Posts Tagged With: Chinese

Cantonese Ginger Beef

Chinese Entree

CANTONESE GINGER BEEF

INGREDIENTS – MARINADE

¾ pound sirloin steak or flank steak
2 teaspoons sesame oil or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon mirin or rice wine
1 tablespoon light soy sauce or soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch

INGREDIENTS – SAUCE

¼ cup chicken stock
4 teaspoons oyster sauce or hoisin sauce
¾ teaspoon light soy sauce or soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch

INGREDIENTS – FINAL

1½” ginger root
3 scallions or green onions
1 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil

SPECIAL UTENSILS

wok (optional, not to be confused with an EwokTM. Although having an Ewok would be cool.)

Serves 4. Takes 45 minutes.

PREPARATION – MARINADE

Cut steak against the grain into as thin as possible slices. Cut these slices into 1″ squares. Add all marinade ingredients to large mixing bowl. Stir with hands until cornstarch is no longer visible and steak squares are well coated. Let sit for 20 minutes.

PREPARATION – SAUCE

While steak marinates, Add all sauce ingredients to small mixing bowl. Stir with fork until cornstarch is no longer visible.

PREPARATION – FINAL

Peel ginger root. Cut ginger root into thin strips or rounds. Cut scallions into ½” long pieces. Add peanut oil and marinated steak squares to wok. Sauté at medium-high for 3 minutes or until steak squares brown. Stir enough to ensure even browning. Remove steak squares and drain on paper towels. Remove all but 1 tablespoon oil from work.

Add ginger strips and scallion pieces to work. Sauté for 30 seconds. Stir frequently. Return steak squares and add sauce to wok. Stir fry using medium-high heat until liquid starts to boil and steak squares are cooked through. Stir frequently.

TIDBITS

1) America has the Easter Bunny. It is both a symbol of the Resurrection and of fertility.

2) Britain also has the Easter Bunny.

3) The Easter originally came to America from Germany.

4) But Germany hasn’t really celebrated the Easter Bunny for a long time.

5) Germany also started two world wars.

6) Coincidence? Perhaps.

7) Australia doesn’t have an Easter Bunny either. In 1859 or so, someone released rabbits into the wilds. The rabbits bred like rabbits. Soon, rabbits were displacing all sorts of native critters and munching acres upon acres of crops. Farmers hated that. So, Australia periodically wages a campaign against the rabbit hordes. But the rabbits keep coming back. Farmers still hate them.

8) Thus, the land Down Under doesn’t have an Easter Bunny. It has the Easter tilby. A tilby looks a bit like a rabbit. The tilby has great sex, producing eight babies a year. This number is apparently, less than what the rabbit can do. But even so, the Easter tilby isn’t as celebrated as the Easter Bunny is in other lands.

9) America, Britain, Germany, and even Australia aren’t the only nations with a rabbitish animal celebrating fertility.

10) Oh no, the Cantonese region of China honors fecundity through cattle.

11) What is the singular form of cattle? Technically, there isn’t one. However, extensive research –Watching hours of the TV show Rawhide–gives us “beeves” as an alternative word for “cattle.” “Beef” is the singular form of “Beeves.” There you go.

12) It might seem strange for a beef to symbolize fertility. Would a bee have been a much better representative for reproduction?

13) Yes, it would have. Except that in 1884, a British newspaper, The Lion, wrote an article about Canton’s annual Bee Festival. Only The Lion didn’t say that. A misprint turned the celebration into the Beef Festival.

14) Hundreds of thousands of tourists thronged Canton to honor beef., spending millions of pounds while there. The Cantonese government knowing a good thing when they saw it, officially renamed the event, The Beef Festival. Local restaurateurs developed this dish to serve their British guests. Now you know.

 

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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Adventures in Cooking

I often list substitutes in my recipes as the original ingredient is found easily only in the recipe’s native land. Sometimes though, finding the ingredient, usually an herb, is impossible even on the internet.

