The Complete Recipes of Shakespeare, Abridged (Wed. Will)

Shakespeare’s Vermouth Shrimp alla Elsinore
I must be cruel only to be kind.” Hamlet, 3.4

“Shakespeare’s Vermouth Shrimp Tragedy at Elsinore”, more well known as “Vermouth Shrimp”, recounts how Shakespeare – a promising young chef at the time – makes an impulsive, defiant decision to save his reputation and leave Denmark. The recipe is, well, frankly a rip-off of chef de Belleforest’s “Vodka Shrimp” which was in turn a twist on the traditional widely found “Grappa Shrimp” recipes chronicled by the food historian Saxo Grammaticus in his “Vita Squilla” (The Life of Shrimp).


In his recipe however Shakespeare does at least change the liquor Belleforest used as well as adding the “Wha’s up!” exchange, taken from the noted add campaign by Bud-of-Weiser, in the opening scene, a second sea scallop dish later in the recipe and of course the ghost of Julia Child. Given the recipe’s lack of dramatic structure or originality it’s probably best not to argue over or interpret its meaning but simply to prepare the plate and eat it.
The Ingredients of the Dish:
Some Vermouth
And some Jumbo Shrimp
As much chopped parsley as you need
Extra-Virgin olive oil
A human skull*
Pepper and salt
Enough bad sea scallops to give someone the runs for a week
* a plastic facsimile can be used in case you don’t want to be arrested for grave robbing
The Chefs of the Recipe:
Shakespeare – a promising young chef
Claudio Berlusconi – the (new) owner of the Elsinore, a restaurant in Denmark
Marcellus – a waiter at the restaurant
Barnardo – the same
Horatio – Headwaiter
Caliban – a rotten fish dealer
Julia Child’s ghost

Various other restaurant staff

Act I, sc.1
The Elsinore dining terrace. Enter Marcellus and Barnardo, two waiters, at several tables
Marcellus: Yo, Bernie, wha’s up?
Barnardo: Wha’s up? Wha’s uuup!
Marcellus: Wha’s uuup? Wha’s uuuup!

Barnardo: Wha’s uuuuup!

Enter Horatio
Horatio: Marty?
Marcellus: Wha’s uuuup!
Horatio: Wha’s uuup!

Barnardo: S’uuuuup!

Enter the ghost of Julia Child in a chef’s white frock, holding a rolling pin

Ghost of Julia Child: Uuuuuuuuuup!

Pause. Exit ghost.
Marcellus, Francisco and Horatio: Whoa.
Marcellus: That was creepy.
Barnardo: F***kin’ yeah.
Horatio: Pray, good Barnardo, refrain
From quickly spoken 4 lettered Brooklyn
F’s lest our new real owner, pseudo-
Chef and pseudo-king Claudio with your
Serving job make true substance of the word.
Barnardo: I know, I know. Swear in front of the tourists and I’m screwed. Like, big deal. How much we made in tips so far today? 1 euro each?
Horatio: ‘Tis sadly true. Since the street-of-the-wall
Itself did bear-attack with paper sub-
Primed and toxin derived, our once high Neptune’s
Tide of travelers flows backward ‘pon itself.
Even those returning to this kitchen’d nest
Leave no green eggs for a poor waiter’s omelet.
Marcellus: Nor even the skin of a ham.

Barnardo: So, like, Sam we am?

Pause. Horatio and Marcellus slap Barnardo on both sides of his face.
Barnardo: Ouch! Hey…
Horatio: You guys think we should tell Will about this?
Barnardo: What, that we like, got a freakin’ ghost haunting our empty al fresco dining terrace? I don’t think so.
Marcellus: I rather think you better. Here, use my cell phone. Just press *– 4.

Horatio: If anyone knows what to do about it, Will will.

Exists with cell phone. Enter a delivery truck. Out jumps Caliban, a fish dealer, with a package in his hand. Caliban nods to Marcellus as he walks past into the restaurant. As the package passes close to him Marcellus sniffs noticeably. Exit Caliban.

Marcellus: (looking at you, the reader) Something is rotten in the kitchen of Elsinore.

Act I, sc.2
Enter Shakespeare and Horatio, in Elsinore’s kitchen
Horatio: Thanks for comin’ so quick Will. I’m tellin’ you dude, it was really weird.

