Weekend recipe: Penne with ricotta

Weekend recipe: Penne with ricotta

Ingredients -/+ (per person):

100 grams of penne pasta
120 grams of ricotta, cow or sheep
50 grams of pig cheek or bacon
30 grams of grated ages cheese, a mix of parmesan and pecorino romano or any other you like

It’s late. It’s been a fairly busy day, your girl friend will be getting back about 20 minutes or so after you will, tired and a little stressed at the ongoings of the day. It’s your turn to cook and you really, really don’t feel like prepping a meal. What’s worse: you’re hungry, even ravenous. You want massive, mouth-filling, gut-fulfilling fair in a hurry. Pizza? Burgers? The deli on the corner? Maybe, even though they all sound boring.

   Ok, it isn’t that they actually sound boring. It’s just that your taste buds are looking for something hardy and flavorful. And sound can have a flavor, or vice versa. Pizza: you’re really not in the mood for melted cheese and toppings, that familiar odor of cooked canned tomato, heated cardboard and animal fat mixed with dried herbs. Burgers: or more grilled, too-thin, plain beef patties on wimpy bread. The deli: the deli has more to offer but a sandwich for dinner – though sometimes a pleasurable change of pace – tonight would be strikingly inadequate. So you might want to try an old stand by, something you don’t make that often and so forget just how satisfying it is, kind of like having a burger, pizza and deli sandwich all at the same time.
   Plop some water in the pot as soon as you get in, salt it, then take off your coat, change into a more comfortable pair of shoes, undo your tie if you have one on, use the bathroom if you need to but please do give your hands a good washing before heading back into the kitchen. Now, take out that prosciutto you have leftover in the fridge or freezer. It can be one nice, thick slice but even if it’s been thin-sliced it’ll work just fine. If the meat is in the former condition, slice away thin ribbons and then in turn slice those ribbons into small squares. If it’s the later, stop once you’ve chopped that, instead, into thin ribbons. By now the water is boiling, so shove in some penne, the smooth kind
would work better here but any short pasta will do (dry, not egg pasta).
   You’re hungry, so realistically put in at least 100 grams per person, 200+ for the two of you. Now, take out the leftover ricotta, sheep milk if you have it but the cow milk kind will do as well. The first is more flavorful but less fatty, so make sure that once you’ve put it in a bowl and separated it into several chunks, 100-150 grams per person, take a small cup of boiling salt water from the pasta pot, pour it into the same bowl and mix until you get a sort of really thick paste. If instead it’s the cow kind, grate a tad of nutmeg into the cheese, then add some water but not as much. Now put the prosciutto ribbons or squares into a pan on medium-low heat and let them fry up slowly until good and crispy. You can even get a little stupid and deglaze after a bit with some cognac, but no need to. Anyway.
   Once the pasta is ready don’t drain it well. Plunk it fairly wet into the pan and toss a few seconds with the crispy meat, add some other grated cheese – that is, parmesan – if you must but again there’s no need. Once the noodles are well-flavored transfer them into the bowl with the ricotta paste and mix the whole well. Add a good dose of pepper if it’s to you liking. Your girlfriend will walk through the door, take one wiff and thank Manitu that you’ve made a great smelling, great tasting, fully satisfying dinner, plus one that won’t rest in your stomach like, well, a double-stuffed with sausage or two all beef patties with special sauce. Tomorrow you can have a a corned beef on rye…

Friday Music – Calvin Russell


 Calvin Russell (would have been 70 this month)

It’s that gravel, the having to work a little to find an agreement. Not everyone’s cup…but it resists, even with the dabble of rhetoric. Texas road-house communist blues.

The Divorce: introductory note: what is narrative?

note: introductory note – what is narrative?


“Stories help us to organize information in a unique way,” he said.
To find relevant stories, the researchers sorted through 20 million blog posts using software developed at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies.
“We wanted to know how people tell stories in their daily lives. It was kind of like finding stories in their natural habitat,” said Kaplan, assistant research professor of psychology at the Brain and Creativity Institute at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
That 20 million was pared down to 40 stories that each contained an example of a crisis involving a potentially protected value: cheating on a spouse, having an abortion, crossing a picket line, or getting in a fight.
Those stories were translated into Mandarin Chinese and Farsi, and then read by American, Chinese and Iranian participants in their native language while their brains were scanned by fMRI. They also answered general questions about the stories while being scanned. (link above for the article)

Comment: Motivation. In a sort of deep way, the development of how we think, of where we place ourselves in differing contexts, the direction of our understanding or representing relevant aspects of the world. Our individual grooves, so to speak.

Narrative is not the organizational way we organize experience and memory of human happenings. It is instead, I think, a dominant way of describing memories and experience extrinsically – which includes others, including self. Narrative also doesn’t have to be character-based but usually is, as a couple studies seem to point to, because cultural influence can trump other stuff, ie like what is a character. And emerges because of the diffusion of imitation, likely influenced by a network of mirror neuron ‘turbo-chargers’. Hence as a species we are able both to abstract ourselves from ourselves and place ourselves into something – most importantly someone – else, or a representation of the same. Hence we build representations on varying strata. Symbolic thinking was a necessary precursor.

