Posts Tagged With: Napoleon

Looking for Toilets, My Travels Through Europe: Venice

VENICE

Doge’s Palace has a public toilet.

See Venice while you can for many parts of it are sinking into the sea. It’s kinda like California slipping into the ocean at the rate of a half inch a year. But there are differences as well.

California has earthquakes, fires, has water shortages, is a hot bed of information technology, has a huge agricultural sector, gives free water at restaurants (if you ask for it) and lets you use restrooms at all sorts of places such as restaurants, supermarkets, and just about any sort of business where the public comes in.

Venice has no shortage of water. It’s everywhere sometimes it floods the main square that tourists infest, which is exciting if you’re wearing designer shoes.

Venice was founded in the fifth century when Attila the Hun was rampaging through Italy, sacking cities, slaughtering the populace, destroying the Roman Empire, and otherwise being rather unpleasant. Anyway, the citizens of Aquileia, a thriving city, saw no future in being massacred and high tailed to the nearby swamp. They reckoned the Huns, a tribe that grew up in east-central Europe, wouldn’t want to slog through the swamp just to extinguish a bunch a people whom they had no real quarrel with. The Aquileians were right and before you knew it, they were sinking pillars in the marsh to provide support for the buildings they were going to put up.

These swamp people called their new city, Venice after Venn diagrams, they were astoundingly into the theory of logic, and ice, a rare commodity in a Mediterranean* seaport in the Dark Ages. Anyway, the Venetians minded their own business for centuries. In disgraceful contrast, the other nations and city states, generally went around for centuries impaling each other with lances and other weapons.

All of a sudden a Venetian woke up and decide to make galleys. These were ships powered by men using oars. Think of fishing in a tiny lake. You used a rowboat. Only the Venetians galley were huge multi-decked rowboats requiring hundreds of oarsmen. Just as you want to protect your fishing spot and perhaps wanted the lake to yourself, the Venetians wanted the Mediterranean to themselves and used their galleys to sink the other nations ships.

However, instead of catching fish, the Venetians transported spices from the Middle East to the rest of Europe. The Europe of the Middle Ages and Renaissance had really no refrigerators to speak of. Thus, their food other rotted and stank, more than lutefisk even. So, the Middle Age diners really appreciated a good spice to cover up the bad food. And so the Venetians thrived.

Until suddenly, the Ottoman Empire conquered the Near East and shut off access to the spices. Moreover, Western Europe developed large sailing vessels that could whoop the pants off the Venetian galleys in combat and could travel long distances across the open sea. Venice went into a centuries long decline. You would have thought they could have used that declining time to come up with anything, like reclining chairs and public restrooms, but no.

Venice lost its independence to Austria in 1806. However, the conquered city still had lots and lots of pasta and fish. This made going to restaurants lots of fun. About this time, Signor Scampi added chairs to his pizzeria. What a great idea. People loved being able to seat down for supper. More and more chefs provided chairs for their customers. The trend toward chairs in Venetian restaurants continues to this very day.

Venice was a republic of sorts, although if you didn’t like the current governor–doges they called them–you were denounced, tried, convicted, and imprisoned or executed in one day. Movers and shakers you bet. People were so afraid of appearing unhappy, that they sported smiles all day long. Hence, the expression, “As smiley as a Venetian.”

My family and I as we got off the water taxi that took us from the port to St. Mark’s square. We headed to our first event, a gondola ride. We took our time, enjoying the architecture. Inevitably with a family of four, some of us had to pee. Where were the public toilets? Where was Waldo? Where was Ameila Earhardt? Actually, we found Ms. Amelia, but the need for the toilets remained unabated. Indeed the pressure mounted. We did find a fancy hotel near the gondola ride. After making our donations, we went outside to find the place where we would show our vouchers. According to the maps, the gondola extravaganza was supposed to be only ten yards away.

As the crow flies. As the drunken crow flies. We crossed a bridge and went to the gondola kiosk. The sphinxes periodically manning the booth ignored us. We recrossed the bridge in search of a caring employee. Nothing. We crossed back to the booth. Nothing. We ended up going over that bridge six times before we found an employee who put a round orange sticker on our shirts. We were good to go.

We got in line. We had a good position even though the gondola guys had sold hundreds of tickets for our time slot. Actually this wasn’t true due to a cultural misunderstanding. In America, people generally stand behind the last person in line. In Venice and in the airport coming back, standing in line meant standing to the side of people in line, generally near the front. Soon a vast semi-circle sea of people stood around the gondolas pressing ever forward as if  trying to get into a Who concert.

