If I Were a Cannibal, What Spices Would I Want on Hand – My Hand, Not the Food’s Hand — Yet – Part 1
By Kelly Dean
If I were a cannibal, I’d want to be a really good cook. Not for me — but to lower the risk of being eaten by the other guys. I’d be in demand. Cannibals seem impulsive and grumpy. It’s probably due to a lack of culinary creativity and the humidity.
If I were a cannibal, chances are I am on a remote tropical island. This island, by definition, would have seawater and likely fish and shellfish. It might have freshwater too. It might have some exotic birds, which taste a lot like chicken, because everything new tastes like chicken.
There might be other animals on the island like wild boar, brought in by natives from nearby islands in the past. Pigs can live anywhere, and they never die, they just get scarier-looking. Sheep might be imported too, due to a possible shortage of female cannibals.
And no, absolutely not, I will not cook any cute animals, as defined by long eyelashes and big eyeballs. Humans have neither.
I can live without cows on my island — maybe, but not butter. I must have butter – and cream. We’ll have to figure this one out, maybe a time share – including an occasional steak.
And there are possibly some exotic fruits already available — and veggies which taste a lot like potatoes, because every new veggie tastes like potato.
There might even be something to smoke if some of the cannibals happen to be in-between jobs. Cannibals — cannabis — coincidence? I didn’t make this up.
And of course, I am a cannibal so there is that red meat. Yum. I’m going to try a workaround on that one.
I am cannibal. That’s like Hannibal — with a CAN-DO attitude — CAN-ni-bal!
To eat or not to eat
The way I see it, being a cannibal is not really a necessity on the island. I mean, it seems to have all the benefits of growing up on a really, really humid farm with a very large moat. I like to fit in. But it seems the need to actually eat Uncle Josh might be completely unnecessary. It’s probably just a made up thing. He must be annoying or sing badly.
But I want to have an open mind and try new things, of course.
Fixings and spices
Why do I mention this? Because I’m picking the two, uh three, basic spices and four other basics needed to cook anything — and anyone — in each of the common national-ethnic styles. So that hoo-hapah goohilly-hoo (bird) will taste great — as will the wapa-wapa shah-pah (lizard) … and the …
… leg of Larry … perfect …
… herbs for Herb.
It’s Gilligan’s Island as if Ginger had grabbed a hand full of – I don’t know – ginger – instead of her stupid lipstick. Or what if Maryann had grabbed some ROSE-MARY, ANN, what where you thinking?
Or what if Tom Hanks in Castaway had grabbed a FedEx box from McCormick instead of Wilson, that soccer ball? Spiced just right, he could have eaten Wilson instead.
The totally worthless rules of this meaningless exercise
I don’t get more than three items each, plus one, because more would be completely unselective. Ok, five. We get 5 fixings and 5 spices – but that’s it. And salt and black pepper doesn’t count because they sort of grow in the ocean and suddenly appear on every table in the world, so they’re already available.
And the categories are a little vague – and some are just completely stupid.
No fava beans.
Remember, the basic “mirepoix plus” produce has washed ashore from a sunken Whole Foods freighter. So we thank them for their produce-stand freshness, even 2000 miles out to sea; they’re still local-sourcing for you (my eyes are rolling out of my skull).
Stew is our friend. And all styles must have some tropical influence and an old-world to new-world connection. They should have a coast somewhere to qualify — and to be comparable, right? This is a serious study here.
So let’s get to it.
To read about the spice and fixings choices for cannibal cooking, click here for part 2.