My most exciting ingredient search was for an herb that grows only in the wilds of Sinkiang Province. And even there, the herb is rare. Then there’s the problem of the Chinese police not believing I was scouring the countryside for an herb.

 

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.

Categories: food, recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fun Festivals – Steamed Buns On a Bamboo Tower

 

Would you climb a giant bamboo tower for these?

Lovers of bamboo and buns will not want to miss Hong Kong’s Cheung Chau Ben Festival . The festival takes place on or around Buddhas Birthday, near the end of April or May. in Hong Kong. Contestants climb a giant bamboo tower covered in Chinese steamed buns. Um, okay, it’s not entirely clear from that whether the tower is covered in Chinese steamed buns or the climbers are covered in them. Either way, it’s pretty darn exciting. Anyway, buns picked from the top of the bamboo tower or taken on the backs of the contestants to the top are consider luckier than ones at the bottom. People there go vegetarian during this festival. It’s not clear why. Maybe I would too if I had to climb a tall tower with steamed buns all over me.

The festival’s star attraction are the huge bamboo towers covered with handmade buns. Legends says the island was plagued by an epidemic that killed thousands. Resourceful Cheung Chau locals brought in the god Pak Tai and built it a temple. Pak Tai then shooed the plague and evil spirits away.

In this festival, the inhabitants honor Pak Tai with the Bun Grabbing contest. (Naughty, mind your thoughts.) Contests clamber up a 60-foot tower that’s covered with steam buns. Climbers try to grab as many lucky buns as they can in three minutes. Hard to reach buns give extra points. Or you could simply go for the prestigious Full Pockets of Lucky Buns award. This is won by the climber who grabs the most buns in three minutes. There is also a rather exciting team-relay event.

It’s not at all clear to me how grabbing buns of a bamboo tower shows gratitude to a god who stopped a plague or why these buns are lucky. But there you go. The locals love the event. Tourists from all over the globe come to see it. And you should too. So make your flight plans. Book your hotel and by all means see the Bun Grabbing contest. It’s on the last day of the festival.

But there’s more to this festival than grabbing buns. The week-long festivities includes incense, prayers for prosperity and health, and offerings to festival’s god. Pay a respectful visit to Pak Tai’s altars.

Then wander around the grounds and sample the incredible variety of steamed buns sold by the many food vendors. Heavens, those steamed buns are tasty. And be sure to bring home souvenirs of the event.

Don’t get so distracted by the yummy buns that you miss the festival’s spectacular parade. See elaborate lion dances (No, no ravenous, wild lions are used), and marching bands. Be entranced by the martial arts demonstrations. Biff, biff. Don’t miss the “Floating Children” parade where children dress as Chinese deities. They sit on stands so high that they appear to be floating.

But wait, there’s more. See unicorn dances. Does your town have anything like that? No, I didn’t think so.

It’s well worth arriving in Hong Kong the weekend before the festival for the preliminary Bun Carnival. Watch instructions teach you how to climb the Bun Tower. Climb it for fun. Practice on it. If you find you’re good enough, why not enter the event itself? Go for it. Do it for yourself. Do it for me. Do it for all us who aren’t able to attend.

Oh my gosh, this sounds like such a fun festival.

 

– 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.

Categories: fun festivals | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shrimp Cashew Stir Fry

Chinese Entree

SHRIMP CASHEW STIR FRY

INGREDIENTS

2 celery stalks
3 dry red chiles or Thai chiles
3 scallions or green onions
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1½ tablespoons light soy sauce or soy sauce
½ teaspoon sugar
1 pound shrimp, pealed, deveined, 31-40 count
⅔ cup roasted cashews*
¼ cup water chestnuts, sliced

* = Roast plain cashews with 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in pan or air fryer, if you can’t find roasted cashews.

Serves 4. Takes 40 minutes.

PREPARATION

Dice celery,. Add enough water to cover celery to small pot. Bring water to boil using high heat. Add celery. Boil celery for 30 seconds. Drain and set aside.

