Hannibal the Cannibal’s Search For the Most Succulent Steak


Hannibal the Cannibal was quite peckish one day. He had been watching the television – most entertaining – some famous celebrities had been demonstrating tasty ideas so Hannibal had been checking the recipe books and thinking what he might like to cook for dinner that evening – lamb cutlets, a beef curry of maybe even stew. Mmmm. Like most cannibals do, Hannibal fancied something carnivorous – fresh flesh perhaps, boiled in a pot, flavoured with meat juices and gravy. Delicious. He had a look in the kitchen cupboard – there was only the odd tin of tuna. Not very appetising at all. What else ? Onto the fridge, bacon, sausages (still raw and uncooked) … not too succulent at all. Anyway, one of the lodgers had been nibbling the edges and there were still teeth marks in one of the sausages.

Having discussed the matter with his cavemen friends, one of them had an idea – “Try the supermarket at the end of the road”, said Fred “I hear that they have fresh meat on offer”. so Hannibal set off – putting on a warm scarf … It was cold and Wintery outside … quite a carnivorous Saturday, in fact. He meandered his way along the pavement and through the puddles, hopskotching on the kerbstones. He almost tripped on a bike left by someone … “Hi there !”, Hannibal called to one of his neighbours … who was pegging up wsahing on the line outside. “Need anything from the shops ?”. “No thanks, said Hannibal, she retorted. By the time that Hannibal reached the supermarket, and got to the door, the shop keeper had put up a big red sign reading “CLOSED”.

Hannibal The Cannibal headed off in the direction of the Delicatessen – famed for it’s succulent pastrami, hams and meats. The display was quite colourful – a selection of different meats from all over the globe. It was obvious to Hannibal that the butcher was not also a cannibal since all of these tasty morsels would have been eaten by now. He ran his eyes along the spice rack – oregano, paprika, sage and so on and so forth. In England, Hannibal could chose from a wide variety of cheeses from all over the country – Cheshire, Cheddar, Leicester, Wensleydale, Double Gloucester, Lancashire and Stilton. Or for a rather more continental taster – Danish Blue, Brie, Camembert or Italian Parmesan or Gorgonzola.

In the Mediteranean, around St Tropez in France, Hannibal searched amongst the alleys and side street markets – but there was mainly breads, French wines to buy … So onto the Netherlands, where Hannibal the Cannibal munched on a tulip bulb – it didn’t taste at all like steak ! He even tried some Dutch Edam cheese … nice if you’re a mouse, but not at all that filling for a hungry cannibal. In Germany, Hannibal the Cannibal ate pretzels and sauerkraut on the banks of the River Rhine … Danish pastries and cookies … not that blood soaked at all. In Italy, Hannibal the Cannibal ate Italian hams – a wide variety of pastas in all shapes and sizes (but sadly, none of them steak sized).

For starters ? Ribs or roast rabbit ? Bortsch with baps ? Crunchy canapes or crepes ? Souffle or soup ? Poppadom or paella ? At the seaside, a fisherman tried to persuade Hannibal to try some fish dish from all over the globe – Caribbean Crab , Prawns Singapore, Scampi Provencale, Kidneys, Kipper fillets, Hake Pimento or Halibut Meuniere, Trout or Tuna, Salmon or Sole, Lobster Victoria or Portugese Plaice or Prawns – not very appealling to a hungry Cannibal. “An organ ?!” Hannibal thought to himself – liver, tongue, kidney or brain – cooked and savoured in different ways in different cultures. Or on the bone – spare rib or shoulder, trotters or racked, perhaps, but he still had steak on his mind. Of course, there were lots of different steaks to chose from – gammon, fillet, tenderloin, rump or rib – eye.Other animals ? rabbit, pork chop (I hope that pig oinked) or lamb cutlets ?

“If it was animal flesh Hannibal was looking for – what about poultry ? “suggested the local inn – keeper – chicken, pheasant, goose, game or duck (oh, no, not much meat on birds, Hannibal thought). How would it best be served, Hannibal asked himself ? Kebabs or kedgeree, fried or fritters ? offal or oven – cooked, chopped, casseroled, coq-au-vin, chowdered or char – baked ? gnarled or grilled ? bisque, baked, bitten, burnt or bar-bq’ed ? in a pie, pudding, potted or pate ? escalops or en croute ? raw, rashered, roasted or ready – cooked ? stewed, sauteed or stuffed ? medium, marinaded, mincemeat or in meatballs ? well – done or watered ? lean or livered ? Hannibal pondered on the most fitting sauce – chilli, curry or cheese, hollandaise or horseradish, parsley or pepper, mushroom or mustard, fennel or fondue, sweet and sour, hollandaise or honey- glazed, vinigiarette or just a simple gravy ? With vegetables ? artichokes or asparagus, cauliflower or cabbage, fennel or fresh carrots ? Not likely, Hannibal smirked, as only a cannibal could. In Asia, Hannibal enjoyed the Indian puris, samosas and bhagis. All very nice, I am sure, but when you’re a cannibal, there is only one thing that can satisfy your appetite – STEAK !

So onto South America, where Hannibal the Cannibal ate beans (none of them with steak, most disapppointingly !). Although he did like the taste of Chablis wine, somewhat, it had been a while since he’d been at a party … he thought about who to invite … Chips with a caveman ? or Gumdrops with gnaw ? Tasty Titbits and Teeth ? Fritters with Fang ? or Snacks with a Savage ?

And for dessert ?
Home-Made Lemon Jelly
250 mls water
15g gelatine
100g caster sugar
Rind and juice of three lemons
3 egg whites

Place the water and the gelatine into the a small saucepan and leave to soak for five minutes. Add the sugar, rind of lemon and juice. Place the pan over a light heat, allowing the gelatine and sugar to dissolve, but do not allow the mixture to boil. Remove from the heat and strain into a large mixing bowl then leave until cold. Add the egg whites and with an electric mixer, whisk the jelly until it is foamy and beginning to set. This will take at least 10 minutes (but you can speed up the process by placing the bowl in ice). Pour into individual glass dishes and chill for 3-4 hours before serving.

© Jacqueline Richards 2005


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