Aug 202018
 

This post is about Protestant theology. Even if you object to religion, bear with me. My thoughts on Christian theology are probably not what you think (unless you know me). Today is another coincidence day. Two important Protestant theologians of the 20th century were born today, Rudolf Bultmann in 1884, and Paul Tillich in 1886. I am not going to wear you out with a complicated theological discussion, but I will give you a few gleanings that may surprise you about these two and their ideas, especially if you have rejected Christianity, but also if you are a regular church member. If you are Catholic or Orthodox, you will probably hate their ideas. I’ll get on to a recipe for them in short order. THIS IS A RECIPE BLOG !!!

Theologians such as Bultmann and Tillich came as a great shock to me when I was studying theology at Oxford, because I began my studies as a naïve teenager thinking that what I heard from the pulpit each Sunday was what I would be studying in more depth – on my way to being ordained. Instead I was bombarded with what is often called “liberal” theology, although in the 1960s and 70s at Oxford it was just coming of age, and I had plenty of rigid Anglican tutors who had not caught up yet. I was (and still am) more of an historian than a theologian. One of the examiners at my viva voce for the BA made note of that fact. It was a huge shock to me to discover that contemporary Biblical studies thought that most of the history in both the Hebrew and Greek Bibles was made up.

I had no problem with accepting that large parts of Genesis were fiction, but I thought Moses and Joshua, the Exodus, the United Monarchy, David and Solomon etc. were all rock solid. Nope. They were all made up too. There is zero evidence for any of them, and archeology shows a very different picture from the Bible narrative. I was gobsmacked, and, in fact, for the rest of my time at Oxford, and 20 years thereafter, I believed none of it. How I eventually became a Presbyterian minister is a long story – but the short version is that I became a “liberal” theologian also.

Rudolf Bultmann was a German Lutheran theologian, born in Wiefelstede near Oldenburg in Lower Saxony. He spent his academic career as professor of New Testament at the university of Marburg. He was one of the major figures of early 20th century Biblical studies and a prominent voice in liberal Christianity. Bultmann is known for his belief that the historical analysis of the New Testament is both futile and unnecessary, given that the earliest Christian literature showed little interest in specifics that could be nailed down historically in a modern sense. Bultmann argued that all that matters is that Jesus existed, preached, and died by crucifixion, not what happened throughout his life. The “historical” details expounded in the gospels are not important because the gospel writers were not interested in history in a modern sense. Absolute chronology and specific details were unimportant to them. They were pushing a theological point, not an historical one.

Bultmann called his approach “demythologizing,” which involved removing all the parts of gospel that reflected a 1st century worldview and paying attention to the preaching (kerygma in Greek), and that it was faith in the preaching that mattered not belief in the mythical stuff, such as miracles. Bultmann called on interpreters of the gospels to replace traditional supernaturalism with the temporal and existential categories of his philosopher colleague, Martin Heidegger, and to reject doctrines such as the pre-existence of Christ. Bultmann believed this endeavor would make accessible to modern audiences—already immersed in science and technology—the reality of Jesus’ teachings. Bultmann thus understood the project of “demythologizing the New Testament proclamation” as an evangelical task, clarifying the kerygma, or gospel proclamation, by stripping it of elements of the 1st-century “mythical world picture” that had the potential to alienate modern people from Christian faith. That project has yet to be accomplished. Some of us are trying our best.

Paul Tillich was born in the small village of Starzeddel (Starosiedle), province of Brandenburg, which was then part of Germany, now part of Poland. He too was a Lutheran pastor, engaged in the existentialist philosophical tradition as it pertains to Biblical scholarship. He taught at a number of universities in Germany, including Marburg (for 1 year) when Bultmann was there, but in 1933 he was refused employment because of his vocal criticism of Hitler and Nazism, and left Germany to teach at Union Theological Seminary in New York, and ultimately became a naturalized U.S. citizen. His magnum opus, Systematic Theology, was written and published in English. Both he and Bultmann address the basic question of what it means to be human, and, though their answers were informed by existentialist philosophy, their thinking was driven by the Christian tradition and not secular humanism.

It is impossible for me to characterize Tillich’s theology, even simplistically (because it can’t be simplified). Like all existentialists, his primary concern is the nature of being (and non-being). Does it make any sense to call God a being – even the ultimate being, or the source of being? What is a being? What is being? You can see how quickly you can get tied in knots reading his work. I certainly did – and still do. Tillich argues that God is not a supernatural entity among other entities. Instead, God is the ground upon which all beings exist. We cannot perceive God as an object which is related to a subject because God precedes the subject–object dichotomy. God is not a being (an entity); God is what makes being/existence possible.

Tillich, thus, disapproved of any literal philosophical and religious statements that can be made about God. Such literal statements attempt to define God and lead not only to anthropomorphism but also to a philosophical mistake that Immanuel Kant warned against, that setting limits on the transcendent inevitably leads to contradictions. Any statements about God are simply symbolic, but these symbols are sacred in the sense that they function to participate or point to the Ground of Being. Tillich insists that anyone who participates in these symbols is empowered by the Power of Being, which overcomes and conquers nonbeing and meaninglessness.

You can see how this kind of thinking does not work in Sunday sermons. More liberally-minded Christians may be over images of God with a flowing beard sitting on some celestial throne, but they still want a personal, relatable entity, not a Ground of Being (that is completely unrelatable). They want “someone” they can talk to, “someone” who can address their problems. Relating to the Ground of Being is certainly possible, but it requires a major overhaul in thinking about the nature of “being” and “relating.” A good stint as a Buddhist monk can help here, but I doubt the majority of Christians are ready for that journey.

Let me stop and turn to cooking. If you have any experience with cooking at all you will know that two cooks can be given identical ingredients, identical equipment, and identical recipes. They can follow the recipes precisely and still end up with two obviously different products. Why is that? I used to make Argentine tortillas for breakfast all the time for my girlfriend of the time (Denise, who took my profile photo). She’s a reasonably good cook and wanted to replicate them, so she could make them when I wasn’t around. So, first I showed her what I did. Then I supervised her in making them. I also made videos for her to watch. You can see them here:

Part 1 (The batter)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bx9zQ-sRgAkQMEpmZkVZLUJsR1U/edit?usp=sharing

Part 2 (The filling)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bx9zQ-sRgAkQU3JZUzIyLUxrU3c/edit?usp=sharing

Part 3 (The tortilla)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bx9zQ-sRgAkQMXFsTUJvMXNBaDQ/edit?usp=sharing

They are quite detailed and specific. It did not matter how many times I supervised Denise, she simply could not replicate my tortillas. Why? You can come up with a scientific explanation, but it will fall short. There is a transcendent quality to our actions that simply cannot be described in physical/scientific terms. There is something transcendently different about Denise and me as cooks. We did exactly the same thing physically, but got different results. Here is where faith comes in. You can reject my reasoning, because it does not accord with your belief system. Perhaps you are convinced that there is a scientific explanation for every phenomenon. Fine. That’s your faith system; it is not mine.

 

Aug 192018
 

Today is the birthday (1921) of Eugene “Gene” Wesley Roddenberry who is best remembered for creating the original Star Trek television series. I want to focus on that aspect of Roddenberry’s life because it is an absolutely classic exemplar of how you have to be persistent to achieve your goals. Roddenberry not only had to beat down numerous doors to get Star Trek aired in the first place, he also had to keep pushing to get it lodged in the popular consciousness. After all, it originally aired for only 3 seasons, and would have been forgotten if Roddenberry had not persisted in promoting it. I’ll start with a few personal details: a few – you can look up the rest.

Roddenberry was born in El Paso, Texas, and grew up in Los Angeles, where his father was a police officer. Roddenberry flew 89 combat missions in the Army Air Forces during World War II, and worked as a commercial pilot after the war. Later, he followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Los Angeles Police Department, where he also began to write scripts for television. As a freelance writer, Roddenberry wrote scripts for Highway Patrol, Have Gun–Will Travel, and other series, before creating and producing his own television series The Lieutenant. In 1964, Roddenberry created Star Trek, which premiered in 1966 and ran for three seasons before being canceled. He then worked on other projects, including a string of failed television pilots. It was the syndication of Star Trek that led to its growing and enduring popularity, which then led to a movie franchise.

I remember watching Star Trek in England in the late 1960s (in b/w) but was never a huge fan. I got a little more interested in the late 1970s when I (briefly) owned a television in the US (from 1970 to 1978 I did not own one) and re-runs were frequent enough to hold my attention for a while. Even at the time, the sets and costumes seemed cheap and hokey, but I was used to Dr Who episodes that were no better in that regard. Having the camera shake and the actors throw themselves about when the Enterprise was hit by a photon bomb just made us all laugh. But the scripts were (mostly) engaging and worth the price of admission, even though the main characters were ridiculously one dimensional. There was always an ensign “Smith” (or whatever) in a landing party whom you knew was going to be the first to be killed, Scotty was always going to be worried about his engines, and Spock was always going to be absurdly “logical” while Kirk would (illogically) get entangled in some love interest. But the plots themselves could be engaging.  It is way too common these days for SciFi movies and TV series to rely on stunning effects to make up for weak story lines. With limited effects, the first series of Star trek had to have good writing.

When Roddenberry pitched Star Trek to MGM, it was warmly received, but no offer was made. He then went to Desilu Productions, but rather than being offered a one-script deal, he was hired as a producer and allowed to work on his own projects. His first was a half-hour pilot called Police Story (not to be confused with the anthology series created by Joseph Wambaugh), which was not picked up by the networks. Having not sold a pilot in five years, Desilu was having financial difficulties; its only success was I Love Lucy. Roddenberry took the Star Trek idea to Oscar Katz, head of programming, and as a team they started work on a plan to sell the series to the networks. They took it to CBS, which ultimately passed on it. They later learned that CBS had been eager to find out about Star Trek because it had a science fiction series in development—Lost in Space. Roddenberry and Katz next took the idea to Mort Werner at NBC, this time downplaying the science fiction elements and highlighting the links to Gunsmoke and Wagon Train. The network funded three story ideas, and selected “The Menagerie”, which was later known as “The Cage”, to be made into a pilot. (The other two later became episodes of the series.) While most of the money for the pilot came from NBC, the remaining costs were covered by Desilu. Roddenberry hired Dorothy Fontana, better known as D. C. Fontana, as his assistant. They had worked together previously on The Lieutenant, and she had eight script credits to her name.

Roddenberry and Majel Barrett had begun an affair by the early days of Star Trek, and he specifically wrote the part of the character Number One in the pilot with her in mind; no other actresses were considered for the role. Barrett suggested Nimoy for the part of Spock. He had worked with both Roddenberry and Barrett on The Lieutenant, and once Roddenberry remembered the thin features of the actor, he did not consider anyone else for the part. After choosing the remaining cast filming began on November 27th, 1964, and was completed on December 11th. After post-production, the episode was shown to NBC executives and it was rumored that Star Trek would be broadcast at 8:00 pm on Friday nights. The episode failed to impress test audiences, and after the executives became hesitant, Katz offered to make a second pilot. On March 26th, 1965, NBC ordered a new episode.

Roddenberry developed several possible scripts, including “Mudd’s Women”, “The Omega Glory”, and with the help of Samuel A. Peeples, “Where No Man Has Gone Before”. NBC selected the last one, leading to later rumors that Peeples created Star Trek, something he has always denied. Roddenberry was determined to make the crew racially diverse, which impressed actor George Takei when he came for his audition. The episode went into production on July 15th, 1965, and was completed at around half the cost of “The Cage”, since the sets were already built. Roddenberry worked on several projects for the rest of the year. In December, he decided to write lyrics to the Star Trek theme. This angered the theme’s composer, Alexander Courage, as it meant that royalties would be split between them. In February 1966, NBC informed Desilu that they were buying Star Trek and that it would be included in the fall 1966 television schedule.

On May 24th, the first episode of the Star Trek series went into production. Desilu was contracted to deliver 13 episodes. Five days before the first broadcast, Roddenberry appeared at the 24th World Science Fiction Convention and previewed “Where No Man Has Gone Before”. After the episode was shown, he received a standing ovation. The first episode to air on NBC was “The Man Trap”, on September 8th, 1966, at 8:00 pm. Roddenberry was immediately concerned about the series’ low ratings and wrote to Harlan Ellison to ask if he could use his name in letters to the network to save the show. Roddenberry also corresponded with Isaac Asimov about how to address the issue of Spock’s growing popularity and the possibility that his character would overshadow Kirk. Asimov suggested having Kirk and Spock work together as a team “to get people to think of Kirk when they think of Spock.” The series was renewed by NBC, first for a full season’s order, and then for a second season. An article in the Chicago Tribune quoted studio executives as stating that the letter-writing campaign had been wasted because they had already been planning to renew Star Trek.