Eventually we got on a gondola and began our bumper-to-bumper (prow-to-bow on a gondola?) tour of the back canals of Venice. Many power boats made deliveries on alcohol to the back entrances of various bars. Cool, actually.

After the ride, I had the clever idea of finding where our evening Vivaldi concert would be. Although the venue had St. Mark’s as part of its address, our consensus was to use GPS. GPS resolutely marched us to and around tiny alleys away from St. Marks. We came to an epiphany; GPS sucks in narrow alleys.

We did find a small pizzeria where authentic Chinese waitresses provided efficient and cheerful service. This restaurant might have had a restroom. We’ll never know. None of us felt brave enough to pass a shrieking toddler to look. Oh how, weak and naive we were.

But we were smart and experienced enough now to head back to St. Mark’s Square to find Saint Mark’s Cathedral. (By the way, twenty-four years earlier I had the good fortune to visit this square during the Carnival season. I saw many wonderful acts, many in Italian and some in English. I also did the Hokey Pokey with a bunch of Americans. My contribution was, “You put your left ear in. You put your left ear out…)

Anyway the biggest tourist attraction in Venice is St. Mark’s Cathedral, named after St. Mark. My family went there for a full mass on Saturday evening. Mass was in Italian, but the choir was from Britain and sang in English, which was cool. But no restroom. During mass, touring around the cathedral is forbidden. So is flash photography, at least in theory. Sitting is forbidden during the tourist hours. So, you can’t sit in a pew and look at spectacular mosaic in the ceiling. And there’s no public restroom inside.

After mass, we went outside to find our concert. My gosh, it was literally twenty yards away. There was a big sign saying, “Vivaldi Concert tonight.” Fuck you, GPS.

The concert was fantastic. We were in the second row, only fifteen feet away from the musicians. The concert hall had seats for only about forty people. The energy and the skill of the musicians, well oh my gosh they were great. And they played Vivaldi’s the Four Seasons, one of my favorites. (I had listened to Vivaldi’s Two Seasons a couple decades earlier from a slow-arriving herd of Parisian violinists. No comparison, these Venetian folks were the real McCoys.)

And the concert venue had a public toilet. Sure I had to clamber up a two-foot high step, but I had been toughened, and so it proved no obstacle at all.)

A great concert, two public toilet, and mass at one of the most famous cathedrals in the world, the day had been good.

Next day we stampeded the doge’s palace in St. Mark’s square. The doges had  lived there. It’s also where the nobility conducted the affairs of state. Venice was by the standards of its times, a rabid democracy. At first, nearly all the men could vote. Then sometime during the Middle Ages, the nobility in an admirable display of voter suppression struck all but a few thousand men from the voting rolls. The criminal justice system occurred in this building as well. With a strong Protestant work ethic, this Catholic government (the Reformation wouldn’t occur for centuries) heard, convicted, and sentenced people with assembly line efficiency.

Which they needed to do as they apparently had and still have, thank goodness, one public restroom. Would you want to spend hours uncovering quilt when you needed to pee. How did I know of this restroom? Twenty-four years earlier, I had toured the doge’s palace with a reasonably empty bladder. Only after leaving the palace did I look at my tour guide. It said, “Don’t forget to visit the public restroom at the palace. People restrooms are scarcer than hens’ teeth in St. Mark’s Square.” The tour book was right. A few hours later, I found myself wandering the Square saying, “A toilet! My American ExpressTM travellers checks for a toilet.” So this time I was able to comfortably whiz away while surrounded by centuries of history.

We then took our self-guided tour of St. Mark’s Cathedral. For love of God, Montressor, book your tickets in advance. Plate tectonics moves faster than lines at the Cathedral’s kiosks. The cathedral was as beautiful as it had been the previous day.

Our ticket to the doge palace gave our free entry to the city’s art museum. Let me tell you the energy spent railroading enemies of the state to their death did not diminish in the slightest the output of the land’s magnificent artists. Lots of busts of Napoleon, which was exciting for me as I am a direct descendant of his and it was nice to speculate how all this art and city could have been mine if only he had won the Battle of Waterloo.

Then tragedy struck. The men’s bathroom in the museum was, was . . . oh the humanity, was blocked of for cleaning. Well fuck. So we went outside to look for a public bathroom. We saw a sign for one. We did! We did!

We didn’t find it. We looked for hours. In desperation, we went into a restaurant. Number Two Son approached the proprietor*. The conversation remains burned in my brain.

“Do you have a restroom?” asked Number Two Son.

“Yes,” said the evil proprietor.

“May we use it?”

“No.”

“How about if we eat dinner here?”

“No.”

