If I Were a Cannibal, What Spices Would I Want on Hand – My Hand, Not the Food’s Hand – Yet — Part 2
By Kelly Dean
Ok. If you’ve read part 1, you know we are putting together our cannibal cooking ingredients list using traditional cooking styles. Basically, I’m picking 5 “spices” and “five” types of produce I could get by with using. But this is more a guide than a rule. So the categories are a little vague – and some are just completely stupid.
Italian: tomato, onion, Italian chilies, celery, carrots – garlic, sweet basil, oregano, parsley, thyme (sacrificed: rosemary, olives for oil, and pasta, ouch!)
Notes: Heaven help us, I’m thinking I’m not going to do much cannibal cooking Italian style. I think it would be a letdown. If I caught me a wild boar, or just Will the Bore, I could make a basic sausage – at least. Then, I’m cooking Italian. But limited to 10 items, that’s a tough one – and no pasta, for the love of Pete! I think I’d lean toward Italian stews and maybe some fish. I could maybe make pasta using hoo-hapah goohilly-hoo eggs, but I have no flour – or counter space — and I’m maybe missing a couple of body parts.
French: onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes – garlic, thyme, parsley, rosemary, butter (sacrifice: pots and pans)
Notes: French is similar to Italian in a sense, except that I’d be more worried about whether I had the right pots and pans. I mean, there are some serious sauces and preps to make and that’s tough over an open campfire with Clyde the Cannibal eyeballin’ my left ear. I mean, the French cook French fries in four different pans. They sure have nice pots. Maybe there are wild fermenting grapes on the island where Clyde and I could bond and sing a sea shanty.
British Isles: onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes – garlic, thyme, parsley, sage, rosemary (sacrifice: everything anyone else would gladly eat)
Notes: Just copy everything from French and Italian, throw out the good stuff and keep mostly the nauseating stuff, like steak and kidney pie, tripe and you have the Brit’s uncanny contribution to cannibalism. In fact, cannibalism might be preferable to British food. But I’m not sure fixings and spices will help much. They do have tikka marsala, but I’d have to make it out of a parrot and milk a monkey for the cream. Certainly, British food is so unhealthy that the cannibals would get their regular meat supply from natural causes.
Mexican: tomatoes, onions, flour, green chili peppers, beans – red chili (powder), cumin, garlic, cilantro/coriander, paprika (citrus provided, but no rice or oregano)
I’m thinking Mexican is likely the best match, considering what I have to work with. It’s a tropical place with tropical stuff. I’ll be making me some serious Bob enchiladas topped with fruity pico de gallo in no time. Oh, and I know flour is not a veggie but I have no rice and that’s unbearable as it is.
Creole: onion, celery, bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms — parsley, thyme, garlic, sage, rosemary (sacrifice: rice, bacon)
This is basically, the Louisiana holy trinity plus an herb garden. This would be great because it would be so adaptable and has influence from all the others. So I could steal some tapas from Spain, some sausages from Italy and some sauces from France, just like Europe stole decent music and Native Americans from here.
And for the record, I am a cannibal, not a zombie — big difference.
Cajun: onion, celery, bell peppers, rice, beans – any smoked dead animal, chili peppers, cayenne pepper, garlic, file’
Ah the trinity again, but rural Cajun food is more about what meat you have lying there, generally out of a smokehouse or maybe a burned down cabin. As a cannibal, Cajun seems like a natural. If you’ve ever been camping, everything tastes and smells like smoke from an open fire. So all the cannibal meat would already be smoked – a real timesaver. File’ is sassafras, so we can make root beer too. I love root beer. I love saying the word sassafras even more.
American Southern Home-style: greens, onions, potatoes, corn, green beans – flour, cornmeal, sage, butter, (bacon) grease (sacrificed: garlic, lettuce, tomatoes)
Thank goodness salt and black pepper comes out of the ocean (kidding again). Seriously, Southern cooking would be great if there’s plenty of pork fat or other grease to fry everything in – I mean everything – I’m serious – everything – I’m still serious — I’m still here — everything. I can taste fried mango right now. Spicing in Southern cooking is not the art – it’s the prep, the cooking and the mastery of the very simple. Or it’s barbecue. Therefore, it’s kid-friendly food for your picky cannibal kids — who try to scrape the orange off their carrots.
Spain: tomatoes, onions, potatoes, peppers (vague), olives – oregano, rosemary, garlic, thyme, Spanish paprika (sacrifice: bay leaf, saffron – you think cannibals can afford saffron?)
Notes: Tapas, oh yes, Spain has mastered the art of making small quantities and charging people for bigger portions, after they’ve been drinking, which might not work with rowdy cannibals. Yet, I’m thinking the small portions will be more realistic – and welcome. I mean, how much spleen can someone eat in one sitting. Nonetheless, Spain has made great culinary contributions and assimilated as well. Spain makes good use of a variety of meats. They can make grass carp taste like sea bass, mullet taste like ahi tuna and squid taste like — squid — I got nothing there — sorry. And their stronger-tasting peppers can make any cannibal meat, like gall bladder, probably taste pretty — wait – I just threw up a little bit in my mouth — OK. I’m back.
So just because we eat each other’s relatives doesn’t mean we can’t be creative – or even friends. And we should be able to consume each other’s uniqueness in a spirit of harmony and respect. And that’s what cooking each other does. It makes us one — in a unique kind of way.
Read part 1 here so part 2 makes perfect sense.
If you have thoughts or suggestions, feel free to comment below.