Posts Tagged With: English

Vietnamese Sugar Cane Shrimp (Chao Tom)

Vietnamese Appetizer

SUGAR CANE SHRIMP
(Chao Tom)

INGREDIENTS

1 pound medium shrimp, frozen, peeled and deveined (41-to-50 count)
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 garlic clove
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon white pepper or pepper
1 egg white
2 teaspoons corn starch
½ teaspoon vegetable oil
8 4″-sugar cane sticks (fresh or canned) *

* = I suggest using canned sugar as fresh sugar cane needs to be peeled and cut into 4″ sticks. Canned sugar cane can be found in Asian supermarkets. Fresh sugar cane can be found there as well or online.

SPECIAL UTENSILS

food processor
electric grill pan
no-stick spray

Serves 4. Takes 40 minutes. Allow for up to an extra hour if using fresh sugar cane. In this case, cut the sugar cane apart around the joints. Then use knives and cleavers to remove the hard outer shell of the can.

PREPARATION

Add shrimp, fish sauce, garlic, salt, sugar, and white pepper to food processor. Blend until ingredients form a shrimp paste. Add egg white to mixing bowl. Whip egg white with whisk until frothy. Add shrimp paste and corn starch to egg white. Mix with whisk until shrimp is again well blended.

Preheat grill to medium high. Dip hands in vegetable oil. Take 1½ tablespoons shrimp paste and press it evenly around the middle of a sugar-cane stick. Leave ¾” sugar-cane stick exposed at both ends. Brush shrimp paste on sticks lightly with oil to prevent sticking. Add shrimp-covered sticks to grill. Grill for 8 minutes or until shrimp paste is golden brown on all sides. Turn gently, at least every 2 minutes, Bite into the sugar cane a bit as you eat the shrimp. This will add sugar juice to your bite.

TIDBITS

1) Wherever the well loved Chef Tomasso went, everyone said, “Ciao, Tomasso.” Then one day he left his hometown of Padua in search of some squid ink for his next meal. He should have gone to Venice. Instead ended up in Hanoi as he was way too proud to ask for directions. Fortunately, the locals took him in. In gratitude, Tom, as he is now called, created this dish. Now, the Vietnamese greet him with “Chao, Tom” in honor of his cooking style .

2) Then, alas, tragedy struck.

3) Chef Tomasso fell off the edge of the edge of the Earth on July 1, 2018.

4) Apparently, he walked farther than normal and got lost.

5) He again refused to asked for directions and so, fell off the edge of the Earth.

6) Let this be a cautionary tale for all men.

7) This demise demised dumbfound all the physicists, who thought the Earth’s gravitational field would surely keep the good chef securely on terra firma.

8) Okay, the previous tidbit contained some ambiguity. It would be perfectly logical to wonder if, at some point, the physicists lost their dumfoundedness after Tomasso’s plunge into the interstellar abyss.

9) Let me clear up this confusion. These learned scientists remain perplexed by Tomasso’s misfortune.

10) It is amusing thought to think that Chef Tomasso truly lived life on the edge.

11) And if the word “dumfoundedness” from tidbit 8) is not a word, it ought to be.

12) Write your Miriam Webster and Oxford English Dictionary editors and ask them to include “dumbfoundedness” in their next editions. Thank you.

13) Tomasso’s great fall, shown on the 10 o’clock news, also flummoxed cartographers who, pretty much unanimously, agreed that our Earth is round like the globe in your fifth-grade classroom.

14) Meanwhile, maritime insurance rates have soared. If Tomasso, through no fault of his own, happened upon a spot that was the edge of the Earth, who’s to say that a freighter carrying wheat or a tanker bringing oil couldn’t fall off the edge of the Earth as well?

15) Can you imagine the following conversation?
Shipping CEO: Sorry, but your wheat will be a little late. Our freighter went over the Earth’s edge.
Food Importer CEO: Yeah sure, like I haven’t heard that one before.