So we head back to the water-taxis with my bladder full as Boulder Dam after a rainy season. And there it was, Harry’s Bar! My gosh, the famous Harry’s Bar. Ernest Hemingway, Winston Churchill, Orson Welles, Aristotle Onassis, and other luminaries used to get drunk here and it was quite all right. And carpaccio was invented here. Contessa Amalia Nania Mocenigo was told that for her health she had to give up cooked meat. The clever bar owner sliced sirloin steak as thin as possible drizzled a sauce made of mayonnaise, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, olive oil, and a soupçon of milk. A place fit for an exclamation point!

I went in to whizz. I asked to use the restroom. They answered politely and pointed the way. I expressed my gratitude after I came out. I said how excited I was to be at Harry’s Bar. They smiled and thanked me. We went back to our ship. A palace, an art museum, culinary history, and two public restrooms. Life was good.

* = Mediterranean is hard to spell. So is proprietor.

Paul De Lancey, Intrepid Explorer

 

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with 180 wonderful recipes is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, is also available on amazon.com

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Bunny Chow

South African Entree

BUNNY CHOW

INGREDIENTSbunnychow

1 medium onion
3 medium potatoes
4 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tomatoes
2 pounds chicken breasts or lamb
3 fresh curry leaves
3 tablespoons Durban masala (See recipe)
⅓ cup chicken stock
2 1-lb whole white loaves
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro

Serves 4. Takes 1 hour.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

Dutch oven

PREPARATION

Dice onion. Peel potatoes. Cut potatoes into 1″ cubes. Add onion, potato, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, fennel seeds, and vegetable oil to Dutch oven. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Stir constantly. Remove from heat.

Dice tomatoes. Cut chicken into 1″ cubes. Add Durban masala, Add tomato, chicken, curry leaves, and Durban masala to Dutch oven. Cook using medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir frequently. Add chicken stock. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until potato is tender and chicken is no longer pink inside. Remove Dutch oven from heat. Discard cinnamon stick.

Slice bread loaf in half along its length. Use sharp knife to cut off most of the soft white bread from each half. Leave ½”-to-1″ of bread crust along the edges and bottoms. (The scooped out bread can be made into bread crumbs.) Ladle potato/tomato/chicken mixture into each hollowed-out loaf half. Garnish with coriander. Repeat for second bread loaf.

TIDBITS

1) Bunnies are naturally fierce fighters. Armies everywhere had them. Napoleon wouldn’t have dreamed of conquering Europe without his corps of bunny irregulars.

2) But you say, “Aha, Napoleon didn’t conquer Europe. See, you’re wrong. Bunnies aren’t so fierce.” Ho, ho, they are. Napoleon won victory after victory up until 1808 with his beserker bunnies.

3) Then, Napoleon invaded Spain. Spain had guerrilla fighters. More importantly, it had battle hardened bunnies. Conquistador bunnies. Bunnies that pushed Moors out of the Iberian positions during the centuries of La Reconquista. Bunnies that had accompanied Cortes to Mexico, Pizarro to Peru, and Albondigas to Greenland. Bunnies that terrified conquered peoples into quiet submission for centuries.

4) The French army never had been on the receiving end of a bunny charge. Never had seen those twitching noses and the unreasoning terror that engendered. Never had to see a sea of bunny tails popping up and down as they stamped toward them . . .

5) where they nibbled your shoes and your shoelaces and so you tripped and your comrades laughed and laughed at you and felt so ashamed that you deserted the army and ran home where you sold sprigs of cilantro which tastes like soap to some people which was okay because all life tasted like soap to you and you spent the rest of your life thinking in run-on sentences.

6) And even if you managed to man up and stand your ground after all that, the bunnies would bite your ankles repeatedly which often hurt, particularly so when their teeth actually broke your skin.

7) Suppose you were a stalwart sort, a man among and you were still fighting bunnies crazed beyond belief by sangria, you’d still have to deal with the bunnies’ powerful rear legs, legs that could kick a potato twenty feet.

8) Imagine. You’ve seen their twitching noses, their bobbing cottontails, had your shoelaces nibbled in two, had your ankles bitten, and now they’re hurting your shins and they won’t stop. And then, and then, they keep your potatoes twenty feet away where they get smooshed in the heat of battle.

9) You have no food. So, you confiscate some local food, some paella perhaps, but your body hasn’t faced Spanish food bacteria. So, now you’re a French soldier in Spain fighting for an emperor who only cares about himself and you have the mother of all stomach aches. You throw thrown your musket and flee.

10) The rest of your comrades see that you, a man among men, are fleeing. They realize the fight is lost. They flee as well. Your army is routed. Bunny-fear demoralizes the other French armies. French forces reel back to France. Allied hordes attack Paris and storm the Montmarte. France capitulates. Your flight from the Spanish battlefield brought all this about.