Time, or better ‘t’, is likely quanta – but separate from meaning, even physiologically. It is a sort of emergent abstraction. Kind of like a field. Narrative needs to use that approach in order to convey, per force, by speaking to our corresponding abstractions and in turn to other representations top-down. And the unfortunate thing about real time, block time, and abstracted self or representations involving manipulations – they cannot afford contradiction. Only one possibility at a time. So: the necessary removal of information. Inhibition, which is a distinguishing aspect of our species, both the percent of and absolute amount of inhibition in our brains. Leading to a sort of narrative uniqueness – which may be representatively true only in narrative, but not beyond the particularity of the narrative.

It’s hard to keep the flavor, I realize, but principles of emergence and plurality (in systems of information) might run more deeply. Ironically more than purely hermeneutical, a story is successful more when it allows the emergence of time-less, non-hermeneutical aspects that come from (here it comes) BEYOND (nudge-nudge, wink-wink, without italics) the narrative, both of the conveyor and the conveyed to, more than ‘constituted’ or functions by the same. That is, it acts a bridge into larger integrative systems.

We often mix story and narrative as concepts, using contextual domain conceptually to distinguish the two. That’s perhaps not a great idea even if a bit inevitable. Stories are always created (constructed or inferred,) by the receiving. An author never tells a story – they present elements of narrative that might induce the creation of story by others. You know, from ‘in the beginning there was the verb,’ to ‘it was a dark and stormy night’. Or call me Ishmael. Or even… ‘deep down Louisiana close to New Orleans, there lived a country boy….’ Anyway.

No automatic alt text available.

Wednesday Will: Othello’s Venetian Roasted Bird

Food – Wednesday Will


“She’s even setting on water to scald such Chickens as you…” Timon of Athens, 2.2

After being adopted by a conservative Italian military family, the Cynthia’s, Othello, the first black chef to achieve a certain level of fame in Europe, finished his culinary training in Venice. Shakespeare noted his talent during a tour of the continent and immediately offered the charismatic Moor a position. “Roasted Bird” is prepared just after Othello and Desdemona – Othello’s lovely, jealous, young Venetian bride – arrive in London. As with most of Othello’s recipes it has an undeniably poetic element and a rich, “pearl flavor” even though the dish is fundamentally another example of the Moor’s insistently traditional philosophy of cooking.

The Ingredients of the Recipe:

Pepper and salt
An unsuspecting bird
A creepy guy with a cool name
Herbs to taste

The Chefs of the Dish:

Othello – a chef at The Globe
Desdemona – his jealous younger wife
Iago – a typical Roman politician
Cassio – a good-lookin’ young friend of Desdemona

Act I, sc. 1

Enter Othello in to the Globe’s kitchen, talking on his cell phone

Othello: Desdemona, honey, how could you even think that?  Look, I really am at the restaurant and there really is a recipe I have to do. If you don’t believe me I’ll leave the phone on and you can listen in… No, really, I want to. This won’t take long. (sets his cell phone on the counter, still on) That’s my beautiful young wife, Desi. We got hitched last month and she’s still a little jealous. I mean, she shouldn’t be but man, her creepy friend Iago is always spreading rumors… he pretends to wear his heart on his sleeve but…some guys are just envious. Ok, the recipe:

Roasting birds is actually the easiest
Cooking campaign to wage. Simply slide the
Herbs into the slain, cleaned cavity
After well-seasoning and buttering both
In and out, I prefer to leave the stuffing
Beside, as it tends to dry the soft flesh,
Then well tie down the strumpet. One slice of
Prosciutto on its lovely breast, to keep
It moist, cover its dainty feet, and then
Place it firm into the hottest oven.
Reduce the heat after a time, continue
Then its slow baking, but not too well-done,
Otherwise you’ll fatally foul its
Pearl flavor richer than any t-bone.
Once roasted, yes, they do make a great scene
Of pride, pomp and circumstance on glorious
Plates! With a deep red wine do round the dish.