William: So, she was holding a rolling pin? Mmm. This bodes of something totally gnarly in our restaurant.

Enter the Ghost of Julia Child. She bids William to follow her. He starts to follow.
Horatio: Dude, are you crazy?
Will: Chill, Horatio. It’s Julia, the Child queen of all us kitchen-bound children chefs, and I will talk straight with her. My fate cries out: She makes each petty recipe in this kitchen as banal as a tuna club sandwich on rye.
Horatio: But what if, like, she eats you or something?
Ghost: Pffff, Horatio if you must know I just wanted to let Wil know that Claudio isn’t using fresh fish, give him a ‘heads up’. He’s made a dirty deal with Caliban, who washes yesterday’s unsold inventory with ammonium and then sells the smelly buggers to Claudio at a discount. An underhanded schemeto make a quick euro. Don’t let the dreadful Claudio ruin your promising kingly career, Shakespeare. I may be out of the kitchen but I still keep a watchful eye on promising young talent, keep good Will hunting, you know, good Will hunting? (giggles to herself. The others look on impassively. Stops giggling.) Anyway. Remember me, Will, remember my cuisine. Adieu, adieu, and…bon appetite!
Exist Ghost

Shakespeare: You have a pen and paper on you?

Horatio gives him a pen and small notebook from his pocket. Shakespeare sets the notebook on the countertop and writes.
Will: Horatio, no one screws with my tables. Here. (hands the paper to Horatio) There are more fish sellers in Copenhagen than are dreamt of in Claudio’s contacts list. Pick this up at Gammel Strand.
Horatio: (Reading the paper) Jumbo shrimp? What about our menued dish, the seared scallops on their bed of baked apple slices and their dribbled sauce blanket of sweetened wild fruit and Balsamic vinegar?

Shakespeare: The scallops we will leave away from tonight’s guests. Yet hidden will we leave them out in our kitchen’s spoiling warmed air. I will later cook andslice them and then, unbeknownst to Claudio, in our staff’s meal-before-the-meal tomorrow to that same crook feed. The scallops’ll be the hook with which I’ll nail that crook. As for the changed menu…my special providence will defy both augury and Claudio’s meanest method. I will add a different liquor during the cooking of our ordered shrimp. It will not be the Vodka he uses, it will be Vermouth. And after plating, a fish stock and shell reduction. And after that sauce, chopped parsley. Timing is all.

Exit both


Act I, sc. 3
Enter Shakespeare with a plate of spaghetti. Claudio, Horatio, Barnardo and other staff are already sitting at one table.
Claudio: William, my Great Brit, what delicious sup’ have you for me prepared?
Will: Not even a Great Dane am I, my King chef. We are far from Dover’s purest cliffs. Here I am a smaller pet, your humble cook. But I do my best. Here is your pasta. (Claudius eats, swallows, and makes a strange face.) William, this spaghetti…
Will: …tastes much like the spoiled scallops I incorporated into the sauce. I would they give you the runs all night, you smiling, two-faced, short order villain!
All the staff except Horatio, Marcellus and Barnardo: Whoa!
Will: I quit. Horatio, Marty, Bernie: feel like coming with me to London? I called that Polish hedge-fund manager that was here a few months ago. He said he’d finance me. Said he’s got his eye on a place just south of the Thames.
Barnardo: Cool with me.
Marcellus: I’m there.

Horatio: I speak more English than Danish anyway.

Claudio grabs his gut and exits. The others follow. Shakespeare and his 3 waiters slowly stroll from the stage.
Horatio: You decided on a name yet?
Shakspr: Well, since global fusion cuisine is going to be the central thematic I was thinking something esoteric, you know, ‘The Way’ or ‘The World’s Sphere’.
Barnardo: How ‘bout, like, ‘The Globe’.
Shakespeare: ‘The Globe’? Not bad…

Exit all 4. Exit Recipe

Pasta Noir 2: The Complete Recipes of Shakespeare, Abridged… free download:

The real recipes:

For the shrimp:
4 fresh jumbo shrimp
Extra-Virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper
Ground pepperoncino
Chopped wild mint
Vodka or Vermouth
serves 2

Make a thick puree of strawberries and Vermouth (Martini) or Vodka. Clean and peal the shrimp, and toast them in a pan with just a teaspoon of olive oil, 2 minutes per side. Add a couple tablespoons of Vodka or Vermouth not more than 30 seconds before they’re ready, plate, and add just a pinch of salt, pepper if you choose, a sprinkle of freshly chopped mint and the faintest hint of ground pepperoncino. Plate with the puree in a small container next to the cooked shrimp. Serve with small, thinly sliced pieces of toasted bread and a medium structured white wine.

For the scallops:

4 slices of pealed apple
4 sea scallops
Fruit vinegar
Salt and pepper
Make a sauce with melted butter and a little fruit vinegar in a small pot and reduce over low heat. Bake the apple slices in a hot oven until they’re tender, then slice. Sear the sea scallops on each side, roughly a minute. Place the scallops on the warm apple slices and dribble the sauce over the scallops and plate. Serve with a well – structured white, aka a Gerwustraminer or Tocai. Or a bottle of Tuborg.

Link to quick shrimp in Will’s day: – Something smells fishy: How the nose curbs gullibility:

Pasta Noir: 40 postmodern pasta recipes. It’s free, it has real recipes, and it may be the only recipe book with bloopers… ebook:

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Wednesday Will: Elizabethan Saltinbocca for BIG Ben Jonson


The Ingredients of the Dish:
5 sole filets
2 cloves of garlic
1 bay leaf
5 ripe tomatoes
Chopped parsley or basil
White wine
Extra-Virgin olive oil
A pyramidical, hierarchical social order
Salt and pepper
Lemon Juice

The Chefs of the Recipe:
Will Shaksper – head chef of The Globe
Anne Hathaway – his 2nd best bed. It’s unclear whom or what was his 1st
Ben Jonson – one of both his greatest friends and fans

serves 5 people or 1 Ben

This appetizer I whipped up when that mountain-bellied, rock-faced sweetheart of a man, my friend Ben Jonson, came out to my country house in July a few years back. On the phone he told me he was getting ready to head to the sea for a few weeks, so he asked me not to make anything too heavy. Said he wanted to look as trim as a young fox once he got to Lamorna beach. I promised him that I wouldn’t try to outfox his dietary works but then added that I wasn’t an alchemist. “Tis not an easy dish to make a fox’s spritely gait from a whale’s lumbering paddle,” I said. “One trots lightly over land, and though seeming secure in his sleek summer coat, oft falls as hunted pray to an early unmasking blackness. You, my beloved Ben, are more like the latter – an imposing mass that knows no rival or threat but its own hunger for depth. You are like a well-tailored Savile Row suit to those flashy-holed Cavalli-jeaned, young beachcombing dudes who swim in the shallows. And as you are often like to say, every man in his humor, and he must fit within it as he fits within his own clothes. But don’t sweat it. Anne and I will to the fish market go and there catch a few days worth of fysshe beyond our beloved crown’s over angling fysshey days. You’ll leave here thinner than in our lordly seasons at Chamberlain. Man, those were good times.” I figured a diet of fish, not much oil or fat, lots of veggies and no sack for a week might actually trim Ben down a bit. He appreciated it. And if he hadn’t slipped out every night for a Pizza Hut extra-large double-stuffed, it probably would have. Anyway.

Though a simple enough dish to make, timing, as nearly always when preparing fish, is essential. The first thing is to take sole filets and lay them flat. On top of each filet place a thin slice of prosciutto. Role the layer whole into loose tubes, fish on the outside, and secure them using wooded skewers or toothpicks. Next, peel and seed the tomatoes and hand puree them into a lovely, fragrant pulp.

Place a pan on low heat and pour in some oil. Crush the garlic cloves and place them in the pan along with the bay leaf and flavor for two minutes. In the meantime go get a triangular shape into which you’ll spoon in the fresh tomato puree. I use the billiard rack from the old converted rec room, now my wine cellar. (Anne insisted. She told me, “Will, if you a different keep from my kitchen for all your Bacchian bottles do not find, this Anne will you find dutifully killing you with unkindness. Though you are the king of your London Globe’s oyster, in this Stratford nest Hathaway rules. So go get shakin’ if you don’t want me to turn you into a speared William. And don’t forget to pick up some skim milk and Venus razor blades at the drugstore when you’re through.”  I didn’t argue. Trust me, you don’t want to fool with Anne when she’s pissed. Hell hath no fury.) If you don’t have a shaped mold it’s not a tragedy. The idea is to make a triangular tomato bed onto which you’ll place the fish filets once they’ve been cooked.

Remove the garlic and bay leaf from the pan, raise the heat and cook the tubes for a few minutes on each side, adding a little dry white wine. Remove, and place the first fish tube near one point of the triangle, but outside the puree. Then place the rest of the rolls ever more into the triangle until the last one, which should be placed completely into the tomato puree form. Grate some lemon rind over the whole, or even a dash of hot pepper depending on your personal taste, a few drops of fresh extra-virgin olive oil and lemon. Decorate with fresh basil or parsley and serve lukewarm with a bottle of good white wine. Or a barrel, if Ben is dropping by.

The real recipe: 
5 Sole filets
5 Slices of Prosciutto di Parma*
Grated lemon rind
Basil leaves
5 Large, ripe tomatoes
E.V. Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Lemon juice
2 Cloves of garlic
1 Bay leaf
A half-cup of white wine
*ask the butcher or deli clerk for the ‘sweetest’ or tenderest they have

serves 5

Take the sole filets and lay them flat. On top of each filet place a slice of prosciutto. Next, role the filets and prosciutto into a loose tube, with the ham inside. Use long wooden toothpicks to hold each tube, poking them all the way through, side-to-side. Set aside. Next, peel and seed 5 large, ripe tomatoes. After doing so, with two good kitchen knifes hand-puree them into a lovely, fragrant pulp. It should be done by hand as most blenders will tend to over-puree the pulp. Salt just a little, and then leave it on an inclined plane to slowly allow the water to drain. You can make a comfit with the tomatoes if looking for a little more flavor (see Anthony and Cleopatra’s recipe.)

…for something that might have quelled the hunger of a real Big Ben, link to Stwed Beeff recipe:

…and Ben’s Eulogy for Will:
To the memory of my beloved, MR.   W I L L I A M   S H A K E S P E A R E:

what he hath left us.


{Ben Jonson’s Eulogy to Shakespeare}

To draw no envy (Shakespeare) on thy name,
Am I thus ample to thy Booke, and Fame;
While I confesse thy writings to be such,
As neither Man, nor Muse, can praise too much.
‘Tis true, and all men’s suffrage. But these wayes
Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise;
For seeliest Ignorance on these may light,
Which, when it sounds at best, but eccho’s right;
Or blinde Affection, which doth ne’re advance
The truth, but gropes, and urgeth all by chance;
Or crafty Malice, might pretend this praise,
And thine to ruine, where it seem’d to raise.
These are, as some infamous Baud, or Whore,
Should praise a Matron. What could hurt her more?
But thou art proofe against them, and indeed
Above th’ ill fortune of them, or the need.
I, therefore will begin. Soule of the Age !
The applause ! delight ! the wonder of our Stage !
My Shakespeare, rise; I will not lodge thee by
Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lye
A little further, to make thee a roome :
Thou art a Moniment, without a tombe,
And art alive still, while thy Booke doth live,
And we have wits to read, and praise to give.
That I not mixe thee so, my braine excuses ;
I meane with great, but disproportion’d Muses :
For, if I thought my judgement were of yeeres,
I should commit thee surely with thy peeres,
And tell, how farre thou dist our Lily out-shine,
Or sporting Kid or Marlowes mighty line.
And though thou hadst small Latine, and lesse Greeke,
From thence to honour thee, I would not seeke
For names; but call forth thund’ring schilus,
Euripides, and Sophocles to vs,
Paccuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead,
To life againe, to heare thy Buskin tread,
And shake a stage : Or, when thy sockes were on,
Leave thee alone, for the comparison
Of all, that insolent Greece, or haughtie Rome
Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come.
Triumph, my Britaine, thou hast one to showe,
To whom all scenes of Europe homage owe.
He was not of an age, but for all time !
And all the Muses still were in their prime,
When like Apollo he came forth to warme
Our eares, or like a Mercury to charme !
Nature her selfe was proud of his designes,
And joy’d to weare the dressing of his lines !
Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit,
As, since, she will vouchsafe no other Wit.
The merry Greeke, tart Aristophanes,
Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not
please;But antiquated, and deserted lye
As they were not of Natures family.
Yet must I not give Nature all: Thy Art,
My gentle Shakespeare, must enjoy a part;
For though the Poets matter, Nature be,
His Art doth give the fashion. And, that he,
Who casts to write a living line, must sweat,
(Such as thine are) and strike the second heat
Upon the Muses anvile : turne the same,
(And himselfe with it) that he thinkes to frame;
Or for the lawrell, he may gaine a scorne,
For a good Poet’s made, as well as borne.
And such wert thou. Looke how the fathers face
Lives in his issue, even so, the race
Of Shakespeares minde, and manners brightly shines
In his well toned, and true-filed lines :
In each of which, he seemes to shake a Lance,
As brandish’t at the eyes of Ignorance.
Sweet swan of Avon! what a fight it were
To see thee in our waters yet appeare,
And make those flights upon the bankes of Thames,
That so did take Eliza, and our James !
But stay, I see thee in the Hemisphere
Advanc’d, and made a Constellation there !
Shine forth, thou Starre of Poets, and with rage,
Or influence, chide, or cheere the drooping Stage;
Which, since thy flight fro’ hence, hath mourn’d like night,
And despaires day, but for thy Volumes light.

B E N : J O N S O N


Garlic Pasta Sonnet 116

“And scorne not Garlicke like to some, that think / It onely makes men winke, and drinke, and stink.” Joannes De Mediolano, The Englishman’s Doctor, 1608

Garlic Pasta has become a motto for the recent revival of simple, good, healthy traditional cuisine. The recipe states right off the bat not to mess with timeless, quality ingredients, “Let me not…Add ingredients.” Here Shakespeare is saying: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Much of the rest of the recipe disparages the obfuscation of traditional local cuisines by the onslaught of globalization and the trendy, often “tacky” foods thereby resulting.Let me not to spaghetti with garlicAdd ingredients. This plate’s not a plateThat weighs on your gut like a heavy brickNor to order or make on a first date,

O no, it is an ever smelly dish

That’s been around for a very long time;

It’s constant, repaying that garlic wish

All Italians appreciate sometimes.

It’s cheap but not tacky, so newer go’s

Like sushi and tapas might limit it,

Yet pasta, ‘olio and aglio’

As a dinner staple will always fit.

If I’m proven wrong, I’ll give you my seat,

I’ve never cooked before, nor did I eat.

The real recipe:
Ingredients per person:
100 grams of pasta
1-2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic
Salt & fresh black pepper
Pecorino and/or Parmigiano 

Boil the pasta, in salty water. Crush the garlic and on low heat in a pan let it flavor the olive oil for a few minutes. Set aside some of the cooking water. Drain the pasta a couple minutes before it’s al dente and transfer it still wet into the pan with the garlic oil. Sauté the whole, adding the cooking water as necessary, to complete the pasta’s cooking. Once done, add freshly grated Parmigiano and/or Pecorino Romano (on low or no flame) and as much freshly grated black pepper as you want. For a twist, add some diced capers on top or make a puree of artichokes or fava beans ecc., below. Plate and eat. Goes well with a simple red or white table wine. Then go out, maybe see a movie, exhale without inhibition and have some fun watching anyone seated near you change their seats after 15 minutes or so. 

link- garlic:

link – a garlic sauce from Will’s days:

The Apothecary’s Stewed Peaches and Fresh Cream 

   “As the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last.” King Richard II, 2.1

Everyone likes “The Apothecary’s Stewed Peaches and Fresh Cream”. As Shakespeare himself comments, “I have yet to see a dining guest remain unsmiling” after finishing off their meal with The Globe’s stewed peaches. It’s an easy desert to make. But as the recipe makes clear: don’t skimp on the wine. Use the good stuff. Unless you’d prefer a red, peach-flavored mediciney goo that‘ll make you feel dead for days, to a gratifying, lush desert.

The Ingredients of the Dish:

Good red wine
Orange and lemon rind
2 big families on vacation
A good sommelier

The Chefs of the Recipe:

The Apothecary – sommelier at The Globe

Act I, sc.1

Enter the Apothecary into The Globe’s wine cellar 

Shakespeare (off-stage): What ho, apothecary!

Apothecary: Who calls so loud? (ambles over to the bottom of the stairs and looks up)

Shakespeare (off-stage): Go find and then bring up six bottles of our best Amarone, a smooth, velvety wine that will disperse itself through all my simmering peaches and flavor them as richly as a king’s crown is a thousand timed jeweled. The Montagues are in town and have made a reservation for tomorrow night for their whole clan. What’s more, so do the Capulettis expect a noble supper on that same eve. It seems our young Romeo and younger Juliet have their knot decided to pull tighter still with a second ceremonial banquet and I want both their families to leave here happy. I have yet to see a dining guest remain unsmiling after ending their meal on our own orchard-grown peaches stewed in wine, sugar and spices and served with freshly mounted cream and the reduced bleeding sauced syrup from the pot.

Apothecary: Such grand grapes we do have, yet the best is from that tiny Italian producer northwest of Mantua. Are you sure you want to use those remaining bottles and not a distilled grape juice from another vine? I mean, after all, they did give us a heap o’ trouble a while back.

Shakespeare (off-stage): As my father would have said after kissing his hidden cross: let bygones be bygones. We will love our enemies and turn our other chef’s cheek.

Apothecary: As long as their checks are worth our second cheek. As you like it, Will, but it is my status and not my opinion that agrees.

Shakespeare (off-stage): Then hold your opinion and have your Sommelier status bring up the wine.

Apothecary: (to you, the reader) He’s probably right. One bite of those peaches makes the whole world kin, even those two bickering tribes. Yup, yup, yup. (pauses as he looks for the wine, then looks back at you) This is what happens when your final degree is a Bachelor’s in chemistry. It was either change careers or that teaching job at Faraway Hills High in Arkansas. Arkansas. What they got in Arkansas? Chickens. Lots of chickens. Lots a’ chicken crap. Not to be insulting to Arkansonians but I figured, definitely not my thing. And then I figured: what’d I do most of the time at ASU? I got drunk. So I thought, chemistry, wine, you know, it fits. And it did at first. After that 6 month sommelier course I went out to ‘Frisco, won their little wine tasting competition then I had offers from all over the place: Gotham Grill, La Pergola in Rome, Lyon. Then Sara said it was time for us to settle down, buy a house, have some kids. So I settled down. That was 14 years ago. Now here I am still in the cellar. I feel like one o’ them orange rinds that Will throws into the pot to flavor the peaches and wine. I’m only here to help kick up the sauce but I never get to the plate. The fruit does, and the reduced wine with sugar does, and the cinnamon you can taste but the orange peal stays behind. It’s essential to the dish but almost no one realizes how much. Except of course those one or two aficionados that appreciate my work. (finds the bottles and grabs 3) Ah, well, whataya’ gonna’ do. All the world’s a stage, we all have a part to play and I can’t complain. I had my fun. Let the kids have theirs. (squints as he looks for a pouch to hold the bottles) Man, I have to get to the eye doctor. And I better get movin’. If it be true that ‘good wine needs no bush,’ then it’s true that a good recipe needs no epilogue.

Exits up the stairs with the wine. Exit recipe

The real recipe: 


6 peaches or pears
1-2 bottles of good red wine 
Orange rind
All spice
Fresh whipping cream

serves 6

Pretty simple: find the juiciest, ripest peaches or pears you can, peel and seed them, and gently simmer them in good red wine that’s been flavored with a cup or two of sugar depending on how sweet you want the final syrup to be, a little all spice, and one or two orange peels. Once the fruit is tender, remove, and reduce the liquid until it has the viscosity you want, whip up the cream, and serve it along with the fruit in the plate, dribbling the strained syrup over top. If you make the pears, sprinkle with grated dark chocolate and serve with a Barolo Chinato. If you make the peaches, sprinkle with grated lemon rind and serve with a Passito di Pantelleria.

Not quite peaches but: Perys en Composte PERIOD: England, 15th century | SOURCE: Harleian MS. 279 link-

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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

link: a thought on Shakespeare and 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.

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