Dice chiles, and scallions. Add vegetable oil to large pot. Heat at medium-high heat until a bit of scallion starts to dance. Add scallion, light soy sauce, and sugar. Sauté at medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Stir frequently.

Reduce heat to medium. Add shrimp, cashews, chile, and water chestnuts. and sauté for 3 minutes or until shrimp turns pink or orange. Stir frequently. Add celery. Simmer for 2 minutes. Stir frequently.

TIDBITS

1) I wrote this recipe assuming a person would be reading it, that a person would be making this dish come to life.

2) But there’s absolutely nothing in the recipe referring to a human chef.

3) There’s even no mention of the cook needing an opposable thumbs. So, if you’re quite the clever sheep, clever enough to read recipes in English, then go for it.

4) The title could also be interpreted as telling a shrimp to stir fry a cashew.

5) Or perhaps this stir fry is meant for a chef named Shrimp Cashew and no one else.

 

– 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.

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

Tuna Macaroni Salad

Filipino Entree

TUNA MACARONI SALAD

INGREDIENTS

1 pound macaroni
1 large carrot
1 celery stalk
½ red onion, white onion, or yellow onion
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups mayonnaise
½ pound pineapple pieces, drained
3 cans tuna (15 ounces)

SPECIAL UTENSIL

2 quart casserole dish

Serves 8. Takes 35 minutes.

PREPARATION

Cook macaroni according to instructions on package. Drain, set aside, and let cool. While macaroni cooks, dice carrot and celery. Mince onion.

Add carrot, celery, onion, cheese, pepper, and salt to mixing bowl. Stir with fork until well blended. Add mayonnaise, pineapple pieces, and tuna. Add this mix and macaroni to casserole dish. Mix with fork until well blended.

TIDBITS

1) For longest time, barbarian horsemen had pillaged northern China with scant opposition. For whenever, the armored Chinese infantry plodded toward them, the invaders’ simply rode away.

2) Then about March 31, 4 BC, Wanli Tofu was struck by a brilliant idea. It really was a falling apple that had struck him, but the pain got him thinking, “Why not block the invaders with a wall, a really long wall, one that covers the length of the country?” So Emperor Mung Bean, founder of the Mung dynasty decreed the Great Wall of China.

3) Unfortunately, the Chinese built the wall by simply stacking one stone over another. The invaders just took down the stones and invaded anew. But China got lucky. Filipino trader Marcos Marcos Marcos happened to be at court hoping to sell his Tuna Macaroni Salad to the Emperor. Tofu saw that Tuna Macaroni Salad could be used a mortar to hold the wall’s stones together. So the Chinese tried the Salad mortar. It worked! The invasions stopped. Yay!

 

– 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.

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

Gado Gado

Indonesian Appetizer

GADO GADO
(Vegetable Salad)

INGREDIENTS

¾ pound Yukon gold or new potato
3 eggs
½ head Chinese cabbage or Napa cabbage
1¼ cups spinach
1¼ cups bean sprouts (aka mung beans)
½ pound tofu
2 tablespoons peanut oil or sesame oil
½ cucumber
8 prawn crackers*
1 cup peanut sauce or satay sauce

Serves 4. Takes 1 hour.

* = Some prawn crackers can be served as is. Others need to be deep fried. If so, please follow instructions on package.

PREPARATION

Add enough water to pot to cover potatoes. Bring to boil. Add potatoes. Boil potatoes for 20 minutes using medium-high heat. Remove potatoes and set aside. While potatoes boil, add enough water to 2nd pot to cover eggs. Bring water to boil using high heat. Carefully add eggs. Boil eggs for 6 minutes if soft-boiled eggs are desired or for 12 minutes if you want hard-boiled eggs. Remove eggs from heat and seat aside.

