Game On

January 30, 2016

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This lithograph by A.B Frost is from the New York Public Library collection – and it stopped me cold. This depiction of the game stall at the Fulton Street Market in 1878 is proof that New Yorkers once ate just about everything that moved. Look closely and you can see a small bear hanging from the rafters, as well as a bird that looks a lot like a crane.

The truth is that hunters slaughtered so many animals that by the end of the nineteenth century wild species populations were starting to collapse. (It’s estimated that when Columbus arrived on this continent there were thirty million deer; by 1900 the population was down to 350,000.)  In response to the crisis the commercial sale of wild game was banned.

Black bears are once more rampant, and although they’re hunted in the fall, they’re more likely to turn into trophy rugs than dinner. (Should you catch one and decide to eat it, be sure to cook it well; bear meat harbors trichinosis.)

What do bears taste like? According to The Market Assistant, an 1867 digest of “every article of human food sold in the public markets” of New York, Philadelphia and Boston, it’s “rather luscious but savory eating.”

Unlikely to pick up a bow and arrow and head for the woods? You might want to console yourself by reading Paul Freedman’s account of his trip  to Slovenia ; he’d been hoping to try dormice, but had to console himself with a small bear.

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Another Off-Beat Recipe

January 29, 2016

I feel an obligation to preface this post with an earnest plea: please do not make this recipe. Tuna, cream of mushroom, soy sauce?  Our Beat Generation guide, Carl Larsen, is back, with a recipe from 4 B.C (Before Corso or Kerouac.)  It’s a real doozy; hopefully Pablo himself predated it.

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More from the Yogi

January 28, 2016

Cooked from the Yogi Cookbook last night, and this raisin chutney was so appealing I thought I’d pass it on. Also,  I’d forgotten how satisfying it is to make chapattis, so I’m including that recipe as well.

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And the Beat Goes On….Another Great Old Cookbook

January 27, 2016

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My friend Robin swears by this book, which she’s had since it first came out in 1968.  She says in those days she’d cook dinner for a dozen for ten bucks.

Still, I have to admit I opened The Yogi Cookbook with few expectations.  The hippie books I remember from back then were boringly preachy. This one, on the other hand, is a delight to read. Here’s a beginner’s curry; be sure to read the note at the end.

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FullSizeRender (72)I love the simplicity of this lemon rice.  (The author suggests cooking rice in copious amounts of boiling water – like pasta – and tasting constantly so that it’s still a bit al dente when you finally drain it.)

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And, of course, there’s dal:

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FullSizeRender (73)There are so many wonderful recipes in this book.  But since I’m on St. John, and okra is in abundantly in season, this one caught my eye:

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Beat It!

January 25, 2016

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From the New York Public Library archive…. a cult classic from 1961. The author is Carl Larsen – and I think the recipe speaks for itself. Still, I can’t help admiring how the author managed to squeeze in dig, The Hungry I, inner light, sputnik and loving spoonfuls. And what about that moose fat?

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