Roddenberry often rewrote submitted scripts, although he did not always take credit for these. Roddenberry and Ellison fell out over “The City on the Edge of Forever” after Roddenberry rewrote Ellison’s script to make it both financially feasible to film and usable for the series context. Even his close friend Don Ingalls had his script for “A Private Little War” altered drastically, and as a result, Ingalls declared that he would only be credited under the pseudonym “Jud Crucis” (a play on “Jesus Christ”), claiming he had been crucified by the process. Roddenberry’s work rewriting “The Menagerie”, based on footage originally shot for “The Cage”, resulted in a Writers’ Guild arbitration board hearing. The Guild ruled in his favor over John D. F. Black, the complainant. The script won a Hugo Award, but the awards board neglected to inform Roddenberry, who found out through correspondence with Asimov.

As the second season was drawing to a close, Roddenberry once again faced the threat of cancellation. He enlisted the help of Asimov, and even encouraged a student-led protest march on NBC. On January 8th, 1968, 1,000 students from 20 different schools across the country marched on the studio. Roddenberry began to communicate with Star Trek fan Bjo Trimble, who led a fan writing campaign to save the series. Trimble later noted that this campaign of writing to fans who had written to Desilu about the show, urging them to write NBC, had created an organized Star Trek fandom. The network received around 6,000 letters a week from fans petitioning it to renew the series. This fan base became an important phenomenon in its own right over the years, producing fanzines, and creating back stories that eventually got woven into the movie franchise. On March 1st, 1968, NBC announced on air, at the end of “The Omega Glory”, that Star Trek would return for a third season.

The network had initially planned to place Star Trek in the 7:30 pm Monday-night time slot freed up by The Man from U.N.C.L.E. completing its run. Instead, an enraged George Schlatter forced the network to insert Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In into the slot, and Roddenberry’s series was moved to 10:00 pm on Fridays. Realizing the show could not survive in that time slot and burned out from arguments with the network, Roddenberry resigned from the day-to-day running of Star Trek, although he continued to be credited as executive producer. Roddenberry cooperated with Stephen Edward Poe, writing as Stephen Whitfield, on the 1968 book The Making of Star Trek for Ballantine Books, splitting the royalties evenly. Roddenberry explained to Whitfield: “I had to get some money somewhere. I’m sure not going to get it from the profits of Star Trek.” Herbert Solow and Robert H. Justman observed that Whitfield never regretted his 50-50 deal with Roddenberry, since it gave him “the opportunity to become the first chronicler of television’s successful unsuccessful series.” Whitfield had previously been the national advertising and promotion director for model makers Aluminum Model Toys, better known as “AMT”, which then held the Star Trek license, and moved to run Lincoln Enterprises, Roddenberry’s company set up to sell the series’ merchandise.

Having stepped aside from the majority of his Star Trek duties, Roddenberry sought instead to create a film based on Asimov’s I, Robot and also began work on a Tarzan script for National General Pictures. After initially requesting a budget of $2 million and being refused, Roddenberry made cuts to reduce costs to $1.2 million. When he learned they were being offered only $700,000 to shoot the film, which by now was being called a TV movie, he canceled the deal. Meanwhile, NBC announced Star Trek‘s cancellation in February 1969. A similar but much smaller letter-writing campaign followed news of the cancellation. Because of the manner in which the series was sold to NBC, it left the production company $4.7 million in debt. The last episode of Star Trek aired 47 days before Neil Armstrong stepped on to the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission, and Roddenberry declared that he would never write for television again.

There was an animated Star Trek series produced in 1973 with some involvement by Rodenberry (his name was more important than his production skills). However, the groundswell of vociferous fan support (6,000 attended the second New York Star Trek convention in 1973 and 15,000 attended in 1974, eclipsing the 4,500 attendees at the 32nd World Science Fiction Convention in 1974) led Paramount to hire Roddenberry to create and produce a feature film based on the franchise in May 1975. At the time, several ideas were partly developed including Star Trek: The God Thing and Star Trek: Planet of the Titans. Following the commercial reception of Star Wars, in June 1977, Paramount instead approved a new series set in the franchise titled Star Trek: Phase II, with Roddenberry and with most of the original cast, except Nimoy, set to reprise their respective roles. It was to be the anchor show of a proposed Paramount-owned fourth network, but plans for the network were scrapped and the project was reworked into a feature film. The result, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, troubled the studio because of budgetary concerns, but was a box-office hit. Adjusted for inflation, it was the third-highest grossing Star Trek movie, with the 2009 film coming in first and the 2013 film second.

Gene Rodenberry died on October 24th, 1991 from the complications of multiple problems including diabetes, 2 strokes, and encephalopathy induced by persistent recreational drug use, amphetamines (used for long nights script writing), and alcohol. He was cremated, and various amounts of his ashes were flown into space on several missions, although details are murky at best, and there are more rumors floating around than his actual ashes. Rodenberry lived to see Star Trek: Next Generation inaugurated, and there were many more movies in the franchise after he died, including a set of prequels, and, no doubt, more to come. I can’t say that I am taken with anything that was produced beyond the first series. I did see the first movie for old-times’ sake, but never bothered after that, and was not at all interested in Next Generation. The prequels show up on television now and again on Cambodian cable television, but a few minutes is enough for me to go about other things. I’ve probably watched nearly all of the first series at least once, and several stick in memory. A Trekkie I am not.

Star Trek fans have cookbooks just as Douglas Adams and Dr Who fans do. You can find plenty of recipes here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/donnad/star-trek-recipes-you-can-replicate-at-home?utm_term=.qwP7PzX8O5#.afLW8x75jO The only first series themed recipe is this one for plomeek soup, a traditional morning meal on Spock’s home planet, Vulcan. The Vulcans were mostly, but not exclusively, vegetarian. I have edited the original recipe, but the idea is the same.

Plomeek Soup

Ingredients

1 onion, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
5 carrots, peeled and diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 medium beetroots, peeled and diced
3 sticks celery, chopped
1 liter vegetable stock
salt and pepper
vegetable oil

Instructions

Sauté the onion in vegetable oil in a large stock pot until soft. Then add the rest of the vegetables and cook for a few minutes. Add 750ml of the stock, reserving the rest. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until all the vegetables are soft, (about 45 minutes to 1 hour).

Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. You can also use a stand blender or food processor, blinding the soup in batches. Add salt and pepper to taste, and check the soup’s thickness – if it is too thick, add the remaining vegetable stock as needed.

Reheat the blended soup and serve hot.

Aug 182018
 

Today is the birthday (1911) of Klára (Klari) Dán, usually called Klára Dán von Neumann, but I want to correct that usage straightaway as part of the problem this post is largely about. Yes, she was married to John von Neumann, and, yes, her married name was Klára Dán von Neumann, but she was a major figure in mathematics and computing in her own right, and deserves to be recognized as such. She was married 4 times. Why should we recognize her by her married name when she was married to von Neumann? Why not use her birth name and recognize her as an individual and not as a woman who gained her identity and importance from the man she married (who also happens to be more famous)? I will call her simply Klára Dán or Dán in this post. Unfortunately, biographical material is in short supply, but I will do my best.

Klára Dán was born in Budapest to Károly Dán and Camila Dán (née Stadler), wealthy Hungarian Jews. Her father served in the Austro-Hungarian Army as an officer during the Great war, and the family moved to Vienna after the war to escape Béla Kun’s short-lived Hungarian Soviet Republic. When the regime was overthrown in August 1919, the family moved back to Budapest.  At 14, Klára Dán became a national champion in figure skating. She attended Veres Pálné Gimnázium in Budapest and graduated in 1929. She married Ferenc Engel in 1931 and Andor Rapoch in 1936.

Klara had previously met John von Neumann (also a Hungarian Jew) http://www.bookofdaystales.com/john-von-neumann/  during one of his return trips to Budapest from the U.S. prior to the outbreak of World War II. When von Neumann’s first marriage ended in a divorce, Klára Dán divorced Rapoch, married von Neumann in 1938 and emigrated to the United States. She became head of the Statistical Computing Group at Princeton University in 1943, and moved to Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1946 to program the MANIAC I machine designed by von Neumann and Julian Bigelow.

The MANIAC I (Mathematical Analyzer, Numerical Integrator, and Computer, or, Mathematical Analyzer, Numerator, Integrator, and Computer) was built under the direction of Nicholas Metropolis at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. It was based on the von Neumann architecture developed by John von Neumann. You can see (below) that the architecture is close to modern digital computers with input and output devices, a central processing unit (CPU) and a memory storage device. It did, however have a bottleneck in that input and processing could not be done simultaneously.

It was said that Metropolis (perhaps on the advice of von Neumann), chose the acronym to make fun of silly computer acronyms in the hope they would stop, but it stuck. Early digital computers were hard wired to perform their operations, much like a modern hand-held calculator, although a lot more complicated. To reprogram them took days or weeks to change the wiring and debug the programming. Even booting up was a major operation, so they were always left running. The von Neumann architecture allowed for reprogramming which was where Klára Dán came in. As with all computers of its era, MANIAC I was a one-of-a-kind machine that could not exchange programs with other computers (even other IAS machines). Programmers had to generate unique code for the specific architecture. Klára Dán was the principal programmer of MANIAC I. The first task assigned to MANIAC was to perform more exact and extensive calculations of the thermonuclear process. The MANIAC ran successfully in March 1952 and was shut down on July 15, 1958. It was succeeded by MANIAC II in 1957.

Klára Dán was also involved in the design of new controls for ENIAC (originally used to calculate artillery trajectories) and was one of its primary programmers. Even on the 50th anniversary of ENIAC in 1995, the role of women as programmers went largely unrecognized. All of the first 6 programmers of ENIAC were women: Kay McNulty, Betty Jennings, Betty Snyder, Marlyn Meltzer, Fran Bilas, and Ruth Lichterman. Klára Dán was involved in later modifications. She had a major role in reprogramming ENIAC to make weather predictions. Historians believed for decades that women posing by ENIAC were “refrigerator ladies,” that is, models who made the computer more attractive, but were not involved in its operation. They were not eye candy, they were the key programmers.

After his death in 1957, Klára Dán wrote the preface to John von Neumann’s posthumously published Silliman Lectures, later edited and published by Yale University Press as The Computer and the Brain. She married physicist Carl Eckart in 1958 and moved with him to La Jolla, California. She died in 1963 when she drove from her home in La Jolla to the beach and walked into the surf and drowned. The San Diego coroner’s office listed her death as a suicide.

Maybe some historian or Ph.D. candidate is assiduously researching Klára Dán’s life for a book or dissertation. I don’t know. Her story is largely untold. I don’t have any trouble asserting that John von Neumann was the love of her life, and I expect he valued her for her mathematical abilities, along with other qualities. Why, though, was she married 4 times (the first 2 in quick succession), and why did she remarry soon after von Neumann’s death? Furthermore, why did she commit suicide? If she suffered from clinical depression or was bipolar, her devotion to complex work and suicide would be explicable. But there is so little to go on. She was not necessarily a private person. It is known that she was gregarious in Budapest when her parents entertained, and she and von Neumann held celebrated parties at their house in Princeton. Of course, being overtly gregarious is no sign of anything concerning inner turmoil. If there is more research on her life, I’d like to know about it. Meanwhile spread the word about the undervalued work of women in the early days of computing.

A Hungarian recipe is called for today, and if you think about paprika when you think about Hungarian cuisine, you are not far wrong: http://www.bookofdaystales.com/st-stephen-of-hungary/ You have a hard job finding a Hungarian meat recipe without some paprika in it, and most of them are swimming in it. First task in cooking any Hungarian dish is to find proper Hungarian paprika, not the red powder that passes for paprika in many supermarkets. Then you have to decide on the grade and spiciness. Csípős Csemege, Pikáns (Pungent Exquisite Delicate) is my favorite, but it is hard to find outside of Hungary. You can probably find a hot or mild Szeged paprika if you hunt. You can find good Hungarian paprika online.

