Wednesday Will: Hamlet’s Pan-Fried Sole

Wednesday Will: Hamlet’s Pan-Fried Sole

Hamlet’s Pan-Fried Sole
“I eat the air, promise-crammed. You cannot feed capons so.” Hamlet, 3.2

“To fry, or not to fry” is probably the most famous recipe line in the world and its chef perhaps the most widely interpreted. When well prepared, “Hamlet’s Fried Sole” has been described by some food critics as being a religious experience. Others note that Hamlet is fundamentally a Sophist cook, pointing to his question “what taste may come…who is to say?” They further note that the lack of specification in his ingredients, “or other herbs”, is conducive to a relativistic philosophy of cooking.
Still others like the noted Austrian chef and food commentator S. Freud place Hamlet’s dish in an overwhelming psychoanalytical sauce, usually speculating something about his mother having been a bad cook. We the editors feel that Freud overcooked and over-sauced most of his food – probably from secretly over-indulging in the Greek take-away joint near his office – and we think the flavors of “Hamlet’s Fried Sole” are more satisfyingly interpreted in a simpler, though more complex, systemically physiological manner. In this version of the dish Hamlet’s questioning and resultant inaction is interrupted by Shakespeare himself who, after all, did have a restaurant to run.


The Ingredients of the Recipe:
1 sole fish, filleted from itself
Grated lemon rind
Pepper & salt
Chives or other herbs
Butter or extra-virgin olive oil

The Chefs of the Dish
Hamlet – a depressed chef
Shaksper – his patient boss

Act I, sc. 1

Enter Hamlet, alone.

Hamlet: To fry, or not to fry; that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler that a sole be roasted
In the oven, lightly sauced with capers and
Parsley, or be breaded, laid on heated oil
And, once browned, turned over. To cook, to sizzle –
Until done, and by done I mean barely done,
Being careful not to dry the flesh, that cork
Texture that sole is prone to – ‘tis a finished
Dish devoutly to be eaten. To fry, to bread.
To bread, perchance to flavor. Ay, there’s the rub,
For in that flavored breading what taste may come
Through frying can delight us, surprise us,
Make us go m-m-m-m. Therein lies the flavor
That makes frying the sole so appealing.
But who is to say? What if the breading
Is too salty? What if you do overcook
The fish filet? Forget to put in the
Grated lemon rind? Forget to dip the fish
In milk first? Why not oven bake instead?

Enter Shakespeare

Wil: Hamlet, isn’t that fish fried up yet? Just what the heck are you waiting for, an invitation from the dead? The sweet carrot and potatoes have already been blended into a puree. Get that fish in the oil before it’s too too solid flesh melts, over thaws and resolves itself into a smelly heap. I dunno’ Hamlet, sometimes you are just such a piece of work.


Hamlet: God I’m such a looser, such a rogue, such a peasant slave. He’s right, my Will, as if I lack a will of my own. I cannot decide any thing of my own free will, cannot decide ‘this thing’s to do,’ cannot will myself…

Shakspear: (off-stage) Hamlet!

Hamlet: Right. (speaking very quickly) Just dip the filets in some milk then the flour seasoned with salt, pepper, lemon rind and whatever fresh herb you like and fry it in some extra virgin olive oil or good butter turn once and serve with a medium bodied white. (pause) It’s as simple as that. The rest is, ah, the rest is…

Pause. Exits with a puzzled expression in his eyes. Exit recipe

The real recipe:
The Ingredients:
Sole or other flat fish filets
Grated lemon rind
Salt and pepper
Basil, sage, parsley or other fresh herbs
EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
As Hamlet says above: simply season a plate of flour with grated lemon rind, salt, freshly ground black pepper, and whatever fresh herbs you like, if any, finely chopped. In a wide bowl or plate next to the flour pour in some milk. Dip the fish filets first in the milk, then the flour, then fry on each side in butter or oil until golden and cooked. Remove, lightly salt, and serve with mashed potatoes and/or a creamy vegetable-based dunking puree-sauce. Or you could decide to cook the filets in a pan with garlic-flavored extra-virgin olive oil, capers, parsley and white wine, but let’s keep our options limited.

link: A pikesauce for a Pike / Breme Perche / Roche / Carpe / Eles / floykes / and all maner of brouke fisshe:

Weekend Food, Roman Delis – Antica Caciara: Small voice, Great deli

Roman Food – Small voice, Great deli – Antica Caciara

Subdued voice, Great deli: Antica Caciara in Trastevere.