16) As of yet, Chef Tomasso has not returned. His fate is still unlearned. I hope he will and that he’ll have a rattling good yarn to spin. In the meantime, watch your step.

 

– 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.

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

French Omelette

French Breakfast

OMELETTE

INGREDIENTS – OMELETTE

2 eggs
⅛ teaspoon pepper
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter (1 more teaspoon later)
1 teaspoon butter

INGREDIENTS – FILLING (OPTIONAL)*

One or more of the following:

2 teaspoons diced herbs – fresh chervil, chives, parsley, or tarragon (½ teaspoon more for garnish)
1½ tablespoons grated cheese – Gruyère, Gouda, or Parmesan
1½ tablespoons diced meat – cooked bacon, ham, or prosciutto
1½ tablespoons combination of the above

* = These ingredients really must be prepared before you start to cook the omelette.

INGREDIENTS – GARNISH

½ teaspoon diced herbs – fresh chervil, chives, parsley, or tarragon

SPECIAL UTENSIL

no-stick pan. If you can dedicate this pan to omelettes only, so much the better.

PREPARATION

Add eggs, pepper, and salt to mixing bowl. Beat eggs vigorously with fork until for 20 seconds or until whites and yolks are well mixed. Heat pan at high heat. The pan is warm enough when a tiny bit of butter sizzles in it. Add 1 tablespoon butter. Tilt the pan into different directions so as to completely coat the pan, including the sides, with melted butter. When butter just starts turning slightly brown, add eggs.

Let eggs settle for 3 seconds. (You have to careful with this recipe.) Sprinkle in any filling ingredients now. Start yanking the pan vigorously back to you, tilting more steeply each time. (This forces the egg to roll over itself more after each jerk.) Omelette should be creamy, but not viscous. This process takes about 20 seconds.

Cover pan, serving side down, with plate. Hold plate in place with one hand. Turn omelette onto plate. (The bottom side of the omelette should now be facing up.) Use fork to gently finish shaping omelette. Brush omelette with 1 teaspoon butter. Sprinkle omelette with herb garnish.

TIDBITS

1) The French Omelette is quite tasty.

2) It also looks like a very thin brick.

3) This is no accident.

4) Culinary archeologists tell us that the pharaohs built the very first pyramids in Ancient Egypt with French-Omelette bricks.

5) Look at that! I spelled the word “archeologists” correctly on the first try. Go me.

6) But these omelette pyramids took forever to build. The worker ate the French omelette as fast as they were made.

7) The completed pyramids proved irresistible to neighboring villagers as well. These pyramids rarely lasted more than a day before they gobbled up all the tasty bricks.

8) Doesn’t that mean the villagers ate quite a bit of food at once?

9) Yes, yes it does.

10) Then didn’t the gluttonous eaters get fat?

11) Yes. Hence the saying “French Omelette pyramids, fat people.”

12) So, succeeding pharaohs tried building pyramids with bread slices. Remember the slogan “Pharaoh Twelve Grain Bread(tm) builds strong pyramids twelve ways.”

13) Of the pharaohs instructed their workers to dry out the bread before using it to construct the pyramids. That worked well until . . .

14) It rained.

15) Pyramid construction kept failing until Sadiski of Saqaara, near Memphis, stumbled over a block of limestone. Yowzer! That hurt. “Limestone ain’t no good for nobody but for pharaohs building pyramids.” Clearly English grammar was not rigorously taught in Ancient Egypt.

16) After the swelling in his ankle went down a light bulb–not yet invented at that time–went on in Sadiki’s brain. Why not quarry the limestone in his backyard?

17) In 2630 B.C,, he pitched the idea of cutting limestone into bricks and then using them to make pyramids to Pharaoh Djosi. Djosi, known as DJ to his subjects, loved the idea. And so, Egypt built the first lasting pyramid.

18) Overtime, Memphis would become famous for barbecue, blues, and rock and roll. The musically talented Djosi would provide the inspiration for millennia of future Djs. 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.

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

Khao Poon Soup From Laos

Laotian Soup

KHAO POON

INGREDIENTS

3 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1¼ pounds chicken breasts*
1 large carrot
½” galangal root
¼ head red or Chinese cabbage
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
½ tablespoon fresh mint
12 ounces rice vermicelli noodles
3 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon lemongrass paste**
1 red chile
2 tablespoons red curry paste**
1 shallot
½ tablespoon sesame or vegetable oil
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce
¼ pound bean sprouts
6 kaffir leaves
½ teaspoon salt

* = Can be made with ground pork or cooked fish fillet. If using these choices, add them to pot after you add the coconut milk.
** = Can be found in Asian supermarkets or online.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

food processor

Serves 6. Takes 1 hour 10 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add chicken to large pot. Add chicken broth and water. Bring to boil using high heat. Lower heat to medium. Simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken breasts can be pulled apart with 2 forks. Stir enough to prevent burning, Remove chicken breasts to large bowl. (Keep liquid in pot.) Shred chicken with forks.

Grate carrot and galangal root. Shred red cabbage. Dice cilantro and mint. Cook rice vermicelli noodles according to instructions on package. Drain, fluff, and set aside.

While rice vermicelli cooks, add garlic, lemongrass, red chile, red curry paste, and shallot to food processor. Grind until you get a uniform paste. Add vegetable oil to pan. Heat oil at medium-high heat. Oil is hot enough when a bit of uniform paste will start to dance. Add uniform paste to pan. Heat for 3 minutes or until it turns dark red. Stir constantly. Add coconut milk and fish sauce. Bring to boil. Add shredded chicken, bean sprouts, carrot, galangal root, kaffir leaves, red cabbage, salt, and uniform paste to pot. Simmer soup at low-medium heat for 10 minutes.

Add cooked rice vermicelli to serving bowls. Ladle soup over rice vermicelli. Garnish with cilantro and mint.

TIDBITS

1) The name of this dish sounds a lot like “Ka Boom.” This is not accident.

2) In 1352, Laos was divided and weak.

3) Neighboring countries took turns invading and annexing parts of Laos. Indeed, the rulers of Siam, and what is now Vietnam and Cambodia sometimes invaded simultaneously.

4) This created confusion on the battlefield. When Siamese, Vietnamese, and Laotian armies met, they didn’t know whom to fight. And no one likes a chaotic clash of arms.

5) So, Laos’ neighbors signed the Treaty of Bangkok. Each of the abutting lands was assigned four months each year for invasion.

6) This made life better for attacking countries.

7) Not so much for the the Laotians who still got overrun.

8) This, almost needless to say, depressed the Laotians who survived these vicious incursions.

9) Then, in 1353, Carl La Fong, a humble chef, invented the pressure cooker.

10) La Fong’s pressure cooker drastically reduced the time needed to prepare the thousands of Khao Poon servings he needed for his daily guests.

11) Unfortunately, Carl’s pressure cooker didn’t possess all the safety features of the invention’s modern version. Indeed, the darned thing proved quite prone to exploding an entire restaurant.

12) It was after he lost his fourth restaurant that the synapses finally fired in La Fong’s brain. “Why,” he said, “my exploding pressure cooker could annihilate entire armies. Khao poon! Or Ka boom, in English.”

13) In 1354, the plucky La Fong presented his device to King Fa Ngum. Ngum routed army after invading army with his pressure-cooker battalions.

14) Then in 1893, the French invaded Laos. Alas, the baguette eaters employed artillery which far out ranged the Laotian khao poons. The French soon won. Whereupon they settled down to eating Khao Poon every day. That and baguettes, they were French after all.

 

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

We Need Polite Subtitle Choices

We all watch live streaming or DVDs. Many of these, thank you, provide subtitles. However, I take issue with the choice of “English for the deaf or hard of hearing.” I am certainly not deaf. Even though I do need to see the occasional word spelled out, I’m not quite at the stage where I should called hard of hearing. And many times I don’t understand the accent, particulary British.