11) The French Emperor Napoleon gets exiled to Elba. The long-time leader gives a farewell to his Old Guard, “Adieu mes amis, nous sommes battus vaillamment et aurions gagné mais pour ce lecteur de recette et sa peur des lapins.”*

* = “Good buy my friends, we fought valiantly and would have won but for this read reader of recipes and his fear of bunnies. (Sorry, apparently Napoleon’s French is only as good as mine. Weird.)

12) So you’ve changed history. Awesome responsibility, isn’t it?

Chef Paul

LutheranCookbook

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, are available on amazon.com

The cookbook is also available as an e-book on Nook

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

Categories: cuisine, history, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hokey Pokey Ice Cream

New Zealander Dessert

HOKEY POKEY ICE CREAM

INGREDIENTS – HOKEY POKEYHokeyPokey-

2 tablespoons golden syrup
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda

INGREDIENTS – ICE CREAM

1½ cups heavy whipping cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
4 egg yolks

SPECIAL UTENSILS

Waxed parchment paper or cookie sheet
No-stick spray
electric beater
1 gallon plastic container with tight lid

Makes 3 quarts. Takes 45 minutes plus about 6 hours in freezer.

PREPARATION – HOKEY POKEY

Put waxed parchment paper on cookie sheet. Spray waxed parchment paper with no-stick spray. Add golden syrup and sugar to pan. Cook at low-medium heat until mixture melts and then boils. Stir constantly. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. Stir constantly to avoid burning the sugar. Remove from heat. Add baking soda. Stir with fork until mixture becomes pale and frothy. Pour mixture onto waxed parchment paper. Let sit for 30 minutes or until mixture solidifies into hokey pokey. Break hokey pokey with hands, bash with kitchen mallet, or cut with kitchen scissors until you have chunks no longer than ½” long.

PREPARATION – ICE CREAM

While hokey pokey sets, add cream to large mixing bowl. Whip with electric beater set on cream, or high, until cream becomes thickens and soft peaks form. Add vanilla extract, confectioner’s sugar, and egg yolks to second mixing bowl. Mix with electric beater set on cream, or high, until creamy. Fold confectioner’s sugar/egg mixture from second mixing bowl into first mixing bowl with cream.

PREPARATION – FINAL

Add hokey pokey chunks and ice cream to plastic container. Stir gently with spoon until hokey pokey is evenly distributed. Cover and put in refrigerator for 6 hours or ice cream is firm.

TIDBITS

1) The hokey pokey is a dance where a leader names a part of the body. The participants then put that part in, take part out, put that part in, shake it all about, turn themselves around. That’s what it’s all about.

2) The hokey pokey was used to devastating effect by English forces in the battle of Waterloo in 1815. In a desperate gamble, the French Emperor Napoleon hurled his vaunted Old Guard at the center of the English infantry line. Onward, ever onward they marched, their jaws clenched tightly together by glue-like oatmeal. The English line buckled. One more push and the French would triumph. Napoleon would remain emperor. He would continue to march his armies all over Europe. Europe would continue to be drenched in blood as Napoleon engaged in ceaseless conquest and pursuit of La Gloire.

3) Private Henry Tavert of the English tenor-infantry brigade began to shake in terror. His sergeant growled. “Pull yourself together, man.”

4) “I can’t.” said Henry. “You must,” said the sergeant. “For God, king, and country.”

5) “I still can’t.” The sergeant rolled his eyes. “All right then, do it for your mum.”

6) Henry managed a weak smile. “I can do that. Me mum used to sing the hokey pokey to me whenever I got afraid. It gave me courage, it did.”

7) “Then private, sing the hokey pokey.”

8) And so Henry did, weakly at first, but with increasing conviction and volume with each successive word. The rest of the tenor brigade joined in. When they all got to the part about turning “yourself about,” the song could be heard by the bilingual sergeants of France’s Old Guard.

9) These bilingual sergeants upon hearing the words “turn yourself about,” turned themselves about. The privates taking their cue from their sergeants turned themselves about as well.

10) “D___ me,” shouted the sergeant, “The Frenchies are fleeing. Fix bayonets!” He pointed to the retreating French. “England, put your whole selves out.”

11) The tenor brigade charged. Brigades to their left and right advanced as well. Pretty soon, the entire English army rushed the French. The French retreat became a rout. Napoleon’s once mighty Grande Armée disintegrated never to reform. Europe was finally at peace.

12) Europe stayed at peace for another 99 years. Whenever a country poured it armies across its neighbor’s borders, the defenders would sing the hokey pokey and make the attackers turn themselves about. War became pointless and boring.