They go well with almost anything, sausage and chestnut stuffing, sweet sauces like cranberry, of course mashed potatoes, sweet or Idaho or even some fruit mostarda. And I’m sure you all know how to make the gravy out of the droppings. As easy as, well, drawing a sword. (from the cell phone resting on the counter the sound of a doorbell. Othello steps over and picks up the phone) Hey honey, I’m already finished. Was that the doorbell I just heard? …Who is it? Cassio? What’s he doing there? …Oh, a ‘Wii’ party. With Emily, right? …Later? Ok. Bye honey. I’ll be home in an hour or so after I clean up. Kiss-kiss. (Kisses Desdemona over the phone and hangs up. Pause) Cassio? A ‘Wii’ party? Hey, wait a minute… (runs out. Exit Othello. Exit recipe)

link – roasting a bird from The Whole Duty of a Woman: Or a Guide to the Female Sex, 1696  http://www.godecookery.com/engrec/engrec08.html

link: a thought on Shakespeare and food:  – https://transmedialshakespeare.wordpress.com/2011/01/16/shakespeare-in-food/

Ian McKellen as Iago (“Put money in thy purse”):

The real recipe:


For the bird:
2 Cornish hens
2 slices of prosciutto
Salt & pepper
…and Thyme
½ a lemon
1 scallion
1 bay leaf

serves 2-4

Chop the herbs and flavor the butter with them, then butter and season the hens all over, even beneath the skin on the breast and leg, then slide into each ¼ a lemon, sage leaves, branches of parsley and-or if you like the flavor, add some rosemary, not too much, or thyme, ginger, curry, ecc.. Tie the birds. Place in a baking dish and shove them in a hot oven, highest temperature, for about 10 minutes, then turn down the heat, baste with butter or the juices in the pan, and place the prosciutto slices over each breast (optional.) Continue cooking at 160° Celsius for 20-30 minutes or so depending on the size of the birds, checking from time to time to make sure the hens aren’t overcooking. But don’t open the oven – the secret not so secret for Cornish hens is to leave them alone. Alternatively, cook for about 35-40 minutes at a steady 220 celsius. Once finished, set aside to rest a few minutes as you make the gravy with the droppings using butter, if necessary, chopped scallion and one bay leaf. (Also alternatively, you can make a ‘fondo’ sauce by chopping off the neck, wing tips and using them and the heart, a bit of carrot, a lightly crushed juniper berry, one clove, a bit of tomato, onion, celery and ginger root to make a broth, strain then dense on low heat. Don’t salt or fats to the very end, if at all.) Strain the resulting gravy and serve with the stuffing and bird. Remove the lemon and herbs inside the hens before serving. Serve with a well-structured Pinot Noir.

For the stuffing:
1 carrot
1 celery stick
½ an apple
1 shallot
Salt & pepper
One handful of chestnuts boiled in milk
One handful of roasted chestnuts
1 lean pork sausage
1-2 cups of chicken broth, (see Henry Vth)
1 average sized loaf of bread

Gently boil some of the chestnuts in milk after peeling until they’re soft. Remove, and then strain the liquid. Roast the rest or buy them roasted in season. Break all the cooked chestnuts into pieces and place in a large bowl along with the bread, now ripped into small pieces as well. In a teaspoon of evo, fry the broken sausage meat, then add the chopped shallot, then the carrot and celery, then the sliced apple, and finally the finely chopped sage. Season to taste. Add the mix to the bowl, along with some of the chestnut milk and stock. Place in a baking pan, loosely cover and bake for 45 minutes, checking from time to time that it isn’t drying out, along with the bird or birds.

tuesday old notes: A Detached Sense of Self Associated with Altered Neural Responses to Mirror Touch



comment: … something odd about words and expressions. Irrefutable they are, after all they’ve been expressed, written – you’re reading them now but I’m not. As you read – even if you were glancing over my shoulder in this caffe – for you they’re being integrated, recurred into meaning whereas for me at each moment I’m already gone, silent, at the moment my fingers have typed out whatever part of me seemed to intend. Error… by then is an incorrect concept. They’ll have no meaning, the words, the expressions. Later maybe I’ll go back and read and edit and create error, find all the mistakes, maybe change a line but I’m not sure. It depends on which context I want you to read, you being anyone outside of me in this moment, the me, then, included. Time. Systems. Entropy. Motivation.

Inevitably I’ll correct things from the past on this page. A little. But that doesn’t at all mean they were wrong, they were errors, then. It will only be the construct, my making a narrative, being consciously aware as defined, partially, in this article (the subjective sense of reality of the world and of the self within the world,) and inhibiting what that is motivated to determine as error, what shouldn’t be there in a different moment. Context. If I don’t know how to spell, I don’t so well actually,… many of those errors-not would remain even with a spell check. If I’m attentive to grammar rather than substance, that, to, will influence just what will be expressed in the final draft, and so on. That is… each me would perceive and alter the draft differently, and each me in turn has been influenced by a host of interactions, a lifetime, that has strengthened or changed the influence of all those systems leading to the end result, a final draft, or the draft of the present expressed. I’m drinking tea in the pause as I look over the first lines. Even the flavor, gunpowder, no sugar, has an influence tied to the past. To the point.


…dismissing the influence of later motivation resulting from development even for DPD is, well, incorrect, as the inverse. Contexts. Which you and which parts of you will decide what is error, will create it, and when. The you being expressed isn’t consistent at all. AIC hypo, top-down numbing… without emotion or its equivalent you would only have the present to refer to, fundamentally a meaningless narrative. But its creation isn’t refutable. You have to have motivation, something that violates narrative, to alter expression. Or more simply but implying much more pain in the ass complexity: there isn’t any one you, ever. Just one partial you at a time. Bayes(ian) is more useful as a directional concept than a model. It’s a word, not an expression. It always begins with the body.


And coffee. The tea just doesn’t cut it.


A Detached Sense of Self Associated with Altered Neural Responses to Mirror Touch

Our bodily sense of self contributes to our personal feelings of awareness as a conscious being. How we see our bodies and move through space and feel touched by loved ones are integral parts of our identity. What happens when this sense of self breaks down? One form of dissolution is Depersonalization Disorder (DPD).1 Individuals with DPD feel estranged or disconnected from themselves, as if their bodies belong to someone else, and “they” are merely a detached observer. Or the self feels absent entirely. Other symptoms of depersonalization include emotional blunting, out-of-body experiences, and autoscopy.

Autoscopy for dummies – Antonin De Bemels (cc licence)

Transient symptoms of depersonalization can occur due to stress, anxiety, sleep deprivation, or drugs such as ketamine (a dissociative anesthetic) and hallucinogens (e.g., LSD, psilocybin). These experiences are much more common than the official diagnosis of DPD, which occurs in only 1-2% of the population.

Research by Olaf Blanke and colleagues (reviewed in Blanke et al., 2015) has tied bodily self-consciousness to the integration of multi-sensory signals in fronto-parietal and temporo-parietal regions of the brain.

from Neuron 88(1):145-66.

The fragmentation or loss of an embodied self raises philosophically profound questions. Although the idea of “mind uploading” is preposterous in my view (whether via whole brain emulation or cryonics), proponents must seriously ask whether the uploaded consciousness will in any way resemble the living person from whom it arose.2 “Minds are not disembodied logical reasoning devices” (according to Andy Clark). And…

Increasing evidence suggests that the basic foundations of the self lie in the brain systems that represent the body (Lenggenhager et al., 2012).

Lenggenhager et al. asked whether the loss of sensorimotor function alters body ownership and the sense of self. Persons with spinal cord injuries scored higher on Cambridge Depersonalization Scale (CDS) items such as “I have to touch myself to make sure that I have a body or a real existence.” This suggests that disconnecting the brain from somatosensory input can change phenomenological aspects of self-consciousness.

Source: misswhite.blogcu.com

The Stranger in the Mirror

Patients with depersonalization not only feel a change in perception concerning the outside world, but they also have clear-cut changes concerning their own body. … The patient sees his face in the mirror changed, rigid and distorted. His own voice seems strange and unfamiliar to him. … It is in this respect especially remarkable that the estrangement concerning the outside world is often an estrangement in the optic sphere (Schilder, 1935, p. 139).

Depersonalization can involve perceptual distortions of bodily experience in different sensory modalities (e.g., vision, hearing, touch, and pain). Recent research has examined interactions between visual and somatosensory representations of self in the tactile mirroring paradigm (also called visual remapping of touch). Here, the participant views images of a person being touched (or not) while they themselves are touched. Tactile perception is enhanced by simultaneously receiving and observing the same stimulation, especially when the image is of oneself.

Are the symptoms of depersonalization associated with reduced or absent responses in the tactile mirroring paradigm? If so, at what stage of processing (early or late) does this occur? A new study recorded EEG to look at somatosensory evoked potential (SEP) responses to tactile stimuli during mirroring (Adler et al., 2016). The participants scored high (n=14) or low (n=13) on the CDS.

One SEP of interest was the P45, which occurs shortly (25-50 msec) after tactile stimulation. Although the spatial resolution of EEG does not allow firm conclusions about the neural generators, we know from invasive studies in epilepsy patients and animals that P45 originates in the primary somatosensory cortex (S1).

When the participants viewed the other-face, P45 did not differ on touch vs. no-touch trials. But the later N80 component was enhanced for touch vs. no-touch, and the enhancement was similar for low and high depersonalization (DP) participants.

Modified from Figs. 3 and 4 (Adler et al. 2016). SEPs in response to tactile stimuli for low DP (top) and high DP (bottom) while observing touch (thick line) or no-touch (thin line) on another person’s face. SEPs are shown for components P45 and N80 at a cluster of central-parietal electrodes located over somatosensory cortex.

Results were different when subjects viewed images of themselves. P45 was enhanced in the low DP group when viewing themselves being touched (vs. no-touch trials). However, those with high DP scores did not show this P45 enhancement.

Modified from Figs. 3 and 4 (Adler et al. 2016). SEPs in response to tactile stimuli while observing touch (thick line) or no-touch (thin line) on the participant’s own face. Red arrow indicates no self-mirror enhancement of P45.

These results suggest a very early disturbance in sensory integration of the self in depersonalization:

Measurable effects of mirroring for tactile events on the observer’s own face may be absent over P45 because deficits in implicit self-related processing prevent the resulting visual enhancement of tactile processing from taking place in the context of self-related information. An alternative, or additional, explanation for the absence of P45 mirroring effects may be that seeing their own body causes depersonalised individuals to actively inhibit the processing of bodily stimulation via this pathway. This may cause feelings of disembodiment, and is akin to the suggestion that fronto-limbic inhibitory mechanisms acting on emotional processes cause the emotional numbing experienced in depersonalisation (Sierra and David, 2011).[Although I’m not so sure how much “active inhibition” can occur within 25 msec…]

A later component (P200) did not show the expected effect in the high DP group, either. While these results are intriguing, we must keep in mind that this was a small study that requires replication.3

Our Bodies, Our Selves

Predictive coding models hypothesize that the anterior insular cortex (AIC) provides top-down input to somatosensory, autonomic, and visceral regions and plays a critical role in integrating exteroceptive and interoceptive signals (Seth et al., 2012; Allen et al., 2016). DPD is associated with “pathologically imprecise interoceptive predictive signals,” leading to a disruption of conscious presence (the subjective sense of reality of the world and of the self within the world). Here’s the predictive coding model of conscious presence (Seth et al., 2012):

It has been suggested that DPD is associated with a suppressive mechanism grounded in fronto-limbic brain regions, notably the AIC, which “manifests subjectively as emotional numbing, and disables the process by which perception and cognition become emotionally colored, giving rise to a subjective feeling of unreality” (Sierra and David, 2011)…

In our model, DPD symptoms correspond to abnormal interoceptive predictive coding dynamics. … the imprecise interoceptive prediction signals associated with DPD may result in hypoactivation of AIC since there is an excessive but undifferentiated suppression of error signals.

In contrast, Adler et al. (2016) adopt a very different (Freudian) view:

We speculate that the abnormalities related to depersonalisation may be based on a lack of mirroring interactions in early childhood. Several recent papers culminated in the idea that mirroring experiences in early life – the process of moving and being moved by others, both physically and affectively – give rise to our sense of bodily self… This bodily self forms the core of other forms of self-consciousness, from body ownership to the sense of agency and the ability to mentalise (e.g.Fonagy et al., 2007; Gallese & Sinigaglia, 2010; Markova and Legerstee, 2006; Stern, 1995). … Depersonalisation could be a potential consequence of such developmental experiences.

I don’t buy it… none of the participants in their study had a clinical diagnosis, and we know nothing of their early childhood. In the end, any model of chronic DPD still has to account for the transient phenomena of disconnection and unreality experienced by so many of us.

Further Reading

Feeling Mighty Unreal: Derealization in Kleine-Levin Syndrome

Fright Week: The Stranger in the Mirror


1 In DSM-5, the syndrome is known as Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder. I wrote about the symptoms of derealization – a subjective alteration in one’s perception or experience of the outside world – in another blog post.

2 For a discussion of the relevant issues, see The False Science of Cryonics and Silicon soul: The vain dream of electronic immortality.

3 Given the requirements for specialized equipment and a specialized population, I don’t imagine this study is on the Many Labs or Replication Project lists.


Adler, J., Schabinger, N., Michal, M., Beutel, M., & Gillmeister, H. (2016). Is that me in the mirror? Depersonalisation modulates tactile mirroring mechanisms. Neuropsychologia DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.03.009

Allen M, Fardo F, Dietz MJ, Hillebrandt H, Friston KJ, Rees G, Roepstorff A. (2016). Anterior insula coordinates hierarchical processing of tactile mismatch responses. Neuroimage 127:34-43.

Blanke O, Slater M, Serino A. (2015). Behavioral, Neural, and Computational Principlesof Bodily Self-Consciousness. Neuron88(1):145-66.

Lenggenhager, B., Pazzaglia, M., Scivoletto, G., Molinari, M., & Aglioti, S. (2012). The Sense of the Body in Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury. PLoS ONE, 7 (11) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0050757

Schilder, P. (1935). The Image and Appearance of the Human Body. London: Kagan, Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co.

Seth AK, Suzuki K, Critchley HD. (2012). An interoceptive predictive coding model of conscious presence. Front Psychol. 2:395.

Friday Music: El Gato (Barbieri.)

El Gato… strange then, not so much the reaching out to help him up after he fell just in front of me at the Blue Note in the Village, nor my getting literally tipsy breathing in his exhale, but noting it to an uncle a little while after, a friend of his. ‘…it’s better that way,’ he told me. ‘if he doesn’t drink, he can’t play.’ 

Removing inhibition. If you need to…talk, that way, to say-give a thing through playing…it’s more important than anything else. All of it in you in a moment passing. 

This song…has a spot, for me. It was playing at a senior club the last time I danced with a girl I knew then…I don’t think we ever saw each other after that. Long story. Still, all that… glorious feeling, fading and fading and still. My father liked it to. 86 this month, would have been, El Gato. Listen. And don’t mind the sweetness. After all…

ps. As a side, the image… my uncle met Barbieri as the later played for tips in Piazza del Panteon in Rome. Though noted in Argentina then, Gato still wasn’t so well known in Italy. From there, my uncle invited him to play at the Pescara Jazz Fest. Sometimes…

Wed. Will: The Baked Turbot of King Lear

The Turbot of King Lear: The Pre-quel Text

“O flesh, flesh, how art thou fishified!” Romeo and Juliet, 2.4


There are various legendary Celtic recipes of a head chef Llyr having a heap of trouble with a trio of ungrateful daughters as he tries serving them dinner. William’s early “Turbot” adaptation varies on those original dishes by moving back the timeline – showing Lear’s children as infants and Lear himself before he chopped and cooked his way to the top. Shakespeare does keep a tragic end, however, when despite Lear’s best efforts to convince them to try his baked fish his kids instead humiliate him into taking them to MacDonald’s.

The later, full version “The Turbot of King Lear” is often proclaimed not only to be Shakespeare’s most accomplished plate but even the most impressive meal ever prepared by any English-speaking cook. It has been copied and adapted around the world and is still one of the few standards against which only the greatest of acting chefs measure themselves.

The Ingredients of the Dish:

3 young kids

1 large turbot, enough to feed them

Some capers

More potatoes

Pepper & salt

Extra – Virgin olive oil

The Chefs of the Recipe:

Lear – takes care of the kids on Sunday and Monday nights when the restaurant he works at is closed

Hygd – his wife, out to visit her family

Gonoril – one of their daughters – ‘this fish is too dry’

Regan – another of their daughters – ‘this fish is too wet’

Cordelia –  their youngest daughter –‘mmmbbpth’

serves 3 kids. Daddy will grab a sandwich later. If he’s lucky.

Act III, sc. 1

Enter Lear, about 40, and his wife, Hygd. Their daughters, Gonoril, 5, and Regan, 3, are playing while Cordelia, still a baby, sits at the kitchen table in a high chair, watching and fidgeting. Hygd, holding her purse and car keys, speaks with Lear at the side door

Hygd: Ok, so you’re really sure you can handle the kids without me for a few hours?

Lear: Attend to your family, dear Hygd.

I will meantime here attend our 3 kids,

Dividing myself equally between

Them. Go, take your time, have fun, and please do

Give your mother my biggest, warmest hug.

Hygd: (unsure) Ok, but call me if you need anything. Bye, honey. (pecks him on the lips)

Lear: Bye, sweet-cakes. See ya’ later.

Hygd: (off-stage) And don’t get upset if the girls don’t want your baked fish for lunch. I know you hate it when I take them but they just love MacDonald’s Macfish sandwiches so don’t be a snob about it. And don’t be a baby about it either. We already have 3, and not everyone is born a royal gourmet. Be back soon.

Car motor starting, sounds of a car leaving, garage door closing. Lear waves, shuts the side entrance and checks on the oven. As Lear recites his soliloquy Gonoril and Regan begin fighting over a toy

Lear: MacDonald’s! Good-for-naught, oil-filled fast food,

The creeping bane of our tongues and noses.

I will not have my chef’s daughters eating

Industrial meat, sugared potatoes

Fried in rendered fat, no, never, never,

Never, never, never. They will not eat

It in my car, they will not eat it near

Or far, they will not eat it here or there,

They will not eat it anywhere. Gonoril,

Regan, cupcake, are you hu…

Gonoril: Daddy, Regan’s not playing right.

Regan: I am too! You’re not playing right.

Gonoril: Uh-uhyou didn’t give me a turn.

Regan: Yes I did…

Cordelia: Ga-go-go-ggrrblu.

Lear: Kids, now what did mommy say about playing nice?  If you can’t play nice I’m gonna’ have to take your toy away and give you two a time-out.

Gonoril: But dad-yy…

Lear: No. It’s almost lunchtime anyway. Here; you can watch TV for 10 minutes while I finish making lunch. (picks up the TV remote and turns on the TV. Gonoril and Regan immediately stop fighting, sit down and stare wide-eyed at the screen. A clown is on the screen juggling. Background sounds of the clown) Pretty clown. Ok. Where was I. Oh yeah.  Burgers and fries.

A culinary nothing. And nothing

Can come from nothing. By Jupiter, I’ll

Teach my children now in their greenest days

How to take proper care of a proper meal. (looks into the oven)

My flatfish cooks above the thinly sliced

Potatoes I layered beneath. Oven,

Rumble thy bellyful; fire, heat; fish, bake.

In a few minutes I’ll clean away the bones

From Neptune’s fresh tidbit and serve it with

The best olive oil, salt, parsley and

The fish-juice soaked potatoes. They’ll love it.


Act III, sc.2

The kids are all sitting at the table, Gonoril in a regular chair, the other 2 in highchairs. Lear is on his feet with a spoon in one hand, trying to get Cordelia to eat. Regan is crying. Gonoril is playing with her food. There are particles of fish, potato, parsley and other unidentifiable organic substances on the table, floor, chairs, walls and Lear.

Lear: Common’ now cupcake, you can do this for da-da. Open up your little mouthy a little bit, now, watch the train, choo-choo, choo-choo…

Cordelia:  (shaking her head and keeping her mouth shut) Grbbllmm-mm. (She reaches up with her hand and deflects the spoon and its contents onto the floor.)

Regan: (wailing) Daddy I don’ like it, I don’ LLLLIIIKKKEIIT!

Gonoril: Daddy can we go to MacDonald’s?

Cordelia: Grppbbbrrp.

Regan: (whining) When’s mommy coming back? When’s mommy coming back?

Lear: (trying to answer Gonoril as he takes a different spoonful of food for Cordelia)Honey, please just try a little taste.

Gonoril: But it smells funny.

Enter Felix, their gray and white cat, jumping onto the kitchen table

Gonoril: (she reaches out and pets the cat) Kitt-y

Lear: Honey, don’t pet the cat on the table, Felix, down, get down…

Cordelia: (reaching for the pretty kitty) Da-do-goop-goop-goop kitt-kit ppttttffs.

Regan: (Wailing again and this time pounding the table)Mommymommymommymommy…(on the last ‘mommy’ she pounds the table harder. The cat scurries away. The plate of food from which Lear is trying to feed Cordelia bounces over the edge and hits him solidly on his toe)

Lear: Eeeoooww! Howl, howl, howl, howl! That hit my foot like a stone! (Reaches down and touches his foot, then starts hopping around. The kids start laughing. Then Lear’s cell-phone rings. He answers, a little out of breath) Hello? What? No sweetcakes, everything’s under control. No, no. They ate just fine. We’re gonna go for a walk at the shopping center. You? Ok. Take your time. Bye. (Hangs up. Looks at the kids who are all looking at him) Fine. You win. But if you promise not to tell mommy you can each have a MacIcecream cone to, OK?

Gonoril: Wee-hoo!

Regan: Yum, yum, yum, yum!

Cordelia: Grrrmmphyummm!

Lear: You guys go get dressed and I’ll clean up. (Exit Gonoril and Regan. Looks at Cordelia) Oh, would you look at you. Here, cupcake, let me wipe off your lips.

Lifts her up off the high chair as he wipes off her face. Exits. Exit recipe



The real recipe:


2-4 potatoes, thinly sliced about the width of 2 quarters of edge

if yes, evoo

if no, extra-virgin olive oil

Salt & pepper

Chopped parsley


1 large turbot or other flatfish

serves 2-5, depending on the size of the fish

Make sure the potato slices are well seasoned & covered with olive oil. Place in a large tray to bake about 10 minutes in a hot oven, 150 degrees Celsius. Then place the fish on top of the potatoes, add some capers here and there and continue cooking 10-20 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. In the meantime chop the parsley. When the fish is ready – I’ve found it easiest to judge by the fishes’ eyes, usually. As soon as they start whiting over the fish is probably done – remove, de-bone and dribble some evoo (extra-virgin olive oil) over it. Accompany with boiled vegetables, the sliced potatoes and a well-structured white, maybe a white Burgundy.

…you could, if you have three daughters with 3 different tastes, cook a fish in 3 different styles: http://www.godecookery.com/incrd/incrd.htm#001

pasta noir recipe: Bashu’s Rice Noodles

Bashu’s Sake Rice Noodles with Scallops 
“Under the cherry- / blossom soup, / blossom salad.”


6-8 cherry tomatoes
6-10 sea scallops
Salt and pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
200 grams of rice noodles

Serves 2

Oil, scallops, salt,
tomato, sake, parsley,
a flame falling: plate.

Delicate noodles
twirl into the sharp fork,
breath, open, place, taste.

The real recipe: 
Don’t hesitate to change the recipe according to taste, adding a little hot pepper, a hint of soy sauce, some sweet onion, ecc. Grill the sea scallops on high heat, 1-2 minutes each side (until each side begins to brown but leave the meat juicy.) Remove, cool and slice into bite-sized pieces. Add some olive oil to the pan and turn the heat on again. Halve the cherry tomatoes and add them. After a minute deglaze with sake, evaporate, salt and pepper, then the sliced sea scallops back into the pan, add the noodles 15 seconds or so then turn off the heat, add the freshly chopped parsley, optionally a few drops of fresh ginger juice quick toss then a few drops of fresh olive oil drizzled over after plating. Mangia.

link: Bashu: https://www.poemhunter.com/matsuo-basho/biography/

Pasta Noir. It’s free, it has real recipes, and it may be the only recipe book with bloopers…..download ebook:https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B85ReGrWCxe8UlhQMEFTa3EzU1U/view?usp=sharing

Wed. Will: The Most Delicious Shepherd’s Pie of Titus Andronicus

“The feast is ready, which the careful Titus/ Hath ordained to an Honourable end.” Titus, 5.3

Often derided as Shakespeare’s sloppiest meat dish – even to the point of questioning whether “Shepherd’s Pie” was actually prepared by Shakespeare or an attempt by some lesser-known chef de garde manger to get promoted to the line – when well prepared it can be a powerful, delicious main course. Though as usual the dish is, um, “based” on a previous recipe from another chef (in this instance from the Italic chef Ovid,) Shakespeare’s “Pie” differs from the original in its incorporation of artichokes and ham. (An interesting aside: an earlier version of Titus’ Pie is rumored to have been a big underground hit in the middle east, conquering palettes throughout Israel and Palestine. Which goes to show that some hungers are the same for all of us, no matter what sex, creed or culinary background we come from. )

The Ingredients of the Dish:

Artichokes, enough to make someone choke
Lamb ground up enough as to be indistinguishable from;
Ground veal, and
Ground ham
Pepper & salt
Butter, enough to sweeten the ground meat
Milk or cream

The Chefs of the Recipe:

Titus – owner and chef of ‘Il Generale’
Judy – Will’s second daughter
Shakespeare – Shaksper, Shakesper, Will, The Bard, William, whatever.  What’s in a name, anyway?      Shakespeare by any other spelling is still the Bard.

For this Italian adaptation of our own British dish I have to give credit to both Anne and my second daughter, Judy. Before our holiday in Rome last year, my wife, (I wanted to go to the beach but Anne, well, she is Anne and therefore must be obeyed,) started asking around and researching on-line for any lesser known but interesting places to eat. She sent an e-mail to Judy, who was interning for 6 months in Brussels. It so happened that the family of a new Italian friend she met there ran a quaint little trattoria, ‘Il Generale’, within walking distance of the main Roman imperial ruins.
Her father, Titus, is the head of the show and spends much of his time in the kitchen. He and his family knew we were coming and so insisted on making us a special tasting feast. After the usual appetizers of various artisan cold cuts and stuffed grilled vegetables, he had us try a few of the classic Roman pastas including a deliciously adapted ravioli carbonara with a fresh egg yolk filling. I was expecting the usual tripe or stewed ox-tail to follow, which in fact came later, when instead they brought out what looked like a sort of Shepherd’s pie. Yet its taste was quite different, simple but exquisite. I asked him – Titus is a well-traveled, well-educated man who speaks several languages, even if he isn’t English – for the recipe.
“Your request does grace me with the highest honor,” he answered, “and with that honor I will happily tell you of the meat and potato pie I’ve bid you to eat. In unequal proportions of veal, ham, beef and artichoke you make the grounded base. Bake it once, then into that shell spoon in a well-buttered puree of your choosing, be it straight potato or mixed with white beets or peas or other flavors as you like it, then let it warm again in the oven until that combination is rightly cooked. Add the lightest hint of cinnamon in tempered gravy you’ve collected and place lightly above and beside the plated piece. A simple thing, almost a dainty dish.”  Dainty! After the meal, Anne and I skipped dinner for the next 2 days! But it was worth it. For dessert we had a lovely ricotta cheese pie and, of course, a fresh tiramisu.
Well, it’s almost time for me to go. We’re off to the movies, Anne and I. An Anthony Hopkins flick. Some story about a vengeful chef. Now that’s a movie I want to see…

The real recipe:
For the Shepherd’s Pie:
650 grams of ground lean veal
175 grams of ground lean lamb
100 grams of ground, lean cooked ham*
75 grams of boiled artichokes in small pieces
Salt and pepper
7-8 potatoes
2-3 white beets
*as a Titian twist you could add some ground blood sausage
serves 8

Ask your butcher if he or she can make you the ground meat and artichoke combination. If they can?t, mix the meat and artichokes into one patty at home, blending in the seasoning. In a 1 large or two smaller pie baking dishes, place the meat evenly, making a sort of thick meat crust. Place in a hot oven until the meat no longer sticks to a fork you poke into it. Be careful not to dry out the meat. Remove once cooked. Meanwhile boil the potatoes with their skins on, and the cleaned beets. Remove the potato skins after boiling. Mash the whole into a thick puree using butter or cream to make the consistency you prefer, though the puree shouldn’t be too liquid. Mixing in pureed peas works well. Spoon the mix into the meat crusts and place back into the oven for 15 minutes, remove, and let stand a bit before serving. Thicken a veal stock with flower and butter as gravy, flavoring it with a pinch of good cinnamon. Serve with a hearty red wine: a Cabernet Sauvignon or Amarone will work just fine.

link: a Basic recipe for a medieval/Renaissance-style meat pie – http://www.godecookery.com/goderec/grec11.htm

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

Create your website at WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: