The Best Thing About Very Old Recipes

If it do aid the meatman to pair all manner of rousty-flesh with vinegares, spices, & other things, do all things necessary & other things by reason, excellence, and healthful knowledge.

TO KEEP MEATS VIBRANT WITH ENDURANCE FOR ANY NUMBER OF DAYS WHEN THERE IS NO SALT

Take a very white cloth and administer laurel berries, turning often.

TO STRENGTHEN THE PERSISTENCE OF HONEY

Take a bit of leaven and hide it, not for very long.

ON THE SWEETENING OF SALT MEATS

Here follows all manner of healthful knowledge to guard against the ills of salt-meat, from a most learned doctor in Copernicum.

TO RENDER SWEET MEATS SALT

Firstly, take a joint and disjoint it; covering in a pickle of mustard for the length of a festival.

TO KEEP FRIED FISH FRESH

Fumigate the oyster-barrel either with good strong lime or quick-pitch, then dig a pit.

ON THE DIGGING OF FOOD PITS

Afterwards, to advance it, you must first tun it (I have been informed, from the most gracious of patrons, that slightly-stopping the barrel might cause the Meath to expire, and not to work, therefore draw off the clear before tunning).

TO MAKE WHAT THE GREEKS CALL HONEY-CAKES, A SURE ANTIDOTE TO ALL MANNER OF WEARINESS AND ACEDIA

This is exceedingly good; season according to your own knowledge. Take a little fat and some scathed oat-beats, assemble with honey and let stew not too far from a coal fire. Do you also

ON THE TURNING OF SPOILED FAT INTO FRESH

Beat very well, not to breaking, with a wooden mallet or heavy ropes, or pease-straw, until you have broken the fat asunder into small and sweet-smelling flakes, then thrust 20 to 30 peppercorns, tossing up and down very well for a good hour.

ON THE STRAINING OF OLD WINE TO AID DIGESTION

If it will bear an egg up to be above the surface of a liquor, be it no more than the size of a groat, it is strong; if not, administer as much nutmeg til it do hang above the middle, and quite cold. Then do temper its strength, adding honey until quite cold. A sieve of hair will vent it and clear the decoction.

FOR A GODLY PASTE

There are three sorts of godly paste: Virgin, small, and ordinary, the first being the best, the second buckle-best, the third still excellent good, although some account it inferior to the second.

ON SKIMMING BEER AS IT IS TAUGHT AMONG THE GAULS

First dig a pit, in the manner of the Gauls and not in the manner of the Sidonites.

ON FINDING NUTMET

I have heard it said that mustard-pigs are most ably skillful at locating the best patch of nutmet, but for myself I hold only hounds equal to the task. The hounds of Pisa are unequalled in nose-length and sure-scentedness, and of nobler blood than any swine.

A SUMMER-SAUCE

To make very tender and good, begin as you would in the ordinary way; then put lovage to it.

ON THE LESSER SAUSAGES

First make good brawn, buttering thickly over the meat-pots that are kept all year. Do

FOR THE ELIMINATION OF LIGHTNING FROM THE BOWELS

Let the color of the mixture be red, and exceedingly clear, either through the tendering of rose-syrup or the pulverizing of cockleshells. Also good for the lungs and urine.

FOR DRIVING HEAT DOWN FROM THE HEAD AND SAFELY INTO THE BLOOD

Do water the butter safely first, casting upon it a hard fish in thin rows, also parsley minced very small, and poor-John.

TO DRESS FISH A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY

First make a good court stock. Put in half a pint suet, good old cheese, gross-beaten Mace and a certain quantity of sponge-bread, boiled smartly. See you that no air gets into the fish. Cast away all black gall, but reserve the green with a good lump of butter.

HOW TO DISTINGUISH FALSE HORSERADISH FROM TRUE

As the northern heathens cannot distinguish between many false gods and true, neither is it that they can distinguish between the four-patterned leaf of true horseradish from the five-leaf pattern of false; so in their error are their pottages inferior.

ADDITIONAL TIPS AND TRICKS

  • take & crush & pour almonds to give a dish good bottom

  • Reserve for jellies sour wine, and leg of veal half-boiled (neatly)

  • As oysters feed on salt, so do you keep salt within their shells, as like meets like, and salt makes the eating of salt sweet

  • put together as you would have everything together

  • to make fish into flesh, administer one ounce of cloves, and place near a good fire, boiling.

For reference: The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digbie Kt. Opened, the Apicius, Le Viandier de Taillevent.

Hello, Doctor, My Brain Is Clicking

“Hello Doctor, my brain is Templeton the Rat from Charlotte’s Web at the fairgrounds after dark, can you please fix?”

“Hello Doctor, my brain is Goose from Templeton the Rat’s fairground song saying, ‘Yes, yes!’ when Templeton asks ‘Will I find melon rinds and bits of hot dogs, cookie crumbs and rotten cotton candy, melted ice cream, mustard drippings, moldy goodies everywhere?’”

“Hello Doctor, my brain is elaborate Rube Goldberg mailbox machine from Honey I Shrunk the Kids, please help.”

“Hello Doctor, my brain is only first song, many times, never second song? Only first song, many, never second song, new. Music is only one song over and over.”

“Please Doctor, very serious — my brain is Hollywood Square, Zingers. Os and Xs and celebrity zingers, trapped in boxes. Please, my brain.”

“Please, Doctor, my brain is old Teenie Beanies, McDonald’s from, in minivan.”

“Please Doctor, my brain is bad guests on Dick Cavett show, drunk Ben Gazzara, slothly Peter Falk, disrespectful John Cassavettes, falling over no-couch gang.”

“Please Doctor — my brain is new horse, no corral. Please, bridle.”

“Hello Doctor, brain is all spaghetti, no sauce, two dogs fighting, no meatball, no kiss, no Italian chef to monitor.”

“Hello Doctor, brain is 80s television set just turned off, still warm, making sparks but no picture, ghost of old sounds, please give priest.”

“Hello Doctor, brain is submarine sailors singing Soviet anthem, dead Sam Neill, confused Tim Curry holding Order of Lenin medal on iceberg, please send Sean Connery.”

“Hello Doctor, brain is too much full of funnel cake, please send rats.”

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Badly

[Initially]

[Also in the spirit of this whimsically-misunderstanding tweet:

Which, obviously, as Grace pointed out, “I assume part of the joke here is that “The Tyger” doesn’t make sense at all, and trying to sum it up as a straightforward description of what a tiger looks like is part of the point of that joke.”]

Birdie, birdie, you are good

Don’t shoot birds, you never should

Birdie, birdie, you are bad

Shooting birds, it makes me glad

Weddings, weddings, now’s the time

To stop them and discuss my crime

Snow and ice are without end

Wordsworth is my closest friend

Water, water, there’s a lot

Because of that big bird I shot.

Shooting birds is very bad

It can make the ocean mad

The ocean’s mad, the ship’s a wreck

They put the dead bird on my neck

The devil killed my friends with dice,

and now this ship just isn’t nice.

The devil’s best friends hair’s a mess,

And she is also Death, I guess,

Water, water, there’s a lot,

And yet to drink, I guess there’s not.

Water, water, it’s so bad

If you kill birds, the sea gets mad

The sea gets mad and you can’t drink

And that’s what killed my friends, I think.

My friends all died, but I did not,

because of that big bird I shot

you fear my flashing, ancient eyes

you fear my lank and skinny thighs!

You wedding-guests, it’s plain to see

Don’t meet a lot of guys like me.

You wish I’d leave and go away

Because I made a bird puree.

Sleep, sleep, it is so nice

I wish that I could do it twice

I wish that I could be a ghost

To die’s the thing I’d like the most.

But now God wants to punish me

For killing birds, eternally

Birdie, birdie, you are great

I’d like to be your wedding date

Weddings, weddings, they’re so nice

All my friends are dead from dice.

Learn from me, avoid my fate,

Birds and beasts and man are great.

Be sure to love things great and small,

don’t kill any birds at all,

Love and pray at the same time,

This has been my ancient rime.

Possibly-Explicable Things People Sometimes Say About Cooking Beans

“Stop worrying about soaking your beans. You’ve spent a cumulative eight months of your one wild and precious life fretting about soaked beans. You know what you could be doing with that time? Making more beans, for one things.”

“Stop SOAKING your BEANS. Beans aren’t precious. They’re hearty, earth-wrapped bullets of nutrition density, and they turn from stones to pillows with the encouragement of hot water. You don’t need to give them a bath overnight. You’re coddling them. You’re a terrible mother.”

“You just discovered beans this year, but I’ve been involved with beans since before the earth opened her eyes to the sky. You’re a latecomer and a gatecrasher and beans do not know your name.”

“Stop letting people tell you that you don’t have to soak your beans. Why are we overthinking centuries of bean tradition? Is it really that much work to put them under a tap for five minutes before you go to bed?

“Cooking beans is QUICK and EASY and don’t let anyone tell you different.”

“Cooking beans is a PRECARIOUS ALCHEMY that requires the propitiation of several root-based gods, and it’s ridiculous that anyone would try to pretend otherwise. Just do it right the first time. it’s not easy, but it is simple.”

“No, beans aren’t simple; you’ve been deceived, and not for the first time.”

“Be honest: You only talk about cooking beans because you want to come across as wholesome, fresh-faced, and above the fray – we all see through this bullshit Marie Antoinette-in-a-shepherdess-outfit routine you’re trying to pull. You’re trying to turn beans into some sort of PR shtick. It’s obvious, it’s pathetic, and it’s not working.”

“Just because you weren’t cooking dried beans in 2015 doesn’t mean nobody else was.”

“A shtick? Ever heard of a little thing called ‘The Great Depression’?”

“DON’T PUT THE SALT IN YET”

“Oh, put in the salt whenever you want, it’s fine.”

“YOU’RE SCARING THE BEANS. PUT THE SALT DOWN.”

“Beans are incapable of fear. Open the salt shaker.”

“You’re asking too much of beans. You’re expecting too much of beans. Beans cannot answer for decades of factory farming, and –”

“BEANS WILL FIX EVERYTHING.”

“The reason your beans never soften even after five hours of simmering is because you are not pure of heart.”

“Yeah, it’s because you’re not pure of heart, and you don’t have clarity of purpose. Beans can tell that, and all the salt in the world won’t distract them from your imperfection of spirit.”

“Just open a can of –”

“SHUT UP.”

“Yeah, shut up about cans.”

Absolutely Inexplicable Things Commonly Said About Veggie Burgers

veggie burgers taste good and you can eat them

“Now, the important thing is that this not be trying to taste like meat.”

“Too many veggie burgers try to taste like meat.”

“The problem with veggie burgers is that you’re never going to recreate the taste of meat.”

“Have you ever heard of a portabello mushroom? They’re really meaty.”

“Stop thinking about the 90s…stop thinking about lentils…”

“Even a carnivore would love this veggie burger. Even someone who eats meat would be willing to eat some grains, I guess. There’s no reason someone who had a steak ten hours ago wouldn’t later consent to eat a patty of pulses and vegetables and so on. You can eat both of them, with the same mouth.”

“Stop thinking about the 90s!!!! It’s not the 90s ANYMORE. We jettisoned every freezer pack of Boca Burgers on the moon, so QUIT it.”

“There’s mounting evidence that turning the state of Illinois into an intensive pig-farming waste runoff lagoon isn’t a very good idea, so maybe you’d like to eat a sandwich made out of beans today.”

“I know what you’re thinking. A veggie burger? Isn’t that made out of begrudging pleasure and the 1970s? Well, it’s not.”

“You do not have to be a vegetarian to eat a veggie burger. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You can just eat one of those for free, if you want to.”

“Can’t we just let tofu be tofu? Why does every sandwich have to have a chip on its shoulder?”

“Throw your freezer away. Right now! It’s full of hockey pucks. You can’t eat a hockey puck, so stop trying. Stop eating bowling pins and asphalt. You’re confused. You’ve been confused since the 1970s about the 1990s, you’ve been trying to be meat, but you’re not meat. You’ll never be meat. But you’re fine.”

“Let’s face it:”

“Let’s get real for a minute:”

“Let’s stop pretending:”

“This doesn’t have to be a chore, you know.”

“None of the meat, but all of the fat.”

“There’s nothing virtuous about this veggie burger. This veggie burger is bulging with beans and crime.”

“Admit it: Your veggie burgers are mush and garbage, and you’re suffering.”

“Portobello mushrooms are already shaped like a burger, and they’ve got that meaty quality, that’s not pretending to be meat, but that is like meat, but it’s not trying to be meat, but it is meaty, and it’s good to be meaty but it’s not good to be meat-like, because it’ll never be meat, and I’ll get to the veggies in a second, but first let’s talk about meat again. Ever heard of it?? It’s the ‘90s, Liz: Meat is everywhere and nowhere, all at once.”

“Versatile”

“Why would you eat a veggie burger if you could eat a regular burger? You wouldn’t. But this one is good. Just not as good. But it’s good. But why are people so defensive about veggie burgers? I’m not, obviously, and neither are you. But everyone else is, so we have to get them to let down their guard a little.”

“Even a Grillfather would eat this. He won’t listen to you, or respect you, or any of the choices that you’ve made about your own life. But he might eat this.”

“We can’t get to the recipe yet. Not until we’ve worked out something in the collective unconscious about beef burgers. I don’t know what that is. Is it guilt? Is it fear? Is it fear of guilt? Is something going to be taken away from me? Am I in trouble? Are you in trouble? Are you mad at me? Is pea protein mad at me? I don’t feel good. I feel pleasure and shame in alternating succession, which I don’t think is the same thing as feeling good. What does it mean to want something? What does it mean to take something seriously? Is this carrot taking me seriously? Can beans forgive? What is the lunch of the future – where is the dinner of the past? You can put bacon on this veggie burger, for added smokiness, and to further straddle the line between belligerence and apology. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I do know that you’re going to want to sauté the mushrooms first, because of the high water content, before shaping your patties. It’s okay to eat a sandwich made out of mushrooms, I think. I’m pretty sure. I don’t know.”

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