13) Until 1913, when countries issued ear plugs to their armies. Soldiers couldn’t hear the hokey pokey and so would no longer turn themselves about. World War I, a horrific bloodbath, commenced only one year later. We need to come up with a countermeasure to ear plugs.

– Chef Paul

LutheranCookbook

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, are available in paperback or Kindle on amazon.com

The cookbook is also available 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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Chicken Prosciutto Sandwich

Fusion Entree

CHICKEN PROSCIUTTO SANDWICH

INGREDIENTSChickenProscuitto-

4 chicken breasts
1 cup aioli sauce
6 ounces mozzarella
1 Roma tomato
4 sesame-seed hamburger buns
1 cup bread crumbs
8 slices proscuitto
4 lettuce leaves
no-stick spray

SPECIAL UTENSILS

kitchen mallet
parchment paper
3 cookie or baking sheets

Takes 1 hour 40 minutes. Makes 4 sandwiches.

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Flatten chicken breasts with kitchen mallet. Add chicken breasts and aioli sauce to large mixing bowl. Turn chicken breasts by hand until chicken is thoroughly coated. Put in refrigerator and marinate for 1 hour.

While chicken marinates, cut mozzarella and tomato into 4 slices each. After marinating, add bread crumbs to 2nd mixing bowl. Place a mozzarella slice on each hamburger-bun top. Remove chicken breasts from 1st mixing bowl, saving the remaining aioli sauce. Dredge chicken breasts through bread crumbs until they are completely coated. Spray 1st cookie sheet with no-stick spray. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. (You will be adding two more cookie sheets after 13 minutes.)

While chicken is baking, place parchment paper on 2nd cookie sheet. Place proscuitto on top of parchment paper. Place all hamburger bun halves, including the ones with cheese, on 3rd cookie sheet. After the chicken has baked for 13 minutes, add the proscuitto and the cheese-covered buns to the oven. Continue baking for another 7 minutes or until chicken crumbs are golden brown, proscuitto is starting to become crispy, and the cheese on the buns has melted.

Spread saved aioli sauce on hamburger-bun bottoms. Place lettuce leaf on bottom hamburger bun. Put chicken breast on lettuce leaf, then add 2 prosciutto slices. Complete with cheese covered hamburger-bun top.

TIDBITS

1) Have chicken prosciutto sandwiches always been round?

2) No! Prior to the siege of Picanza, Italy by Napoleon’s troops in 1813, they were triangular. The Picanzans found that shape easy to hold while eating.

3) The triangular sandwiches were also deadly weapons in the hands of the town’s ninjas, particularly after the snack had hardened from being left out in the hot Italian Sun for two weeks.

4) Oh! Don’t forget to go to Picanza’s annual Ninja Chicken Prosciutto Sandwich Toss Festival every April 1. Teams from all over the world compete for the Golden Sandwich Trophy, although Italy and Japan have done all the winning. Be sure to get out of the way of the tosses!

4) The odor from two-week old prosciutto often drove away invading armies just by itself. Well, at least until 1767 when it became standard for armies to carry pumpkin-spiced incense sticks.

5) But in 1813, the clever Napoleon constantly moved his troops upwind from the city. The gale forces winds of that summer continually blew the chicken-prosciutto-sandwich-death triangles back into the city whey dealt widespread carnage among the cafe drinkers. To this day, Picanzans always drink their espresso inside.

6) It looked bad for the Picanzans. The French would fire cannon balls into the city. The Picanzans unable to hurl their hardened sandwich resorted to making scary faces at the besiegers. It was an unequal struggle.

7) Thank goodness for the annual Bowling Ball Festival. Unlike most bowling festivals, this one took place on the precipitous Strada Ripido. Why was it held on such a steep street? The competitors used Parmesan wheels as bowling balls and those 200 pound rounds are heavy. Francesco Poblano suggested they crush the French army by rolling Parmesan cheese at them. The mayor said, “Are you crazy! How will we make eggplant Parmesan?” The ever-clever Franceso said, “Why not make our chicken prosciutto sandwiches round. That way, when they don’t get eaten, we can roll the hardened sandwiches down our steep hills and crush the French down below.”

8) The mayor and other notables proclaimed Francesco a genius and erected a statue in his honor made of bread crumbs and eggs. That statue is still there.

9) Anyway, the Picanzans rolled chicken-prosciutto sandwiches dried out to death dealing hardness at Napoleon’s forces. The bowled over French fled the surrounding hill in terror. Napoleon suffered an irreversible blow to his prestige. Nations all over Europe took courage from his humiliation and rose up against him, swamping the French armies by sheer force of numbers.

