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‘Tis the season for a serving of sheep’s head?
12.18.2014
02:04 pm

Topics:
Food

Tags:
Norway
Smalahove


 
In Norway, an old tradition has recently been revived: a meal of a sheep’s head with all the trimmings. Sound weird? It sure does, even more so when you learn that the eyes and ears are considered an especial delicacy.

A serving of Smalahove consists of a half-head, boiled potatoes and rutabagas mashed with salt, pepper, cream, and butter. The most scrumptious parts of Smalahove are the ear and the eye. The reason is that the meat at these locations is quite fatty—and the eyes and ears taste best when they are still warm. Yesterday the German magazine Stern ran a story about Smalahove by Denise Wachter. Smalahove is a dish with strong associations with Christmas. Interestingly, an EU directive forbids the serving of smalahove from adult sheep due to fears of scrapie, a degenerative disease of sheep and goats, even though scrapie apparently is not transmissible to humans. So smalahove is made exclusively from lambs.

Here’s what the OECD Studies on Tourism Food and the Tourism Experience: The OECD-Korea Workshop has to say about it:
 

[Gyimothy and Mykletun] describe how smalahove (salted, smoked and cooked sheep’s head) has become a part of the destination brand of Voss, a small town in west Norway. The preparation of smalahove involves burning away the wool from the head, leaving the skin intact and brown in colour. The head is then split into two halves by means of an axe, and the inner organs except the eye and the tongue are removed. It is carefully cleaned, salted, and dried for some days before it is smouldered on a cold smoke of fresh juniper, dry oak or alder. Having been both salted and smoked, the head could be preserved in an airy place for some months. The preparation of the dish is simple. The half head is first watered and steamed for three hours, then served with potatoes boiled in the skin and with stewed Swedish turnips.

 
A couple hours’ drive inland from the city of Bergen on Norway’s west coast, the town of Voss has taken up the cause of smalahove and converted it into a source of significant tourist revenue. In the past, fermented milk or beer was served with the sheep’s head. Today it’s aquavit—cumin schnapps. The sheep was once slaughtered right there on the farm; today it’s the butcher’s job.
 

 
With thanks to Thomas Schlich!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Ad of the day: Have a döner kebab with Hitler


 
I really love this commercial for a döner kebab joint somewhere in Germany—it would be nice if I knew which one! Perhaps the clientele they’re looking for knows where it is. Maybe it’s a chain?

The commercial follows the template of the recent Snickers campaign, which plays on the potentiality of low blood sugar to turn you into something like an cranky, ogre-ish version of your normal self—thus a nougat-and-nut candy bar between meals is the only thing that can restore you to your proper self. So a football coach needs a Snickers bar to stop being Robin Williams (RIP) and so forth.

Here some local purveyors of Turkish cuisine appropriate the ultimate symbol of evil, Adolf Hitler, to make the same point. You don’t need to know too much German to understand what’s happening, but I’ll supply some translations anyway—my German isn’t entirely up to the more slangy variants they use, but I’ll do my best. Adolf is riding behind the shotgun seat and being impatient, he says something about going to Stalingrad, in a possible reference to Bruno Ganz’s portrayal of Hitler from Oliver Hirschbiegel’s 2004 movie Downfall that has since become the well-known “Hitler Reacts” viral sensation for the meltdown scene in which Hitler finally realizes that the war is lost.

So anyway, Hitler barks something about Stalingrad, and his buddies have had enough. The guy in the shotgun seat says, “Digga,* we agreed to your request, don’t you notice that?” Hitler slaps him lightly on the cheek with his glove, saying “Don’t you notice that?” Then his buddy in the back seat says, “Olli, what’s with you? Dig in to this döner sandwich, digga.” Adolf says, skeptically, “Why?” Back seat buddy says, “Every time you get hungry, you turn into a real Führer.” Adolf says, “into a Führer?” and they all chime in, “Yeah, into a Führer,” with the driver adding, “It’s true.” Once the döner sandwich has been consumed, Adolf reverts back into his mustachioed self and (I think) lightly protests that it’s not better this way. The text on the bottom says simply, “You’re not you when you are hungry.”