Here is Hungarian Pacal Pörkölt to feed my tripe fetish. It is a great favorite of mine. You can skin the tomatoes easily by scalding them briefly in boiling water. To skin the peppers, sear them over a gas burner briefly. Lard is the traditional fat for frying, but you can use olive oil if you wish.

Pacal Pörkölt

Ingredients

2 lb parboiled tripe, cut in thick strips, ½ inch wide, 2 inches long
5 oz smoked bacon, diced
5 oz diced onion
5 oz tomatoes skinned and diced
5 oz Hungarian peppers skinned and sliced in stripsM
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin
lard
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp Hungarian paprika
1 tsp marjoram
2 bay leaves

Instructions:

Mix the peppers, garlic, cumin and paprika with the tomatoes in a bowl.

Heat a small amount of lard in a deep skillet over medium-high heat and fry the bacon until it is lightly brown. Scoop out the bacon bits with a slotted spoon. The bacon can be set aside or a little cook’s treat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Add the tomato mix, ¼ cup of water and the bay leaves. Cover and simmer slowly for about 15 minutes.

Stir in the tripe, marjoram, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, and ½ cup of water. Cover and simmer until the tripe is tender. Cooking tripe to the right consistency takes experience. It must be al dente – not chewy, not mushy.

Serve hot with csipetke or galuska (Hungarian noodles) on the side. Sour cream can also be served as a side.

Aug 172018
 

Today is the birthday (1893) of Mary Jane “Mae” West, a US actress, singer, playwright, screenwriter, and comedian whose entertainment career spanned seven decades. She was known for her lighthearted bawdy double entendres and breezy sexual independence. Mae West was born in Kings County, New York (either Greenpoint or Bushwick, before New York City was consolidated in 1898). She was the eldest surviving child of John Patrick West and Mathilde “Tillie” (later Matilda) Delker. During her childhood, West’s family moved to various parts of Woodhaven, as well as the Williamsburg and Greenpoint neighborhoods of Brooklyn. In Woodhaven, at Neir’s Social Hall (which opened in 1829 and is still standing), West supposedly first performed professionally. West was 5 when she first entertained a crowd at a church social, and she started appearing in amateur shows at the age of 7, often winning local talent contests. She began performing professionally in vaudeville in the Hal Clarendon Stock Company in 1907 at the age of 14. West first performed under the stage name “Baby Mae,” and tried various personas, including a male impersonator.

She used the alias “Jane Mast” early in her career. Her trademark walk was said to have been inspired or influenced by female impersonators Bert Savoy and Julian Eltinge, who were famous during the Pansy Craze. Her first appearance in a Broadway show was in a 1911 revue A La Broadway put on by her former dancing teacher, Ned Wayburn. The show folded after eight performances, but at age 18, West was singled out by The New York Times. The Times reviewer wrote that a “girl named Mae West, hitherto unknown, pleased by her grotesquerie and snappy way of singing and dancing.” West next appeared in a show called Vera Violetta, whose cast featured Al Jolson. In 1912, she appeared in the opening performance of A Winsome Widow as a “baby vamp” named La Petite Daffy.

In 1918, after several high-profile revues, West finally got her break in the Shubert Brothers revue Sometime, opposite Ed Wynn. Her character Mayme danced the shimmy and her photograph appeared on an edition of the sheet music for the popular number “Ev’rybody Shimmies Now.” Eventually, she began writing her own risqué plays using the pen name Jane Mast. Her first starring role on Broadway was in a 1926 play she entitled Sex, which she wrote, produced, and directed. Although conservative critics panned the show, ticket sales were strong. The production did not go over well with city officials, who had received complaints from some religious groups and the theater was raided, with West arrested along with the cast. She was taken to the Jefferson Market Court House, (now Jefferson Market Library), where she was prosecuted on morals charges and on April 19th, 1927, was sentenced to 10 days for “corrupting the morals of youth” (shades of Socrates). Though West could have paid a fine and been let off, she chose the jail sentence for the publicity it would garner. While incarcerated on Welfare Island (now known as Roosevelt Island), she dined with the warden and his wife; she told reporters that she had worn her silk panties while serving time, in lieu of the “burlap” the other girls had to wear. West got great mileage from this stint in jail. She served eight days with two days off for “good behavior”. Media attention surrounding the incident enhanced her career, by crowning her the darling “bad girl” who “had climbed the ladder of success wrong by wrong”.

 

Her next play, The Drag, dealt with homosexuality, and was what West called one of her “comedy-dramas of life”. After a series of try-outs in Connecticut and New Jersey, West announced she would open the play in New York. However, The Drag never opened on Broadway due to efforts by the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice to ban any attempt by West to stage it. West explained, “the city fathers begged me not to bring the show to New York because they were not equipped to handle the commotion it would cause.” West was an early supporter of the women’s liberation movement, but said she was not a “burn your bra” type feminist. From the 1920s, she was also an early supporter of gay rights.

West continued to write plays, including The Wicked Age, Pleasure Man, and The Constant Sinner. Her productions aroused controversy, which ensured that she stayed in the news, which also often resulted in packed houses at her performances. Her 1928 play, Diamond Lil, about a racy, easygoing, and ultimately very smart lady of the 1890s, became a Broadway hit and cemented West’s image in the public’s eye. This show had an enduring popularity and West successfully revived it many times throughout the course of her career. With Diamond Lil being a hit show, Hollywood was next.

In 1932, West was offered a motion picture contract by Paramount Pictures despite being close to 40. This was an unusually late age to begin a movie career, especially for women, but she was not playing an ingénue, and her characterization of a freewheeling, sexually secure, and liberated woman was ageless. She nonetheless managed to keep her age ambiguous for some years. She made her film debut in 1932’s Night After Night starring George Raft, who suggested her for the role. At first, she did not like her small role in Night After Night, but was appeased when she was allowed to rewrite her scenes. In West’s first scene, a hat-check girl exclaims, “Goodness, what beautiful diamonds”, and West replies, “Goodness had nothing to do with it, dearie.” Reflecting on the overall result of her rewritten scenes, Raft is said to have remarked, “She stole everything but the cameras.”

She brought her Diamond Lil character, now renamed “Lady Lou”, to the screen in She Done Him Wrong (1933). The film is also notable as one of Cary Grant’s first major roles, which boosted his career. West claimed she spotted Grant at the studio and insisted that he be cast as the male lead. She claimed to have told a Paramount director “If he can talk, I’ll take him!” The film was a box-office hit and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. The success of the film saved Paramount from bankruptcy, grossing over $2 million, the equivalent of $140 million in today’s dollars. Paramount recognizes that debt of gratitude today, with a building on the lot named after her.

Her next release, I’m No Angel (1933), paired her with Grant again. I’m No Angel was also a financial success, and was the most successful film of her entire movie career. In the months that followed the release of this film, reference to Mae West could be found from the song lyrics of Cole Porter, to a WPA mural of San Francisco’s newly built Art-Deco Coit Tower, to “She Done Him Right”, a Betty Boop cartoon, to “My Dress Hangs There”, a painting by renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Kahlo’s equally famed muralist painter husband, Diego Rivera, paid his own tribute: “West is the most wonderful machine for living I have ever known – unfortunately on the screen only.” F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “The only Hollywood actress with both an ironic edge and a comic spark.” As Variety put it, “Mae West’s films have made her the biggest conversation-provoker, free-space grabber, and all-around box-office bet in the country. She’s as hot an issue as Hitler.”

By 1933, West was one of the largest box office draws in the United States and, by 1935, West was also the highest paid woman and the second-highest paid person in the United States (after William Randolph Hearst). Hearst invited West to San Simeon, California. “I could’a married him,” West explained, “but I got no time for parties. I don’t like those big crowds.” On July 1, 1934, the censorship of the Production Code began to be seriously and meticulously enforced, and her screenplays were heavily edited. West would purposely place over-the-top lines in her scripts, knowing the censors would cut them out. She hoped they would then not object as much to her other lines. Her next film was Belle of the Nineties (1934). The original title, It Ain’t No Sin, was changed due to the censors’ objections. Despite Paramount’s early objections regarding costs, she insisted the studio hire Duke Ellington and his orchestra to accompany her in the film’s musical numbers. The classic “My Old Flame” (recorded by Duke Ellington) was introduced in this picture. Her next film, Goin’ to Town (1935), received mixed reviews, as censorship continued to take its toll in eroding West’s best lines.

Her following effort, Klondike Annie (1936) dealt, as best it could given the heavy censorship, with religion and hypocrisy. Some critics called the film her screen masterpiece, but not everyone felt the same way. Press baron and would-be film mogul William Randolph Hearst, ostensibly offended by an offhanded remark West made about his mistress, Marion Davies, sent a private memo to all his editors stating, “That Mae West picture ‘Klondike Annie’ is a filthy picture… We should have editorials roasting that picture, Mae West, and Paramount… DO NOT ACCEPT ANY ADVERTISING OF THIS PICTURE.” At one point, Hearst asked aloud, “Isn’t it time Congress did something about the Mae West menace?” Paramount executives felt they had to tone down the West characterization, or face further recrimination. By today’s standards West’s films are tame: they contained no nudity, no profanity and very little violence. Though raised in an era when women held second-place roles in society, West portrayed confident women who were not afraid to use their sexuality to get what they wanted. “I was the first liberated woman, you know. No guy was going to get the best of me. That’s what I wrote all my scripts about.” That same year, 1936, West played opposite Randolph Scott in Go West, Young Man. In this film, she adapted Lawrence Riley’s Broadway hit Personal Appearance into a screenplay. Go West, Young Man is considered one of West’s weaker films of the era, due to the censors’ cuts.

West next starred in Every Day’s a Holiday (1937) for Paramount before their association came to an end. Again, due to censor cuts, the film performed below its goal. Censorship had made West’s sexually suggestive brand of humor impossible for the studios to distribute. West, along with other stellar performers, was put on a list of actors called “Box Office Poison” by Harry Brandt on behalf of the Independent Theatre Owners Association. Others on the list were Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich, Fred Astaire, Dolores del Río, Katharine Hepburn, and Kay Francis. The attack was published as a paid advertisement in The Hollywood Reporter and was taken seriously by the fearful studio executives. The association argued that these stars’ high salaries and extreme public popularity did not affect their ticket sales, but hurt the studios. This did not stop producer David O. Selznick, who next offered West the role of the sage madam, Belle Watling, the only woman ever to truly understand Rhett Butler, in his film version of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind after Tallulah Bankhead turned him down. West also declined the part, claiming that as it was, it was too small for an established star, and that she would need to rewrite her lines to suit her own persona. The role eventually went to Ona Munson.

In 1939, Universal Pictures approached West to star in a film opposite W. C. Fields. The studio was eager to duplicate the success of Destry Rides Again starring Marlene Dietrich and James Stewart with a comic vehicle starring West and Fields. Having left Paramount 18 months earlier and looking for a new film, West accepted the role of Flower Belle Lee in the film My Little Chickadee (1940). Despite the stars’ intense mutual dislike, Fields’s very real drinking problems, and fights over the screenplay, My Little Chickadee was a box-office success, outgrossing Fields’s previous film, You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man (1939) and the later The Bank Dick (1940). Religious leaders condemned West as a negative role model, taking offense at lines such as “Between two evils, I like to pick the one I haven’t tried before” and “Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?”

West’s next film was The Heat’s On (1943) for Columbia Pictures. She initially did not want to do the film, but after actor/producer/director and personal friend Gregory Ratoff (producer Max Fabian in All About Eve) pleaded with her and claimed he would go bankrupt if she could not help, West relented as a personal favor. The Heat’s On opened to poor reviews and weak performance at the box office because of severe censorship. West was so distraught after the experience, and by her years of struggling with the strict Hays censorship office, that she did not attempt another film role for the next quarter-century. Instead, she pursued a successful and record-breaking career in top nightclubs, Las Vegas, nationally in theater and on Broadway, where she was allowed, to be her uncensored self.