10) By 1815, the once great French emperor was exiled to the remote island of St. Helena, where he eked out a tenuous living selling French-style hot dogs out of a vending cart.

11) Oh! Don’t forget to go to Picanza, Italy for its annual Bowling Ball Festival. It’s exciting, particularly if you watch the event at the bottom of Strada Ripido. I suggest paying extra for seats at the top of the steep road.

– Chef Paul

LutheranCookbook

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, are available in paperpack
or Kindle on amazon.com

The cookbook is also available 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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When My Family Stopped Ruling the World

Napoleon

200 years ago my great, great, great, great grandfather, Napoleon I, lost the battle of Waterloo. In doing so, he lost control of Europe, his position as emperor of France, and my birthright to rule France and intimidate the rest of the world. Bummer. But it’s fun to speculate what I would do if I were emperor. Let’s go! I’d:

1) Ban lutefisk. How how did we allowed this atrocity to go unchecked?

2) Abolish all Federal income taxes.

3) Impose imperial income taxes. We’re an empire now, remember?

4) Coffee trucks will cruise by the millions around all neighborhoods in the morning. This will increase productivity to an amazing extent, heralding in a new era of prosperity.

5) The Cubs will win the World Series. Imperial decree seems to be the only way to bring this about. Besides, Cub fans have suffered a lot.

6) Grade inflation will stop in schools. Teachers will get paid more. Bacon & Chocolate will be part of school lunches.

7) It will be illegal to advertise any story or post on the internet with, “You won’t believe” or “what happens next will shock you.

8) Twizzlers will become the world’s currency.

9) Tacos will be free everywhere on my birthday.

10) Computers will no longer freeze.

11) Spammers will be charged a penny for every person they spam. This will eliminate the need for income taxes. Yay!

12) People who don’t signal before they turn will spontaneously combust.

13) Air travel will be fun. Okay this last one is a stretch.

– Paul R. De Lancey, Emperor of the WorldCoverFrontFinal

Check out my latest novel, the hilarious apocalyptic thriller, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms? It’s published by HumorOutcasts and is available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com.

 

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My Favorites for the next round in Soccer’s World Cup

France over Germany. I’m a direct descendant of the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. I’m ready if they ever come to their senses and restore me to my rightful throne. On the other hand, they did kill some of my Hugenot ancestors in their religious wars some centuries ago. I bicycled through France while in grad school and had a great time, except for that one French driver who ran me off the road and sent me to the hospital. France has invaded Germany many more than times than vice versa over the centuries. However, Germany has done the last three invading. I took French in school and at my peak, I could go toe to toe with any French eight year old. While I like German food very much, I love French food much more and have so many more French recipes. And my gosh, how could I not root for the country that invented the chocolate eclair?

Brazil over Columbia. Brazil speaks Portuguese. Portuguese names are cool. Is there any name cooler than Vasco di Gama? (Quite possibly spelled correctly.) I liked the variety of Brazilian cuisine over Columbian. Brazil has had brutal dictatorships, while Columbia has been in the thrall of drug cartels. It’s gotten better in both countries. In grad school at Wisconsin, I sometimes worked registering students. One semester the whole process got horribly messed up. Students who registered at the end found no classes open that they liked. Some were nearly in tears, afraid they couldn’t register for any class at all and would have paid tuition for nothing. Fortunately, there was a poster behind me that read, “Why not Portuguese?” Apparently the Portuguese department had openings in their classes for the tired, huddled masses of freshmen yearning for credits so they could graduate in four years.  I hope that helped the beleaguered students.

Belgium over Argentina. While much better now, Argentina once had a brutal dictatorship while Belgium has remained pretty much harmless. Years ago, I bicycled through Belgium without incident. Yay. Who could not love the Argentinian barbecue, but for goodness sake, Belgium gifted humanity with the French fry. And who does not feel warm and fuzzy about the Belgian waffle? Belgium did beat America, boo!, and if the Belgians had invented only the French fry, I’d be saying, “Viva, Argentina!” But the Belgian waffle brought me back to backing Belgium. Close call, though.

Netherlands over Costa Rica. I don’t no anything about Costa Rican cuisine, sorry. However, the Dutch have the most amazing spicy mustard they put on their French fries. And my gosh, the Dutch know how to cook their French fries just right! Their mini pancakes with confectionery sugar is one of the world’s best desserts. You can get great Indonesian food anywhere in the Netherlands. Sure, that’s because the Dutch invaded Indonesia in the 1600s, which was bad. But the Dutch left Indonesia in 1948 taking home a love for Indonesian food, one of the world’s greatest cuisine. I lived in the Netherlands for three years while a teenager and loved it. The people there are very nice. They keep everything clean except for a strange blind spot about dog poop everywhere on the side walks.