One might be tempted to call this commercial offensive, and certainly it’s a little on the flippant side. But the Turks occupy a marginalized role in Germany, they’re the out-group. So it’s fun to see them (not that I know they’re Turkish, the food is certainly Turkish in origin) appropriating the ultimate symbol of German oppression for their own ends. Don’t be such a Hitler about it! Jeez.

 
via Schlecky Silberstein
 
* Note: Commenters have pointed out that my first rendering was not right. I had initially misheard this as the German word Neger (which is not the N-word, so don’t even, it means “Negro”), which I loosely translated as “nigga.” It’s actually the slang term digga, which loosely translates as “buddy.” My appreciation goes out to the commenters.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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Three Dadaist recipes from Man Ray
12.10.2014
06:54 am

Topics:
Art
Food

Tags:
Man Ray
Dada


 
If you happen to see an affordable copy of The Artists’ and Writers’ Cookbook in a bookstore—assuming there are any bookstores left—grab it. It looks like most online booksellers’ copies are going for between $100 and $200 this holiday season, but I found one for just $8.50 a couple years back, so there must be other affordable copies out there.

Published in 1961 by Contact Editions in Sausalito, the cookbook collects John Keats’ recipes for pike and duck, Isak Dinesen’s oysters au naturel (not much of a recipe, really), Marcel Duchamp’s steak tartare, Lillian Hellman’s shrimp creole, Edgard Varèse’s boeuf bourguignon, Pearl Buck’s spare ribs, Robert Graves’ yellow plum jelly, Paul Bowles’ recipe for majoun—the Moroccan cannabis candy that fueled The Sheltering Sky and Let It Come Down—and much else. I can’t say I’ve used the book much for cooking, mainly because the recipes are so heavy on meat. But even if, like me, you don’t plan to whip up a batch of Enid Foster’s brains in beer anytime soon, where else can you come across things like Man Ray’s “Menu for a Dadaist Day”? Here are three mouthwatering, kitchen-tested Dadaist favorites that will have your family clamoring for seconds.

Le Petit Dejeuner. Take a wooden panel of an inch or less thickness, 16 to 20 inches in size. Gather the brightly colored wooden blocks left by children on the floors of playrooms and paste or screw them on the panel.

Déjeuner. Take the olives and juice from one large jar of prepared green or black olives and throw them away. In the empty jar place several steel ball bearings. Fill the jar with machine oil to prevent rusting. With this delicacy serve a loaf of French bread, 30 inches in length, painted a pale blue.

Dîner. Gather wooden darning eggs, one per person. If the variety without handles cannot be found, remove the handles. Pierce lengthwise so that skewers can be inserted in each darning egg. Lay the skewered eggs in an oblong or oval pan and cover with transparent cellophane.

Mmm! Just like Mom used to make.

 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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‘I don’t like human flesh, too salty for me’: What dictators like to eat

00hitlerdine.jpg
 
A new book Dictators’ Dinners: A Bad Taste Guide to Entertaining Tyrants by Victoria Clark and Melissa Scott offers a surprising taste of the favorite foods of some of the world’s most infamous dictators.

Though Adolf Hitler was thought to have been a vegetarian—something that was apparently confirmed by der fuhrer’s food taster—it appears old Adolf was a big fan of fledgling pigeon stuffed with tongue, liver and pistachio nuts. So he was more of a part-time vegetarian. Also let’s not forget that Hitler donated a pint of his blood to make blood sausage to celebrate a Nazi last supper according to Robert G. L. Waite in his biography The Psychopathic God. Blood sausage aside, by the end of his life Hitler’s table manners had gone to pot and he wolfed “down his food in a mechanical way…..bit his nails at table, and ran his index finger back and forth under his nose, and stuffed himself with cake.”
 
01stalfoodpartdine.jpg
 
Like all top Communists, Joseph Stalin liked to eat while others starved. It was all for the good of the cause, which in Stalin’s case meant six hour banquets “where copious amounts of semi-sweet Khvanchkara wine were consumed, leaving guests puking and incontinent.”

Stalin’s love of epicurean excess did not go unnoticed as future commie leader and shoe-banger Nikita Khrushchev remarked:

‘I don’t think there has ever been a leader of comparable responsibilities who wasted more time than Stalin did just sitting around the dinner table eating and drinking.’

Uncle Joe’s favorite chow was chicken with walnuts and spices. His chef Spiridon Putin was the grandfather of current Russian premier Vladimir Putin. Small world, eh?

Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini used to touch his balls every time he thought someone was giving him the evil eye. Il Duce loathed pasta and potatoes claiming they gave him a sore head, but he loved rough-chopped garlic with oil and lemon, which was no doubt a major duvet lifter come bedtime…

‘He used to eat a whole bowl of it,’ his wife Rachele once fondly confided to the family cook. ‘I couldn’t go anywhere near him after that. At night I’d leave him to sleep alone in our room and take refuge in one of the children’s rooms!’

Fidel Castro was very fond of turtle soup, but as turtles are now an endangered species, Castro now only likes “plain” food such as lamb cutlets, salted cod, fried bananas and lobster. What no beans on toast?
 
03idampie.jpg
 
It has often been claimed that President Idi Amin “Dada” was a cannibal, who enjoyed chowing down on the faces of his enemies. When asked by a reporter if this was true, Amin replied:

‘I don’t like human flesh –- it’s too salty for me.’

Now you know. In fact, Amin’s favorite food was apparently oranges—probably quenching all that human saltiness—and was said to eat up to 40 oranges a day, claiming the fruit kept him healthy and gave him the horn.

Another man of the people, Kim Jong Il had expensive tastes in food and sent his chef around the world in search of:

Iranian caviar, Danish pork,Thai mangoes and Japanese rice cakes flavoured with mugwort, at $120 a pop.

Big daddy Kim Jong also loved raw fish—basically fish that had just been pulled out the water and were thrashing about in their death throes. He also employed a woman to ensure his rice grains were exactly the same size. Talk about fussy eating…

His son Kim Jong-un apparently has a liking for Emmental cheese, which may or may not explain his alleged gout.

Libya’s deposed dictator Muammar Gaddafi was well-known for his dreadful flatulence, often expelling loud smelly farts during interviews and meetings with dignitary. If only the old farter had known the cause of this noxious gas was his favorite food—camel’s milk. Indeed, no part of this poor beast was allowed to go to waste, and Gaddafi especially enjoyed camel hump and couscous.

Saddam Hussein had a taste for only the best farm-fresh beef and lamb, which had to be trimmed of all its fat. He was also particular about his olives, which had to come from the Golan Heights. His favorite tipple was Grand Old Parr whisky and his favorite candy Quality Street.

Malawi’s former dictator Hasting Banda liked “dried mopane worms” that is the caterpillar of the Emperor moth, which he ate as a snack like potato chips.

If you fancy learning how to eat like a dictator, then order your copy of Dictators’ Dinners: A Bad Taste Guide to Entertaining Tyrants by Victoria Clark and Melissa Scott here.

Below, Eric Idle’s classic Rutland Weekend Television sketch “Cookery Time with Lenin.”
 

 
Via the Independent and Mashable.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Culinary couture: Hyperrealistic fake food jewelry is a thing
12.02.2014
01:11 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Fashion
Food

Tags:
jewelry


Pasta Bolognese necklace
 
My husband asked me a few days ago what I wanted for the holidays and I told him I didn’t know. But after seeing these fake food jewelry designs by Japan-based company Hatanaka, I think I just may want a Beef Bowl necklace, dammit!

I hate these and I kind of love them at the same time. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with wearing a bowl of fake beef around your neck, okay? I mean it’s not like they’re selling something weird, like salami necklaces or bacon earrings…

From what I understand, these fake food accessories are selling like hotcakes worldwide. Almost everything on the Hatanaka website is currently sold out. There are still a few items available, but it’s a limited selection. Hopefully they’ll be updating their website in time for the holidays.
 

Curry necklace
 

Spaghetti Carbonara necklace
 

Curry rice with spoon necklace
 

Sushi earrings
 

Shark fin necklace
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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A gin-soaked Advent calendar for the perfect boozy X-mas season
11.21.2014
09:42 am

Topics:
Amusing
Belief
Food

Tags:
Gin


 
I’m not a religious person, nor do I really care about the holidays—I just see it as a giant excuse to eat like a damned fool—but this Ginvent calendar I could totally get on board with. 

Instead of those boring, tasteless chocolates nestled behind the cardboard “windows” why not switch it up with 30ml bottles of gin?

There are two flavors to choose from: The Botanical Ginvent Calendar and the Ginvent Calendar (which offers a selection of gins from around the world).


