We can only hope this idiot cued up that godawful country song “Proud To Be An American” and then stuffed that shotgun down his throat and pulled the trigger.
A recent article in Popular Science,”Striving For The Perfect Diet Is Making Us Sick”, made some interesting points about the manner in which most people go about dieting. In our current environment of clinical study obsession, it seems people are unwilling to test a hypothesis- instead, they simply want to be told, definitively, by scientists that whatever it is they’re about to try will absolutely work to help them achieve their goal. Nevermind the utter vapidity of such a mentality, or the mindlessness from which it stems- let’s just look at the simple boredom that would come out of such a life. Gone, apparently, is the appreciation for adventure, or the excitement that stems from formulating a hypothesis, testing it, and having one’s theory bear fruit. It’s just plain lazy and banal.
What’s more, however, when such a mentality is applied to dieting, is that it seems to seriously jack people up. From the gluten-obsessed dipshits who will literally jam their fingers in their ears and scream “LA LA LA LA” like a four year old when you inform them that the entire concept of gluten intolerance is a fabrication to the vegetarians who willfully ignore every scrap of scientific and anecdotal evidence that humans are indeed omnivores to the paleotards who don’t understand the evolution of cultivated foods, our diet obsessed, yet horrendously fat modern Western world continues to screw up their health in the blind search for a magical diet bullet that does not, in fact, exist. Not only that, but this idiotic mentality is actually being classified as an eating disorder called orthorexia (Moroze) and is classified as “a pathological obsession for biologically pure and healthy nutrition” (Schwartz). According to the study, this mentality can seriously mess you up to the point of death, as idiot fad diets “lack essential nutrients, and they make the vitamins and minerals a person does get from meals of exclusively, say, leafy greens, impossible for the body to absorb. This can lead to fragile bones, hormonal shifts, and cardiac problems, along with psychological distress and entrenched, delusional thinking. In other words, the opposite of the intended effect” (Ibid).
The weird part about this to me is that history has already given us plenty of nutritional ammunition and anecdotal evidence about the ultimate diet for us to mine. It’s no secret that humanity is at least devolving from a physical standpoint- one need look no further than the local Walmart to find evidence of that, and there are plenty of authors, from Thomas Sowell to Richard Lynn, who argue convincingly that humanity is devolving from an intellectual standpoint as well. As such, it makes far more sense to look to our past rather than our present for a guide to optimal nutrition if one wishes to emulate the badasses of bygone eras.
For that reason, I’ve chosen some of the hardest peoples from history and examined their staple foods for some recipes, as one can never have too much ammunition, and frankly I’ve grown bored of eating the same four things endlessly. Thus, I present to you some of the staple stews and meat pies of the Mongols, the Apaches, the Scythians and Sarmatians, the Romans, and the Teutonic Knights.
*A note on meat pies. As I’ve gone through this series, it became more and more apparent that the toughest bastards on the planet not only love eating stew and drinking like they’re chasing a cirrhotic liver harder than frat boys chase nearly comatose drunk sluts, but they also seem to love the everloving hell out of meat pies. That, it seems, is for good reason- they’re easy to make, easy to transport, and provide you with a badass calorie bomb while on the go or simply when you’re standing in your friend’s kitchen at 4:30 in morning, vainly trying to maintain verticality and polish off that 1.75L you started 6 hours prior. Dating back to the early Neolithic era, meat pies span every corner of the globe, and come in a hell of a lot of different varieties, shapes, and sizes. Hearty as hell, loaded with protein, and delicious, these things have stayed in the ultimate human diet for almost 12,000 years for damn good reason.
Fans of the blog might remember my having mentioned these two tribes in past, due to my love of cannibalistic, human-scalp wearing, heavily tattooed nomadic death dealers. These two tribes established the Silk Road, ruled over vast swaths of lands stretching from China to Egypt, and fought pretty much anyone and everyone of note in Eurasia over the span of about a thousand years.
Invariably described as blond, broad shouldered, and tanned, these equestrian death machines lived on virtually nothing but milk, meat pies, and stew as they cut a blood-soaked swath through Eurasia, and they seem to have invented the method by which the Mongols eventually came to make their soups and stew- they fill an animal’s stomach with hot rocks, spices, and the animal’s own meat and let it cook itself from the inside out while they systematically burned off all of the animal’s hair to give it a nice, crispy skin to munch on.
Modern descendants of these two tribes still stick to their traditional diet, for the most part, and while interbreeding with the Muslims and Slavs of the region has stripped them of their former blondness, they’re just as fractious and violent as ever. So, if you want to see what some of the most traditionally angry and violent people in history munch on to fuel their murderous rage, look no further.
Chanakhi (Lamb Stew)
1 large eggplant, stemmed, cut lengthwise, and then cut into 4-inch-long wedges
1 pound lamb shoulder chops, cut into 3-inch-long pieces
2 cups diced onions
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
One 16-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into big chunks
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper
Butter or vegetable oil, for sauteing
Pizza dough, for covering
Special equipment: Four clay pots
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt to a bowl of water and soak the eggplant for about 20 minutes, while you prepare the rest of the stew.
- Heat a deep iron skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat, and then brown the lamb (it makes its own oil). Stir in the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent, and then pour in the tomato paste and tomatoes, taking care not to smash the whole tomatoes. Drop in the potatoes. Cover with 1/2 cup water, if necessary, and then add the cilantro, parsley and cayenne and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat butter in a separate pan and saute the eggplant until completely soft and yellowish.
- Each serving is baked in its own clay pot. Place 2 to 4 pieces of eggplant into the bottom of each pot, and then ladle in a helping of the lamb and potatoes. Place a whole peeled tomato at the top of the bowl and pour over the broth until the bowl is nearly full.
- Roll out the dough 1/4-inch thick and lay a piece only large enough to cover the top onto the stew.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the dough top looks like bread or a pizza crust. Cut open the dough top and use the bread for dipping.
Chakhokhbili (Georgian Chicken Stew with Herbs and Tomatoes)
A 5 lb. chicken, trimmed of fat and skin and cut into parts (or 2 lbs. chicken thighs or chicken drumsticks. I wouldn’t recommend only breast meat, because it tends to get dry.)
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter or vegetable oil
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
2 medium yellow onions, cut in half and then into ½ in. slices
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (or 4 large ripe tomatoes, cored and diced—you can blanch and peel them first if you like, but I don’t bother)
½ Tbsp. red wine vinegar
About 1 ½ cups finely chopped mixed fresh herbs (choose from cilantro, flat-leaf parsley, basil, dill, tarragon, summer savory, celery greens), for instance:
– ½ bunch cilantro, finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)
– ½ bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)
– 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
- If using a whole chicken, cut it into parts, removing fat and skin as you go: separate the wings, the thighs, the drumsticks, and the breast, then cut the breast into 2-inch chunks.
- Heat butter or oil in a cast iron skillet until it begins to sizzle. (You can use any heavy-bottomed pan with high sides, but avoid nonstick pans, which keep things from browning properly.)
- Add the chicken pieces, salt, pepper, and cayenne, stirring to coat. Brown the chicken lightly on all sides.
- Remove the chicken pieces from the skillet and add the onions. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic until it turns fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the vinegar, and half the herbs, stirring to combine.
- Bring the stew to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and add the chicken back to the pan. Stir in the rest of the herbs and cover the pan. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Serve with additional herbs sprinkled on top, with crusty bread, pita bread or naan, or over basmati rice.
Fydzhin (Ossetian Meat Pie)
Ingredients for filling (for 2 pies)
42 oz of minced beef and pork mix
4-5 cloves of garlic
1 hot red pepper
1/2 tsp of black pepper
10 oz of beef broth
salt (amount dependent upon personal preference).
Ingredients for dough
11 cups of flour (includes 2.5 cups for dusting and kneading)
17oz ml of warm water or milk
2 tbsp of butter
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of salt.
- Add 1 kilo of flour to a mixing bowl. Make a depression in the flour. Add warm water or milk, softened butter, 1 egg, baking soda and of salt. Mix by hand.
- The dough should be formed into a soft ball.
- Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes for the dough to rise. Once the dough has risen, add 150 grams of flour and firmly knead the dough.
- Add the minced beef/pork to a mixing bowl. Finely chop the onions, red pepper and garlic and add to the bowl, together with half tsp of black pepper, and salt (amount dependent upon personal preference).
- Add 8oz of beef broth. Squeeze and mix by hand. Leave for 30 minutes before using.
- Dust a preparation board with flour and divide the dough into 2 large and 2 smaller balls. The larger pieces will form the base for each of the two pastries and the smaller pieces will form the covers. The picture below shows one of the larger and one of the smaller balls.
- Roll out the 2 larger pieces to 5 mm depth.
- Rub butter into the base and sides of two circular baking dishes (26-28 cm diameter) before adding each pastry base. Use your fingers to mold the pastry to the shape of the baking dish.
- Add one half of the filling to each baking dish.
- Use a wooden soon to compress the filling, ensuring that mixture is pressed into the sides.
- Roll out the two smaller pieces of dough to 2-3 mm depth and in each make a circular hole in the middle and four slits.
- Carefully place the pastry over the baking dish. Use your palms and thumbs to mold the pastry around the dish.
- Trim any excess pastry.
- Bake the pastry in an oven at 400°F temperature. After 15 minutes, add 3 tbs of broth.
- Brush with the yolk of one egg mixed with tsp of milk.
- Reduce temperature to 350°F and continue to bake until the pastry is golden.
Serving: Rub with butter and serve immediately. In Ossetia, the top of the pastry is removed and cut into strips, which are then dipped into the meat juices. The meat and remaining pastry is eaten with a fork.
If you don’t know much about the Mongols, you have to be living under a goddamned rock. Some the swarthiest, stoutest, most robust, bloodthirsty, humanity-destroying, virile, and overall awesome humans to ever live, the Mongols conquered just about the entire Eurasian continent in the late 13th Century. Fueled by little more than meat, liquor, and hate, the Mongols slaughtered so many people that their conquests removed nearly 700 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere, making their slaughter-happy leader, Genghis, the greatest environmentalist in history. he is, after all, the only person in history to successfully bring about man-made global cooling (Daily Mail).
Even cooler is the fact that in spite of their penchant for murder, the Mongols have always been remarkably long lived. Not even the Soviets could crush this aspect of the Mongol character, and in spite of their debilitating poverty and ridiculous drinking habits, the Mongols still have a life expectancy of 68 years (Veverka).
Their secret? A diet incredibly heavy in meat and liquor and light on everything else. Oftentimes in battle, the Mongols ate nothing but dried, powdered meat called borts, horse blood and milk, and raw horse flesh. In camp, however, they ate better, but the consistency of their diet changed little- meat, meat, and more meat, with a side of meat and liquor. Modern Mongols eat much the same way, and a typical day of eating in modern Mongolia looks something like this:
Breakfast – Kefir and Arvain Guril (fried and malted barley flour porridge and sweet cream)
Lunch – Süütei Tsai (salted tea with milk) and Chanasan Makh aka Чанасан Мах (Lamb Chops, liver and other organ meats, and carrots)
Dinner – Budaatai Huurga (any kind of meat and rice boiled in Süütei Tsai)
A staple of the Mongols’ diet for centuries, borts is dried meat cut into strips or often ground to a powder. Depending on the region, the meat used will vary from camel meat to reindeer to horse to beef.
How it’s prepared
The fresh meat is cut into long strips, 2-3 cm thick and 5-7 cm wide and then air dried under the roof of the yurt for about a month. What’s left are hard, dry sticks of meat, which are then broken into chunks, ground into powder, and stored in a linen bag. If kept cool and dry, borts will keep for months stored in this fashion.
Borts is most commonly added to soup or tea to provide additional protein (making it awesome for lifters),but it can be used almost anywhere in place of fresh meat.
Khorkhog is probably the most exciting Mongolian dishes, and one of the most tasty ones. The meat of a sheep (sometimes less) is cooked together with vegetables in a closed container, with the help of heated stones. For a large Khorkhog, a metal milk container is normally used. For smaller amounts, other containers serve just as well, in our case two normal cooking bowls put on top of each other.
1/2 or whole Sheep chopped into pieces together with the bones.
6-12lb mix of carrots, white cabbage, onions, potatoes, and other vegetables.
10 – 20 smooth, round, fist sized river stones
1.5-2.5 cups water
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Caraway, to taste
- Heat the stones in a fire, until they are hot throughout. With a decent fire, that should take about an hour.
- Place hot stones, meat, and spiced vegetables into the cooking container in layers. In the end, add sufficient water, which will fill the container with steam during the full cooking time.
- Close the container and put everything back on the stove on low. The heat of the stones and the stove together results in a uniform cooking process. When the container can be locked, care needs to be taken that the pressure inside doesn’t get too high. Cooking time will vary depending on the equipment used.
- When it is done, take the container from the stove and open it. Fire and fat have given the stones a glossy black color. Let them cool down as far as necessary, and hand them around to your guests. The Mongolians believe that the heat and fat have beneficial or even healing effects, when you hold and rub the stone in your hands for a while.
2 cups flour
5 oz water
10oz ground meat. Traditionally, mutton is used, other types of meat such as beef work just as well.
Mongolians consider fatty meat to be of higher quality, but there’s no problem in using western style lean meat. Borts can also be used.
1 Onion, minced
2 Garlic cloves, minced
3-5 tbsp. Water
Oil For frying
- Mix minced meat, onion and garlic.
- Add water until the mass is smooth to work with.
- Add enough salt and spices (the dough has no salt).
- Prepare the dough
- Mix flour and water to create a pliable dough. Let it rest for 15 min.
- Cut the dough into 3 cm (1.2 in) thick slices, roll the slices.
- Cut the rolls into pieces of 4 cm (1.6 in), flatten the pieces with a finger.
The Apache were a loose confederation of tribes of Native Americans that populated the American Southwest until their defeat by an absolutely ridiculously overwhelming force (5,000 US troops vs 30-50 Apache) in the 19th Century. Well known for their fearsome fighting skill and utter ruthlessness on the battlefield, the Apache were legends in both Mexico and the American Southwest for their strength and courage.
Interestingly enough, a clinical study of 47 traditional Apache recipes was collected for for 13 traditional Apache dishes, and of those 13 dishes, 5 were stews and one was a meat pie/dumpling (Sharma). If that’s not rather telling for the efficacy of those foods in the diet of anyone wishing to go harder than a Viagra fueled porn star at the Playboy mansion during a LA country cocaine boom, I don’t know what would be.; five were breads, five were chicken or meat-based stews, two were tortilla-based dishes and the remaining one was a traditional Indian dumpling. Tragically, of the chicken, beef, elk, acorn, and cabbage stews listed in the study, I could only find a recipe for the a venison stew, and the recipe for Indian dumplings/meat pies was also absent from the internet. Nevertheless, here’s what I could find.
2 red bell peppers
2 carrots, sliced
5 green Anaheim chilies
3 cups cooked Indian hominy
1/4 cup sunflower oil
8 cups water
1 lb venison, cut into 1 1/2 inch
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 onion, diced
1 teaspoon white pepper
3 garlic cloves, finely
1 cup tumbleweed greens (spinach can be used as an alternative)
- Roast the peppers, then peel, seed, and cut into long strips. Roast the chiles, then peel, seed, de-vein and dice.
- Heat the oil in a large stew pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is almost smoking, add the venison and cook until the meat is lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the onion and garlic and saute 2 minutes more. Stir in the carrots, peppers, and chiles and cook 1 minute more.
- Add the hominy, water, salt, and pepper and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and let the stew simmer 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until the meat is very tender.
- Just before serving, add the tumbleweed greens, stir 1 minute and spoon into bowls.
Indian Dumpling/Meat Pie
Though I looked everywhere for a recipe for this, all I could find was a description of the dish, which sounds suspiciously like an empanada made with corn tortilla- “A dish made by wrapping the filling (usually ground beef) into the tortilla-based dough then boiled in water” (Sharma). Sounds simple enough, so if anyone cares to experiment, hit me with a recipe.
The Roman Empire was, as everyone knows, one of the most expansive and enduring in history, and its might and size rested entirely on the backs of its brutal military might. Oddly, many archaeologists and nutritionists have asserted, common sense to the contrary, that the Roman army was primarily vegetarian. Analysis of the bones of Roman soldiers, however, shows that they actually ate “ox, sheep, goat, pig, deer, boar, and hare, in most places and in some areas, elk, wolf, fox, badger, beaver, bear, vole, ibex, and otter”, while “Broken beef bones suggest the extraction of marrow for soup”, in addition to implements for making cheese and roasting and boiling meat (Gill).
Apicius’ Lamb Stew
Ancient cookbooks really just provided guidelines, rather than explicit direction. As such, the entire thing is done to taste, rather than in a paint-by-numbers manner. The following recipe is Apicius’ recipe #360, “Another Stew for Lamb.”
3 pounds lamb ribs
Salt and pepper
Parsley or cilantro
- Heat up a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a pot. Then add lamb ribs and brown all over.
- Then add the onion and the parsley or cilantro.
- Then add spices.
- Give a good stir and add wine. I added lots of wine because I wanted lots of juice to dip bread in or pour over some farro.
- Cook for at least 4 hours. Lengthy cooking, however, will mellow the flavors, so you may need to respice if you cook for over 4 hours.
For a bit over 400 years, a monastic order of brutal, baby-killing maniacs tore open the assholes of the Poles and Lithuanians in an effort to stamp out paganism in the region. According to the Poles, the Teutonic knights were unequaled in their brutality, and even out-performed the Tatars in committing random acts of horror and atrocity.
The knights Templar were enormous, standing over 6′ tall and weighing in at just under 200 lbs, and cut a swath across the Baltics in a full armor and weapons kit that weighed over 60 lbs. Fueled by little more than stew and liquor, these humongous Germanic death machines were also well-known for their propensity to drink their goddamned faces off, day in and day out.
“They drink beer immoderately, encouraging and forcing one another to such excesses as would be too much for an ox. And they are not satisfied with drinking to satiety but drink until they are sober again. So they pass the entire day and often the entire night, and whoever overcomes the others in drinking, he is praised and honored” (Turnbull)
When they weren’t getting hammered, the knights were making smoked meat to keep it from going bad. Interestingly, they smoked the meat underground and then used it in all of their soups and stews. As such, their ham hock was far smokier than what we have now. For the following recipe, you might want to add smoky salt to make the flavor more authentic and ensure your next Eastern European conquest is completely successful.
Zupa z soczewicą- Polish Lentil Soup
1 small smoked ham hock
2 bay leaves
1 leek (cleaned and chopped)
1 celery root with greens
1 box chopped mushrooms
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 teaspoons thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds (mortar crushed)
1/2 can tomato paste
6 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder or paprika (optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 cup lentils, picked and rinsed
1/4 cup soup pasta (optional)
Organic sour cream as a topping
- Put ham hock in a large pot, fill with water, add 2 bay leaves, and slowly cook for 3-4 hours to make a broth. Remove ham hock and cut meat into small pieces and set aside. Discard fat and bone.
- Add the rest of the ingredients such as the vegetables and seasonings to broth, leaving the pasta and lentils out. Cook until vegetables are soft, about one hour.
- Add washed and picked lentils and cook for about 30 minutes until soft. When done, turn off heat and add pasta and cook for about 20 minutes.
- Top with sour cream mixture and serve!
Mincemeat à la Royale
Medieval recipes, like Roman recipes, were really more like loose outlines than specific directions. As such, this recipe will really require a bit of testing. Mince pies of the era were quite different than modern mince pies, and bore crusts that were several inches thick to withstand many hours of cooking. For all intents and purposes, they were inedible, and were either given to servants, beggars, or reused to thicken boiled stew. You might want to just use a store bought crust to save yourself the hassle of dealing with all of that, or simply use a recipe for a pot pie crust.
For the filling, use equal proportions of roast-beef:, raisins, currants, suet, candied citron, orange, lemon, spices and sugar, add a proportionate weight of stewed pears and preserved ginger, the grated rind of three dozen oranges and lemons, and also their juice, one bottle of old rum, one bottle of brandy, and two of old port.
Stew- it does a Teutonic booty good.
Now, go fire up the crock pot, get those meat pies poppin’, and pick up some heavy shit. then, maybe go burn down your neighbor’s house, bang his wife, and lay claim to a city park just for funsies… because that’s what these guys would have done.
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Bake Metes and Mince Pies. Historic Food. Web. 10 Feb 2015. http://www.historicfood.com/Pie%20recipe2.htm
Borts – Борц. All Mongolian Recipes. Web. 6 Feb 2015. http://www.mongolfood.info/en/recipes/borts.html
Cammpi, Warren Vincenzo. The History of Pie. http://www.everythingpies.com/history-of-pie.html#sthash.h6DVdxoq.dpuf
Chakhokhbili (Georgian Chicken Stew with Herbs and Tomatoes). Food.com. 3 Nov 2011. Web. 10 Feb 2015. http://www.food.com/recipe/chakhokhbili-georgian-chicken-with-herbs-467371
Chanakhi (Lamb Stew). Cooking Channel. Web. 10 Feb 2015. http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/chanakhi-lamb-stew.html
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