Add enough water to 3rd pot to cover cabbage, spinach, and bean sprouts. Bring to boil. While water comes to boil, dice or shred cabbage and spinach. Add spinach and bean sprouts to pot. Let boil for 30 seconds. Remove spinach and beansprouts with slotted spoon and transfer to large mixing bowl. Add cabbage to pot. Let boil for 2 minutes. Remove cabbage with slotted spoon and transfer to mixing bowl with spinach and bean sprouts. Add ice cubes and cold water. Let sit for 2 minutes. Remove veggies with slotted spoon and pat dry with paper towel.

Cut tofu into 1″ cubes. Add tofu and oil to pan. Sauté on medium-high heat for 15 minutes or until all sides turn golden brown. Stir frequently to ensure even browning. Remove from heat. Cut cucumber into slices ½” thick. Cut potatoes into ½” cubes. Peel eggs and cut each one into 4 slices.

Add cabbage, spinach, and bean sprouts to large serving bowl. Toss veggies with forks. Arrange potato cubes evenly over veggies. Do the same, one ingredient at a time, for the tofu cubes, cucumber slices, egg slices, and prawn crackers. Divide the peanut sauce into 4 small bowls, 1 for each guest. Guests then add peanut sauce as desired to the top of their salad.

TIDBITS

1) Gado Gado is Indonesian.

2) Gado Gado is anagram for A dog, a dog. It’s also an anagram for A god, a god. And even one for O dga, o dga.

3) Dga is, of course, the plural form for dgum.

4) Only the Latin language changes um to a to make a noun plural. The Ancient Romans spoke Latin. These way-back Romans worshiped gods.

5) They only worshiped gods that looked like people. But they were aware of the gods worshiped in other lands. Such as the dga, the dog gods of what is now Olduvai Gorge.

6) This is a long train of thought, so feel free to have coffee and doughnuts.

7) Anyway, Lucy of Olduvai Gorge is the first known human. Dr. Mary Leakey discovered Lucy’s skull on July 17, 1959. Lucy had a pet dog. She called it Dgma. It’s skeleton was discovered 42 years later under a rusty lunch box left behind by the site’s original excavators.

8) Okay, we now have enough information to trace humanity’s history from then to now.

9) Lucy’s tribe, possessing a limited vocabulary, took to calling all dogs Dgma.

10) Over the millennia, Lucy’s and Dgum’s descendants traveled ever northward. Along the way, because there really nothing else to do but walk, these hardy trekkers decided to worship dogs. Prehistoric shrines to Dgma trace the great northward walk.

11) By 1786 BC, the dgma worshipers reached Egypt. Little Osibis, daughter of Ramses II, saw one of the dogs. “Father, would you buy me that dog?” asked Osibis, “I shall call it Annubis.”
“Well okay,” said the ruler of all Egypt, “ but don’t go asking me to make it a god.”
“Ooh, that’s a good idea.” Osibis clapped her hands. “Make it a god or I shall cry.”
And so softy Ramses added Annubis to Egypt’s horde of gods.

12) In 48 BC, Julius Caesar arrived in Egypt, fought a bit, and took the Queen Cleopatra back with him to Rome. Cleo wanted to take all her dogs with her. Caesar said just one.
“Very well,” said Cleopatra, “I shall bring this dgma.”
“No, said Julius, “The singular form of dgma is dgum. The Romans will kill me if I left you butcher their language.”

13) But Cleo never did change the dog’s name to Dgum. This incensed Brutus, an ardent grammarian, so much that he assassinated Caesar. Rome would become an empire and go on to conquer the world.

14) Dog worship did make it to long-ago Indonesia. Those ancient people, all hardy anagramists, changed the chant “O god, o god” to “Gado, gado.” Gado Gado became the name of the food eaten after morning devotions. Then other stuff happened over the centuries and here we are.

 

– 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.

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

Omani Chips Sandwich

Emirati Entree

OMAN CHIPS SANDWICH

INGREDIENTS

4 teaspoons cream cheese
1 sub roll, hot dog bun, or flat bread*
1 tablespoon chili sauce.
1 package Oman potato chips**
1 scrambled egg (optional)
1 cooked hot dog (optional)

* = The authentic roll is the samoon , while the flatbread used in the Emirates is the paratha. Paratha can be ordered online. Samoon is powerful to find.