 

 
via Metro

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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‘BobbyQue’: Cooking with Black Panther Bobby Seale
11.19.2014
07:07 am

Topics:
Activism
Food

Tags:
Bobby Seale
barbecue


 
You may have been born too late for radical chic, but you’re just in time for, uh, radical chicory? Yes, Bobby Seale, founding chairman and national organizer of the Black Panther Party, has a cookbook, cooking show and “BobbyQue” website, all devoted to the lost art of barbecue (or “barbeque,” as he insists it should be spelled). Seale has even formulated his culinary principles in the “Barbeque Bill of Rights”:

WHEN IN THE COURSE OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT it becomes necessary for us, the citizens of the earth, to creatively improve the culinary art of barbe-que’n in our opposition to the overly commercialized bondage of “cue-be-rab” (barbecuing backwards); and to assume, within the realm of palatable biological reactions to which the laws of nature and nature’s God entitle us, a decent respect for all the billions of human taste buds and savory barbeque desires; we the people declare a basic barbeque bill of rights which impels us to help halt, eradicate, and ultimately stamp out “cue-be-rab!”

As the commercialized backwards “bottle-back” recipe methods pursue and invariably evince a design to reduce our backyard-picnics into burnt, half done, bland, badly seasoned, improperly pit-qued entrees, then it is the right of we the barbeque lovers of the world, to alter the cue-be-rab phenomenon and creatively change our recipe process for a more righteous saucy, down-home, wood-smoking, delectable, baste-marinating, barbeque’n methodology.

 

Seale oversaw one of the Black Panthers’ most ambitious and popular projects, the People’s Free Food Program.
 
Filmed in front of a live studio audience in Philadelphia, Barbeque with Bobby Seale is co-hosted by Seale and his wife Leslie. Sun Ra Arkestra trombonist Tyrone Hill and his band, the Deep Space Posse, are live in the studio. You can watch the cooking show on Seale’s YouTube channel. (The video is low-resolution and the sound is out of sync—if you want a hi-fi experience, it looks like you’ll have to buy the DVD.) Meat-eating radicals can find six free recipes here and a couple more here. You’ll have to tell me what it tastes like; I’m vegetarian.

As you will have guessed, not everyone loves the idea of one of the world’s most famous black revolutionaries selling BBQ recipes, though accusing Seale of “selling out” by writing a cookbook strikes me as more than a little silly. When the first edition of Barbeque’n with Bobby was published in 1988, Seale told the Chicago Tribune that Jerry Rubin first suggested the idea while the two were in jail during the Chicago Conspiracy Trial. Seale talks about how he responds to cries of “sellout” in this interview clip:
 

 

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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‘50 Ways to Eat Cock’ is the only rooster cookbook you’ll ever need
11.18.2014
09:34 am

Topics:
Amusing
Animals
Books
Food

Tags:
cooking
chicken


 
I’m a big believer in the prurient pun, and I think anyone who can actually monetize juvenile humor is a true student of humanity who paid attention in class. So I doff my cap to new-agey nutritionist (and possibly penis-obsessed crazy person) Adrienne Hew, who penned 50 Ways to Eat Cock: Healthy Chicken Recipes with Balls! My only criticism of this culinary concupiscence is that the book might suffer from repetition. If the joke was just in the title, it would allow readers to question her motives, maybe even consider the possibility of her naivete. For example, the competing oral sex-themed cookbook, 50 Ways to Eat a Beaver exercises some subtly. Hew however, is relentless:

Curious about cock? You’re not the only one. Once revered for his virility and strength, the rooster has taken a back seat to the hen in more recent years. With healthy chicken recipes like Risotto Cock Balls and Cock-o’s, 50 Ways to Eat Cock is a fun and inventive chicken cookbook that takes a revealing look at the folklore, history, culinary culture and nutritional benefits of this well-endowed ingredient. With tongue-in-cheek descriptions, these playful cock recipes are bulging with everything from the quintessential to the quick-and-easy to the downright quirky. You’ll learn how to tame this tough bird meat into succulent and finger-licking gourmet meals.

Thanks to the ingenuity of author and Certified Nutritionist, Adrienne Hew, the noble cock retakes his rightful place at the head of the table. Grab the “hard copy” as the perfect bridal shower gift!

Okay, the “hard copy” line is pretty good, even though I think we could have done without the winking quotation marks.

As a cook book, I’m a little skeptical of the project (though I hold out far more hope for her follow-up book 50 Ways To Eat Your Honey: Healthy Honey Recipes for Mastering the Art of Honeylingus). To my knowledge, rooster is pretty inedible in any recipe other than coq au vin, or some other variation of “stew-with-bacon-until-edible.” This does not mean I will not be purchasing it though. Bachelorette parties have certain, near-sacred phallic traditions that simply must be observed (I don’t make the rules), but that doesn’t mean a dick joke can’t have practical applications.
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Are Tim and Eric running the Totino’s pizza Tumblr?


 
Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim are the two geniuses behind Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and their latest venture Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories, both of which have emerged from Adult Swim. It’s safe to say that Tim & Eric have developed one of the most distinctive voices in comedy today, rather as if the Wonder Showzen gang had gotten trapped inside a KMart clothing warehouse with full access to the best video effects the 1980s had to offer.

Their purposefully garish sense of awkwardness is so powerful that it’s spawned a delirious subreddit, r/NotTimAndEric, that’s dedicated to real-life examples of the actual world seeming to imitate Tim & Eric bits. That subreddit has 38,022 readers as of this writing, so it’s not like there is any shortage of that kind of thing. Point being: Tim & Eric are potent.

Tim & Eric made the news last week when their commercial for Totino’s Pizza Rolls (and assorted other Totino’s pizza products) hit the Internet, producing an expectedly awestruck reaction (that commercial is linked below). The clip, called “Pizza Freaks Unite,” is staggering enough, but what you might not know is that, in keeping with their new branding, Totino’s has a full-blown Tumblr in the Tim & Eric style. In the headline I asked if Tim & Eric are actually running the Tumblr, but there’s a journalistic truism that the answer to any question trumpeted by a media outlet is always “No,” because if the fact at issue could be proven, then that would be the headline—i.e. questions are for unproven speculation.

So I don’t necessarily think that Tim & Eric are running the Totino’s Tumblr. However, it is very enjoyable in a similar way to Tim & Eric’s TV work. Even if it’s not true, the Tumblr as well as the Totino’s PR strategy in general seem to indicate that this is a major mainstreaming moment for Tim & Eric’s aesthetic. Tim & Eric’s stuff may be brilliant, but it isn’t exactly The Big Bang Theory—indeed, it could fairly be said that their work might give some (older) portion of the audience a frontal-lobe headache. So it’s a pretty significant moment to see their worldview cross over. It isn’t every day that Andy Kaufman shows up for his first day of work at Taxi, after all. 
 

 

 

 
More Tim and Eric-flavored pizza stuff after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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After dinner with theremin pioneer Clara Rockmore and Robert Moog


 
Theremins are associated with the Beach Boys and as a cheesy sound effect used for UFOs in sci-fi movies from decades ago, although actually in both cases the instrument in question is actually a Tannerin, otherwise known as an electrotheremin, which is far easier to manipulate to get the desired tones—that was developed by Paul Tanner, trombonist with the Glenn Miller Band.

But this is the theremin we’re talking about, and you can’t talk about the development or popularity of the theremin without discussing Clara Rockmore. A native of Lithuania, Rockmore (1911-1998) has been called the “premiere artiste of the electronic music medium” (look at the album cover below), “the greatest theremin virtuosa” and “probably the world’s first electronic music star.”

Rockmore’s given name was Clara Reisenberg—her sister was the well-regarded pianist Nadia Reisenberg. In pictures, Rockmore seems like (in younger pics) a magician’s assistant or (as she gets older) someone’s dowdy old aunt. But don’t let appearances fool you—Rockmore was pretty badass. Léon Theremin, inventor of the instrument that bore his name, wanted to marry her and proposed several times, but she turned him down cold and married an attorney instead. In 1940 she toured the U.S. with none other than Paul Robeson. She was 66 years old in 1977 when her first album, The Art of the Theremin, was released. (Actually, the album in question, pictured below, hardly has a discernable title—if anything it’s Theremin—but over time it has come to be called The Art of the Theremin.)
 

 
Nobody seems to know when the footage in the clip below was taken, but judging from the quality of the video, the haircuts, and the clothes, I’d say it was the mid- to late 1970s. In attendance are Clara Rockmore and her sister Nadia; Nadia’s son Bob Sherman, who introduces the scene; Dr. Robert Moog; and Dr. Thomas Ray, who is named as a scholar of electronic music. Moog, of course, produced The Art of the Theremin, which perhaps serves as another clue as to the timing of this clip.

I really dig the odd sculptural item in the middle of the table, with the dangling silver orbs. After a few minutes’ chitchat about the theremin, Rockmore treats us to a few minutes of “Hebrew Melody.”
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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