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To Serve Man

With carefully chosen accompaniments, that is. If I served the wrong wine with human flesh, well, I’d just DIE!

Okay, who ordered the Tête de Jean-Baptiste?

Okay, who ordered the Tête de Jean-Baptiste?


Have you seen The Silence of the Lambs? I have not, although I am familiar with the real-life inspirations Eddie Gein and Albert Fish (do not google them, seriously. No, trust me). Apparently Hannibal Lecter suggests Chianti and fava beans to go with the liver, and I’m just tired enough of hearing this that I! Must! Speak! Up!

Chianti, yes. Fava beans, no.

I’m not talking out of my toque here: I’ve surveyed professional winemakers of my acquaintance and studied the literature:

This Chilean/Israeli/Danish artist did not specify what wine he served at the dinner party where he also served meatballs made of … himself. But still, we can assume a robust Chilean red would work best (I mean, have you tried Aquavit? Have you put it in your mouth???)

The Democratic Underground suggests that Chianti is overpowering, and a good dry Riesling is the right accompaniment, although this could reflect the fact that democrats are very often spend their lives in captivity, penned in tiny cubicles and behind espresso machines and the ticket-taking window of indie theatres and are thus analogous to veal.  And they die young: just ask the Kennedys.

In light of the fact that Japan’s (why is it always Japan? Eh?) flesh-tasting robot puts human flesh (although maybe only fingers…insert anthropomorphic musing about why we call them “chicken fingers” etc here…also, what part of the chicken is the “nugget” anyway? No, don’t go there) in the same category as prosciutto and bacon, we should go with these recommendations from the Sideways Wine Club and drink Pinot Noir or (yes) Chianti, or possibly a Syrah, Rhone or Zinfandel.

I had a sparkling Syrah once, and it was exactly like carbonated hemoglobin, so I think it would be perfect for any cannibal occasion. Indeed, bubbly of any kind lends a certain flair to an event that highlights its importance. After all, it’s not every day you eat human flesh. Presumably. Hufu for the vegetarians present, of course.

Best Facebook Thread EVER

Best Facebook Thread EVER

As you can see, my expert friends suggest Pinot Noir (but then, they MAKE Pinot Noir) along with Hermitage or Grenache. Seriously, the younger the flesh, the whiter and less hemoglobular the wine should be, so for me (ferinstance) you’d want something as rich and old as Anna Nicole Smith’s last husband.

Now, about those fava beans…

Fava Beans share, along with liver and king mackerel, a certain dry umami flavour which renders them quite redundant when served alongside one another. If I have something that tastes a certain way, you know, thanks, I don’t need something that tastes pretty much the same sitting right beside it masquerading as something different. Yes, wines should be chosen to complement and extend, rather than contrast with the meal, but they’re much less likely to actually taste the same as the entree.

As for choosing the meat, other than selecting a young person who’s been confined to a cubicle his entire working life, I have no advice except that if you are going to eat human liver, perhaps you don’t want to choose Russian. Theirs are pretty much used up.

So, the next time you’re serving cutlets à la Salome, remember this post and serve something appropriate. If you get it wrong, you’ll never live it down.

I Scream. No, really, I do.

Ice cream at the Office

Ice cream at the Office

NEVAH! Faithful Manolophiles know that the Master has long preached the gospel of Wear White Shoes Whenever You Damn Well Feel Like It, You’re A Grownup Now, and we here at the ol’ foodie/bevvie blog feel quite the same about tasty, frozen delights such as ice cream, gelato, sherbet, sorbetto, and even Vienetta, that magical, mass-produced filigree of creamy perfection. It’s so perfect and so factory-made that it can’t possibly be good for you, can it?

But ice cream is magical, so it actually is!

The ice cream coolers have moved closer to the front doors of the convenience stores here in Canuckistan, yea unto the very Arctic Circle (yes, Yellowknife has an ice cream truck: I saw it with my own eyes) and soon neighborhoods all over the northern hemisphere will echo with the tinny, obnoxious notes of Turkey in the Straw and the cries of “BUT MOMMY IT IS TOO GLUTEN FREE!” So here to celebrate the seasonal return of ice cream to the top of snack marketing priority lists is a photo roundup of vintage ice cream trucks from Flavorwire (and seriously it kills me there’s no “u” in there, but I’ll have a Creamsicle and it’ll be all better soon).

awwww, who's a cute widdle ice cweam twuck?

awwww, who's a cute widdle ice cweam twuck?

Coffee à la Canuck: part deux

Red Green

Red Green


Remember our intrepid Canadian caffeine addicts from Afghanistan? Well, if you think THEY were ingenious, wait till you see how we home-brew java chez Canuckistan. Here’s Canadian heart-throb Red Green to demonstrate Lawnmower Coffee.

via CoffeeGeek

Monday Food Porn: Vacation Cupcakes

Vacation Cupcakes

Vacation Cupcakes

Would it be too much to ask: that these be Margarita-flavoured?

But Ossifer!

I haz an alibi!

Busted!

Busted!