 The cobble stoned streets in Rome are tricky, particularly if you’re wearing high heels, particularly if you’re a tourist. They’re lovely to look at, and since they are, well, streets, you trust you can walk over them without paying attention. But if you don’t look where you’re putting your feet, those streets can literally steal your shoes. The photo below I took a few days ago. It isn’t a set up: someone actually must have gotten stuck, tried to pull her shoe out but the stones wouldn’t give. So she lost her heal, most likely then gimping up and down on her way back to her hotel while swearing a bit under her breath.

A similar same sort of thing happens with people. Well, with men anyway. Often men with full voices inspire trust. That, our attitude regarding a well articulated, completely resonating tone of natural command comes from our evolution. Big voice = competent guy, we often assume. ‘He knows what he’s doing. Must be respected.’ Lots of executives learn that trick early on, (particularly short ones.) ‘Listen, see, I’ve got a naturally commanding voice. Follow my lead.’ They stand up straight and wear expensive, tailor-made clothes. But sometimes if you follow them without paying attention they’ll take your shirt. And your shoes. And your underwear, for that matter. Think Wall Street.

Smaller-voiced men with hunched shoulders are by contrast often neglected. You know, the pee-wee Hermans of the world. The ones that can seem to fade into the background.

In Rome there are a few well-kown, visually impressive, ‘big-voiced’ delis, particularly downtown. And some of them aren’t at all bad. Roscioli, Franchi….are the Dean and Deluca’s or Eataly’s of the eternal city. They usually have the most well-known, high-class produce and artisanal salamis and such. Snob stuff. And they make you pay very dearly for that snobbery. There are plenty of others that pretty much make you pay dearly for even mediocre stuff, pretending that they’re giving you good counsel and offering you something special. Particularly if you’re a tourist. Watch where you’re putting shoes or you’ll loose a heal. And a good chunk of whatever’s in your wallet.

In the heart of Trastevere there’s instead a small place that might appear even a bit shabby at first glance: Antica Caciara Trastverina, of Roberto Polica, in via San Francesco a Ripa. Maybe you wouldn’t even notice it if you pass by, as it sort of fades into the background of the street. But take a closer look. That sheep’s milk ricotta you see stacked up inelegantly in the window is still glistening with freshness. That was cheese was definitely done this morning. And look at the price: it’s more than a little reasonable, and so much less expensive that the Balducci-like places a bit closer to the tourist attractions. So step inside.

That guy there, the owner, is almost always behind the counter. He’s thin and sort of wiry but with a subtle, strange elegance like a young apple tree. He’ll greet you kindly, humbly, almost apologetically and ask you if he might help you in a kind wisp of a voice. Ask him. Trust him. He’s one of the most culinarily knowledgable men you’ll ever meet. Anywhere.

And his store’s produce reflects that knowledge. Every single lunch meet, or dried fish, or cheese in the store is simply remarkable. He doesn’t just have, say, a bresaola. He’ll offer you a taste if you seem uncertain, explain to you its flavor in detail, in inception when you place into your mouth, its evolution once you begin to chew and its aftertaste. And where it comes from, how it’s made. Go ahead and taste it. You’ll pause, and then remain overwhelmed. Poetry. The best. The best pecorino Romano, the best coppa, the best ricotta, the best salted herrings in Rome…can be found right there in his deceptively modest-looking store.

When the bill comes you’ll again be overwhelmed…at its smallness. Here you won’t loose your wallet, shoes, shirt, underwear or anything else. You’ll gain something instead: flavor and knowledge. And maybe next time another full-voiced, full-of-himself guy offers you his ‘follow me’ spiel on the streets or on TV while he’s running for office, you’ll reach for your pocket to make sure your wallet remains in place. And remember that sometimes smaller voices carry much greater weight.

I just wish people like Roberto would go into politics and banking. That is, finance. But, like a smart, experienced Brit once said: ‘There’s no money in poetry. Then again, there’s no poetry in money.’ Roberto, in his way, is one hell of a poet.


