Posts Tagged With: Colorado

Fun Festivals – Tossing Tomatoes at La Tomatina

The world’s best tomato festival, La Tomatina, is held in Buñol, Spain. The festival starts with the eating of many different tomato-based dishes. Yum! However, dining on the tomato is not the reason for La Tomatina’s extraordinary popularity. The festival hosts the world’s biggest tomato fight. Yippee.

Strangely enough this fun festival grew out of parade where musicians and people dressed up as giants and big heads. The local youth, decided to join the parade, as who would not? I mean giants and big heads. The teens got rambunctious. One of the marchers lost his fake head in the commotion. He became angry and started hitting all the young folks that came near him.

The teens took offense at this battery. As fate would have it, the young ones were next to a vegetable cart. The local youth grabbed tomatoes and other veggies and threw them at the battering marcher. Well, the aim of most people is rather poor and most of the hurled tomatoes missed their target. The people hit by these errant missiles got angry. So, they hurled tomatoes back. And missed. Hitting still others. Soon, the tomato tossing became general, just like all those bar fights in Western movies.

The following year, Buñol’s youth commemorated the event by staging a fake argument that deteriorated into a tomato-throwing free for all. The authorities, not foreseeing the tourist draw this tomato hurling would become, broke up the fight. But the tomato-hurling came back the next year. Now la Tomatina happens every year. Why? Because it’s such great fun. Locals hose down the participants. Authorities hose down the streets. So much citric acid, from the tomatoes, gets everywhere that the washed streets will sparkle.

I want to go to La Tomatina. So let’s go there some time. We’ll arrange a meeting. Stay tuned.

Authorities banned this tomato tossing once. Possibly to honor my birth. Possibly because police traditionally look askance at anything resembling a riot. Anyway, devotees of the festival protested this by carrying a huge tomato in a coffin through the center of town. Buñol’s authorities relented and from then on allowed the La Tomatina Festival to continue. Really! Is that all it takes to make the authorities relent? Just carry a tomato-laden coffin through town. (Writes this down for future reference.)

La Tomatina increases in popularity every year and occurs on the last Wednesday in August. Up to 100,000 people attend. It’s so popular that you must buy tickets to attend. Now, the world has finally taken notice. Similar events take place in Colorado, Nevada, Colombia, Costa Rica, China, and India. La Tomatina has made its way in to movies around the world and even into a Mickey Mouse(tm) episode.

Unfortunately, the festival was not held in 2020 and will not be held this year, because of the Covid pandemic. Let us strongly hope that we can soon, and safely, engage in boisterous fun once again.

Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D., travel adviser

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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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.

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Hainanese Chicken Rice

Singaporean Entree

HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE

INGREDIENTS – CHICKEN

2″ ginger root
4 cups chicken stock (4 cups more later)
4 cups water
2½ pounds boneless chicken
1 tablespoon sesame oil

INGREDIENTS – RICE

4 cups chicken broth
3 pandan leaves*
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups long-grain rice
4 garlic cloves
3″ ginger root
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

INGREDIENTS – FINAL

¼ cup fresh cilantro
1 cucumber
1 green onion
¼ cup chili garlic sauce
¼ cup soy sauce

* = This is quite hard to find outside of Asian supermarkets. You can also order dried pandan leaves online. Or substitute part of a banana leaves for the pandan leaves. But banana leaves are just as hard to find as pandan leaves. Or omit the pandan leaves altogether; this is a simplified recipe after all. If guests complain that your Chicken Hainanese Rice isn’t authentic without pandan leaves, biff ‘em good with your fists of fury.

SPECIAL UTENSILS

rice cooker
fists of fury (See above note.)
x-ray vision (It helps to be a super hero.)
up to 12 dipping bowls, bowls, or small cups

Serves 4. Takes 1 hour 10 minutes.

PREPARATION – CHICKEN

Cut 2″ ginger root into ¼” slices. Add ginger root slices, 4 cups chicken broth, water, and water to large pot. Bring water to boil in large pot at high heat. (The recipe gets harder after this.) While water comes to boil, cut chicken into 1½” pieces. Coat chicken with sesame oil. Add chicken to pot. Cover, reduce heat to warm and simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink inside. (You can check this with x-ray vision or by slicing open one piece of chicken.) Remove chicken from pot and add to mixing bowl. Save chicken stock.

PREPARATION – RICE

While the water for the chicken comes to boil, tie pandan leaves into a knot just like you would with a string. Add 4 cups chicken broth, pandan leaves, and rice to rice cooker. Cook according to instructions for rice cooker. (Probably, just push the “cook” button until it stops cooking.) While chicken simmers, mince garlic and dice 3″ ginger root. Add garlic, ginger, and vegetable oil to pan. Sauté at medium for 5 minutes or until garlic and ginger browns and becomes fragrant. Stir frequently. Add rice and stir fry at low-medium for 3 minutes. Stir enough to prevent burning.

PREPARATION – FINAL

While water for the chicken comes to boil and rice cooks, dice cilantro and green onion. Cut cucumber into thin slices. Add diced green onion and chicken stock from large pot to a small dipping bowl for each guest. Each guest also gets a dipping bowl for the chili-garlic sauce and the soy sauce. Add chicken to plates. Garnish chicken with cilantro. Add rice to plates and shape into dome. Place cucumber on plate beside chicken and rice.

TIDBITS

1) “Hainanese” is an anagram for “I, a sane hen.”

2) Sane hens are safer than insane hens.

3) You don’t have to lock your doors if you’re raising sane hens.

4) However, if you’re raising insane hens, oh boy! Insane hens naturally form gangs and terrorize the countryside. Indeed, a particular brutal gang of Rhode Island reds went on a car-jacking spree in Hicken County, Colorado back in 1969. You can imagine the difficulty the Colorado Tourism Board had in hushing that up.

5) By 2006, intelligent, insane hens had penetrated all the major American banks and brokerage houses. Their coop smarts and the fact they could lay fresh eggs without even taking time off from work gave them an irresistible leg up on all other applicants. I mean omelettes need fresh eggs.

6) In turn, the hens wanted worms. As they climbed the corporate ladders, they wanted ever more costly worms and ever fancier worm meals. By late 2008, the demand for pricy worms and gourmet-worm chefs had far outstripped the supply. More and more, the large financial firms were forced to feed ordinary mash to their top-revenue-generating hens.

7) Mash ticked off the executive layers, so much so that they engineered the Great Recession of 2008. Now prospective chicken hires must assert their mental stability with the oath, “I, a sane chicken . . .”

Chef Paul

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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