Why do we have to make judgments about people? Perhaps making them feel bad? Why not simply have “English” as a choice for subtitles?

Or even tailor the choices to me, Paul. See below.

 

 

The one on the right would make me feel special. Of course, it doesn’t have to be my name listed on the right. You should be alter the phrase to reflect your name, “English for Desdemona,” for example.

 

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: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One Does Not Simply Make

Making English mincemeat pies to my satisfaction was a challenge for me. I succeeded eventually. Eventually.

One Does Not Simply #2

 

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: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Simple Oblea Sandwich

Colombian Desserts

SIMPLE OBLEA SANDWICH

INGREDIENTS

2 oblea wafers or other 6″ wafers
3 tablespoons each of one or more of the following fillings:
caramel sauce (If you can get the authentic Colombian caramel sauce, arequipe, go for it.)
condensed milk
chocolate sprinkles
chopped pineapple
cream cheese
grated cheese
grated coconut
jam

Serves 1. Takes 3 minutes.

The top wafer shows the filling in the sandwich.

PREPARATION

Spread 3 tablespoons of fillings over first oblea. Put second oblea on top of fillings..

TIDBITS

1) Obleas is the plural form of oblea. Oblea is a Spanish word.

2) The English language is also rich with plural nouns.

3) Popular plural nouns of the English language include: women, ants, hamburgers, and doors.

4) So you can see that English speakers needn’t feel inferior to their Spanish counterparts on this linguistic matter.

5) According to culinary linguists, the word “oblea” has a rich and fabricated history.

6) For in mid 1968, the BeatlesTM traveled to India seeking enlightenment. They did not find it.

7) Disappointed, The Fab Four traveled to Colombia seeking solace in a simple, yet tasty dessert.

8) They found it in the form of Juan Cabrera’s simple oblea sandwich.

9) Such a fabulous dessert was worthy of a song, and soon the gifted Beatles came up with “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.”

 

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

Full English Breakfast (Fry Up)

British Breakfast

FULL ENGLISH BREAKFAST
(Fry Up)

INGREDIENTS

1 15-ounce can baked beans*
1 large tomato
4 pork sausages, breakfast sausages, or bangers
4 slices bacon**
6 mushroom caps
2 slices black pudding (optional)***
1½ tablespoons olive oil
2 slices bread
2 eggs

* = Try to use Heinz beans. Heinz is really popular in England
** = back bacon, pork belly, or regular bacon
*** = can be found online

SPECIAL UTENSILS

3 pans and 1 pot (Not really special, but you’ll need 4 of them.)
sonic obliterator (Now this is a truly special kitchen utensil. Once you get one, you’ll wonder how your ever managed to do without one.)

Serves 2. Takes 40 minutes.

PREPARATION

Cut tomato into 4 slices. Add beans to small pot. Simmer at low heat until the sauce that comes with the beans thicken. Cover and reduce heat to warm or lowest setting. Stir enough to prevent burning.

Poke sausages with fork or toothpick. (This keeps the sausage juices from building up and coming out in a hot jet.) Add sausages to 1st pan. Fry sausages at medium heat for 15 minutes or until completely browned. Turn enough to ensure even browning. Turn enough to prevent burning Cover and reduce heat to warm..

While sausage fry or warm, add bacon to 2nd pan. Fry bacon for 3 minutes or until it reaches your desired level of doneness. Turn occasionally to ensure even browning. Cover and reduce heat to warm. Remove from heat and set aside Turn enough to prevent burning.

While sausages simmer, add mushrooms to 2rd pan. (The one that had the bacon.) Sauté at medium-high heat for 2 minutes or until they turn brown. Turn enough to keep from burning. Remove mushrooms from heat. Add black pudding to 3rd pan. Sauté at medium heat for 3 minutes or until it both sides turn crispy. Flip once. Remove and set aside.