On December 12, 1937, West appeared in two separate sketches on ventriloquist Edgar Bergen’s radio show The Chase and Sanborn Hour. By the second half of the 1930s, West’s popularity was affected by her dialogue being severely censored. She went on the show to promote her latest movie, Every Day’s a Holiday. Appearing as herself, West flirted with Charlie McCarthy, Bergen’s dummy, using her usual brand of wit and risqué sexual references. West referred to Charlie as “all wood and a yard long” and commented, “Charles, I remember our last date, and have the splinters to prove it!” West was on the verge of being banned from radio. She followed with a sketch written by Arch Oboler, starring Don Ameche and West as Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden on NBC. She told Ameche in the show to “get me a big one… I feel like doin’ a big apple!” This ostensible reference to the then-current dance craze was one of the many double entendres in the dialogue. Days after the broadcast, the studio received letters calling the show “immoral” and “obscene” by societies for the protection of morals. Several conservative women’s clubs and religious groups admonished the show’s sponsor, Chase & Sanborn Coffee Company, for “prostituting” their services for allowing “impurity [to] invade the air”. Under pressure, the Federal Communications Commission later deemed the broadcast “vulgar and indecent” and “far below even the minimum standard which should control in the selection and production of broadcast programs”. Some debate ensued regarding the reaction to the skit. Conservative religious groups took umbrage far more swiftly than the mainstream. These groups found it easy to make West their target. They took exception to her outspoken use of sexuality and sexual imagery, which she had employed in her career since at least the Pre-Code films of the early 1930s and for decades before on Broadway, but which was now being broadcast into American living rooms on a popular family-friendly radio program. The groups reportedly warned the sponsor of the program they would protest her appearance.

NBC Radio scapegoated West for the incident and banned her (and the mention of her name) from their stations. They claimed it was not the content of the skit, but West’s tonal inflections that gave it the controversial context, acting as though they had hired West knowing nothing of her previous work, nor had any idea of how she would deliver the lines written for her by Oboler. West did not perform on radio again until January 1950, in an episode of The Chesterfield Supper Club, which was hosted by Perry Como. Ameche’s career did not suffer any serious repercussions, however, as he was playing the straight guy. Nonetheless, Mae West went on to enjoy record-breaking success in Las Vegas, swank nightclubs such as Lou Walters’ The Latin Quarter, Broadway, and London.

In 1958, West appeared at the live televised Academy Awards and performed the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with Rock Hudson, which brought a standing ovation. In 1959, she released an autobiography, Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It, which became a best seller and was reprinted with a new chapter in 1970. West guest-starred on television, including The Dean Martin Show in 1959 and The Red Skelton Show in 1960, to promote her autobiography, and a lengthy interview on Person to Person with Charles Collingwood, which was censored by CBS in 1959, and never aired. CBS executives felt members of the television audience were not ready to see a nude marble statue of West, which rested on her piano. In 1964, she made a guest appearance on the sitcom Mister Ed. Much later, in 1976, she was interviewed by Dick Cavett and sang two songs on his “Back Lot U.S.A.” special on CBS.

In August 1980, West tripped while getting out of bed. After the fall, West was unable to speak and was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, where tests revealed that she had suffered a stroke. She died on November 22, 1980, at the age of 87. A private service was held in the Old North Church replica, in Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills, on November 25, 1980. Bishop Andre Penachio, a friend, officiated at the entombment in the family mausoleum at Cypress Hills Abbey, Brooklyn.

I found this in an article about a tea with Mae West in the Observer:

Tea came in a silver service on a tray: English tea and shop-bought shortbread, which I hogged much more of than she did. Although West was known for her curves, I got the impression she wasn’t much interested in food, and certainly not in cooking it, although she talked at length about the benefits of putting coconut oil on her face.

Not much to go on. You can do better than store-bought shortbread, however. It’s easy to make. I have Mrs Beeton’s recipe here – http://www.bookofdaystales.com/september-equinox/ It’s perfectly serviceable, but I can also do a little chameleon cooking with the basic idea. A standard round shortbread should be made in a 9” round baking tin. Preheat your oven to 170°C/325°F. Mix together 200 grams of plain flour and 50 grams of caster sugar. Then cut in 125 grams of cold butter until the mix resembles wet sand. I do this step in a food processor. Pour the mix into the baking tin and press it down firmly. Then prick the top deeply with a fork to make the shortbread easy to break when it is cooked. Bake for between 20 to 30 minutes. Check assiduously after 20 minutes, and remove the shortbread as soon as it is light golden. Cool on a wire rack in the tin for about 20 minutes, then turn out. The shortbread will keep in an airtight tin for 2 to 3 days. Plain shortbread is just fine by me, but there are no end of flavorings you can add. The trick is not to add too much of any one flavoring, because homemade shortbread has a simple buttery flavor that can easily be overwhelmed. A little grated lemon zest works, and people often add caraway seeds. Slightly less conventional flavorings include orange flower water, lavender water, or rosewater. Just be sparing: a little goes a long way. Add the flavoring to the sugar and flour mix before adding the butter.

Aug 162018
 

Today is the birthday (1815) of Giovanni Melchiorre Bosco, popularly known as Don Bosco (sometimes John Bosco or St John Bosco), an Italian Roman Catholic priest, educator and writer. While working in Turin, where the population suffered many of the effects of industrialization and urbanization, he dedicated his life to the betterment and education of street children, juvenile delinquents, and other disadvantaged youth. He developed teaching methods based on love rather than punishment, a method that became known as the Salesian Preventive System.

Don Bosco was born in the hillside hamlet of Becchi, 30 km east of Turin. He was the youngest son of Francesco Bosco and Margherita Occhiena. He had two older brothers, Antonio and Giuseppe. The Boscos of Becchi were farmhands of the Moglian Family. John Bosco was born into a time of great shortage and famine in the Piedmontese countryside, following the devastation wrought by the Napoleonic wars and a drought in 1817. When he was little more than 2 years old his father died, leaving the support of three boys to his mother.

In 1825, when he was 9 years old, Bosco had the first of a series of dreams which would play an influential role in his outlook and work. This first dream “left a profound impression on him for the rest of his life”, according to his own memoirs. Bosco apparently saw a multitude of very poor boys playing and blaspheming, and a man, who “appeared, nobly attired, with a manly and imposing bearing.” The man said to him: “You will have to win these friends of yours not with blows, but with gentleness and kindness. So, begin right now to show them that sin is ugly and virtue beautiful.” When traveling entertainers performed at a local feast in the nearby hills, Don Bosco watched and studied the jugglers’ tricks and the acrobats’ secrets. Then he put on shows of his skills as a juggler, magician and acrobat with prayers before and after the performance.

Poverty prevented any serious schooling for Bosco. Hiss early years were spent as a shepherd boy, and he received his first schooling from a parish priest. At the time, being a priest was generally seen as a profession for the privileged classes, rather than farmers, although it was not unknown. Some biographers portray his older brother Antonio as the main obstacle for Bosco’s ambition to study, since the brother protested that Giovanni was just “a farmer like us!”

On a cold morning in February 1827, John left his home and went to look for work as a farm-servant. At 12, he found life at home unbearable because of the continuous quarrels with Antonio. Having to face life by himself at such a young age may have developed his later desires to help abandoned boys. After begging unsuccessfully for work, Bosco ended up at the wine farm of Louis Moglia. In 1830 he met Joseph Cafasso, a young priest who identified some natural talent and supported his first schooling. In 1835 Bosco entered the seminary at Chieri, next to the Church of the Immacolata Concezione. In 1841, after six years of study, he was ordained priest on the eve of Trinity Sunday by archbishop Franzoni of Turin.

Don Bosco was first called as the chaplain of the Rifugio (“Refuge”), a girls’ boarding school founded in Turin by the Marchioness Giulia di Barolo. His other ministries included visiting prisoners, teaching catechism, and helping out at country parishes. At that time, the city of Turin had a population of 117,000 inhabitants. It reflected the effects of industrialization and urbanization: numerous poor families lived in the slums of the city, having come from the countryside in search of a better life. In visiting the prisons, Don Bosco was disturbed to see so many boys from 12 to 18 years of age. He was determined to find a means to prevent them ending up here. Because of population growth and migration to the city, Bosco found the traditional methods of parish ministry ineffective. He decided it was necessary to try another form of apostolate, and he began to meet the boys where they worked and gathered in shops and market places. According to his Memoires, they were pavers, stone-cutters, masons, plasterers etc. who came from faraway places.

Don Bosco developed his ministry for helping poor young boys into his permanent occupation. He looked for jobs for the unemployed. Some of the boys did not have sleeping quarters and slept under bridges or in bleak public dormitories. Twice he tried to provide lodgings in his house. The first time they stole the blankets; the second they emptied the hay-loft. He persisted, however. In May 1847, he gave shelter to a young boy from Valencia, in one of the three rooms he was renting in the slums of Valdocco, where he was living with his mother. From that point on he and “Mamma Margherita” began taking in orphans. They sheltered 36 boys in 1852, 115 in 1854, 470 in 1860 and 600 in 1861. Some time later, the number had risen to 800. Bosco and his ministry moved around town for a number of years. He was turned out of several places in succession. After only two months based in the church of St. Martin, the entire neighborhood expressed its annoyance with the noise coming from the boys at play. A formal complaint was lodged against them with the municipality. Rumors also circulated that the meetings conducted by the priest with his boys were dangerous. It was argued that their recreation could be turned into a revolution against the government, and so the group was evicted.

In the archives of the Salesian Congregation is a contract of apprenticeship, dated November 1851; another one on stamped paper, dated February 8, 1852; and others with later dates. These are among the first contracts of apprenticeship to be found in Turin. All of them are signed by the employer, the apprentice, and Don Bosco. In those contracts, Don Bosco touched on many sensitive issues. Some employers customarily made servants and scullery-boys of the apprentices. Don Bosco obligated them to agree to employ the boys only in their acknowledged trade. Employers also used to beat the boys. Don Bosco required them to agree that corrections be made only verbally. He cared for their health, and demanded that they be given rest on feast days, and that they be given an annual holiday. But in spite of all the efforts and contracts, the situation of the apprentices of the time remained difficult.

One influential friend was the Piedmontese Justice Minister Urbano Rattazzi. He was anticlerical in his politics, but he saw value in Bosco’s work. While Rattazzi was pushing a bill through the Sardinian legislature to suppress religious orders, he advised Bosco on how to get around the law. He found a religious order to keep the ministry going after Don Bosco’s death. Bosco had been thinking about that problem, too, and had been slowly organizing his helpers into a loose “Congregation of St. Francis de Sales”. He was also training select older boys for the priesthood. Another supporter of the idea to establish a religious order to carry out Bosco’s vision was the reigning pope, Pius IX.

Bosco disliked the ideals that had been exported by revolutionary France, calling Rousseau and Voltaire “two vicious leaders of incredulity.” He favored an ultramontane view of politics that acknowledged the supreme authority of the pope. In 1854, when the kingdom of Sardinia was about to pass a law suppressing monastic orders and confiscating ecclesiastical properties, Bosco reported a series of dreams about “great funerals at court”, referring to politicians or members of the Savoy court. In November 1854, he sent a letter to Victor Emmanuel II, admonishing him to oppose the confiscation of church property and suppression of the orders, but the king failed to respond. Opposition to Bosco and his work came from various quarters. Traditionalist clergy accused him of stealing the young and old people away from their own parishes. Nationalist politicians (including some clergy) saw his several hundred young men as a recruiting ground for revolution. The Marquis de Cavour, chief of police in Turin, regarded the open-air catechisms as overtly political and a threat to the State, and was highly suspicious of Bosco’s support for the powers of the papacy. Bosco was interrogated on several occasions, but no charges filed. Closure of the ministry may have been prevented by orders from the king that Bosco was not to be disturbed. Several attempts were also made on Bosco’s life, including a near-stabbing, bludgeoning, and a shooting. Early biographers put this down to the growing influence of the Waldensians in opposition to Catholic clergy.

Some of the boys helped by Don Bosco decided to do what he was doing, that is, to work in the service of abandoned boys. And this was the origin of the Salesian Congregation. Among the first members were Michele Rua, Giovanni Cagliero (who later became a Cardinal), and Giovanni Battista Francesia. In 1859, Bosco selected the experienced priest Vittorio Alasonatti, 15 seminarians, and one high school boy to form the Society of St. Francis de Sales. This was the nucleus of the Salesians, the religious order that would carry on his work. When the group had their next meeting, they voted on the admission of Giuseppe Rossi as a lay member, the first Salesian brother. The Salesian Congregation was divided into priests, seminarians and “coadjutors” (the lay brothers).

Next, he worked with Maria Mazzarello and a group of girls in the hill town of Mornese. In 1871, he founded a group of religious sisters to do for girls what the Salesians were doing for boys. They were called the “Daughters of Mary Help of Christians.” In 1874, he founded yet another group, the “Salesian Cooperators.” These were mostly lay people who worked with young people like the Daughters and the Salesians, but did not join a religious order.

