Last Night’s Dinner

Last night’s dinner is still in there. I can feel it, a solid brick of chow resisting every enzyme and corrosive chemical my stomach can throw at it. It’s pitched its tent and has started laying the foundation for the cabin.

Let’s call the recipe “Empty Larder Surprise”. That’s a bit of a misnomer because there really wasn’t any surprise involved, but there’s a long tradition in our culture to associate ‘surprise’ with ‘danger’ when it comes to food. Seriously, when was the last time you read, heard, or even thought about a recipe with ‘surprise’ in the name that was good?

I don’t generally keep a lot of food in the house. One thing about living in a culture that is not based on the automobile is that the retail economy is built around people buying only as much as they can carry home. My life has a fairly simple pattern: buy a few things at the store, take them home, and stay there until the food runs out.

So it was yestereve I found myself hungry and not the slightest bit interested in going out to eat. No problem! I had food. I patted myself on the back for my tremendous planning skills and went to see what secrets my refrigerator would yield. Hmm… we seem to have a bit of dissonance. The food available to me fell into two categories. 1) things to go on bread and 2) rice.

After only a brief hesitation I set to cookin’. After all, bread and rice are both starchy foods. Stuff that goes on bread shouldn’t be too bad on rice. While the rice bubbled away (the little porous boiling bags rice come in here are a bachelor’s dream) I turned to the fridge and pulled out my other ingredients. Sitting lonely on the shelf was a small packet of swiss cheese and some stuff that goes by the name Dračí Tousty, which, with the help of the picture on the label, I translate to “Dragon Toasts”. Mmmm… dragon toasts.

Dračí Tousty is potted meat. I doubt it’s made with real dragons these days (not for 17 crowns a tub!), but in a country that has raised potted meat to an art form, Dragon Toasts stands out. (“Toast” in this part of the world refers to the toasted sandwiches many bars serve as emergency food. I assume the Dragon Toasts is meat intended for use making toasted sandwiches.) DT is spicy (on a Czech scale of spiciness) and, to my palette, mighty tasty.

And there you have the recipe for the next revolution in material science. Cook the rice, add the swiss cheese, and mix in dragon substitute to taste. Taste, you ask? In fact it wasn’t… too bad. Starch, salt, fat, a bit of spice — I’ve certainly had much worse cooked by people who weren’t constrained the way I was. No, the flavor wasn’t the problem. To borrow from geology, the conglomerate formed by the rice in the cheese matrix immediately started setting up into an aggressively solid mass. I’m not sure just what interaction the dragon meat had with the rest, but its addition seemed to act as a hardener. Dračí Tousty served the role of that unexpected wild card that has caused may a fictitious scientist untold grief.

When the mass is surgically removed from my stomach, I will donate it to science, hopefully for the betterment of all mankind. Perhaps the first building constructed of “Empty Larder Bricks” (Made from renewable resources!) will be here in the Czech Republic. They have the best access to dragon meat, after all.

8 thoughts on “Last Night’s Dinner

  1. We have a jar of Vegemite that the folks brought back from their voyage Down Under. While it lacks the substance of Dragon Meat, it does seem to serve a function of gluing everything else together.

    It would be interesting to catalogue the various regional industrially produced food-like products to ascertain the national identity of an industrialized nation.

    For example, in the United States, there’s American cheese — which doesn’t fit the USDA’s definition of cheese. Officially, it’s a “processed cheese food product”; it doesn’t meet the basic standards to qualify as actual cheese.

  2. Ouch…Aye, aye… I hope this finds you well, and you stomach is not so grumpy anymore…
    Do you remember the Dragone Soup that is served in Mexican Restaurant Sonora (here two blocks from Flora metro station)? The Dragone Soup is recommended to smokers, just in case that they would like to stop with that smoke bad habit… and it works…
    I know, hot is good, but pain is not as good if did not come from hot and spicy… “Picante pero sabroso!”
    And as far as I know… U R NOT a smoker, so what the hell are you eating Dragone tousts?
    Give me a call, I should find myself hungry anytime, so you shall join me.

  3. Oh, I remember the soup. Holy crap was that hot, Seventeen times hotter than anything else in the entire country.

    I did not know that dragon toasts were for smokers, but it makes sense. A little extra for people who have killed their tongues with smoke. I eat the Dragon toasts for the same reason. I want to feel something.

  4. And tonight, I was hungry all over again. I now have bread, and also some stuff labeled Moravian Block Hard Cheese which might be my favorite cheese ever. Cheese like this is why we invented civilization. There’s no point fighting wars if we can all sit down and eat some good cheese.

  5. Good god man…have you no concept of foods that ‘slow’ in your belly? Cheese and rice are top of the list. You could have added applesauce and a banana and never had any need to find a restroom again.

    So…you ever hear of vegetables? Salads?

    Where’s your mom? She can finish this rant while I laugh in the corner.

  6. That Moravian Block Hard Cheese sounds like good stuff.

    I imagine American processed cheese food product doesn’t count as something that slows the stomach — in my system it has much the opposite effect. It’s appalling to think that for most Americans, that’s what they think of as cheese, even if isn’t technically cheese.

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