Qu’ils mangent de la brioche

If similar words were to be contemptuously spat out by our own, in-bred, racist, parasitic, royals, they — hell-bent as they are on preserving the power & privilege of their anachronistic, aristo-oligarch group of fellow land-hoarders — would certainly opt to say something equally divisive & dismissive, say along the lines of, “let them eat mush”.

Me? I say it’s well past time to “sharpen the guillotines”…

In passing, I note that the 7th-century Chinese Book of Jin, reports that an Emperor Hui, on being told that his people were starving — because there was no rice — replied saying, “Why don’t they eat porridge with (ground) meat?” (何不食肉糜). And the piece goes on to say, “[thus] showing his unfitness [to rule]”.

Of course, these are all the very same primal savoury stews that have forever been the fuel of the rural (& later, urban) labourers, the peasants; of necessity often being forced into a subsistence existence based around mixed “jumbles” of cheap meat and veg, boiled down — boiled, for quite practical reasons, as this helped break down the complex starches — into unrecognisability: the porridges, potage, chop suey, burgoos, frumenty, gallimaufry, hodgepodges, ragouts, olla podridas, pozole, tharid and, my particular favourite, slumgullion and similar. I see that the current earliest evidence of one such stew was found in Japan (possibly dating as far back as 14,000 BCE) into the Jōmon period. And there’s also a whole page on various countries’ stew names, one to take great delight in, on Wiki.

They remind me of the story of “beggar’s hash”, supposedly the forerunner of the US chop suey from China, where a group of beggars, carrying copper pots go to the kitchen doors of houses pleading for leftovers. When they have enough scraps, they put their collection over the fire and proceed to cook up a miscellaneous “beggar’s hash”; a very similar process to the one in the story of Stone Soup, that’s part of a worldwide mythos.

I was also reminded of “Bags of mystery,” alias “Punch’s Puzzles,” which are a type of sausage whose skins are filled with the various remnants taken from the table in noblemen’s and rich men’s mansions, by their servants.

And I was delighted to find a whole list of Diner lingo which inc. being told that “Burn the British” is hash-slinger slang for a toasted English muffin. Of course it is.

You all know the inexorable rabbit-warren plunge that is Wiki and this last list led me in turn to a note about “mother & child reunion” or “mother & daughter reunion”, both a common, popular menu item at Chinese restaurants (and another version in Japan called oyakodon (親子丼), real Japanese “soul food”) and also a song title….

…in a 1972 Rolling Stone interview Paul Simon was reporting as saying “Know where the words came from on that? I was eating in a Chinese restaurant downtown. [the Say Eng Look, that survived at least until 1979] There was a dish called ‘Mother and Child Reunion.’ It’s chicken and eggs”.

So, on that note, finally, here’s a quick & easy recipe for oyakodon via Ivan Orkin’s “The Gaijin Cookbook”. (I’ve taken the time to change the weights & measures into the proper format, none of this stupid US “imperial” shit).

©Ivan Orkin


250ml. dashi
125ml. mirin
80ml. soy sauce
400g. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
½ onion, sliced very thin
2 scallions, sliced thin on the bias
12 large eggs, lightly beaten


Steamed rice
Shichimi togarashi
Ground sansho pepper

1. Combine the dashi, mirin, and soy sauce in a large skillet and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until it’s halfway done, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and scallions and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened and the chicken is cooked through.

2. Drop the heat to medium-low and slowly trickle the beaten eggs into the pan, stirring slowly in a circular motion with chopsticks or a wooden spoon. The timing will probably be 2 to 3 minutes, but this takes a little bit of finesse to get exactly right—you want the eggs to be more custard than curd, which is a fine line. Err on the side of less cooked, and you will be rewarded with an eggy-dashi-chickeny sauce.

3. Serve the oyakodon over bowls of steamed rice and garnish with togarashi and/or sansho pepper. Eat with spoons.

And finally, finally? A reminder that yes, eels do have teeth, via the inimitable brush of Val Littlewood


About Salute The Pig

Charcuterie, smoking, curing, brining and all things porcine. Brought to you from deepest, darkest Cambs, England by Chris Bulow. In the smoker or in the kitchen.... Salutate porcum!
Bookmark the permalink.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.