It seems some people just can’t get enough of Canada’s Second Greatest Export (after that avatar of grace and elegance, Pamela Anderson). Yes, according to TMZ someone in California today hijacked hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of Dan Aykroyd’s Crystal Head Vodka, about which we’ve blogged elsewhere.

“My partners and I are sorry to lose this much vodka to theft and do not condone criminal activity in any fashion, but we are happy that some consumers will be afforded the opportunity of tasting it at significantly lower than retail price.”

Think about it: if they’d hijacked the same volume of Iceberg vodka, they could have saved about $150,000!

Alas Poor Aykroyd

Alas Poor Aykroyd

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Bacon-y Night!

Bacony Night

Bacony Night

We’re all about the various interpretations of Van Gogh lately, god knows why. But we are. While we’re on the topic of the fine art of Baconation, here are a few other images that you might enjoy:

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Wine A-Z

The Wine Rack: Now THAT is what I call a Go Cup

That’s what I call a Go Cup. Heck, it might even make jogging tolerable.

Well, maybe it won’t boost your cup size all the way through the alphabet. Still, this handy-dandy little portable wine container will definitely bump you from an A to something farther down towards the Mittel-European consonantry. And yes, it’s called the Wine Rack. And no, I have no use for it myself, as I can already hide a 40-ouncer and a couple of highball glasses in my bra with room left over for garnishes.

To Żubrówka and memories

Zubors. Zuborii. Zuborz.

Zubors. Zuborii. Zuborz.

“It smells of freshly mown hay and spring flowers, of thyme and lavender, and it is so soft on the palate and so comfortable, it’s like listening to music by moonlight…”

Somerset Maugham on Zubrowka

Listen closely and I will tell you a story. And it will be, without doubt, the best story you will read today and you will carry it with you, close to your heart like a flask of something warming and clear as a forest spring. Yes, some spirits just put me in the spirit to be metaphorical, and this bison grass vodka is one of them.

I have a Christmas tradition, and like most of my traditions, it’s a little un-traditional. You see, I collect Christmas ghost stories (and what, you may be asking, does this have to do with the subject matter of a food and beverage blog, and quite right you are but bear with me, the payoff is worth it). Great authors have written great examples of the genre, from Le Fanu to Dickens, from de Maupassant to Damon Runyon, and of these the greatest is a man of whom you have never heard.

Sarban.

Sarban was the nom de plume of a British diplomat who produced one slim volume of stories in his lifetime, and if you find it, grab it. And if you’re still wondering why, read on past my food and beverage blog subject appropriate digression to read his story A Christmas Story in its entirety, and then you’ll see why my Christmas isn’t complete until I’ve read this and why Zubrowka is near and dear to me and would be so even if it tasted like rotten myaso, which it does not.

It tastes exactly like Somerset Maugham has described above.

It’s an unprepossessing-looking liquid, almost exactly the colour and texture of gasoline, and in each bottle is one long, thin blade of bison grass from the Bialowieza Forest in north-eastern Poland, last refuge of the European bison, the Zubor. If you go ahead and uncork the bottle you uncork, essentially, Spring, the fragrance of forest clearings and wildflowers remaining noticeable even when the vodka is chilled to zero Celsius, which THIS vodka should not be. Vanilla is the dominant note, with hay and a touch of citrus zest, I’d say pomelo since it’s softer than lemon or grapefruit, and some floral notes as well, marigoldish although quite subtle. It’s sweet to the taste, because of the sugar, of course, which can make it challenging to mix if you forget it’s not like regular common-or-garden vodka. I enjoy this on the rocks, but at the urging of the company rep who sent me the bottle (hey, there have to be SOME compensations in blogging for a living, eh?) I asked a bartender of reknown for his best Zubrowka recipe, and marvelous it is, too.

Jay Jones’s Krasinski Cocktail

1.5 oz Zubrowka bison grass vodka

0.5 oz Liquore Strega

2 oz Rhubarb Syrup (fresh rhubarb, sugar, elderflower cordial)

2 dashes Fee Brothers’ Plum Bitters

Shake, strain into cocktail glass. You could, if the rep had sent YOU a promo bottle, garnish it with a tiny blade of bison grass, a packet of which she also sent along, and very snazzy that is too; let’s see your friends try to figure out what it is and then one-up you with “oh, I get MY bison grass from Mummy’s farm up on the Island” not that any of my friends would ever pull that on me.

Jay also suggests a cocktail of two parts cloudy apple juice (also known as cider in places where “cider” doesn’t mean alcohol) and one part Zubrowka, but you hardly need a recipe for that, do you?

Altogether, although this seems like a novelty liquor, you’re going to find that it’s extremely adaptable, interesting and fine enough to enjoy on its own, and likely to prove an esoteric favorite without being perverse or pretentious (Absinthe, I’m looking at you). Just don’t mistake it for regular old vodka and serve it frozen, in a shot glass. This is not the stuff of shooters, my friends.

And so, to the story. This entire tale is bracketed (and punctuated, frequently) with boozes of various types, but the magical story-within-a-story is entirely framed by Zubrowka, consumed in the Russian Consul’s house in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on a roasting Christmas Eve, 1928. Pour yourself something warming and pull up a chair; you’ll want to read the whole thing.

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