The first Salesians departed for Argentina in 1875. After his ordination, Bosco himself would have become a missionary had not his director, Joseph Cafasso, opposed the idea. When Bosco founded the Salesian Society, the thought of the missions still obsessed him, though he completely lacked the financial means at that time. Bosco claimed he had another dream where he was on a vast plain, inhabited by primitive peoples, who spent their time hunting or fighting among themselves or against soldiers in European uniforms. A band of missionaries arrived, but they were all massacred. A second group appeared, which Bosco at once recognized as Salesians. Astonished, he witnessed an unexpected change when the fierce warriors laid down their arms and listened to the missionaries. It seems the dream made a great impression on Bosco, because he tried hard to identify the men and the country of the dream – and for three years collected information about different countries. A request from Argentina, turned him towards the Indians of Patagonia, and a study of the people there convinced him that the country and its inhabitants were the ones he had seen in his dream. Towards the end of 1874, John Bosco received letters from the Argentine consul at Savona requesting that he accept an Italian parish in Buenos Aires and a school for boys at San Nicolas de los Arroyos. Bosco regarded this as a sign of providence and started to prepare a mission.

Bosco proposed setting up bases in safe locations from which missionary efforts could to be launched. Negotiations started after Archbishop Aneiros of Buenos Aires had indicated that he would be glad to receive the Salesians. On 5th February he announced the fact in a circular letter to all Salesians asking volunteers to apply in writing. He proposed that the first missionary departure start in October. There were many volunteers.

Bosco died on 31 January 1888. His funeral was attended by thousands. Soon after there was popular demand to have him canonized. The Archdiocese of Turin investigated, and witnesses were called to determine if Bosco was worthy to be declared a saint. The Salesians, Daughters and Cooperators gave supportive testimonies. But many remembered Bosco’s controversies in the 1870s with Archbishop Gastaldi and some others high in the Church hierarchy thought him a loose cannon. In the canonization process, testimony was heard about how he went around Gastaldi to get some of his men ordained and about their lack of academic preparation and ecclesiastical decorum. Political cartoons from the 1860s and later showed him shaking money from the pockets of old ladies or going off to America for the same purpose. These cartoons were not forgotten. Opponents of Bosco, including some cardinals, were in a position to block his canonization. Around 1925, many Salesians feared that they would succeed. Pope Pius XI had known Bosco and pushed the cause forward. Pius XI beatified Bosco on June 2nd, 1929 and canonized him on Easter Sunday (April 1) of 1934, when he was given the title of “Father and Teacher of Youth.” Nowadays there are Don Bosco centers all over the world. There are 3 in Phnom Penh.

While Don Bosco had been popularly known as the patron saint of illusionists, on 30th January 2002, Silvio Mantelli petitioned Pope John Paul II to formally declare Bosco the patron of stage magicians. Catholic stage magicians who practice gospel magic venerate Bosco by offering free magic shows to underprivileged children on his feast day (31st January).

In previous posts I have given recipes suitable for young children. Here I would like to expand on the general idea a little more. My mother let me help her with some cooking, mostly baking, from a young age, and from about 11 onwards I could do a few simple things on my own. Likewise, I got my son involved in cooking quite young, and gave him weekly cooking lessons in his teens. Not everyone is going to fall in love with cooking at a young age. My son certainly did not. He does, however, know the basics and can cook for himself if he has to (although he is remarkably good at running from it). He did prepare a roast goose and all the trimmings for Christmas once when he was in New York and I was living in Argentina. He also had the idea to pit roast a whole pig for his friends for their college graduation, but I was relieved to hear that the plan fell through. Last year he stayed with me in Phnom Penh for a month and made detailed notes on the dishes I cooked so that he (or more likely his wife) could replicate them. The thing is that he has the grounding. My father used to make pasta by hand on Saturday mornings, so I naturally assumed that making pasta was easy and normal. It never occurred to me that the majority of cooks think of making pasta by hand as difficult.

Think of dishes that you make that your children could make by themselves with a bit of practice and some supervision at first. For example, I commonly made nachos as a late evening snack, and my son quickly picked up the method (just as my father used to make an Argentine tortilla for a snack when I was a boy, and now it is a staple for me). Your basics are tortilla chips and shredded Monterrey Jack cheese. You spread the chips in a single layer on a baking tray and sprinkle the cheese liberally on top. What else you add depends on what you like. My son used to add sliced black olives and pickled jalapeños, but you can also add refried beans, cooked (and seasoned) ground beef, or whatever takes your fancy. My son used to pile the ingredients he had on hand on the tortilla chips and then pop the tray into the microwave on high until the cheese was melted and bubbly. This is a safer method than using the broiler for a novice.

Aug 152018
 

Today is Independence Day in several countries: North Korea, South Korea, India, and Congo. That marks this date as of major significance in what has come to be called post-colonialism, the time of liberation of colonial nations from their imperial overlords. The Second World War was the great watershed event. After the war, Britain, reluctantly, started divesting itself of its imperial holdings, and Japan did so forcibly. Japan gave up Korea on this date, because this is the date Japan surrendered to the allies (or yesterday depending on your time zone). Today is called V-J (victory over Japan) Day in Britain, similar to V-E Day earlier in the year when Germany surrendered. V-J Day was very important because British and Commonwealth forces were still fighting in the Pacific after Germany surrendered, but the celebrations were more muted in Britain because the nation was not under imminent threat from Japan in the way it had been from Germany.

The National Liberation Day of Korea is celebrated annually on August 15th in both North and South Korea (the only shared national holiday). It commemorates the day when U.S. and Soviet forces ended the decades-long Japanese occupation of Korea. In South Korea it is known as Gwangbokjeol (광복절; literally, “the day the light returned”), and in North Korea it is known as Chogukhaebangŭi nal (조국해방의 날; literally, “Liberation of the Fatherland Day”).

After the Korean Peninsula was liberated by the Allies in 1945, independent Korean governments were created three years later, on August 15, 1948, when the pro-U.S. Syngman Rhee was elected first President of South Korea and pro-Soviet Kim Il-sung was made first Leader of North Korea.

In South Korea, many activities and events happen during the day, including an official ceremony with the president in attendance that takes place at the Independence Hall of Korea in Cheonan or at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. All buildings and homes are encouraged to display the South Korean national flag Taegukgi. Not only are most public museums and places open free of charge to the descendants of independence activists on the holiday, but they can also travel on both public transport and intercity trains for free. The official “Gwangbokjeol song” (광복절 노래) is sung at official ceremonies. The song’s lyrics were written by Jeong Inbo (정인보) and the melody by Yoon Yongha (윤용하). The lyrics speak of “to touch the earth again” and how “the sea dances”, how “this day is the remaining trace of 40 years of passionate blood solidified” and to “guard this forever and ever.” The government traditionally issues special pardons on Gwangbokjeol.

Independence Day is annually celebrated on 15th August, as a national holiday in India commemorating the nation’s independence from the United Kingdom on 15th August 1947, the UK Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act 1947 transferring legislative sovereignty to the Indian Constituent Assembly. India still retained King George VI as head of state until its transition to a full republican constitution. India attained independence following the Independence Movement noted for largely non-violent resistance and civil disobedience led by the Indian National Congress (INC). Independence coincided with the partition of India, in which the British India was divided along religious lines into the Dominions of India and Pakistan. The partition was accompanied by violent riots and mass casualties, and the displacement of nearly 15 million people due to religious violence. Millions of Muslim, Sikh and Hindu refugees trekked the newly drawn borders in the months surrounding independence. In Punjab, where the borders divided the Sikh regions in halves, massive bloodshed followed; in Bengal and Bihar, where Mahatma Gandhi’s presence assuaged communal tempers, the violence was mitigated. In all, between 250,000 and 1,000,000 people on both sides of the new borders died in the violence. While the entire nation was celebrating Independence Day, Gandhi stayed in Calcutta in an attempt to stem the carnage. On 14th August 1947, the Independence Day of Pakistan, the new Dominion of Pakistan came into being; Muhammad Ali Jinnah was sworn in as its first Governor General in Karachi.

On 15th August 1947, the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru raised the Indian national flag above the Lahori Gate of the Red Fort in Delhi. Independence Day is one of the three national holidays in India and is observed in all Indian states and union territories, as well as the Indian diaspora. On the eve of Independence Day, the President of India delivers the “Address to the Nation.” On 15th August, the Prime Minister hoists the Indian flag on the ramparts of the historical site of Red Fort in Delhi. A 21 gun salute is fired in honor of the occasion. In his speech, the Prime Minister highlights the past year’s achievements, raises important issues and calls for further development. He also pays tribute to the leaders of the Indian independence movement. The Indian national anthem, “Jana Gana Mana”, is sung. The speech is followed by march past of divisions of the Indian Armed Forces and paramilitary forces. Parades and pageants showcase scenes from the independence struggle and India’s diverse cultural traditions. Similar events take place in state capitals where the Chief Ministers of individual states unfurl the national flag, followed by parades and pageants.

Flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural programs take place in governmental and non-governmental institutions throughout the country. Schools and colleges conduct flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural events. Major government buildings are often adorned with strings of lights. In Delhi and some other cities, kite flying adds to the occasion. National flags of different sizes are used abundantly to symbolize allegiance to the country. Citizens adorn their clothing, wristbands, cars, household accessories with replicas of the tricolor. Over time, the celebration has changed emphasis from nationalism to a broader celebration of all things Indian.

Today is Independence Day in the Republic of Congo, marking independence from France on 15th August 1960. The Republic of Congo is also informally called Congo or Congo-Brazzaville. It is located on both sides of the equator, and its neighbors are Gabon , Cameroon , the Central African Republic , the Democratic Republic of Congo (from which it is separated, in part, by the Congo River and the Ubangi), and Cabinda ( Angola ). The Republic of Congo is often called “Congo-Brazzaville” to distinguish it from the other Congo, officially named “Democratic Republic of Congo,” informally called “Congo-Kinshasa”.

French involvement in Congo began in the 1870s with Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza. He reached the Congo in 1879 going up the course of the Ogoué, to the mouth of the present island of Mbamou. In 1880, he signed a treaty of sovereignty with Makoko, the king, Tékés in Mbé (100 km north of Brazzaville), and founded the post of Mfoa, named after the river that serves the city. Later it was renamed Brazzaville . At the same time, Lieutenant Cordier explored the region of Kouilou and Niari, and signed a treaty with king Maloango that recognized the sovereignty of France over the Kingdom of Loango, and he, in turn, founded Pointe-Noire in 1883. In 1885, Congo became one of the four states of French Equatorial Africa, with Brazzaville as the capital. The colony of French Congo was created in 1891, with the current Gabonese territory part of it until 1904.

From 1899, the territory was ceded to concession companies, which paid tax to the French administration. These companies mainly exploited rubber on thirty-years contracts for huge tracts ranging between 200,000 and 14 million hectares. These companies paid 15% of their profits as taxes to the French government. Apart from rubber, the companies exploited sugar, ivory, and precious woods. The main defender of this economic system was Eugène Étienne, then Under-Secretary of State for Colonies. Another Under-Secretary of State for the colonies, Théophile Delcassé , secretly granted, without official publication of the contracts, a concession of 11 million hectares (that is one-fifth the area  of France), located in Haut-Ogooué . Then, from March to July 1899 , the Colonial Minister Guillain granted, by decree, 40 more concessions. Many dealer companies were in the hands of numerous shareholders, including Leopold II of Belgium who bought shares under a false name. This fact, discovered after the death of the king, shocked the French authorities of the time, who did not realize that their colony was being exploited by a foreign country. It’s a general rule: mobsters don’t like other mobsters horning in on their turf.

Matsoua

In 1926 , André Matsoua founded a “friendly” group to help skirmishers (veterans who participated alongside the French army in the First World War) in their fight for independence from France. Because of the harsh conditions of exploitation of the colony, nationalism had rapidly spread in the Congo. This friendly group soon developed into a protest movement. The colonial administration was concerned, and incarcerated Matsoua, who died in prison in 1942, under suspicious circumstances. The movement then turned into a church that recruited members from indigenous people.