Add 1½ tablespoons olive oil to 3th pan. Heat at medium heat until tiny piece of bread in the oil starts to dance. Add bread slices. Sauté for 2 minutes or until both sides are crispy and golden brown. Flip once. Remove and set aside Add eggs to this, the 3rd pan. Fry eggs until they are done to your liking. Remove from heat and set aside. Add tomato slices. Reduce heat to low-medium. Sauté for 2 minutes. Flip once.

Add equal amounts of everything to 2 serving plates. Use sonic obliterator on anyone gives you any guff at all during the cooking or the presentation. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your kitchen.

TIDBITS

1) People ask me, “How does one start writing again while suffering from writers’ block?”

2) Go find your muse. Of course, you might just discover that your muse has gone on a drunken bender.

3) So you go on a pub crawl to find her. At each stop, you ask the bartender if he’s seen your muse.

4)“I’m not telling you a thing,” says the bartender, “until you’ve ordered a drink.”

5) So, you order and down a whiskey.

6) “Your muse was here ten minutes ago,” says the man serving drinks, “but she went to the next bar up the street.”

7) So you enter the next bar. That bartender also refuses to talk unless you’ve bought a drink. You order another whiskey. The barkeep informs you that she moved onto a bar two blocks west. “She was a with a gal called Betty.”

8) And so it goes. You drink a whiskey at every bar you go into. The bartender states that you just missed her, but you can find at a bar that’s really not very far away. And so you stagger doggedly on after her.

9) Hours later, your muse parts company with Betty. But the muse conquers bar after bar.

10) Eventually, you give up. You decide to head home. In your car.

11) A vigilant traffic cop notices you weaving from lane to lane. He pulls you over.

12) “But officer,” you hear yourself saying, “I’m a writer. I was looking for my muse, but she was on a pub crawl.”

13) The officer sneers. “Like, I haven’t heard that one before.”

14) This is why writing is not as easy as some people think.

 

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 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Roasted Chestnuts

American Dessert

ROASTED CHESTNUTS

INGREDIENTS

1 pound chestnuts (most of the fresh ones are available in Autumn)

SPECIAL UTENSIL

baking pan

Serves 6. Takes 45 minutes.

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While oven preheats, cut an “x” that covers one entire side on each chestnut. Make the cut deep enough to cut through the shell. (This makes the chestnut easy to peel. It also keeps it from exploding. This really can happen if you omit this step.)

Place chestnuts on baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until chestnuts become tender, the chestnut shells start to open and become easy to peel, and the edible nut that’s inside turns golden brown. Remove from heat. Cover with kitchen towel. Let cool for 5 minutes. Peel and eat immediately.

TIDBITS

1) As you can see, the left chestnut in the above photo is unpeeled. It also has an “x” cut into it by a knife. This makes it much easier to peel. The two chestnuts on the right have been peeled and are ready to eat. ☺

2) But wait! This narrative gets even more exciting. ☺☺

3) When prehistoric tribes decided to cut “x”s on chestnuts, they inadvertently developed the game Tic-Tac-Toe. The uncut chestnuts became “zero” or the letter “o.” These doughty cavemen were already two letters on the way to the present English alphabet. Go, cavemen, go! Excelsior!

4) Then one fine summer day caveman Carl La Fong invented the letter “b.” (We know about La Fong because he signed his cave paintings. They’re worth quite a bit if you can discover one.) Ancient peoples could now spell the word “box.”

5 Before you knew it, peoples everywhere had an alphabet and words for everything. Not much later, the word “box” led to actual boxes. CheeriosTM and AmazonTM became possible. And we owe it all to chestnuts and the visionary Carl La Fong. 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: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

North Dakota Caramel Rolls

American Dessert

NORTH DAKOTA CARAMEL ROLLS

INGREDIENTS – DOUGH

2¼ teaspoons yeast
½ cup white sugar
1 cup warm water
⅔ cup softened butter (⅓ cup + ½ cup more butter later)
4 cups flour (¼ cup more later)
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
¼ cup flour
⅓ cup melted butter (½ cup more later)
2 tablespoons brown sugar (1¼ cups more later)
no-stick spray

INGREDIENTS – CARAMEL SAUCE

½ cup melted butter
1¼ cups brown sugar
1½ cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
½ tablespoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

SPECIAL UTENSILS

electric beater or bread maker
2 9″-x-13″ cake pans
sonic obliterator

Serves 12. Takes 3 hours.

PREPARATION – DOUGH

Add yeast, white sugar, and warm water to large mixing bowl. Blend with fork. Let sit for 10 minutes. Add ⅔ cup softened butter, and eggs. Gradually add 4 cups flour while mixing with electric beater until you get a smooth-and-slightly-sticky dough ball. (If using a bread machine, use the dough setting for 10 minutes.)

Dust flat surface with ¼ cup flour. Add dough ball to flat surface. Roll out dough until it is ⅛” thick. (This should require about 2 14″-x-8″ surfaces.) Brush dough with ⅓ cup melted butter. Sprinkle dough with 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Roll up dough. Seal edge of dough by pressing it into dough roll. Cut dough roll into 12 equal pieces. Spray cake pans with no-stick spray. Cover with damp cloth and let rise for 1 hour.

PREPARATION – CARAMEL SAUCE

While dough rolls rise, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add ½ cup melted butter and 1¼ cups brown sugar to pot. Heat using low-medium heat. Stir constantly until brown sugar melts. Add heavy cream, light corn syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Stir with spoon until well blended. Pour this caramel sauce over risen dough rolls. Bake dough rolls at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or they turn golden brown Serve immediately from the cake pans or wait 5 minutes, loosen rolls with knife and invert cake pan onto serving plate..

This is a long and possibly messy recipe what with flour dust flying everywhere. So, if your guests give you any guff about the rolls or for that matter anything really, zap them with your sonic obliterator. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life, certainly not in your kitchen.

TIDBITS

1) I list the sonic obliterator as an essential utensil in many recipes. But can’t it be used as a weapon? Yes, yes it can. However, like many dual-use kitchen utensils, it started out with only a culinary role.

2) Everyone knows that Italian chefs have brought us many great inventions. The balloon comes to mind. In 1791 Paolo Sforza let an enormous cow stomach hang over a pot of steaming clams. Still, he was smart enough to realize its military potential. He sold the idea to the new French Republic of 1792. France then made balloons to watch for approaching armies. The monarchial powers of Europe could never catch the French forces by surprise. The French Revolution remained. Democracy’s spread became inevitable. America owes its democracy to the French Republic and, by extension, to an Italian chef inadvertently steaming a cow stomach.

3) But so many other kitchen utensils gave birth to weapons and vice versa. Here are some of them:

Knives: Stone knives were used to slay and eat mastodons. Stone Age raiders used them to attack villages. Early, early chefs carved bison steaks with long knives. Long knives became swords. Rome built its legendary empire with swords.

Spears: They arose from the wooden skewers cavemen used for mastodon kebabs.

Can Openers: English pikemen carried armor openers to get plate armor off French knights. Armor openers changed into can openers. So, whenever you open a can of Chef Boyarditm mini ravioli, give a moment to thank the victors of Agincourt in 1415.

4) In 2015 Chef Conti grew so tired of lugging beef fat to the bins outside that he invented the sonic obliterator. He’d make an entire tower of fat disappear with just one push of a button. Yay.

5) A few years later an American tourist so insulted Chef Cavour of La Mucca Ubriaca restaurant in Venice that obliterated the offending oaf. The oaf’s family had the police arrest the chef for murder. However Italy’s culinary courts acquitted the chef in the landmark case Oafs v Cavour, 2017. So behave yourself when you dine out.