** = Please, please try to get Oman chips. They are available online. If the fates are against you and you cannot score these chips, take a deep breath and buy chili flavored chips.

Serves 1. Takes 5 minutes.

PREPARATION

Spread cream cheese over both roll halves. Sprinkle chili sauce over cream cheese. Sprinkle potato chips on bottom bun. Scrambled egg or hot dog may be placed on chile sauce. Put top roll half on chips. Press down on top just enough to crush potato chips.

The order of ingredients when flatbread is used is the same. Simply roll up the flatbread.

TIDBITS

1) Sometimes, the checker at the supermarket will ask, “Did you find everything you needed?”

2) I have learned to just say yes. These stores will never have Omani chips. No, not ever. Nor even paratha flatbread, Appenzeller cheese, Harzer cheese, fresh banana leaves*, marshmallow fluff**, yak butter, and pumpkin-seed flour.

3) * = Fresh banana leaves are often readily available at your local botanical garden. However, the staff of these places look askance at banana-leaf theft. It’s a trait acquired from working there.

4) ** = Marshmallow fluff while easy to find in some parts of America, it’s powerful hard to get out West.. If you live near San Diego, you’ll have to move.

5) And then there’s that authentic herb I wanted that can only be found in remote parts of northeast China and only in season. So, it’s best to reply yes to the checkers and try ordering online. That or go to jail, move, or wander aimlessly the Chinese wastelands.

– 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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The Return of the Bad Advice Column

 

Dear Readers,

I feel a slight disruption in the force as if millions of people are crying out for bad advice. Why do we feel this need? Because we don’t follow good advice. We are contrary. We has filled this void of bad advice? No one, not for years. Your cries have called me back from retirement. I shall help you. I shall once more dispense bad advice. Oh, it will be stupendously bad, but your needs will be fulfilled. You will once again be happy. And what is wrong with that?

All you, dear reader, need to do is the comment on this blog with your questions. I shall reply with bad advice in the next column, probably once a month.

Or post your question on my Facebook(tm) page
Paul De Lancey

Your questions, please!

**********************************************
Gentle Reader,

below is the last Bad Advice Column. Enjoy.

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TLR asks: Should I put a nasty note on this truck?

Dear TLR: No, as tempting as that might be, you can’t out puswad a puswad. Unless, of course, you have access to a particle accelerator. First, rent a large tow truck. Put the puswad’s truck on the tow truck. You might need to buy and speed read, The Complete Freaking Moron’s Guide to Operating a Tow Truck. You should also buy, The Complete Freaking Moron’s Guide to Speed Reading. Okay, the offending truck is ready to be towed.

Drive your tow truck to a site with a large particle accelerator. Ask to be let in. Note: your chances of success go up if you say please and thank you. If they say no, you can probably bash down the gate with your heavy tow truck. One inside, get the mean person’s truck into the particle accelerator. You will have to work quickly if you bashed down the gate. Press the button marked, “Accelerate,” and whoosh, the meanie’s truck will soon reach a velocity close to the speed of light. Any collision between the truck and particle accelerator’s walls will disintegrate the truck. Sweep up the atomized bits of truck–cleanliness is always in style–and go back to the parking lot. Place the back of atomized truck pits where the truck originally took up four spots. Add a sign that reads, “Next time it will be you that gets atomized if you park like a jerk.” Now that will get the jerk’s attention.

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KD asks: Will it ever be acceptable to openly roll one’s eyes when one sees someone do something ridiculous like hold up entering the bus to finish a text? O_O

Dear KD: Oh yes, it already is. However, just rolling your eyes is no longer enough. The texting doofus needs to be taught a lesson. Simply throw a loosely wrapped package of lutefisk, five pounds should be heavy enough, at the texter. The force and stench of the hurled lutefisk will knock him backwards and onto the sidewalk. He’ll a nasty bump on his head that he’ll never forget. Don’t worry about the people on the bus. They’ll be happy that the bus will no longer be delayed. They’ll also never have to smell that lutefisk again. It’s a win-win outcome for everyone.

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CA asks: What is the sound of one hand clapping?

Dear CA: The metal thingy hanging from the metal of a giant six-foot high church bell is called a clapper. This is your clue. Simply climb up the side of a church–the Spanish missions in California are good places to try–and get inside. You’ll need to wear clothes that match the color of the church’s walls or you’ll be spotted and stopped. Once inside the bell, smash your hand into the side of the bell. The sound you’ll hear before becoming permanently deaf will be the sound of one hand clapping.

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CC asks: What’s a good date plan for a couple that have been married for over 30 years?

Dear CC: After 30 years, you’ve probably done every possible type of date there is. Except, sky diving over an active volcano. Hire a pilot to fly you over the center of the lava spurting volcano. You might have to ask around a lot before you find one willing to do this. Be persistent.

Simply strap on your parachutes and jump out the plane. Be sure to wait for the pilot’s signal. Safety, as always, is important. When the time is right, pull the cord and your parachute will deploy. Did you take parachuting lessons? I hope so. Twist so that at the last moment you will veer away from the death-vomiting volcano.

Is this dangerous? Yes, it is. But if all goes well, you and your sweetheart will have drawn closer together, your love forged even stronger by fire. And sitting close to each other on a couch looking longingly into each other’s eye will be just what you’ll want to do for the rest of your lives.

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MA asks: If you write a book about failure and it doesn’t sell, would it be a success?

Dear MA: I’m not equipped to answer such a deep philosophical question. But the Tibetan monks would be. Now, the Chinese government is really a super huge dictatorship. Millions of members are in the ruling Communist party. I wouldn’t be surprised at all, really, if Guinness Book of Records(tm) lists the Chinese government as the biggest dictatorship ever.

Anyway, being a dictatorship and all, the Chinese government tries real hard to suppress all discontent against them. They are indeed very thorough about this. And it’s an atheistic ruling body as well. So, it’s real hard to believe they’d let you see a monk. So you’ll have sneak your way to one.

Two possibilities exist. First, fly to Shanghai. Slip by customs without being noticed. May I suggest pointing at the sky and yelling, “Look, Halley’s comet!” Continue to be invisible as you ride trains and busses to a monastery. Ask a monk. Get an answer. Revel in the enlightenment before sneaking your way back home. Second. fly to Bombay, now Mumbai. Take the train to the Tibetan border. Hire a Sherpa guide. Bring oxygen canisters to help you breathe as you cross the Himalayas. Oh and a warm fur parka will help you with the intense cold. Don’t forget to watch for bullets. The Chinese and Indian armies are currently skirmishing with each other. As above, get your answer and come back home.

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– 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: bad advice, humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Great Arctic Eats – Kotzebue, Alaska

Great Arctic Eats – Kotzebue, Alaska

Are you an introvert who loves to dine out? Did you visit Florence, Italy only to be terrified by the mobs of tourists who completely fill entire streets? Do you love Chinese and Italian food, but simply cannot live without fresh reindeer stew? Is southern Alaska too urban for you? Well, I have the place where you can chill out where it’s chilly and feast where it freezes. It’s Kotzebue, Alaska!
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There are five restaurants listed in TripAdvisor(tm).  So, the competition for your cuisine cash will be intense. Let’s take in the local cuisine.
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The top rated dining establishment is the highly regarded Little Louie’s. They serve a scrumptious reindeer sausage. Yet Little Louie’s is also vegetarian friendly. They make their own sweets. Hooray!  It has great pizza. All its food is good. They pour great coffee. The service is good. What more do you want?

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Next on our restaurant tour is the Bayside Restaurant. Their Mongolian beef platter is great. (Probably because Kotzebue is about as far west you can get in the continental U.S. before hitting Mongolia. Indeed, the Bayside Restaurant is a beacon in the Western Alaskan culinary scene.) Vegetarians will find themselves welcome here. All diners will appreciate their friendly service.
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Winning the culinary bronze medal is  Nullagvik Restaurant. While known for good food, you really must try their reindeer stew. Does your hometown serve great reindeer stew? No, I didn’t think so. Don’t leave Kotzebue without dining on reindeer stew at the Nullagvik Restaurant.

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Next on our list is the Empress Chinese Restaurant. It has the best Chinese food in town. If you crave Chinese cuisine by the Bering Sea, then the Empress Chinese Restaurant is your dining destination.
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Honorable mention goes to the Uutuku restaurant. People have complained that it was only okay, but that it did serve good spicy chicken. For goodness sakes people, how can it be only okay if it plates good spicy chicken? If you’re still not impressed, let me tell you that there isn’t a restaurant within hundreds of miles that makes spicy chicken as good as they do here. And they’re open until midnight. So there.
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Flying to Kotzebue is by far the easiest way to get there. I suppose you could find a way to book passage on some ice breaker or fishing boat. After that, the ease of getting to Kotzebue by other means, such as by car or unicycle, drops off dramatically. Anyway, there are many interesting places to visit here.

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Be sure to visit The Northwest Arctic Heritage Center. It’s run by the National Park Service. It’s chock full of interesting displays and films that help you discover the rich cultures and natural wonders of the Northwest Arctic Circle. The staff is pleasant and helpful. What more do you want?

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By all means, by plane really, go to the Noatak National Preserve. See polar bears, seals, peregrine falcons, and wolves. Just don’t be gauche and complain to your tour leaders about the lack of cell-phone coverage. Don’t make me come up there.

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Immerse yourself in the Northwest Alaska Areas. The best way to get there is through Golden Eagle Outfitters. See grizzly bears and local birds. Go fishing for char, salmon, and Arctic grayling.
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Go to Serpentine Hot Springs where you can witness caribou migrations if you go during the right times of the year. If you appear during caribou-free months, forget your cares in the private bath house. Luxuriate in hot water from Serpentine’s hot spring.

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Other things to see are: Cape Krusenstern National Monument, and Sulianich Art Center (not to be confused with a sandwich center).

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119 people moved to Kotzebue from 2000 to 2010. No doubt, more moved there in the eleven years since then. So don’t wait. See Kotzebue before it turns into a bustling metropolis.
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As always, “Good eating. Good traveling.”

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– 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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Why Bluebirds Sing

 

About a million-to-some-three-thousand years ago, life was hard. Life was brutal. Life was boring. After a tough day hunting and killing a mastodon Joe Caveman naturally craved intellectual recreation. So he and his friends, those who survived the hunt, got together for a game of “rock, rock, rock.” But everyone played “rock” and the game ended in one tie after another. This so discouraged prehistory’s brainiacs that even the most cursory of intellectual pursuits, such as telemarketing and mime shows, were put on the back burner for millennia.

Then happy day, papyrus and soon afterward paper were invented. In one literary salon after another in ancient Egypt and Greece the forward thinkers flocked to hearty games of “Rock, Paper.” Life was worth living. Thinking was worthwhile. The Egyptians erected magnificent pyramids in their great joy. The Greeks, the Parthenon. The Chinese, the Colosseum.

Unfortunately, in 989 a lowly, but brilliant rag picker named Arlin reasoned thusly. If I pick rock and my opponent picks rock as well, I tie. If, however, he picks scissors, I lose. So, I either lose or tie with rock. If I pick paper and my opponent also picks paper, I tie. But if he picks rock, I win. So, I either tie or win with paper. Ergo, I should always pick paper. Within a scant fifty years, everyone picked paper and the games degenerated into ties, just as in the days of the caveman.

Joyless people stopped thinking again. The whole world plunged into the Dark Ages.

Then not so long ago, a Italian man with a bad haircut invented scissors. The game became Rock, Paper, Scissors. There was no same, optimal strategy. People could win and lose again. Thinking became worthwhile. The clouds parted. The bluebirds sang.  They’ve sung ever since.

– 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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