Congolese nationalism took firmer shape after the Second World War. On October 21st, 1945 Congolese elected the first Congolese deputy, Jean-Félix Tchicaya, to the Constituent Assembly in Paris. In 1946, he founded the Congolese Progressive Party (PPC), the Congolese section of the African Democratic Rally (GDR). Tchicaya was opposed by Jacques Opangault, but both were challenged by Father Fulbert Youlou, founder of the Democratic Union for the Defense of African Interests (UDDIA). Youlou won in the municipal elections of 1956. In 1958 a referendum on the French Community got a 99% “yes” vote for independence in the Middle Congo. The Congo became an autonomous republic, with Youlou as prime minister. In 1959, unrest erupted in Brazzaville and the French army intervened. Then on August 15th, 1960 Congo gained independence from France as the Republic of Congo, with Youlou elected as the first president.

For a recipe for today you could choose Korean, Indian, or Congolese. Within Indian cuisine alone you have a mountain of choices; Korean also. Because I have been a bit light on African recipes I will give you Congolese saka-saka (boiled cassava leaves), and to express my independence from the tyranny of conventional recipes, I’ll talk you through it. Start with enough cassava leaves to fill a big pot. Remove the stems and cut or tear them into pieces. Traditionally the leaves would be mashed and crushed in a large mortar. You can improvise with a rolling pin or a wooden mallet, but do not use a food processor. Place the greens in a large pot, top with water, and bring to a rolling boil. Cook for at least an hour, preferably two. Meanwhile prepare the other ingredients. Peel and chop an onion and a clove of garlic. Deseed and chop a green bell pepper. Peel and eggplant, remove the seeds, dice, and cover with salt in a ceramic bowl. You will also need a piece of dried or smoked fish, and a few tablespoons of oil. Palm oil is traditional, but if you cannot find palm oil from sustainable sources, use vegetable oil. Add all the remaining ingredients to the greens and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for several hours. Do not stir. Simmer until the water is mostly gone and the greens are cooked to a pulp. Serve with rice, and a meat dish if you wish.

Aug 142018
 

Today is the birthday (1502) of Pieter Coecke van Aelst, a Flemish painter, sculptor, architect, author and designer of woodcuts, goldsmith’s work, stained glass and tapestries who was influential in his day, but is largely forgotten nowadays. He worked in Antwerp and Brussels and was appointed court painter to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. He was also a polyglot, and published translations of ancient Roman and modern Italian architectural treatises into Dutch, French and German. These publications played a pivotal role in the dissemination of Renaissance ideas in Northern Europe, and contributed to the transition in Northern Europe from the late Gothic style, then prevalent, towards a modern Classical architecture.

Coecke van Aelst was the son of the Deputy Mayor of Aalst. Most of his biography is filled with “probablies” because there is little hard documentation. He probably first studied art under Bernard van Orley, a leading Renaissance painter based in Brussels. There are no documents that prove this apprenticeship but there are strong stylistic similarities between the styles of the two artists. He may have later studied in Italy where he would have made drawings of classical sculpture and architecture. His Italian influence could, however, also be attributed to the fact that Raphael’s tapestry cartoons were available in Brussels, where they were used for the manufacture of tapestries around 1516. However, as Coecke van Aelst clearly was familiar with Raphael’s fresco of the Triumph of Galatea located in the Villa Farnesina in Rome, it seems likely he did in fact travel to Italy.

Coecke van Aelst married twice. He married his first wife Anna van Dornicke in 1525 shortly after his move to Antwerp. Anna was the daughter of Jan Mertens van Dornicke, one of the most successful painters working in Antwerp. His father in law was possibly his teacher. Coecke van Aelst took over his father-in-law’s workshop after the latter’s death in 1527. There were two children from this first marriage, Michiel and Pieter (the Younger). The latter was also a painter. After the death of his first wife (before 1529), Coecke van Aelst had an affair with Anthonette van der Sandt (also known as Antonia van der Sant). The pair never married but had a daughter, Antonette, and at least one son, Pauwel who also became a painter.

Coecke van Aelst is recorded joining the local Guild of Saint Luke of Antwerp in 1527. In 1533, he traveled to Constantinople where he stayed for one year during which he tried to convince the Turkish sultan to give him commissions for tapestries, but failed. He made numerous drawings during his stay in Turkey including of the buildings, people and the indigenous flora. He seems to have retained from this trip an abiding interest in the accurate rendering of nature that gave his tapestries an added dimension. The drawings which he made during his stay in Turkey were posthumously published by his widow under the title Ces moeurs et fachons de faire de Turcz avecq les regions y appertenantes ont este au vif contrefaictez (Antwerp,1553).

Upon his return to Antwerp in 1534, Coecke van Aelst produced designs for a large-scale figure, called ‘Druon Antigoon’ or the ‘Giant of Antwerp’ of which the head in papier-maché possibly still survives (Museum aan de Stroom, Antwerp). The giant made its premiere many years later in 1549 at the occasion of the Joyous entry into Antwerp of Prince Philip (the future Philip II). The giant became a regular fixture in public processions in Antwerp until the 20th century. In the year 1537 Coecke van Aelst was elected a dean of the Antwerp Guild of Saint Luke. He also received a stipend from the Antwerp city government. Around this time he received major commissions for the design of stained-glass windows including for the Antwerp Cathedral.

Around 1538–1539 Coecke van Aelst married for the second time. His second wife Mayken Verhulst was originally from Mechelen and a painter of miniatures. The couple had three children, two daughters called Katelijne and Maria and a son named Pauwel (even though he had another son with this name). Pieter Brueghel the Elder married Coecke van Aelst’s daughter Maria (called ‘Mayken’). It is possible that Coecke van Aelst’s second wife was the first teacher of her grandchildren, Pieter Brueghel the Younger and Jan Brueghel the Elder.

Coecke van Aelst was appointed court painter to Charles V only a few months prior to his death. He was in Brussels in 1550 where he died in December. As his two youngest children died at the same time, it is possible that all three family members were victims of a contagious epidemic.

Pieter Coecke van Aelst was a versatile artist and a master designer who devised projects across a wide range of different media, including panel paintings, sculptures, prints, tapestries, stained glass and goldsmith’s work. No signed, and few reliably documented, paintings by Coecke van Aelst have survived. His drawings are an important witness to his skills as they are the only body of works by the artist, which are signed. Approximately 40 drawings are regarded as autographs, in addition to cartoons and cartoon fragments on which he likely worked with assistants. The majority of his drawings are related to his tapestry designs.

Coecke van Aelst’s composition of the Last Supper became extremely popular in the 16th century and many versions were produced. The version dated 1527 in the collection of the Duke and Duchess of Rutland in Belvoir Castle in  Grantham, is believed to be the original from which all the other ones were derived. The composition was popularized via a print of it made by Hendrik Goltzius. His painting of the subject was freely inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper (1498, Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan) and Marcantonio Raimondi’s engraving of about 1515–1516 based on a lost drawing by Raphael. The gestures of the apostles are derived from Dürer’s print of the Last Supper dated 1523. There exist about 45 versions of this composition, which were executed with the assistance of workshop assistants. A great number of the versions are dated, and of these 6 or 7 are dated 1528. Van Aelst likely produced the original drawing for the Last Supper, which was subsequently copied on to a panel by means of intermediary cartoons. The composition could be ordered in two formats: 50 x 60 cm and 60 x 80 cm. The large version was more popular than the smaller one.

Small Biblical scenes in the background of the composition place the Last Supper in its theological context. Through the window it is possible to discern a scene depicting the Entry into Jerusalem, the principal event preceding the Last Supper according to Christian literature. Scenes of the Fall and the Expulsion from Paradise can be discerned in the ornaments of the upper panes of the window. The medals on the wall depict the biblical stories of the Slaying of Cain and David and Goliath. The scene representing the slaying of Cain is based on a print by the prominent Romanist artist Jan Gossaert. The whole iconography accentuates the Christian preoccupation with original sin and the belief that mankind’s salvation solely relies on Christ’s sacrifice. The original version of 1527 expresses in some of its details an iconography, which shows a close link to the Protestant Reformation. In the other versions this meaning is less pronounced.

Another popular and widely distributed work was the composition St. Jerome in his Study of which Coecke van Aelst and his workshop produced multiple versions. Saint Jerome is noted for his translation into Latin of the Bible, http://www.bookofdaystales.com/international-translation-dayst-jerome/  which he produced whilst living in a monastery in Palestine. In the version of the subject in the Walters Museum, Coecke van Aelst suggests the Oriental setting by the view visible through the window which shows a landscape with camels. To the wall is affixed an admonition, “Cogita Mori” (Think upon death), a vanitas motif that is reiterated by the skull (which Jerome supposedly always had with him as he wrote). Further reminders of the motifs of the passage of time and the imminence of death are the image of the Last Judgment visible in the saint’s Bible, the candle and the hourglass. Another version of this subject was sold at Christie’s (28 January 2015, New York, lot 104). This version reprises similar iconographic elements, which stress Christian beliefs regarding the transience of human life and the importance of the sacrifice of Christ for people to find salvation at the time of the Last Judgement.

Coecke van Aelst was renowned for his tapestry designs which were executed by the Brussels tapestry workshops. These designs were typically small-scale drawings in black-and-white. His cartoon for the Martyrdom of St. Peter (Brussels Town Hall) is in grisaille with touches of green and red while the names of the other colors, such as gold or blue, are written in. The patrons for the tapestries included Emperor Charles V, Francis I of France, Henry VIII of England, and Cosimo de’ Medici. His reputation as a tapestry designer was established through his popular series of the Story of Saint Paul, the Seven Deadly Sins, the Story of Abraham, the Story of Vertumnus and Pomona, the Story of Joshua, the Creation, Poesia, the Conquest of Tunis and Julius Caesar.

Coecke van Aelst is noted for his translation of Vitruvius’ De architectura into Flemish (Dutch). He, and after his death his widow, Mayken Verhulst, published the five books of Sebastiano Serlio’s architectural treatise Architettura in Flemish, French and High German (the German translation was done by another translator). Coecke van Aelst’s translation of Vitruvius was hailed by the humanist Dominicus Lampsonius as the only Dutch-language book to discuss the building styles of other countries. In line with Italian translations of Vitruvius published earlier in the 16th century, his translation gave prominence to woodcut illustrations of the text and used columns to indicate the difference between three kinds of architectural representation: plan, elevation, and view. This was a clear break with the few treatises on architecture published earlier in the Low Countries which generally did not provide any visual exegesis. Coecke van Aelst’s 1539 Flemish translation of Serlio provided to the Low Countries a relatively affordable translation of one of the first illustrated architectural treatises in Europe.

For today’s recipe I have chosen potjevleesch, a traditional Flemish dish, which was certainly well known in Coecke van Aelst’s time. The recipe below is translated from a 1302 version by William Tirel. It is still a popular dish in Belgium. The name can be translated into English as “potted meat,” although in appearance it is more like a terrine. It is traditionally made in a ceramic dish—such as a marmite—from three or four different types of meat and held together either with gelatin or natural fats coming from the meats used. The meat (along with sliced onions, salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaves) is covered in water or water and vinegar and then cooked either on a low heat in the oven or on a low flame on top of the stove for 3 hours. After cooking the dish is chilled in the refrigerator and served cold. Nowadays the Flemish serve the dish – as they do everything – with fried potatoes (which they do not call French fries). It is customary to serve the dish with Dutch gin.

Here is my edited version of the original 14th century recipe in translation:

Make a jelly by boiling calves’ feet in 1 liter of white wine, with 20 fresh juniper berries. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Desalt a pork shoulder. Debone a chicken and rabbit. Cut the pork, chicken, rabbit, veal, and calf’s foot into pieces about the size of half a quail. Place them in a pot with juniper berries and grated ginger, a little must and an abundance of saffron. Salt. Pour over the broth, a cup of gin and sour grapes. Cover with a lid sealed with a flour and egg white paste. Simmer slowly for 3 to 4 hours without boiling. Then lift the lid and bring to a rolling boil. Store in the cellar.

Here is a modernized version of the recipe. Note that Tirel does not mention onions, but they are usual nowadays. You can vary the proportions of meats as you wish. I have included gelatin here, because it is more practical than boiling bones and feet.

Potjevleesch

Ingredients

300 gm deboned chicken, cut in chunks
300 gm deboned rabbit, cut in chunks
300 gm flank of veal, cut in chunks
300 gm pork belly, cut in chunks
2 onions, peeled and sliced
salt and pepper,
20 juniper berries
1 sachet powdered saffron
white wine or wine vinegar
2 sachets gelatin

Instructions

Arrange in the bottom of the pot a layer of sliced onions. Add a sprinkling of salt, pepper, juniper berries and saffron. Then make layers with chicken, rabbit, veal and pork, alternating with onions and aromatics. Pour white wine (or wine vinegar) mixed with water evenly over the meat so that it is completely covered. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer, add the gelatin mixed with ½ cup of boiling water, and cook, tightly covered, over low heat for 3 to 4 hours. Allow to cool slowly and then refrigerate for at least 12 hours, preferably overnight, so that the gelatin sets up. Serve with fried or boiled potatoes, and a green salad.

Aug 132018
 

Today is the birthday (1666) of William Wotton, an English theologian, classical scholar and linguist, who is largely forgotten nowadays, but in his day was known for his involvement in what became called the Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns. I’ll get to that in a minute. In Wales he is remembered as the collector and first translator of the ancient Welsh laws.

William Wotton was the second son of the Rev. Henry Wotton, rector of Wrentham, Suffolk. He was a child prodigy who could read verses from the Bible in English, Latin, Greek and Hebrew before he was 6 years old. In April 1676, when he was not yet 10 years old, he was sent to Catharine Hall, Cambridge, and sat for his B.A. in 1679 (13 years old). By this time Wotton had learned Arabic, Syriac, and Chaldee, as well as a knowledge of logic, philosophy, mathematics, geography, chronology, and history. His parents died whilst he was still at Cambridge, and as a teenager he was taken into the household of Gilbert Burnet, later bishop of Salisbury. He was awarded a fellowship at St John’s College, where he received his M.A. in 1683 and earned a B.D. in 1691. In 1686 he was appointed curate of Brimpton in Berkshire and the following year he was also elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. In January 1689 he was appointed vicar of Lacock in Wiltshire, which he held until his resignation in 1693. Soon after ordination he was also appointed chaplain to Daniel Finch, Earl of Nottingham, and tutor to his family. Finch presented him with the rectory of Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, in 1693.

Wotton began his scholarly career as the translator of Louis Dupin’s A new history of ecclesiastical writers, (13 vols. 1692–99). However, he is chiefly remembered for his share in the controversy about the respective merits of ancient and modern learning. In his Reflections upon Ancient and Modern Learning (1694, and again 1697) he took the part of the moderns, although in a fair and judicial spirit.  The “ancients versus moderns” debate began in France in the early 16th century with a number of “moderns” claiming that the renewed interest in Classical arts and philosophy during the Renaissance, should not be slavish imitation of the ancients, but should be tempered with an awareness of the accomplishments of modern times. The “ancients” championed ancient learning over the modern. The “quarrel” got erudite and pedantic, and I am not going to dissect it for you. Do your own research. Simplistically, it can be boiled down to the importance of “authority.” Should we admire ancient authors as sacred (i.e. authorities), or should we move on? Medieval scholasticism got mired in authority. To be a scholar you had to first read all the authorities on a subject, learn them inside-out, and then add your own bits of wisdom without contradicting any of the authorities. The orthodox rabbinical tradition works this way, and my education at Oxford in the 1970s was not so very different. Every week I was given an essay topic, for example, “Was the author of Mark’s gospel Paul’s traveling companion, John Mark?” or “When was John’s gospel written?” My job for the week was to distill out all the arguments from the authorities, divide them into camps, and conclude with my decision as to which of the camps (authorities) was correct. This was not quite Medieval scholasticism in that the authorities were allowed to disagree with one another, but I was not allowed to disagree with them. You can guess what I think of this as a method of education.

Swift attacked Wotton for pedantry in The Battle of the Books and A Tale of a Tub, but that Wotton was far from being a pedant. He had a thorough command of the arguments, and was fair in his assessments. Wotton responded calling Swift’s Tale “one of the profanest banters upon the religion of Jesus Christ, as such, that ever yet appeared.”

Wotton wrote a History of Rome in 1701 at the request of Bishop Burnet, which was later used by the historian Edward Gibbon. In recognition, Burnet appointed him as a prebend of Salisbury from 1705. In 1707 Wotton was awarded a Lambeth degree of Doctor of Divinity by Archbishop Thomas Tenison in recognition of his writings in support of the established Church of England against the Deists. Around 1713 Wotton also developed ideas concerning the relationship between languages introducing the concept of an early proto-language by relating Icelandic, the Romance languages, and Greek. This pre-dated Sir William Jones’ famous lecture comparing Sanskrit with the Classical languages, by more than 70 years. These theories were later published after Wotton’s death, as A discourse concerning the confusion of languages at Babel (1730).

Throughout his adult life, Wotton was said to be “a most excellent preacher, but a drunken whoring soul”. He was also very extravagant, transforming his rectory into a 32-room mansion. He was, however, able to borrow money against future expectations of ecclesiastical preferment as a result of his close friendship with William Wake, then bishop of Lincoln. Between the summer of 1711 and the Spring of 1712, Wotton appears to have experienced a mid-life crisis, and he scandalized the neighborhood on many occasions by being found drunk in public, or else was known to have spent prolonged periods in local brothels. As a result, he was initially warned about his behavior by Wake, who later broke off their friendship and rescinded his promise of providing an additional living in Buckinghamshire. As soon as it became known that the rector’s expectations had been dashed, local businesses began to press for the payment of their debts. In May 1714, Wotton was forced to abandon his rectory at Milton Keynes to avoid his creditors, and for 7 years he lived in Carmarthen in south-west Wales under the assumed name of Dr. William Edwards.

Whilst in Carmarthen, Wotton turned his life around and returned to his studies. He was also able to re-establish his friendship with Wake, who had become Archbishop of Canterbury in December 1715. Wotton began to study Welsh, and produced an important bilingual parallel text edition of the Welsh and Latin texts of the medieval Welsh laws traditionally attributed to Hywel Dda. To do this he had first to identify and obtain transcripts of around 15 known manuscripts in either Latin or Medieval Welsh, and establish an authoritative text, and then begin the difficult task of translating the Mediaeval Welsh terminology which appeared in both the Latin and Welsh versions, but the meaning of which had been lost by the 18th century. From 1721 Wotton was assisted by the Welsh scholar Moses Williams. Wotton lived to complete the translation but was working on an accompanying glossary when he died. This was completed by Williams, and the whole work was published in 1730 by his son-in-law William Clarke in a large folio edition under the title Leges Wallicae.

Whilst in Carmarthen he also conducted surveys of the cathedrals of St David’s and Llandaff which were published by his friend Browne Willis in 1717 and 1718. He published Miscellaneous Discourses relating to the Traditions and Usages of the Scribes and Pharisees which included a translation of part of the Mishnah in 1718. Wotton had repaid his creditors and was able to return to Bath by October 1721 and London by June 1722 but was in very poor health. He was still working on his Leges Wallicae, when he died of dropsy in Buxted in Sussex, on 13th February 1727.

In the spirit of the quarrel of ancients and moderns we can put an ancient and modern recipe side by side. You would be forgiven for thinking that the modern recipe is superior. What you are not taking into account is that ALL recipes make assumptions about what the reader can be expected to know. If you read a modern recipe for a cake that begins “cream the butter and sugar” You probably know what “cream” means in this context, that is, if you have any baking experience. Someone reading the recipe 2,000 years from now might have no idea what it means, and think that 21st century recipes are incomplete. So, it’s not a question of saying that modern recipes are better than ancient ones, but, rather, that we know the implicit assumptions in modern recipes, but not in ancient ones.

Apicius gives this recipe for mussels in De re coquinaria (c. 1st century CE) and I have mentioned it before. Here’s the original Latin:

X. in metulis: liquamen porrum concisum cuminum passum satureiam, uinum; mixtum facies aquatius et ibi mitulos quoques.

Roughly translated:

10. For mussels: liquamen (fermented anchovy sauce), cut up leeks, cumin, passum (very sweet wine), savory, and wine. Mix these ingredients with water and add mussels.

On the surface this recipe does not seem much to go on, and a modern cook would normally want more detail, particularly as concerns quantities. The instructions are also pretty slim by modern standards. I could give a modern recipe thus:

Mussels

Ingredients

2 lb fresh mussels
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 leek, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp chopped fresh savory
½ cup sweet sherry
½ cup dry white wine

Instructions

Make sure the mussels are thoroughly cleaned and beards removed. Discard any that are not tightly shut.

Place the ingredients, except the mussels, in a large saucepan. Add around 2 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil, add the mussels and cover. Cook for several minutes and check to see that all the mussels have opened.

Remove the mussels with a slotted spoon, and place them in a serving bowl. Carefully pour the cooking juices over the mussels, but make sure not to pour out the last part, because it may contain grit.

You might think that my recipe is better than the ancient one. Really there is not much difference between the two. Apicius does not say you have to boil the mussels, he assumes that you know this. He is making a number of assumptions. But my modern recipe makes many assumptions also. Apicius actually gives you a lot more freedom than I do. Sure, you can vary my quantities at will, but most cooks will try the quantities as given first, and then adjust them later. With Apicius, you have to make decisions about quantities from the start.  I’d be happy, for example, to use 3 or 4 leeks, and serve the mussels on a bed of them, with or without the sauce. This idea would not occur to you with the modern recipe because you are thinking of a watery sauce for the mussels.

 

Aug 122018
 

On this date in 1851 Isaac Merritt Singer (October 27, 1811 – July 23, 1875) filed a patent for an improved sewing machine. Many people had patented sewing machines before Singer, but his success was based on the practicality of his machine, the ease with which it could be adapted to home use, and its availability on an installment payment basis.

In 1839, Singer obtained his first patent, for a machine to drill rock, selling it for $2,000 (or over $50,000 in 2018 dollars) to the I & M Canal Building Company. With this financial success, he opted to return to his career as an actor. He went on tour, forming a troupe known as the “Merritt Players”, appearing onstage under the name “Isaac Merritt.” The tour lasted about five years. Later, he developed a “machine for carving wood and metal” which he patented on April 10th, 1849.

At 38, with his wife, Mary Ann, and eight children, he packed up his family and moved to New York City, hoping to market his wood-block cutting machine there. He obtained an advance to build a working prototype, and constructed one in the shop of A. B. Taylor & Co. Here he met G. B. Zieber, who became Singer’s financier and partner. However, not long after the machine was built, the steam boiler blew up at the shop, destroying the prototype. Zieber persuaded Singer to make a new start in Boston, a center of the printing trade. Singer went to Boston in 1850 to display his invention at the machine shop of Orson C. Phelps. Orders for Singer’s wood cutting machine were not, however, forthcoming.

Lerow & Blodgett sewing machines were also being constructed and repaired in Phelps’s shop. Phelps asked Singer to look at the sewing machines, which were difficult to use and produce. Singer concluded that the sewing machine would be more reliable if the shuttle moved in a straight line rather than a circle, with a straight rather than a curved needle. Singer was able to obtain US Patent number 8294 for his improvements on August 12th, 1851. Singer’s prototype sewing machine became the first to work in a practical way. It could sew 900 stitches per minute, far better than the 40 of an accomplished seamstress on simple work.

In 1856, manufacturers Grover & Baker, Singer, Wheeler & Wilson, all accusing each other of patent infringement, met in Albany, New York to pursue their suits. Orlando B. Potter, a lawyer and president of the Grover and Baker Company, proposed that, rather than squander their profits on litigation, they pool their patents. This was the first patent pool, a process which enables the production of complicated machines without legal battles over patent rights. They agreed to form the Sewing Machine Combination, but for this to be of any use, they had to secure the cooperation of Elias Howe, who still held certain vital uncontested patents. Terms were arranged, and Howe received a royalty on every sewing machine manufactured.

Thenceforth, sewing machines began to be mass-produced. I. M. Singer & Co manufactured 2,564 machines in 1856, and 13,000 in 1860 at a new plant on Mott Street in New York. Later, a massive plant was built near Elizabeth, New Jersey. Until that point, sewing machines had been industrial machines, made for garments, shoes, bridles and for tailors, but in 1856, smaller machines began to be marketed for home use. However, at the then enormous price of over $100 ($2,800 in 2018 dollars), few sold. Singer invested heavily in mass production using the concept of interchangeable parts developed by Samuel Colt and Eli Whitney for their firearms. He was able to cut the price in half, while at the same time increasing his profit margin by 530%. Singer was the first who put a family machine, “the turtle back”, on the market. Eventually, the price came down to $10 ($280 in 2018 dollars). His partner, Edward Cabot Clark, pioneered installment purchasing plans and accepted trade-ins, causing sales to skyrocket. Singer expanded into the European market, establishing a factory in Clydebank, near Glasgow, controlled by the parent company, becoming one of the first US-based multinational corporations, with agencies in Paris and Rio de Janeiro. In the 1950s my mother learned dressmaking in Buenos Aires, and bought a Singer sewing machine there that was a foot treadle model, that had been converted to electricity with the addition of an electric motor. This was a fixture in my household when I was a boy, and both my sisters learned to sew on it. Singer sewing machine always conjures up for me a black machine with gold poker work. That machine traveled the world with us.

Financial success allowed Singer to buy a mansion on Fifth Avenue, into which he moved his second family. He continued to live with Mary Ann, until she spotted him driving down Fifth Avenue seated beside Mary McGonigal, an employee, about whom Mary Ann already had suspicions. By this time, McGonigal had borne Singer five children, who used the surname Matthews; Florence L., Mary, Charles A., and two others who died at birth. Mary Ann, still calling herself Mrs. I. M. Singer, had her husband arrested for bigamy. Singer was let out on bond and, disgraced, fled to London in 1862, taking Mary McGonigal with him.

In the aftermath, another of Isaac’s families was discovered: he had a “wife,” Mary Eastwood Walters, and daughter, Alice Eastwood Walters, in Lower Manhattan, who had adopted the surname “Merritt.” By 1860, Isaac had fathered and acknowledged eighteen children, sixteen of them still then living, by four women.

With Isaac in London, Mary Ann began setting about securing a financial claim to his assets by filing documents detailing his infidelities, claiming that, though she had never been formally married to Isaac, they were wed under Common Law by living together for seven months after Isaac had been divorced from his first wife Catherine. Eventually a settlement was made, but no divorce was granted. However, she asserted that she was free to marry, and, indeed, married John E. Foster.

Isaac, meanwhile, had renewed acquaintance with Isabella Eugenie Boyer, a Frenchwoman he had lived with in Paris when he was staying there in 1860. She left her husband and married Isaac under the name of Isabella Eugenie Sommerville, on June 13th, 1863, while she was pregnant. They had six children. In 1863, I. M. Singer & Co. was dissolved by mutual consent; the business continued as “The Singer Manufacturing Company,” in 1887.

In 1871, Singer purchased an estate, in Paignton (now a part of the borough of Torbay) in Devon in England. He commissioned Oldway Manor as his private residence, which was rebuilt by Paris Singer, his third son with Isabella, in the style of the Palace of Versailles. He died in Devon on July 23, 1875, and was buried in Torquay.

I am going to pick a recipe based on Singer’s final days in Devon, because it gives me a chance to vaunt English food – yet again. The Torbay sole (Glyptocephalus cynoglossus) should not be confused with true soles such as the Dover sole (Solea solea) nor with Lemon sole (Microstomus kitt). They are from three different genuses even though they all look somewhat similar to the untrained eye. Both Dover sole and Lemon sole have a fine flavor and delicate flesh, but can get exorbitantly expensive. Torbay sole, also known as witch founder, tends to be much more moderate in price because it lacks the delicacy of the other two. Its lack of distinction is to the Torbay sole’s advantage, however, in that you can afford to be extravagant with saucing it. A sauce of lemon and capers is nice, but a bit ordinary (even though sole meunière bewitched the young Julia Child on her first day in Paris). I like Torbay sole with a cream sorrel sauce. I used to grow my own sorrel and pick the leaves when they were quite young, so that their sourness was lively, rather than overbearing. It’s a perennial that is really easy to grow, and a useful addition to the herb garden. Sorrel makes a nice addition to green salads, can be made into soup, or poached as a vegetable.

Torbay Sole with Sorrel Sauce

Ingredients

4 Torbay sole fillets, skin attached
2 tbsp butter
125ml white wine
2 tbsp crème fraîche
1 bunch sorrel, washed and shredded
salt and pepper

Instructions

Heat the oven to 200˚C/390˚F.

Lay the fish, skin side down, in an ovenproof dish. Season with salt and pepper to taste, dot with butter, and pour over the wine. Bake the fish for 10 mins, or until just cooked. Carefully lift the fish on to a warmed plate, and keep on a warming rack (not in the oven).

Pour the juices from the oven dish into a small saucepan with the crème fraîche, boil until slightly thickened, then stir through the sorrel until just wilted. Spoon over the sauce over the fish and serve with boiled new potatoes.

Aug 112018
 

Today is the birthday (1833) of Kido Takayoshi (木戸 孝允) (born Wada Kogorō (和田 小五郎), also referred to as Kido Kôin (木戸 こういん), a Japanese samurai who is considered one of the three great architects of the Meiji Restoration. As I noted here http://www.bookofdaystales.com/meiji-restoration/ the Meiji Restoration was not quite what it is portrayed as in Western media. As I also noted here recently http://www.bookofdaystales.com/edo-period-social-structure/ the Meiji Restoration got rid of the old Japanese rigid social structure, not because it was old fashioned, but because it had become unstable, and unable to deal with present realities. Many Westerners lament the loss of Edo Period culture in Japan, but the Japanese (by and large) do not. Think of this in terms of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), a supposedly Medieval re-enactment society (but mostly Renaissance, with many anachronisms of its own). All the members want to be knights and nobles (or perhaps wizards and such). No one wants to be a peasant, yet the bulk of Medieval Europeans were peasants. Likewise, the bulk of Edo Period Japanese people were peasants with no hope of social mobility. Meanwhile, the samurai class had hereditary (high) status – end of story. Obviously, the samurai class did not want to see an end to the system, but the great bulk of the population were happy to see the changes. Forget The Last Samurai, it’s sentimental claptrap (and not historically accurate either). Takayoshi was a samurai, and was one of the architects of the system that ended their hereditary privilege.

Takayoshi was born in Hagi, Chōshū Domain (present-day Yamaguchi Prefecture), the youngest son of Wada Masakage (和田 昌景), a samurai physician, and his second wife Seiko. He was later adopted into the Katsura family at age 7 and was known, thereafter, as Katsura Kogorō (桂 小五郎). He was educated at Shoka Sonjuku, the academy of Yoshida Shōin, where he adopted the philosophy of Imperial loyalism. In 1852, he went to Edo to study swordsmanship, established ties with radical samurai from Mito domain, learned artillery techniques with Egawa Tarōzaemon, and (after observing the construction of foreign ships in Nagasaki and Shimoda), returned to Chōshū to supervise the construction of the domain’s first Western-style warship.

After 1858, Takayoshi was based in Edo where he served as liaison between the domain bureaucracy and radical elements among the young, lower-echelon Chōshū samurai who supported the Sonnō jōi movement, which vowed to revere the emperor, expel foreigners, and, in the process, get rid of the Tokugawa shogunate which supported foreign incursion. He came under suspicion by the shogunate for his ties with Mito loyalists after the attempted assassination of Andō Nobumasa, and so was transferred to Kyōto. However, while in Kyōto, he was unable to prevent the 30th September 1863 coup d’état by the forces of the Aizu and Satsuma domains, who drove the Chōshū forces out of the city.

According to his personal diary, Takayoshi was at a loyalist meeting with the Ishin shishi (samurai in favor of Sonnō jōi) at the Ikedaya inn on the evening of July 8th, 1864. He claimed that they had met only to discuss how to protect Shuntaro Furutaka (a shishi leader) from the Shinsengumi (Kyoto police of the shogunate). Shinsengumi troops attacked the inn on that night, which became known as the Ikedaya incident, but Takayoshi says he left early and was not involved. Shuntaro Furutaka was captured and brutally tortured. There were rumors that Takayoshi was tipped off by his geisha lover, Ikumatsu (幾松), that the Shinsengumi were coming for him and chose not show up for the meeting at all, or that he climbed out the window of the upper floor of the inn during the attack by the Shinsengumi and escaped over the roofs. He spent the next five days in hiding under Nijō Bridge along the Kamo River, posing as a beggar. Ikumatsu brought him rice balls from the shop of the Chōshū merchant Imai Tarōemon, and later aided in his escape.

Takayoshi was involved in, but not present at, the Hamaguri Gate Rebellion on 20th August 1864: the unsuccessful attempt to capture the Emperor Kōmei by Chōshū forces at Hamaguri Gate in order to restore the Imperial household to its position of political supremacy. The Chōshū forces clashed with Aizu and Satsuma forces which led to their defense of the Imperial palace. During the attempt, the Chōshū rebels set Kyoto on fire, starting with the residence of the Takatsukasa family, and that of a Chōshū official. The rebellion resulted in casualties of about 400 of the Chōshū forces and only 60 from Aizu and Satsuma forces, with 28,000 houses being burnt down, forcing Katsura into hiding again with his geisha lover. He later used the name Niibori Matsusuke as an alias in 1865 to continue his work against the Tokugawa shogunate.

After radical elements under Takasugi Shinsaku gained control of Chōshū politics, Takayoshi was instrumental in establishing the Satchō Alliance with Saigō Takamori and Ōkubo Toshimichi through the mediation of Sakamoto Ryōma, which proved to be critical in the Boshin War and the subsequent Meiji Restoration. Following the overthrow of the Tokugawa shogunate in 1868, Takayoshi (now using that name), claimed a major role in the establishment of the new Meiji government. As a san’yo (Imperial Advisor) he helped draft the Five Charter Oath, and initiated policies of centralization and modernization. He helped direct the Abolition of the han system (system of domains governed by daimyo). In August 1868, he had Ikumatsu adopted into a samurai family of Okabe Tomitarō, and later married her.

On 23rd December 1871, he accompanied the Iwakura Mission on its round-the-world voyage to the United States and Europe, and was especially interested in Western educational systems and politics. On his return to Japan on 13th September 1873, he became a strong advocate of the establishment of constitutional government. Realizing that Japan was not in any position to challenge the Western powers in its current state, he also returned to Japan just in time to prevent an invasion of Korea (Seikanron). Takayoshi lost his dominant position in the Meiji oligarchy to Ōkubo Toshimichi, and resigned from government in protest of the Taiwan Expedition of 1874, which he had strenuously opposed. Following the Osaka Conference of 1875, he agreed to return to the government, and became chairman of the Assembly of Prefectural Governors that the Ōsaka Conference had created. He was also responsible for the education of the young Emperor Meiji.

During the middle of Satsuma Rebellion of 1877, Takayoshi died of an illness that had been plaguing him for a long time, which consisted of a combination of some form of brain disorder and physical exhaustion, years of excessive alcohol consumption as well as an illness assumed to be tuberculosis or beriberi. He was buried at the Kyoto Ryozen Gokoku Shrine, Kyoto, Japan. His widow survived him and died in 1887 at the age of 43. Kido Takayoshi was enshrined as the Shinto deity of scholarship and the martial arts at the Kido Shrine in about 1886 at Kido Park, Yamaguchi, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. His diary reveals an intense internal conflict between his loyalty to his home domain, Chōshū, and the greater interest of the country. He wrote often of having to fight rumors at home that he had betrayed his old friends; the idea of a nation was still relatively new in Japan and so the majority of samurai cared more for securing privileges for their own domain.

Together with Saigō Takamori and Ōkubo Toshimichi, he became known as one of the Ishin-no-Sanketsu (維新の三傑), which means, roughly, “Three Great Nobles of the Restoration”. He is still a popular figure showing up in manga and anime, and also in video games.

 

I have mentioned Japanese yōshoku (洋食 western food) before http://www.bookofdaystales.com/commodore-perry/ and I gave a recipe for omurice (omelet rice) there. I’ll repeat a little bit about it for the sake of new readers. In Japanese cuisine, yōshoku originated during the Meiji Restoration. These are primarily Japanese versions of European dishes, often featuring Western names, and usually written in katakana. Jihei Ishii, author of the 1898 The Complete Japanese Cookbook (日本料理法大全), states unequivocally that: “Yōshoku is Japanese food.” To many foreigners, yōshoku may not seem like Washoku (Japanese traditional dishes), yet there are many yōshoku dishes which have themselves become traditional in the eyes of the Japanese. Some of them are even thought of as traditional comfort food because they are home cooked and bring memories of childhood.

Yōshoku began by altering Western recipes for lack of information about foreign countries’ cuisine, or adaptions to suit local tastes, but over time, yōshoku also evolved dishes that were not at all based on European foods, such as chicken rice and omurice. Elaborate sauces were largely eliminated, replaced with tomato ketchup, demi-glace sauce, and Worcester sauce. Here’s a good video on how to prepare soup curry. You will need to find Japanese curry which is not like Indian curry at all.