Friday, October 14, 2011

Crown Roast of Frankfurters

Some people just have no respect for the ancient institution of the monarchy. In the mid 1600s for example, an English bloke named Oliver Cromwell decided enough was enough, and took up arms against the royalists who, under Charles I had begun to wear enormous wigs and lacy doubloons and attended the theater all the time. He was so angry about this that he had Charles’s head lopped off. His son (the future Charles II — you can see where this is going…) high-tailed it to France to escape all the beheadings and such. (Good move.)

Cromwell was a rather persistent chap and melted down all of the crown jewels for good measure. As Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, he also conquered Scotland and Ireland, just in case, and systematically slaughtered all the Catholics he found there. The Welsh were too fierce and unintelligible to risk going to war against. Power to the People! 

Eventually God must have decided he liked the monarchy better, so he had them return to power shortly after Cromwell’s death. Still, this was not enough to satisfy a public too long deprived from the wigs and theater and such, so they had him executed posthumously, you know, just in case. Two and a half years after he was buried in Westminster Abbey, Cromwell’s dead body was disinterred, hung from chains and his head also lopped off. Oh the irony. As a deterrent to anyone else with a fancy to overthrow the prevailing government, his head was impaled on a spike and displayed outside Westminster Hall for 24 years. After a while it probably resembled a coconut and wasn’t as much fun for tourists to have their photograph taken with. His coconut was bought and sold over the intervening years until it was eventually buried again in 1960 (a full decade after the book this recipe comes from was published).

Cromwell’s Puritan spirit is clearly at work in the genius who devised this crown roast of wieners, the very epitome of a humble Everyman’s version of the real thing made from the ribs of a tasty beast. Chances are no-one will mention the discrepancy while they endure the brief period of humorlessness waiting for the good old days of heathen debauchery to return to the dining table. And their heads. 

Good times, good times.

Cooking for Young Homemakers, Culinary Arts Institute, 1950

Also from this book: Fried Brains, Fried and Baked, Roast OpossumRudolph the Red Nosed Pot Roast
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