Friday, April 22, 2011

Eat, prey, snark

This panel of our GN version of Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark brings the story to a fever pitch of culinary suspense. Let's have a look, shall we …

One can never have enough of a jolly, good Snark hunt, don’t you agree? The fresh country air, the Protosurrealist scenery, the anapaestic hurly-burly of one’s fellow Snarquistadores baying after their prey, it all gives one such an appetite!

Naturally, no Snark hunt is complete without a bit of Jubjub taken al fresco whilst in the saddle. Cooked Jubjub is both palatable and highly nutritious, coyly hinting as it does to three-quarters of the Classical Four Elements : earth in the form of mutton, water in the form of oysters and air in the form of the eggs of some unspecified bird. The fourth and final element of fire could easily be supplied by the judicious application of some spicy condiment or chutney.

If Lewis Carroll were alive, he would certainly agree with you when you assert that this poetic reference (a milestone in Victorian Table Verse) to mutton, oyster and eggs makes these gustatorially implicit items into allegorical symbols of themselves. This is a subtle point indeed, so subtle that I’ll skip over the boring old meat-and-two-vegs-reasoning and head straight for the more exciting porto-and-coffee-conclusion, as it were.

Symbols which refer to themselves are called "reality" by certain smarty-pants metaphysicans. These sort of crackerjack thinkers would point out that the mutton-oysters-eggs-thingy is subset within a Jubjub which is itself subset within the ivory jars and mahogany kegs, the latter containers being diametrically opposed in coloring, another indication that Something Fishy Is Going On Here.

Unfortunately, Lewis Carroll is not alive and hence unable to agree with all of the above. In fact, his lack of Reality makes him feel a bit unagreeable and even disagreeable with all this alimentontological twaddle you’re going on with. In fact, he’s feeling rather queasy and unsettled with the whole business and my goodness, I think that he’s going to faint! Quick, call the management while I relieve Mr. Carroll of the weight of his wallet upon his chest.

Poor fellow, struck down in his prime and not a moment too soon! It must have been the Jubjub — look at the expiration date! Good lord, man, this Jubjub’s nearly 133 years old! Why, it’s not even second-grade-fresh! Slow food, indeed! Criminally slow, I’d say!

NB. In an earlier posting, I gave out the recipe for Snark Curry. This posting was the most popular posting I've ever done, so in honor of my non sequitur quest to get some utterly gullible reader to purchase a copy of my GN Snark, here is the recipe in its original form:

Genuine Assamese Snark Curry

Mix the following together:
1 kilo of Snark meat, cubed (if no Snark is to be had, use beef, goat or lamb, preferably with bones)
6 medium onions, minced
small head of garlic, minced
an inch of fresh ginger, grated
tablespoon of turmeric
one cinnamon stick
one cup of oil
tablespoon of salt
• a sufficient amount of genuinely hot green chilis, slit
• if you wish to "Indianize" this curry, also add a tablespoon of ground cumin, a tablespoon of ground coriander and a tablespoon of garam masala. This might be preferable for those who are accustomed to the somewhat ubiquitious flavors of Northern Indian cuisine and enjoy a certain familiarity in their curry. However, the authentic Assamese version has a delicious simplicity which is worth trying!

Mix and let sit overnight. Cook on low heat, with the lid on and stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. Add one cup of water, bring to boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. The curry should finish up with a thick gravy, not at all runny. Cook for about 90 minutes or until meat is tender. Taste for salt, etc. The curry can be garnished with ghee and/or tamarind water. If beef, lamb or goat meat was used, serve with rice, vegetables and dahl.

However, if you used Snark, serve with greens, using forks and hope. Wash it all down with copious amounts of Golden Eagle beer and the stimulating gyrations of two dissipated nautch girls named Anna and Paisa. What ho, my cut-rate memsahibs!