Ahoy, Maties! Hold on to your hats and look what the trade winds blew in:
As happens sometimes, in my kitchen, not all who reside here are excited about eating nutritious and colorful foods. Tradition dictates that these picky eaters are more willing to try new foods when we spin a good tale to go with them. In our past, we have had two such instances, where corn chowder became Princess Porridge, and pea soup became Queen Cleopatra Egyptian Soup, thick with history and detail and the afore-mentioned picky-eaters came begging for more. For the youngest here, who announces without hesitation that he HATES cooked carrots, I knew I was in for a battle before the preparation for this newest recipe had even begun. So, standing at the stove, as I allowed him to help with my very fun immersion blender, I spun the tale of Pirate Porridge. I would NOT allow any of my children to be served until they had listened to the tale of how Pirate Porridge came to be and pledged them to pass along the tale to future partakers of this special soup.
I pass the secrets along to you:
*put three red peppers (I slit the top of each and inserted a clove of garlic) on a cookie sheet in a 425 degree oven for 30 minutes, rotating with tongs every 10 minutes. The skin will blacken. Allow to cool and then slide off skin and remove stems and seeds. The remaining flesh is what you add to the pot before you blend.
In future, I will add a sprinkle of curry or ginger, just to spice it up a bit.
The TaleOnce upon a time, there was a ship full of stinky, hungry pirates at sea. The ship's cook informed the captain that there was no more food in the hold. They were going to have to start eating the crates and barrels, find some food, or starve to death. The situation was DIRE. There were no fishing rods, since they had used them to shore up the masts after the last storm. And the cook had served the crew a stew made of the last of the fish bait at their supper the day before. Things were NOT looking good. The pirate captain ordered the men to set the sails and find land immediately.
How fortunate for them, that they spotted a little island before the end of the day. "Land Ho!" cried a dirty-rotten rabble-rouser from the mizzen mast. As they approached the island, they came under attack! They were told to turn away! NO.PIRATES.ALLOWED on this little island. The first mate, although he had chosen to be a pirate, had majored in communications in college, and possessed the valuable skill of being able to communicate using signal flags. He waved madly to the people on shore, to let them know the brutes only wished to communicate.
How fortunate for the pirates; the islanders understood his signals, and signaled back "We are coming alongside. Halt your progress."
How fortunate that both parties were willing to communicate! In less fortunate instances, the pirates might have become frustrated, and a rowdy rabble might have occurred, with ears being cut off, and limbs being lost. Why do you think so many pirates had peg legs, hooks for hands and wore eye patches? This was clearly a forward-thinking bunch of buccaneers. How fortunate for everyone that the island woman who stepped forward introduced herself as a mediator.
How fortunate for the islanders AND the pirates that this woman, a neutral party, was willing to assist in the negotiating and conflict resolution at hand. The islanders made it clear that they had a strict "No Pirates Allowed" policy, to ensure the safety of their people and the bounteous produce on the island. The pirates made sure the islanders understood that they had no intentions to pillage, plunder, rob or raid the island. They were simply hungry pirates, and needed to replenish their food supply.
How fortunate that the pirates had a large treasure chest on board that they could offer as collateral to the islanders.
And how fortunate that the island was a land-of-plenty; flowing with milk and honey and every kind of fresh fruit and vegetable imaginable. The pirates filled their crates and stocked their barrels with all sorts of nutritious fruits, vegetables and whole grains. How fortunate that the pirates had access to such bounty, and would not be in danger of developing the dreaded scurvy! They paid honestly for what they took, using some of the treasure from the chest. Then they were able to take the rest of the treasure on board the ship, and head off to pillage and plunder in far-off lands. Of course, they marked their navigation charts with a colorful food pyramid so they would know how to return when their supply ran low again.
How fortunate the cook was indeed, an excellent cook. To celebrate how especially-fortunate they were to have nutritious food on board, the cook made an extra-special soup, full of all the important and delicious vegetables they had acquired on the island. They dubbed it "pirate porridge."
You must think to yourself: "How Fortunate I am to be eating this tasty and nutritious porridge" when eating it. AND, if you are sharing this meal with someone who does not know the history of this very important soup, you must first share the story so that all can appreciate the heritage and culture behind the pot.