6) Armies all over the world are frantically developing the sonic obliterator into a long range weapon suitable for modern combat. And so it goes.

 

– 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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Soft Shelled Nuts

 

I. Rumbles from the Deep

My life changed forever when Bert Bivalve, my pet mollusk, announced his attention to form a political party. Bert had trouble communicating as he had no lips with which to form the “m” sound, so necessary in English speech.

He also had a patchy vocabulary due to a lack of a brain. Did you know there is no mollusk equivalent to the word “danger.” What’s the point for a mollusk cannot outrun any predator? However, there are 273 phrases to express the anguish of being eaten by a humongous furry creature with sharp claws. Eventually Bert and I worked out a sign language and so, interspecies dialogue began.

Bert, a cultured soul, had wearied of his benign neglect by humanity. He contacted mollusks all over the world to express his discontent–this explains my huge long distance bills. Thousands echoed Bert’s frustration and disillusionment. With Bert’s encouragement these sea creatures rushed to form debating societies. At first, however, they called these societies “Bicycling Clubs,” so as not to arouse humanity’s suspicions.

At first, these gatherings were chaotic and violent with the ugliest of insults exchanged freely. The phrase, “So’s your mother,” by itself, generated dozens of drunken brawl with gastropods careening into cephalopods. Eventually, cooler shells prevailed and organizing began.

One momentous day, Chuck Chiton, suggested that they would never get any respect from the politicians inside Washington unless they themselves entered politics. “After all,” he said, “Puerto Rico never got any respect until it became the 51st state.” As you no doubt know, Puerto Rico is not a state. Some think it is this inattention to detail to research that held mollusks back through the centuries.

The mollusks overcame their lack of political knowledge with shrewd business sense. As we all know mollusks are superb lichen harvesters. By skillful manipulation of the lichen markets, the mollusks quietly amassed a huge fortune over the centuries which they quietly deposited in off-shore banks.

These wealthy critters, conservative by nature, initially considered throwing in their lot with the Republican party. Only inopportune anti-mollusk rhetoric by some of the GOP candidates stopped this alliance.

What to do? They couldn’t back the democrats with its welfare society. Why the idea the very idea of a young mollusk just sitting there and doing nothing was disgusting.

Eventually, Sarah Scaphopod raised her hand, figuratively, of course, to suggest they form their own political party. All the mollusks agreed that she had a wonderful idea and brought out the fermented lichen to celebrate.

I laughed, along with the rest of humanity, when the mollusks held their first press conference in Bodega Bay, California. For one thing, how were they going to get enough signatures to be on the ballot in all fifty states.

Well, they had the last laugh. Hell hath no fury like a mollusk mocked. They set the world on its ear with their alliance with Carl Hickham, the billionaire seafood king from Texas. Mollusks control the supply of lichen, the bottom of the food chain in the oceans, and they let Mr. Hickham know it. The crafty critters presented the Texan with an ultimatum, either provide us with machines that help us to write or we’ll let your fish starve. Carl Hickham caved into their demands the next day.

II. One Giant Step for Mollusk

Mollusks from all over the world swarmed the United States. The beaches of Southern California became saturated with walls of mollusks reaching up to ten feet high. Beach merchants complained to the police that these invaders were devastating business. The men in blue sympathized, but pointed out the mollusks had a constitutional right to freedom of assembly.

The mollusks used Hickham’s machine to great effect. Within two weeks they gathered 423 million signatures; which is nine times the total human population of California. In the face of impending molluskan–if that is a word–domination the peoples of California buried their differences with an enormous clam bake that ran the length of the state.

Mollusks reacted to this barbarism by overwhelming and suffocating a dozen surfers off the shore of La Jolla. Some commentators remarked that interspecies warfare signaled the end of the world, while most thought it just an aggressive campaign tactic in the vein of the Willie Horton ads of 1988.