…if you happen to know of other great delis in Rome, let us know in the comments…

Weekend Food – Literary Recipe (pasta noir): Stephen Hawking’s Radiated Pasta Carbonara

Weekend Recipe: Stephen Hawking’s Radiated Carbonara

“In effect, we have redefined the task of science to be the discovery of laws that will enable us to predict events up to the limits set by the uncertainty principle.” A Brief History of Time. Rest in peace…

One dumb undergrad*
Pasta dough (or 320 grams or so of long pasta)
200 grams of bacon (or guanciale the more so, pig cheek)
4-6 egg yolks (farm fresh, from somewhere chickens still live like, well, chickens)
1-2 egg whites
Grated Parmesan and pecorino romano, or one softly flavored, aged sheep cheese
Salt and pepper
Mint or Mentuccia (optional)
a few drops of cool milk or cream (as necessary)
*preferably without a spouse or children

Serves 4.

Contain an incredibly large, dense mass in your kitchen. Hide it behind a door that says ‘loo’ or ‘bathroom’. Invite a dumb undergrad over, (any faculty will do though economics would be preferable,) telling him or her you want them to take part in a revolutionary experiment. When he gets to your house, have him sit down and then slowly explain to him about black holes. (Don’t worry if you make a mistake or two. He’s dumb, so he’ll never know the difference.) Pour him plenty of beer as you do. When he asks to use the loo, show him to the door behind which you’ve hidden the black hole – but remember to give him the pasta dough before he steps inside. (Tell him it’s soap or something. As mentioned above, it won’t matter.) As soon as he enters the strong gravitational field, have some fun noting him becoming increasingly terrified, in slow motion, as he nears the event horizon. You wont hear any sounds as by the time he starts to scream the sound waves won’t be able to escape the black hole.

While the dough and undergraduate are being turned into spaghetti by the massive gravity field, boil some water and gently fry the diced bacon or pig cheek in a large pan with just a few drops of olive oil. Remove the bacon once it’s crispy. Pasteurize the egg yolks after whipping them a little by double boiling, stirring and working the yolk constantly so as not to have them turn sold, in and out of the water for about 5-6 minutes. Once the spaghetti and undergrad have been expelled from the black hole, separate them, and boil the spaghetti. Then first toss the spaghetti with the rendered pork fat and a little bit of the cooking water from the pasta, then mix the spaghetti with the raw egg yolks (removed from the heat, maybe re-place over the flame for a few seconds to get to the right texture: creamy, not watery.) Then add some grated cheese, the crispy bacon bits then finally top with freshly ground black pepper. Take the spaghettied undergrad, instead, and slide him back into the black hole.

Miraculously he’ll come out again in reverse with another package of pasta in his hand. I’ll explain that some other time. Now it’s time to eat the Carbonara while still warm.

The real recipe: 
Ingredients – see above
….see the penultimate paragraph. On low heat, slowly ‘sweat’ small pieces of bacon or pig cheek, rendering their fat, until they’re crispy, then remove onto a paper towel. It’ll take time, 10-15 minutes or so. Put 80-90 grams or so of spaghetti into boiling salted water, to cook (you can flavor the water with some mint leaves, if liked.) In a mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks, then pasteurize them by working it fluid with a whisker at first, then a spoon, in a double boiler until they have the texture of a watery mayonnaise (until just before they just begin to solidify.) Remove when ready and just add a drop of cream or milk or transfer into a cool bowl to immediately cool. Mix a little egg white as well, if you like the added texture, separately. When the pasta is almost done, scoop some of its cooking water and mix with the rendered pig fat, in the latter’s pan. Drain the noodles partially and place them into the pan as well, saute over high heat, adding more cooking water if necessary. (It’s about here, a moment before putting in the noodles, you can add a bit of mentuccia, mint leaf, but only a little.) Remove from heat, add first the egg white (one) and mix again over the heat a few seconds, remove again from heat and add the yolks (3), mix, and toss a few more seconds over the heat if you like the condiment thicker but remove before the thing turns into an omelette. Plate, then generously sprinkle with some grated, decent pecorino romano or with a soft flavored, aged sheep cheese, then some freshly grated black pepper and the crispy bacon or pig cheek bits. Goes well with a structured white or table red. Serves 4.

link – some small talk stuff about Stephen Hawking:


…if you have any other variations on carbonara, let us know in the comments….

Wednesday Will: Shylock’s Ham and Cheese Bruschetta

Shylock’s Ham and Cheese Bruschetta, otherwise called Without the Ham

  “They are as sick that surfeit with too much, as they that starve with nothing.” The Merchant of Venice, 2.1

Shylock’s Ham and Cheese Bruschetta is based upon two intertwined, iconic works: Italian bruschetta, or toast, and televised Texas Hold’em tournaments. Though scholars have pointed out the seeming influence of other recipes on the dish such as Marlowe’s The Tomato of Malta, Boccaccio’s Breads and Il Pecorone – ‘The Big Sheep’, a book of appetizer recipes attributed to Ser Giovanni of Florence – the only clear influence we the editors see might be from Dame Cook of Wisconsin and Ser Gianni of Cleveland’s Pasta Noir.

The recipe itself is probably a natural development from Shakespeare’s starving university days when for him finding paper money in his pocket was unheard of. Bruschetta is cheap eats, an earlier, healthier Italian version of Burger King. His usage of lemon zest, fresh Robiola cheese and avocado, however, add a surprising depth and stratification of flavor to more traditional versions of the dish.

The Ingredients of the recipe:

Good bread, enough to feed some hungry Christian men and women and infidels
Garlic, enough to flavor the bread
Extra-Virgin olive oil, enough to dribble over the bread
Pepper and salt and hot pepper and basil
Lemon essence
Diced ripe tomatoes
Robiola or other fresh cream cheese
Anchovies, enough to pucker your mouth
Mozzarella, enough to melt over the anchovies
A ripe avocado

A hearty pork sausage
Some creamed potatoes
Some well-boiled broccoli
A pound of flesh
A good disguise or two
Other various ismsThe Chefs of the Recipe:
Shakespeare – the card dealer
Jessica – daughter of one of the card players, girl friend to another
Portia – a card shark in her spare time
Bassanio – another player, but good-lookin’ and sensitive
The Prince of Morocco – ditto. But really full of himself

The Prince of Aragon – ditto. But even more full of himself
Shylock – another card shark. Full time
Lorenzo – see Bassanio

Graziano & Solanio – men. And commentators
Antonio – another man. Another commentator. Invested all of his savings with Bernie Madoff

Nerissa – falls for Graziano. Has more practical things to do than play cards

serves Venice

Act I, sc. 1

Texas Hold’em tournament: Venice. Sitting at the table are: Bassanio a good-lookin’ guy with almost no chips; The Prince of Morocco, a cool-lookin’ black hunk wearing lots of gold and hip-hop clothes; Portia, ‘the attorney’ disguised as a man and wearing sunglasses; The Prince of Aragon, a well-groomed white guy wearing an expensive suit and watch; Shylock, a short, ugly-ish old guy wearing a beanie, with lots of well-stacked chips in front of him; and finally Lorenzo, who has the 2nd smallest mound of chips. Enter Graziano, Antonio and Solanio, commentators. Finally enter Nerissa. She looks at Graziano from across the room

Graziano: (looking back at Nerissa) Yo’, Tony, check out the hooters that just walked in.

Antonio: Jerry, please. We’re live in 20 seconds.

Solanio: Geez, Tone, lighten up, will ya’? You’ve been moping’ around like you’re a Browns fan or something.

Antonio: Yeah, you’re probably right. Sorry guys. I’ve just been feeling so bummed lately. I dunno’… maybe it’s this global warming and all. It’s like you can’t be sure about anything anymore. Anyway, we’re on 3, 2, 1….

Solanio: A welcomed return to one and all
To this our Texan-held card tournée in
Lovely Venice. In this hand only the
Mysterious attorney and his princely
Sun-tanned opponent on the table remain.

Graziano: Our over-reaching royal player
Is convinced his two queens are to enough
To reign in this pot’s crowning chips. Yet the
Final card has yet to be o’erthrown.
And look there! ‘Tis a diamond’s three! Now the attorney’s color and scale are both complete. Oh thwarted destiny, that such a low card could undo such high status.

Antonio: All’s in for our unsuspecting blue blood.

Solanio: The attorney’s straightest flush is revealed, and so breaks the prince’s royal bank. The deposed Moroccan bows and takes his leave as the lawyer reaches over and takes his chips.

Graziano: Stay, I prithee, for God’s sake. After these
Our unhumble commercial messages
There are yet many sad stories to tell….annnd, we’re off.

Antonio: Crap.

Solanio: What’s wrong?

Antonio: Oh, I know I shouldn’t have but…I bet 3 grand at 3 to 1 that that old Jewish card-shark wouldn’t win – again.

Graziano: Whoa, that was a risky bet. Shylock’s been pretty consistent. Anyway, chill. There’s 3 other players. Plus Bassanio’s still in, even if it don’t look like it’s gonna’ be his day.

Graziano and Nerrisa exchange flirting glances

Graziano: Hey, guys, I’m – ah – goin’ to the kitchen and get something to eat. You want me to bring anything back?

Solanio: Yeah, I’m starving. Get a tray of some of that Italian toast.

Graziano: OK. Be back in a jiff.

Exit Graziano and Nerissa. Roar from the crowd. Flourish. Aragon stands up from the poker table and exits

Solanio: Wow, that was fast. That lawyer guy’s really good. OK, we’re on.

Antonio: When you our treasured audience did leave
Us to attend your nachos and dip of
Halapenioed cheese, 5 men remained.

Solanio: But in the time between the forming of
A word and its passage through a mistress’
Well-formed lips, our keen lawyer did sue Spain’s
First son. With clever wit and cleverer
Cards he did dispatch the trial and hand.

Antonio: So now the blood of Aragon, playing the odds wrong, has from the poker table gone.

Solanio: At least, departing after his darker royal cousin, he may claim the silver and not the gold blinking idiot’s reward. Yet a potent bankrupt portrait of vanity did both men make.

Antonio: Yes, and between the graceless cards that have of late given Lorenzo a slow adieu to his diminishing chips, and Bassanio’s too sensitive, unbluffing face, it would appear the game will soon be down to a Christian lawyer and a heathen hustler.

Solanio: Now the card shrunken Lorenzo takes courage and with his paired two of hearts rails against Shylock’s scriptured, hidden hand. But what’s this? Shylock’s creeping daughter has stepped into the scene.

Enter Jessica from the audience behind Shylock. She looks at his cards, then steps around and tries to get Lorenzo’s attention as she shakes her head. Shylock notices and complains to the dealer, who indicates that Lorenzo has forfeit the game

Antonio: And so Lorenzo makes a rapid end to his swan-like fade, ceding his last chips to Shylock.

Solanio: The clever aged man has played well, first teaching the table how to bluff, and now how a cheating bluffer should be answered. Tis a shame he is an infidel. I have never seen so shrewd a mind in so unkind a character. It’s like watching the devil.

Antonio: A devil that uses poker for his pricey purpose.

Solanio: As our producers use pricey publicity to profit from our poker party?

Antonio: Peter Piper picked a pack?

Solanio: I yield to the greater nonsense. Please, do return after our wits have recovered from this witless banter after these wittier messages…an-n-nd, we’re off.

Graziano returns with Nerissa, each holding a big tray of freshly toasted bruschetta

Solanio: Finally! I’m so hungry I’d even eat poached peppers. What you got?

Graziano: No peppers this time. Tomato and basil with Robiola and grated lemon rind; plain tomato and basil; sausage, broccoli and creamed potatoes; anchovies and melted mozzarella; and just plain olive oil.

Solanio: And the garlic?

Graziano: Rubbed on fresh. Oh, and this one has some avocado. You want some Tony?

Antonio: No thanks. I’m not hungry. Plus with your two mouths full someone’s gotta’ do the commentary. And 3,2…
Gentle viewing friends, a happy return.
Bassanio has just broke his win-less
Streak with well-played winning cards, aided by
The lawyer’s odd, wit-less folding plea.
As the game swiftly deals itself to its
Flattened, singular time of crunch,
Sal and Greg are here crunching the hunger
Of their manly bellies with a manly
Crunchy toast. I hope they leave some for me.

Solanio: ‘Tis to us Christian men this world falls, crunch and all.

Nerissa: Hey there, buck-o. Have not everyone, Jew, Christian, man, woman….

Solanio: Eat, pray, love? (Pause. Nerissa, Graziano and Antonio look at him without saying anything) Sorry.

Nerissa: As I was saying, has not everyone
In our large studio audience eyes?
Have they not noses, stomachs, teeth, senses,
hungers? If you feed them, will they eat not?
R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what
It means to me. Graziano, start passing
The loaded trays around. Or no nook-nook
Will you find in my bed tonight, capisce?

Solanio: Nook-nook?

Graziano shrugs his shoulders, then takes the bruschetta into the audience

Antonio: Methinks our good Graziano has despite himself found a beautiful, unbonded bride-to-be. As in the game, here in our weekly poker program anything can happen. The outcome remains hidden ‘till the fattest of ladies sings the highest of notes. Just as Bassanio’s apparent going-out-of-business sale has been dis-inventoried by his latest hand’s well-transacted full-priced bluff.Solanio: Indeed. The last hand was the first hand where the lawyer’s hands seemed tied. It seemed almost as if he wanted Bassanio’s hand on top of his own.Antonio: Smelling blood with the new deal, Shylock has now swooped in for his pound of flesh.Solanio: Pound of flesh? Never heard that one before.

Antonio: Yeah, well, I read a little. Anyway. What’s this? Bassanio has all-ed himself into this surprising final pot. Now each one of his chips is in.

Solanio: And it does look as if Shylock has both Bassanio and the lawyer by their hips. The spaded jack on the table like Odysseus leads Shylock’s straight line of soldiers stealthily behind their Trojan defenses. Fortune’s misfortune has Bassanio holding 2 of the remaining jacks. So barring a knighted poker he hath over-esteemed his own readiness, and like Troilus and Troy so he and his carded house will fall from Shylock’s hidden advance.

Antonio: The hand and game do seem ended. Yet our lawyer holds two queens. And what’s this? The 6th card now gives him a 3rd. Shylock pauses not to reflect: showing no mercy he pushes all his ducats in the centered mound.

Solanio: And so the lawyer to match the bonded wager must place all of his chips on the table. The 7th river card flows…and reveals another queen! Poker! The Attorney has won! Do you believe in miracles?

Flourish. Shouts. Confetti. Antonio jumps around like a happy maniac

Antonio: Yee-hoo!

Shylock looks dejected. Portia goes over and gives him 3,000 worth of chips, then takes off her disguise, turns, takes Bassanio in her arms, dips him, and gives him a long kiss on the lips. Nerissa follows, doing the same with Graziano, then Jessica with Lorenzo

Solanio: What a lovely, lively finish. All’s well in this week’s well-ended game. Next week we’ll be in Verona with both some old players and 2 notorious, local gentlemen. Until then, adieu…

End recipe


The real recipes:


For the base:
Sliced good bread
Good extra-virgin olive oil
Garlic cloves sliced in two
The idea here is to get the best bread you can find, fresh Italian country or Portuguese loaves, slice it according to your own taste, toast it until begins to turn brown and crusty, and then rub the garlic across the crunchy bread while it’s still warm. Then dribble a few drops of good olive oil over each slice, and add a pinch of salt. At this point you can even put Kraft Maccheroni and cheese on top and it’ll still taste good.For the first bruschetta:
1 freshly diced tomato
Ripped or roughly sliced fresh basil
Freshly grated lemon rind
A dash of ground pepperoncino
Robiola or other fresh cream cheese
Extra-Virgin olive oil
Take all the ingredients except for the cheese and mix well, then set aside a minute as you spread a very thin layer of cheese across the base toast. Then spoon the mixture on top. Makes two pieces of toast. Serve with beer or any chilled light red or white wine, or with ‘mezzo e mezzo’: half 7-up, half red wine. You could crumble some toast into the beer like they did in Shakespeare’s time. Nah.For the second bruschetta:
2-4 anchovy filets under oil
2-4 slices of mozzarella, as fresh if possible
2 fresh zucchini flowers, optional
Place one or two of the filets on each piece of toast, then layer the flowers and the mozzarella on top. Place in a broiler just until the cheese melts over, then remove and grate some black pepper on top if you like it. Makes two.

For the third bruschetta:
2 flavored sausage links, pork, kosher, turkey, whatever, as long as it’s good
1 small broccoli
1 creamed potato
Olive oil

Fry up the broken pieces of meat in a teaspoon of olive oil. Boil well the broccoli, only the green flowers, and drain. Boil the potato, then mash, adding cream until it becomes a sauce. Season and flavor as you will, with thyme, cinnamon, chives, etc., or with nothing. Mix all the ingredients when ready, taste for salt and pepper, then spoon it over the toast. Makes 4-5 crunchy slices.

link – the play: 

link – the food:

or link, from the gentyll manly cokere, a different toast with capons and sweet almond saffron milk:

Pasta Noir. It’s free, it has real recipes, and it may be the only recipe book with bloopers… ebook:

Weekend Recipe – pasta noir: Edgar Allan Poe

Pasta Noir Weekend Literary Recipes – Edgar Allen Poe



“…take thy form from off my door! / Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore’.” The Raven


For the pasta:

500 grams maccheroncini

A metronome

10 large shrimp, pealed and cleaned.

8 fresh, ripe tomatoes

1 onion.

1 clove of garlic

Sweet basil

Rose petals


For the stuffed artichoke:

20 very black olives

1 giant artichoke heart

One live raven*



*If your local pet shop can’t procure a raven, any wild bird will do, as long as it has a beak.
Serves 5.


Click on the metronome. Grab the raven by its feet and hang it upside down in front of the window. (Never mind it’s screaming.) Fill the pot with water and place it on a back burner for later. Turn on the oven.


Take the butcher knife. Butcher the tomatoes in halves, then quarters, then eighths, in time with the metronome. (Never mind the red juice splattering and dripping over the walls. You can clean up later.) Begin plucking the raven. If it protests by tapping its beak on the window, chop off its head. (This will also serve to stop its screaming.) When finished, finely mince the meat after de-boning. Add salt and pepper. Chop the garlic vigorously into many small, irregular pieces, then the onion, and finally the olives, but gingerly place the basil on a soft bed of rose petals pre-set the night before.

Take a break. Have a drink.

Place a pan on a flame set to high and pour in a gushing stream of oil. Listen to it just beginning to bubble, then hurl the butchered onion and garlic into the pan. Wait until the resulting sizzle dies down, the onions will sweat, the garlic ooze away its last drops of flavor. Now shove the tomatoes in and watch as their skins peel away from their flesh, curling up and away from the heat. Stir, and wait as the oil and juices mix into a glistening red sauce. Check on the basil to see if it is resting peacefully.

Take a break. Have a drink. Then a nap. Beware of any nightmares the kitchen odors may provoke.


Wake up with a start. You’ve forgotten to stuff the heart! Quickly, quickly, chop, chop, chop away its extra fat and hard, chewy cartilage and veins to reveal its deep red, er, light green interior, (never mind it’s a vegetable.). Enlarge the opening by pulling, tearing, ripping it by turns, but hurry! The water is already boiling! The pasta! The pasta! Salt the water. Quickly, quickly pour the pasta into the boiling water. Hurry! Stuff the minced crow, olive, rosemary and pepper mix into the bleeding heart. Place in a baking tray and slide into a billowing hot oven for 15 minutes. TURN OFF that gaddam metronome! Stir the pasta, stir again faster, then check on the sweet basil to make sure it’s resting peacefully on the sweet-smelling rose petals.

Now add the pre-cleaned and pealed giant shrimp to the sauce, cook for 4 minutes. Turn off heat and gingerly take up the resting basil and bring it over to pan, and rip it into shreds into the sauce. (Just enough basil, never more.) Mix in the pasta after straining. Remove the giant artichoke heart from the oven and place in the middle of a large serving platter and dish out the pasta around it. Place the raven’s head on top as a nice decoration.

The real recipe:
4 artichokes
Chicken broth
Grated Parmesan
3-4 crushed garlic cloves
20-24 cherry tomatoes
Chopped parsley
400 grams of maccheroni
8-12 medium-sized shrimp
Extra-virgin olive oil

Serves 4.

Don’t try this recipe at home. But if you insist on doing something similar, clean 4 artichokes and chop them into 16th’s, placing the pieces into a bowl of lemon ice water to prevent them from browning. Then place them outside-down in a large saucepan filled by a layer of chicken broth about 1/4 –1/2 inch deep, grate some parmesan cheese over top, cover, and cook on medium to low heat until the artichoke pieces are tender all the way through. In the meantime place a pot of salted water on to boil and flavor some olive oil in a sauté pan on low heat with a few crushed garlic cloves. Remove the garlic after 2-3 minutes. Slice 20-24 cherry tomatoes into 4th’s, and then finely chop some parsley. When the artichoke hearts are ready and have been drained and the pasta, (400 grams,) is 3 minutes from being done sauté 8-12 peeled medium-sized shrimp on high heat, adding the cherry tomatoes a minute after. Drain the pasta and mix along with the parsley and artichokes, sprinkle with a little extra-virgin olive oil and serve immediately. Decorate the table with the rose petals if you must. Accompany with a medium structured white wine. Serves 4 people and one raven.

link- An E.A. Poe feast –