The Iron Age Chef| 06/16/2008
Welcome to the Gruel Network and our second season of The Iron Age Chef.
I'm your host, Grinzidel of the Pinion Nut, formerly chef to the House of Pannonia and food taster to the Emperor of Mudge, may he rest in peace. When the Emperor expired on our last program, we were overwhelmed with the outpourings of grief and suggestions for the further maltreatment of his body, and I assure you, the flaxseed supplier has been found and severely punished.
Our Celebrity Guest Chef this week is known to all of you. It's Taureg the Sinister, Conqueror of the Eastern Steppes, High Priest of the Gods of Rus, and a food fancier from way back. Welcome, Taureg!
“Good to see you again, Grinz. It smells good in here. What's in the partially crystalized Hittite-era iron pot?”
That's your challenge this week, Taureg. You have twenty minutes to create a succulent feast out of the contents of this pot and any other items you find in the kitchen here, including those made of bronze, copper and tin. Several servants are on hand to help, but you've got to be creative, you've got to focus! Our panel of judges will decide whether you come back next week in a bid for the grand prize, a lifetime supply of auroc meat on the hoof, supplied by famous breeder and cattleman Nabodeus the Spaniard. To lose means you forfeit your life, with your head displayed on a pole on our battlements, slowly decaying as a warning to all hasty risk takers and as an encouragement to good taste.
“I am ready! I am the king of taste! I am invincible!
Let's begin then. The sundial starts . . . now!
“You! Servant Slopehead Worthy of Becoming Meat for the Wolfdogs! Bring me that big flesh hook! No, the other one! By the gods, you’d better hasten or your bare feet will be sizzling on a fire cauldron! And where's the light? Bring that torch closer immediately, you worthless Pictish cur.
“What! This pot is filled with nothing but a disgusting pulse of emmer and spelt grains! Ah, a bitter trick. And it's soaking in a beer sauce that stinks of the latrines of the Trolls of Ghat! When this is over, Grinzidel, I will separate your pinion from your nut and leave your entrails on the crannogs of Swale! I swear it!
“Servant Swollen Stomach! Where's the boeuf!? No boeuf? Then find morsels of mutton and throw them on the fire. Take this bundle of herbs and scatter them in the pot. Maybe that will kill the foul stench. Ah yes, good, let's zest at a touch of orange peel across the top, like . . . so . . . YES! And now I'll throw in this slug of opium fiber I've been chewing on for several days to give it a bit of tang. And you there! Yes, you! With the humpback and the condescending smirk, you will henceforth be called No-Neck Smiter of Houseflies! Stir this pot as if your very life depended on it. Because it most certainly does!
“Somebody PLEASE get me a chef's cloak. I don't want to stain my albino hogs-hair shirt. It was a gift from my seventh concubine, and she's already complaining through the thatched roof about my eighth consort.
“Food Processor! I need a food processor, and I need it NOW! Do I have to do this all by myself? Yes, yes, the big one. Hand me those eight scimitars, and here we go, chop chop chop--I call this ‘the blender.’ See how it reduces these beets and onions to a pile of quivering shards and peelings? I did the same thing to the sniveling Lord of East Winona when he crossed me in a game of Knuckle Draughts last Solstice. He won't be using loaded gaming stones anytime soon, you can be sure of that!
“Ready to taste what we've got so far? Bring me that large basting spoon. What? It's GONE? Who has taken it? Sound an alarum! May the thief die a wasting death caused by uncontrollable running stomach! By the horses of Hegre, may the gods cast down and bind whoever took this! Rend asunder any and all who took part or had knowledge of this, bind their sinews, bind their genitals and register their doom from head to foot! Haunt them in their memory, in their innards, in their marrow and in their veins! May a cursing pole of nidstang pin them to the gates of hell!
“Where were we? Tasting, tasting! Quickly, knaves, bring me a cup that I may dip into the concoction and measure its quality.
“MMMMMMMMMMMMMM! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH! GOOOOOOD! Yes! Aaaaaaaaah.
“Surely I have won this contest. I am the victor over all contenders! A more nourishing and tasty blending of spices and meaty stew and the livers of rare weasels has never been created!
“Now, Warriors of Rus, Defenders of the Eastern Hounds, please take your places around the judges to encourage them in their decision. Let me now ask, gentlemen, does your mouth not drool in anticipation of my delicacy? If you value your tongues, I'm sure you will agree.
“And while you’re taking thought as to the lamentations of your keening women, I would like to take this opportunity to tell everyone about my new chain of Taureg's Old Fashioned Bronze Age Diners, opening soon across the known civilized and uncivilized world. Many bags of gold will be collected for my retirement years, for my joints are worn from pillage and rampage. Soon I will enter the Old Berzerker's Homebut not yet!
“Ah, I see our judges have all emptied their bowls! I take your silent grimaces to be a ‘yes.’
“My victory is complete! Break open sixteen casks of mead, boys. It's time to feast and celebrate drunkenly! Taureg the Sinister is changing his name to Taureg the Gourmand.”
(Next week on The Iron Age Chef: What's left of Grinzidel will lead a special program on cooking for the profoundly disabled.)