It was pretty much the same in all the coastal states. The mollusks consistently refused to blend into American society. They never bothered to learn English or any other language, save Romanche, an obscure language spoken by a few thousand Swiss.

The Democrats and Republicans united in the face of impending political disaster. Would it be enough? The coastal states were goners, but could they hold onto Middle America? Would the People’s Party prevail?

III. Remember Maine!

The leaders of the People’s Party assembled in Lincoln, Nebraska. Peacemakers solved lingering differences by feeding the chairmen of the old parties to mollusks stationed at Fort Sumter. Voter registration drives began in earnest as everyone did his bit. Negative ads ruled the day. You couldn’t watch tv for more than five minutes without seeing an ad ripping into the mollusks. Do you remember the ad that said “If the mollusks gain power, your daughter will be forced to marry one.” I do.

The mollusks did their best, but so did the humans. The boatmen of Mississippi refused to transport the mollusks. So did the railmen of Texas. The pilots of New Orleans were not tested as mollusks are afraid of flying.

Our defiant stand forced the mollusks to trek overland from California. Have you ever seen mollusks move? Take it from me, it’s not very fast. Weeks later, the mollusks began to die of exhaustion and dehydration. Most died in the middle of Phoenix where they began to decompose. Millions of birds now live in Phoenix, but no people do.

The heartland of American had been saved. But what about Maine and the other coastal states?

IV. The Readers of Nebraska

Remarkably it was the readers of America that rescued our great land. Fortunately, Nebraska, home of sixty percent of all book sales in U.S., remained mollusk free. These readers reminded the politicos that voters must be eighteen and American citizens. Amazingly, no one else had thought of that. Ha, we had the shelled bastards by the balls, or what passed for balls on a mollusk.

Election officials fanned out into all fifty states checking voter registrations. It was always the same; the mollusks were all underage. We struck them off every voting list. The stricken mollusks protested as vehemently as they could, but their protests fell on deaf ears.
We had won, or had we?

V. The California Mollusk Rush

We totally forgot about the stubbornness of your typical Joe Mollusk. They say an elephant never forgets, well an elephant has nothing on a mollusk. I can say with certainty that a mollusk knows as much today as it did a year ago.

Those mollusks–oh dang it, what’s a good synonym for mollusk; how about “invertebrate animals,” well that’s passable–still harbored an abiding hatred for our mistreatment of them. Since, they could not take America by the ballot box, they would take it by force.

Well, we weren’t afraid of those mollusks. Our army would soon make them cry uncle. In fact, our army was singularly unprepared to fight. Three years ago, the Pentagon asked Congress for thirty-two billion dollars for a weapon system to combat crustaceans and mollusks. At the time it seemed like just another example of the Pentagon wasting tax dollars. So, the proposal was defeated. Who knew?

Congress voted again; this time the vote was in favor of making the weapons. But it was too late; the weapons would take two years to develop. In that time, the coastal states would be permanently lost. The mollusks, stinking ‘lusks, were already starting to push the locals around. It was especially bad in California where they restricted surfing to one hour a week, hogged all the good times at all the best seaside restaurants, and darn near monopolized the inland tennis courts.

VI. Wally and the Beaver

Not all Americans gave up so easily. Wally Quoin, a true mountain man from the Sierra Nevada came to our rescue. He suggested that we set all our beavers on those damn ‘lusks. He said beavers love to eat ‘lusks. He also said beavers and ‘lusks have been feuding for centuries, its origin lost in the mist of time.

The President went on tv to tell us of our new allies. As he spoke, rangers in the National Park Service enlisted our friends, the beavers.
Well, you know what happened next. Millions of beavers swarmed the beaches. Their sharp claws broke open the mollusks’ shells to make countless tasty meals.

VII. E Pluribus Unum

We thanked the beavers for saving America. All they asked in return was that we stop logging near their homes. We stopped doing it, for the beaver is our friend forever. Look at the front of your five-dollar bill; you will see a portrait of a beaver.

– 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: humor, short story | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: