Posts Tagged With: Dark Ages

Zanzibar Pizza

Tanzanian Appetizer

ZANZIBAR PIZZA

INGREDIENTS – DOUGH

3 cups flour (2 tablespoons more later)
½ teaspoon salt (¼ teaspoon more later)
1 cup water
⅔ cup vegetable oil (2½ tablespoons more later)

INGREDIENTS – FILLING & ASSEMBLY

2 green or red chiles
2 garlic cloves
1 red onion
1½ tablespoons vegetable oil (1 tablespoon more later)
¾ pound ground beef
½ teaspoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour
¾ cup shredded cabbage
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
chutney or tomato sauce as desired

SPECIAL UTENSILS

bread maker (optional)
no-stick pan

Serves 8. Takes 2 hours 30 minutes.

PREPARATION – DOUGH

If USING BREAD MAKER, add 3 cups flour, water, and ½ teaspoon salt to bread maker. Set bread maker to “dough” setting for 10 minutes. (IF KNEADING BY HAND, add 3 cups flour and ½ teaspoon salt to mixing bowl. Mix with fork until well blended. Add water and knead by hand for 10 minutes or until dough is smooth.) Divide dough into 6 balls. Add dough balls to shallow bowl. Drizzle ⅔ cup oil over dough balls. Turn dough balls until they are thoroughly coated with oil. Cover and let sit for 1½ hours.

PREPARATION – FILLING AND ASSEMBLY.

While dough sits, mince chiles, garlic cloves, and red onion. Add chile, garlic, red onion, and 1½ tablespoons vegetable oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until red onion softens. Stir frequently. Add beef, curry powder, pepper, and salt. Fry at medium-high heat for 3 minutes or until beef browns. Remove from heat.

Dust flat surface with 2 tablespoons flour. Add dough ball to flat surface. Flatten dough ball until you have 8 8″-dough circles. Push in edges of dough circles to make a wall high enough to prevent egg from running out. Add beef mixture equally to center of dough circles. Top beef mixtures equally with shredded cabbage. Add raw eggs equally over shredded cabbage.

Fold top and bottom of dough circles to the center. Then fold left and right sides to the center. These are the pizzas. Pinch sides as necessary to keep egg from seeping out. Add 1 tablespoon oil to large no-stick pan. Add as many pizzas as possible without having them touch each other. Cook on medium for 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Flip once. You might need to cook in batches. (Cooking times tend to go down with successive batches.)

Serve with chutney or tomato sauce.

TIDBITS

1) IEC, Intertemporal Enforcement Commission, is powerful. Frighteningly so. Consider the following salutary tale.

2) Around 260 AD, a Roman expeditionary discovered the island of Flutoj off the east coast of Africa. The merchants in the force waxed rapturously–I spelled it correctly on the first try; beams with pride–over the abundance of spices found on the island. Why not conquer it for Rome? It’ll be easy they said. And it was. Centurion Pomodoro won the island in a game of rock, paper, scissors.

3) The Romans named it Zanzibar after their Emperor Zanzi who loved to frequent wine bars. Within two days of the renaming of the island to Zanzibar, the British company, MarsTM, filed a trademark infringement complaint with the Intertemporal Enforcement Commission. Mars–the candy maker, not the Roman god–claimed Zanzibar was a rip off of Mars BarTM. Mars asseted that the Romans, renowned engineers, had clearly used a time machine, visited a twentieth-century candy store, saw Mars Bars on sale, made minimal changes to the name when coming up with Zanzibar.

4) How did the news of the renaming of the island to Zanzibar get back to Rome so quickly at a time of communication was limited to the speed of horses and oar-driven ships? Time machines, as well know the Intertemporal Enforcement Commission has time machines.

5) IEC ruled against Emperor Zanzibar and held a contest, So You Want to Be an Emperor? General Courgette did well on this and won the right to overthow the Emperor. And indeed, the plucky Courgette prevailed after a brief civil war marked with great slaughter.

6) This civil war proved so popular with the Roman armies that these conflicts became a weekly event. Courgette’s reign, in fact, was so brief that only culinary historians remember hir.

7)Anyway, these wars so depopulated the Roman Empire that it so fell to barbarian armies. The Dark Ages descended on Europe. People became so poor that they would have no money to spend on candy bars. People wouldn’t buy candy bars until 1932 when the Mars company made it. IEC realized it’s overreach and disbanded in 1998. We’ve fought no wars over candy ever since. Yay.

– 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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Caprese Burgers

Italian Entree

CAPRESE BURGER

INGREDIENTSCapreseBurgers-

1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
12 ounces pound mozzarella cheese
2 Roma tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon peppercorns (or black pepper)
6 hamburger buns
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

PREPARATION

Mince onion and garlic cloves. Mix onion, garlic, ground beef, and Italian seasoning. Form 6 patties.  Put patties in frying pan. Fry at medium-high heat with lid on for about 15 minutes or until the insides of the patties are done to the desired level of pinkness or brownness. Flip patties 2 times.

While patties are cooking, slice mozzarella into 24 slabs. Slice tomatoes 1/8″ thick. Grind peppercorns. Toast hamburger buns. Put a patty on each bun. Put 2 slabs on mozzarella on patty. Put 2 slices of tomato on mozzarella slabs. Put 2 slabs of mozzarella on bun top, then put 2 slices of tomato. Drizzle olive oil on and sprinkle the bottom half with ground pepper, and salt. Sprinkle top half with basil. Combine the bottom and top parts of the burger. Repeat for the next 5 burgers.

TIDBITS

1) In 408 A.D., Alaric besieged Rome with his Visigothic army. The Romans bought him off with 3,000 pounds of pepper. It is quite possible, though historians are by no means unanimous of this point, the Visigoths used this pepper to make caprese burgers.

2) In 410 A.D., their supply of pepper exhausted, the Visigoths were reduced to eating porridge. Clearly, this was not a stable situation. Alaric took his army once more to Rome. This time, the Romans refused to give the barbarians their pepper; Italian pork chops with pepper having become the latest culinary rage. The culinary-driven Visigoths stormed Rome, sacking it for 3 days while they searched for hidden stores of pepper.

3) Rome never recovered. The great chefs of Rome, deprived of pepper, gradually drifted off into banditry. The entire Roman Empire collapsed. The Dark Ages descended all over Europe not to be lifted for a thousand years.

4) This is why I always keep a lot of pepper in my kitchen.

– Chef Paul
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My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World, is available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

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Tarassaco E Patate (dandelions and potatoes)

Italian Entree

TARASSACO E PATATE
(dandelions and potatoes)

INGREDIENTSRomboBombo-

3 cups dandelion greens
6 medium brown potatoes
6 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

PREPARATION

Snip stems off dandelions greens. Cut potatoes into eighths. Mince garlic. Put potatoes in large pot with enough water to cover with an inch to spare. Boil potatoes on high heat for 20 minutes. Add dandelion greens. Boil on high heat for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. While potato bits are boiling, add garlic and olive oil to pan. Sauté for 3 minutes on medium-high heat.

Combine potato/dandelion mix, sautéed garlic, and salt in bowl. Mix ingredients together with fork or spoon. Serve hot. (If guests say, “Eww, dandelions,” bonk them on the heat with your kitchen mallet because this tastes great.)

TIDBITS

1) The greatest dandelion song of all time is “Dandelion” by the Rolling Stones.

2) Rolling stones gather no moss.

3) Randy Moss was a famous pass receiver for the Minnesota Vikings.

4) The vikings terrorized Europe for hundreds of years during the Dark Ages.

5) It gets dark at night., but you can make it light again by turning on the light bulb. Thomas Alva Edison is credited with inventing the light bulb. The great inventor had a full set of teeth. So do lions.

6) The word “dandelion” derives for the French words “dents de lion” or “lions teeth” referring to serrated edges of the plant’s leaves.

7) Does anybody know if Mr. Edison possessed sharp teeth? If so, this herb could have been called “dandethomasalvaedison.”
cover

My cookbookEat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World, is available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

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Pizza Crust

Italian Entree

PIZZA CRUST

INGREDIENTSPizzaCr-

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/ 2 teaspoon salt
1 1 /2 teaspoons active dry yeast
no-sticking cooking spray

SPECIAL UTENSILS

bread maker
16″ pizza pan

PREPARATION

Measure out the flour and set aside. Pour the water into the bread maker. If you measure the water before the flour, the flour will stick to the sides of the measuring cup. Not the end of the world, of course, but a minor disruption in the Force, nevertheless.

Add oil, sugar, salt, and yeast to the bread maker. Do not put the yeast directly on top of the yeast. Salt is bad for yeast and yeast makes the dough rise. “Ask not what your yeast can do for you. Ask what you can do for your yeast.”

Set the timer or the menu on the bread maker to “Dough.” Wait for the required time, probably a bit more than an hour. In the meantime preheat the oven to 400 degrees and liberally spray the pizza pan with no-stick spray. This will prevent the crust from forming a glue-like bond with the pan.

Take the dough out of the bread maker and roll it out until the dough covers the pizza pan. If you do not possess a rolling pin, any canned food can will do as long as it is at least six inches tall. It is best to spray the can or coat it with a thin layer of flour before spreading the dough.

TIDBITS

1) The word “yeast” is Sanskrit for “to seethe or boil.”

2) Sanskrit is an ancient language.

3) SansabeltTM is a modern company that makes pants without belts.

4) Babe Ruth sure could belt a baseball out of the park. He was known as “The Sultan of Swat.”

5) You can form the words “tuna loaf” out of “The Sultan of Swat” and still have letters left over.

6) The yeast we use in our food is goes by Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which means “sugar fungus”

7) Why are all Latin words so long?

8) I think the Roman Empire fell because its words were so long. Can you imagine a breathless sentry running back to the Roman legions to say the Goths were just beyond the hill, massing to launch a devastating surprise attack? But because of the long Latin words, the poor sentry passes out before he can deliver all of his message. The Roman army remains ignorant of the impending attack. It doesn’t prepare for battle. The Goths slaughter the Romans. The Roman Empire falls.

9) The Dark Ages descend over Europe.

10) For a real long time.

11) Longer even than the time you spend in a dentist’s chair where time actually slows down. Albert Einstein came up with his idea of relativity while having his teeth drilled.
Why are all Latin words so long?
cover

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World, is available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

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Lavender Lemon Chicken

French Entree

LAVENDER LEMON CHICKEN

INGREDIENTSLavLemChicken-

4 chicken breasts
1/2 tablespoon thyme
2 teaspoons lavender
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons lemon juice
zest from 1 lemon
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
5 teaspoons honey

PREPARATION

Crush lavender with rolling pin. Mince garlic cloves. Add lavender, garlic, honey, thyme, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, pepper, white wine, and chicken stock to large mixing bowl. Mix with fork until well blended. Add chicken breasts to mixing bowl. Coat chicken thoroughly with mixture in bowl. Marinate chicken for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put chicken and marinade in roasting pan. Roast chicken at 400 degrees for 40-to-50 minutes or until chicken has an internal temperature of 165 degrees or until juices from chicken, pierced by a fork, are clear. Turn chicken breasts over halfway through.

Transfer chicken breasts to large serving bowl. Pour juice from roasting pan over chicken. Serve and enjoy.

TIDBITS

1) People in the Middle ages believe lemon juice dissolved fish bones. That is why they served a lemon slice with a fish entree; the slice would get rid of any accidentally swallowed fish bones.

2) Tidbit 1) shows us why the Middle Ages were also know as the Dark Ages. A fish bone might get stuck in a diner’s throat, the place where the bone could do the most harm. But how would a lemon slice help clear the tracheal passage? I would think the lemon slice would prevent breathing much more than a small fish bone.

3) Indeed in 1355, Antonio Pesto, of Pavia, Italy, thought the same way. In his horribly misspelled work, Pescatus Lemonatus Librecum Keteris Pareebus, experiments show how lemon juice will absolutely not dissolve a fish bone in time to prevent choking. Indeed, a lemon slice caught in the throat will cause many more deaths by asphyxiation.
4) Mortality rates plunged in plague ravage Europe after Pesto’s findings became widely disseminated.

5) Indeed, many modern scholars believe that 35% to 63% of all deaths attributed to the horrific Black Death plague of 1347 to 1352 were actually caused by lemon slices stuck in throats.

6) Lemonade was invented in 1378 as a way of letting people savor the taste of lemon without the danger of its slices. Life has gotten better for humanity ever since.
cover

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World, is available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

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Simple Hawaiian Pancakes Recipe

Hawaiian Entree

SIMPLE HAWAIIAN PANCAKES

INGREDIENTSHawaWaf-

8 frozen waffles
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 cups pineapple juice
4 ounce can pineapple chunks

PREPARATION

Toast waffles according to instructions on package. Cut butter into 16 pats. Combine in mixing bowl: sugar, milk, and pineapple juice. Place equal amounts of butter and mixed juice and 2-to-4 pineapple chunks of each toasted waffle. Aloha!

TIDBITS

1) In 1869, women of Wyoming got the right to vote. The waffle iron was first patented in 1869. It was a good year.

2) One-hundred years later, the amazing New York Mets won their first World Series championship after years of last place finishes. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

3) The waffle began its illustrious culinary journey during the Middle Ages. The waffle! So if someone calls this era the Dark Ages, waggle your finger at the fool and say, “Nooooo!”

4) The waffle became so popular that bloody fights became common between waffle vendors seeking prime locations. So much so, that a King of France took off time from wars and mistresses to decree a minimum distance between the warring vendors.

5) It has been said the French Revolution started in 1789 in part by disgruntled vendors seeking to throw out royal enforcement of the waffle decrees.

6) America annexed Hawaii in 1898 to ensure a steady supply of pineapple chunks in juice for its burgeoning appetite for Hawaiian waffles. A drastic measure perhaps, but it is worthwhile to note America has never since been involved in any military conflict over foreign pineapples. The same cannot be said for oil.
cover

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World, is available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

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Kugelis, Potato Pudding Recipe

Lithuanian Entree

KUGELIS
(Potato Pudding Recipe)

INGREDIENTSkugelis-

5 pounds russet potatoes
12 ounces bacon
1 1/2 large white onions
1/4 cup butter
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 12 ounce can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup farina

SPECIAL UTENSILS

1 9″*13″ baking dish
or
2 8″*8″ baking dishes
or
127 1″*1″ baking dishes

Serves a lot of people. We’re talking about 7 pounds of rich food here.

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel potatoes. Grate or shred potatoes. (This is some debate about the authenticity of shredding potatoes for Kugelis. After noting how long it took to merely peel the potatoes, I fired up the trusty food processor and shredded away. Yep, I’m a rebel. Born to be Wild.)

Dice bacon. Shred onions. Put bacon, onions, and butter in frying pan. Cook on medium-high heat until bacon is done to your desired level of crispness and the onions soften. Stir frequently. Hold the pan at an angle away from you while stirring. You really want bacon splatter to head away from you.

Put eggs in large mixing bowl and beat the heck out of them. Add potato, bacon/onion sauté, milk, evaporated milk, salt, pepper, and farina. Mix thoroughly with spoon.

Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour 20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove baking dish from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy the national dish of Lithuania.

TIDBITS

1) Pepper is used in this recipe. It is a happening spice. Pepper was first widely used in India over two millennia ago. India is one of the world’s oldest civilizations One of every seven people in the world is Indian. India has lots of trains, great food, nuclear weapons, and customer-service reps. Okay, the last one is bad.

2) Pepper traded westward to ancient Egypt. Black peppercorns were found stuffed up the nose of the mummified body of Pharaoh Ramses II. Snorting, perhaps? Egypt was the dominant power in that region for hundreds of years. It’s chariots raced all over the countryside. Perhaps they wouldn’t have had to race all over if they had bothered to ask for directions, but you know men.

3) Some think Rome conquered great swaths of North Africa, Europe, and the Near East because the Romans were really cranky from constantly sneezing snorted pepper. The Roman Empire lasted so long because its subject were so down with the taste explosion pepper brought that they really didn’t mind constant taxation and civil wars.

4) Then around the 5th century AD, barbarians invaded and destroyed the Roman Empire for no good culinary reason. Lutefisk crazed Vikings pillaged everywhere. People stashed their pepper. The Vikings killed the stashers. Knowledge of pepper disappeared. The Dark Ages descended.

5) Around 13th century or so the Venetians started trade routes with India. Indian pepper once again flowed westward to Europe. Venice became the richest and mightiest city in Europe. Then they started making blinds and their economy tanked.

6) Portugal started the Great Age of Exploration. It sent fleets around Africa and to the Americas and sooner than you can say heteroskedasticity pepper graced the tables of people around the world.

7) Life’s been pretty good since then. Even the occasional global war was made tolerable by proper amounts of peppers in soldiers’ meals.

– Chef Paul

4novels

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and novels are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

Categories: cuisine, food, history, humor, international, recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chicken Provencale Recipe

French Entree

CHICKEN PROVENÇALE

INGREDIENTSChicPro-

2 chicken breasts
2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon mignonette pepper (Tellicherry black pepper, Muntok white pepper, coriander)
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 red bell peppers
1 green bell pepper
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup white wine

SPECIALTY UTENSIL

kitchen mallet

Serves one wrestler in training for the Olympics, two people with regular appetites, and four guests who got into your private stash of Belgian truffles before even trying this lovingly prepared meal and are never getting invited again.

PREPARATION

Pound chicken breasts to a half-inch thickness. (Remembering the day’s swarm of rude drivers on your ride home helps immeasurably.) Cut chicken breasts into fourths. Coat chicken pieces with herbes de Provence and mignonette pepper. Cut bell peppers into strips about 1/2″ inch wide and 2″ long. Mince garlic cloves.

Put olive oil in frying pan. Add bell-pepper and garlic. Sauté on high heat for a minute or until olive oil boils. Stir frequently. Add white wine and chicken pieces.

Cover and reduce heat to low-medium for about 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. You can cut a piece in half. If the chicken is still pink inside, sauté everything a few minutes more. If both halves are all white, eat one half. It’s your kitchen.

TIDBITS

1) The Olympics first occurred in Ellis, Greece in 776 BC as a way to honor Zeus. Wrestling was perhaps the most popular event.

2) Contestants and trainers appeared nude partly to prevent women from surreptitiously participating.

3) The Olympics started to die out around 260 AD what with barbarians invading the Roman Empire and civil wars erupting every few weeks. In 391 Emperor Theodosius outlawed the games because they were pagan.

4) No summer Olympics, no chance for winter Olympics. No winter Olympics, no bobsledding. No bobsledding, no thriving winter tourist industry. No thriving winter tourist industry, no taxes for the government. No taxes, no money to fund an army for the Empire.

5) Indeed, quite soon after Theodosius’ decision, massive waves of barbarians assaulted the poorly defended Roman Empire, defeating it quite easily.

6) The death of the Roman Empire plunged Europe into the Dark Ages for about a thousand years. Way to go, Theodosius.

7) Today the Olympic Committee is considering dropping wrestling from the games claiming lack of interest.

8) Perhaps there would be more interest if we brought back nude wrestling.

– Chef Paul

4novels

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and novels are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

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

Chinese Hamburger Bash From Forthcoming Cookbook

Chinese Entree

CHINESE HAMBURGER BASH

INGREDIENTS

1 medium onion
2 green bell peppers
2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 ground turkey
1 pound ground beef
12 ounces extra-firm tofu
1/2 tablespoon peanut oil
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup diced tomato
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon Meat MagicTM spice
2 teaspoons cornstarch
About 16 buns
No-stick spray

SPECIAL UTENSIL

Large spatula

PREPARATION

This recipe is rightly called a bash. It makes about 16 to 20 patties.

Mince onion, bell peppers, and cloves. In large bowl, mix all ingredients except buns. (Don’t mince your own buns; that would be a disaster.) Be sure to make patties smaller than your spatula.

Coat bottom of frying pan with no-stick spray. Cook burgers on medium-high heat. These hamburgers are moister and more prone to crumble than their American counterparts. So, make sure you have the entire patty on top of the spatula before you turn them over. Turn them over carefully. Do not flip them. Turn them over once.

TIDBITS

1) There have been many mass migrations and conquests throughout history. Some examples are: Alexander the Great’s conquests, Rome’s conquest of the Mediterranean, Germanic tribes overrunning the Roman Empire, Arab conquests of North Africa, Mongol invasions of China, Persia, and Russia, and Spanish victories in Central and South America.

2) What do all these bloodthirsty conquerors have in common?

3) None of them ate hamburgers.

4) With or without cheese.

5) They didn’t even eat sliders.

6) Geez, the Romans ate thrush tongues, for goodness sake. What would it have hurt them to eat a Chinese Hamburger?

7) And the Vikings ate lutefisk. Lutefisk! Think of all the monasteries, towns, and libraries that were sacked because the Vikings ate lutefisk instead of Mexican hamburgers.

8) And then there would have been no Dark Ages. Learning would have flourished. We would have had colonies on the moon by the 17th century if only the Vikings had eaten burgers.

9) Or even sliders.

cover

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World, is available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

Categories: cuisine, food, humor, international, recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This Is The Best Time Ever

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. And the clouds parted and the bluebirds sang, and they’ve sung ever since.

 

 

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