side get two checkers. Now let’s look at a truly exciting game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The start of the game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

End of first move. Red player has moved  from           End of second move. Black player has jumped
A1 to A2.                                                                       Red’s checker, C3 to A1 and was kinged.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

End of third move. Red Player has moved from          End of fourth move. Black played has jumped
from A3 to B2.                                                              Red’s, A1 to C3. Black player wins.

My goodness that was exciting. And it was quick. You needn’t ever again lose a Broadway acting job because you checker’s game took too long. In fact, all games will last exactly four moves. What more do you want?

 

– 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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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.

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