– Sports reporter, Paul De Lancey

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

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White Cake

American Dessert

WHITE CAKE

INGREDIENTSWhiteCake-

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 egg whites
2 cups flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups milk
no-stick spray

SPECIAL UTENSILS

2 9″-round cake tins
electric beater

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Let butter soften at room temperature. Put butter and sugar in large mixing bowl. Use “cake” setting on electric beater for 5 minutes or until butter and sugar becomes creamy.

Blend in eggs and egg whites one at a time using “cake” setting on electric beater. Add flour, baking powder, and salt to mixing bowl. Blend all using “cake” setting. Add milk. Blend one last time using “cake” setting on your electric beater until batter is smooth.

Spray cake tins with no-stick spray. Spoon or pour batter into cake tins. Put tins in oven. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-to-35 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean or when the cake springs back when touched with a spoon.

TIDBITS

1) Queen Marie Antoinette was told that the poor Parisians couldn’t afford to buy bread anymore. She said, “Let them eat cake,” which was more expensive. This ignorance and callousness so inflamed the French poor that they started the French Revolution.

2) Thousands of the nobility died at the guillotine during the Revolution. Thousands more peasants died during the White Terror reaction of the nobility. France became so unstable that Napoleon was able to seize power in 1799. Napoleon plunged Europe into nearly constant warfare for the next sixteen years. Hundreds of thousands of people perished. People couldn’t every tweet outrage.

3) The French government since then has heavily regulated the price of bread.
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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Dulce de Leche

Mexican Dessert

DULCE DE LECHE

INGREDIENTSDulceDeLeche-

1 14-ounce can condensed milk
1 14-ounce can evaporated milk

PREPARATION

Add condensed milk and evaporated milk to pot. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes or until liquid begins to boil. Stir frequently. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 30 minutes or until liquid thickens and turns toffee color. Stir frequently to avoid burning and boiling over.

Serve by itself or with ice cream, pancakes, cakes, beans, bread, or crackers.. This will keep for months if poured into an airtight, sterilized jar and kept in the refrigerator. But that won’t happen, it’s too delicious.

TIDBITS

1) I had always thought dulce de leche to be Mexican. But no, a swirling controversy exists over its country of origin.

2) Indeed, Argentina once pressed the United Nations to declare dulce de leche an Argentinean culinary creation. Uruguay presented a counter claim and the world edged closer to conflict. The crisis receded when delegates from both countries partook of dulce de leche. This wondrous dessert is simply too delectable and filling to leave room for acrimonious debate and world slumbered its way back to peace.

3) Argentineans claim a maid was so distracted by attending to delegates to a peace conference that she forgot about the sweetened milk on the stove. She returned to find a caramel paste which everyone loved. A peace treaty was soon signed. I’m telling you; culinary diplomacy is the surest way to lasting, international peace

4) Legend has dulce de leche being used as medicine in India about 5,000 years ago. Some people even now use dulce de leche as an alternative medicine. Is there nothing this dessert can’t do?

5) One of Napoleon’s cooks accidentally made dulce de leche for his troops. Napoleon himself had a dessert named after him. Sure, he tried to conquered all of Europe, but we all have our bad points, don’t we? It’s time to move on and remember the desserts the French Emperor gave us and use them to build a lasting peace just like the Argentineans and Uruguyans.
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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Banane Celeste From Martinique

Martiniquai Dessert

BANANE CELESTE

INGREDIENTSBananeCeleste-

1 pound cream cheese (1/2 pound at a time)
3 tablespoons butter
6 ripe bananas
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (1/4 teaspoon more later)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

serves 6

SPECIAL UTENSIL

baking dish

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Let cream cheese and butter soften. Peel bananas and cut them in half along their lengths.

Add cream cheese, brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Use fork or blender on lowest setting until mixture is light and fluffy.

Light and fluffy sounds so peaceful doesn’t it? Next time you’re at a peace conference say, “Light and fluffy” to the warring sides and see if the mood of the room doesn’t improve dramatically.

Meanwhile back at the stove, use medium heat to melt the butter in a pan. Add banana halves to pan. Sauté bananas on medium heat until they turn light brown on both sides. Turn bananas carefully over with spatula to ensure even browning.

Evenly arrange 6 banana halves in bottom of baking dish. Spoon 1/2 pound cream cheese evenly over bananas. Place 6 more banana halves on top of the the cream cheese. Spoon another 1/2 pound of cream cheese atop the second banana layer.

Smooth heavy cream over the second layer of cream cheese. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon over heavy cream.

Put baking dish in oven and bake in over for 15-to-20 minutes at 350 degrees or until cream-cheese sauce is bubbly and golden brown.

TIDBITS
1) Josephine Bonaparte, wife of the Emperor Napoleon, was born in Martinique in 1763 with the name of Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de La Pagerie. This name was way too long so most people just called her “Ma.” Josephine possessed a lively sense of humor.

2) People loved her jokes. She had them in stitches. Agents from Vau de Ville frequently came to her mansion to sign her up for large engagements but she always demurred, saying she was but a simple banana plantation monopolist.

3) Still the island’s elite kept coming to her comedy soirées to hear her jokes. They never wanted to leave even when she got tired and wanted to retire. They’d say, “Yo, Ma, Ma, tell us another joke.”

4) Her funnies became known as “Ma Ma jests,” then “Mama jests,” and finally by 1779 as “Yo, Mama jokes.”

5) In 1779, Ma Pagerie married the owner of the Folies Bergère, Monsieur de Beauharnais, and moved to Paris.

6) Nothing much of note happened in the lives of the de Beauharnaises until monsieur ended their marriage by getting guillotined in 1794. Saved the unpleasantness of a bitter divorce, Ma commenced a series of mirthful affairs with the handsome leaders of the French Revolution.

7) In 1796 she attracted the eye of a young artillery officer named Napoleon Bonaparte. “She made me laugh,” said Napoleon.

8) Napoleon had suffered from chronic depression and often stayed in bed neglecting to fight the smallest battle until Ma bucked him up with one of the world’s first chicken-crossing the road jokes. “Pourquoi le poulet a traversé la rue? Pour obtenir à l’autre côté.”

9) Ma’s mirth gave Napoleon the energy to follow his dream. In 1799, he and two other hombres overthrew the constitutional government. In 1804, he reached the top of the government ladder when he made himself emperor.

10) Life was good for France with Napoleon conquering one country after another. People no longer had to get visas to visit the Italian Riviera. Napoleon had made it part of France. What a guy!

11) But things went sour in 1810. Napoleon wanted an heir for his Empire. Ma, although always able to conceive a knee-slapping joke without a moment’s notice, could not do the same with a child. So Napoleon divorced her and married Marie Louise of Austria.

12) Marie Louise lived in a permanent humor-free zone. She never made Napoleon laugh, not once. Napoleon grew moody, his judgment became impaired. In 1812, he invaded Russia, a disaster. By 1814, his enemies were at the French border. They offered Napoleon a peace treaty, but without Ma’s jokes to relieve the tension caused by his tactless outbursts, negotiations went downhill.

13) Napoleon was forever defeated in 1815 and exiled to St. Helena. It would decades before vaudeville revived.

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

Bajan Macaroni Pie From Barbados

Barbadian Entree

BAJAN MACARONI PIE

INGREDIENTSBajanMacaroni-

1 pound macaroni
2 onions
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon banana ketchup
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese (1/4 cup more later)
2 tablespoons Bajan seasoning
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 tablespoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 egg
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

SPECIAL UTENSIL

colander
8″ casserole dish

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil water in large pot on high heat. Put macaroni in pot. Boil macaroni for about 12 minutes or until tender Drain macaroni in colander.

While macaroni is boiling, dice onions. Put butter and onions in now empty pot. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onions are tender. Add banana ketchup, mayonnaise, milk, yellow mustard, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, Bajan seasoning, paprika, parsley, pepper, and egg. Mix with hands. (Pretend you are throttling the people who make hated software upgrades.)

Put mixture in casserole dish. Sprinkle 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese on top. Bake for 30 minutes or until top starts to turn brown.

TIDBITS

1) You should serve Burgundy alongside the macaroni you serve to your guests. Serving any other wine would be gauche.

2) When the ancient Egyptians entombed their dead they sometimes gave their departed ones cheese for their journey in the afterworld.

3) The first written recipe for mac and cheese comes from thirteenth-century Italy. It used fermented cheese. Hurray!

4) The box recipe for macaroni and cheese appeared in 1802. One year later, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of France. He would plunge Europe into war after war for most of the next twelve years. Coincidence? Perhaps.

5) The phrase “Big Cheese” originally referred to people wealthy enough to purchase a whole wheel of cheese.

6) Kraft debuted its boxed mac and cheese in 1937. The Great Depression ends two years later.

7) In 1993, Crayola came out with the color, “macaroni and cheese.” We’ve had no global wars since then.

– Chef Paul

cookbookhunks

This recipe is available in my cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, which is available on amazon.com. My newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, is also available on amazon.com

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

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