The Czar has been remiss, and has much mail to go through. Through which to go? Yeah, probably the latter.
Anyhow, erc wrote in a while back:
Your post of June 8th reminded me of the old joke:
“Why don’t Mexicans do much barbequing?
Because the beans keep falling through the grill.”
And a variant:
“Why don’t Italians do much grilling?
Because they forget to put the spaghetti at right angles to bars of the grill.”
Both of course are factually untrue, since Mexicans grill a lot of great stuff, although it is not common in restaurants in the US. Particularly good beef in the Northern Mexican provinces and grilled seafood in Baja, for example.
And, Italian grilling goes back even before your time, to the Romans and probably the Etruscans.
Jokes based on ethnic stereotypes (speaking of Stephen Foster) have pretty much faded away and many of them were not funny when they were current. I suspect you have seen these things come and go in cycles over the centuries.
You are extraordinary, not ordinary, and based on the evidence, not nice either. But, who needs nice in a Prince. (c.f. Sr. Machiavelli’ works).
Please do not grill me for this possible act of lese majesty.
(I’ve got to try grilling peas, now.) / erc
Thanks, erc. A couple of pointers:
Mexicans are utter champions of grilling. Flank steak, once among the worst meats to try and grill, is a particular specialty of Mexican grillers who long ago solved the problem of making this tough and chewy meat both edible and deliciously moist in minutes on the grill. Use a cross-cut (make criss-cross slashes with a sharp knife) on the meat and soak in a marinade for a few hours. The meat literally will grill to perfection in a few minutes, but let it set: meaning, of course, you let it sit on a surface for about five minutes so that evaporated juices re-condense inside the tissues. This is very important on tough meats (less so on thicker, softer cuts).
As you say, the North of Mexico enjoys a plethora of superb meats, and the South has a superb assortment of seafoods (especially red snapper).
Likewise, Italians are superb at grilled seafood, and in the North, do very well with meats of all kinds. The Czar particularly likes to grill octopus in an Italian style, but has done well with bracciole, which again is often a cheap flank steak transformed into a thing of beauty.
As you suspect, the Romans and Etruscans long predate the Czar by a long time! But grilling meats goes back even furtherin fact, some folks wager that grilling is one of mankinds oldest social constructs. It is the oldest form of cooking, presumably, and was among the first communal acts that turned basic survivaleatinginto a social bonding ritual.
Grilling peas? Here is how we do it: take a piece of aluminum foil and curl up the edges all around to prevent the little bastards from rolling off. Dash a little olive oil onto the foil.
Throw on a handful of frozen or thawed peas and roll em around on the oil. Then, using your fingers, sprinkle powdered garlic and sea salt on them. Grill for about five minutes indirectlythat means, newcomers, you dont put the peas directly over the flames. Put them off to the side or on a higher rack until they start to crisp up. Nothing to it.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.