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September 17, 2000
The Count’s Iberian Lifestyle Plan

Posted by Washington Irving on Sunday September 17, @06:47PM

from the Live Like a Noble Diet dept.

By Alejandro Antonio Andres Dominguez y Rios
El Conde de Baltimore

and Washington Irving

Foreword

Alejandro Antonio Andres Dominguez y Rios, better known to most as ``El Conde de Baltimore,’’ has been gracious enough to allow us to peer into his private life for this book on healthy living.

The Count hopes that his example will help others lead healthier lives.

At this point, I would also like to express my appreciation to the Count for allowing me to help him write this book, which I am sure will be a guide to many for years to come.

Sincerely,

Washington Irving

Chapter 1

The Morning

Alarm clocks should never be used. The body must awaken naturally and of its own desire. Window shades, however, can be left open to allow the morning light to stream in and gently alert the body that the day has begun, thus instilling a natural schedule.

As the body is in a bit of shock from having risen from slumber, a large breakfast is usually not recommended, but rather a simple cup of coffee, preferably a double espresso, with or without steamed milk, and sugar to taste. A glass of hand-squeezed orange juice, or a mineral water, or both are also beneficial for replenishing fluids lost while sleeping, and to pass the time while perusing the morning papers.

Thus fortified, the Count often likes to head to market to inspect the produce, meat, fish, shellfish, and cheeses available that day. After choosing the items for the mid-day meal, and having them sent ahead, a small snack is usually in order for the activity has now given the body need for sustenance.

While some prefer sweet items such as churros and chocolate, deep-fried doughnut-like sticks which are dipped into an extremely thick hot chocolate, the Count prefers more toothsome fare such as empanada, large thin pie-like tarts stuffed with roast pork bits, onions and peppers, or bacalao (codfish), or even octopus or berberechos (small tasty clams). Other choices often include Spanish tortilla, a potato and egg torte similar to an Italian fritata, or pan tostada Catalan, toasted country bread slices topped with olive oil, crushed fresh tomato and small thin pieces of sliced ham, preferably pata negra, or black leg hogs, and preferably only those which primarily graze on bellotas, a type of acorn produced by encina trees.

Chapter 2.

Before the Mid-day Meal

While waiting for lunch to be prepared, it is often a good idea to relax, perhaps on a beach, or take care of banking, or other small chores. If so inclined, a small vermouth, white wine or beer is often taken.

Chapter 3.

The Mid-day Meal

In Galicia, the verb for eating the mid-day meal is jantar, which is often followed by the verb deitar, which means the act of resting or sleeping after the mid-day meal. Whether to sleep, lie down, merely rest or not rest at all following the mid-day meal is a subject of much debate. The Count prefers to make the mid-day meal his largest of the day, preferably several courses over an hour or two, followed by a nap, or merely a rest period, and then coffee and a cigar, sometimes with brandy.

The menu, as you would imagine varies considerably, but often starts with small foods such as gambas, or small shrimp, or chicharrones, minced roast pork, or ham, olives, etc. The main course is often served with a salad or other vegetable. During summer months, many foods are grilled over wood.

After the main course, cheese and fruit and are often served. The courses, however, do not follow lock-step one after another, but often are interrupted for a short walk around the yard to feed scraps to the hens and quail, which the Count is fond of raising, and of course eating. Sometimes, coffee and cigars are served immediately after the last course, often outside under a grapevine arbor.

Chapter 4.

Merende

After resting for an hour or so, the Count often likes to read, shop for leather goods, take a short swim, or take care of small chores before stopping at his favorite local tavern for merende. The tradition of merende is the least understood of all the Iberian dietary customs.

Merende traditionally refers to the period halfway between the mid-day meal and the evening meal, or cena, and often consists of small snacks eaten along with drinks while chatting with friends after work, but before going home for dinner.

The dishes eaten often include pimientos de Padron _ small, sometimes hot, green peppers fried in olive oil (which is never re-used) and sprinkled with sea salt; boiled octopus dressed with extra virgin olive oil, paprika and sea salt; sliced ham; sausages; cheese; mussels in a variety of ways; broiled live, whole scallops in their shell topped with ham or bacon and red pepper puree. The Spanish also are not squeamish about organ meats such as liver, gizzards, or even boiled pigs ears, which are cut into small pieces and dressed with oil and paprika, etc. Small fish such as anchovies are also pickled escabeche style in vinegar, sometimes with with parsley and onion, and served with sliced bread. Various types of squid _ calamares, chipirones, sepias, etc. _ are also served stewed with potatoes and peas, stewed in their own ink, breaded and fried, grilled, etc.

Chapter 5.

Dinner

Dinner is often quite late in Spain, often starting around 11 p.m., and usually much lighter than lunch. The Count is quite fond of veal chops grilled over wood or merluza or other white fish a la plancha, which is to say seared on a griddle. Red wines are often served at dinner, especially with meats, however, whites are sometimes paired with items such as grilled pork ribs, which are cut into individual ribs so each piece absorbs the flavor of the smoke.

The Count is not especially fond of desserts, and usually never partakes of them. If, however, his dining companion desires ice cream, for example, he will politely try some. Dinners are followed by coffee, and sometimes by brandy or an after dinner liquor such as Fernet Branco, often paired with a cigar. Whether or not the Count chooses to go elsewhere after dinner often affects his menu choices for the following day.

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Posted by Alex at 06:17 PM
September 10, 2000
Two Counts Meet for Regional Talks

Posted by M. Cervantes on Sunday September 10, @08:01PM

from the Not those idiots again dept.

BADAJOZ, Espana (JNS) _ El Conde de Baltimore wrapped up his Iberian Tour 2000 with a visit to Extremadura to meet with the Conde de Badajoz for discussions on regional issues.

El Conde, Formula 1 driver John Sullivan, and Jorge Sanchez Romerales, the Count of Badajoz, toured the Sanchez family estate, attended a bullfight in nearby Alburquerque, were feted at Extremadura Day festivities, and toured Roman ruins in Merida during the three-day visit.

In Alburquerque, the three attended a type of bullfight known as ``rejoneo,'' in which the bull is fought from horseback.

Unlike the more traditional form of bullfighting where the matador eludes the bull's horns with his capework, rejoneo matadors use horsemanship to tire and eventually kill the bull using a long lance.

The mounted matadors conduct all aspects of the bull fight, placing a series of picks in the bull's back to weaken the shoulders before killing him.

The bulls in the corrida at first charged the horse without provocation, and the immaculately dressed matadors had to approach carefully. The horsemen almost always guided their prancing mounts to dodge right and then left, causing the bull to charge off course and allowing the horse to circle around the bull so the matador could plant the barbs.

The first is placed with a spring-loaded staff that unfurls a flag once the barb is left in the bull's back. The bull then chases the flag trailing from the staff, further tiring himself.

Later, the matadors sidestep their mounts in front of the charging bulls, placing smaller barbs by hand, cantering in circles at times ahead of the now sweating and heavily bleeding bull.

Good performances in front of the bull's horns were cheered. If the events proceeded too slowly, or if the bull was not killed cleanly, however, whistling would emerge from in the crowd of about 1,000 gathered in the maroon and white stucco ring overlooking a nearby castle and the brown countryside.

The second bull of the six-bull card prompted much derisive whistling.

The bull was reluctant at first to participate in his own death, refusing to charge and sitting down at one point, prompting a cheer of ``Que viva el toro!,'' or ``long live the bull,'' from El Conde de Baltimore. The count's family hails from the northwestern region of Galicia, where bullfighting is not popular.

``I think the Count was impressed by the bull's bargaining position. It's obvious that these executions can't continue without the participation of the condemned. Hopefully, this will serve as an example for others,'' said Bradley Leffield, a professor of international relations at Brown University and a member of Death Penalty Watch, an anti-death penalty group.

Earlier Friday, the trio visited Sanchez' large ranch, where they inspected the boars, cattle, sheep and horses at the estate.

On Saturday, the three traveled to Merida and toured the Roman arena and amphitheater in the city, which once was a regional Roman capital, before El Conde de Baltimore and Mr. Sullivan returned to the United States on Sunday.

Mr. Sullivan, however, was frustrated during the visit in his attempts to procure a serving of tecula-mecula, a mysterious dish also known as the ``forbidden pastry'' because it is too heavy to be served as a dessert.

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Posted by Alex at 08:01 PM
Eatboys Settle Into Much Deserved Obscurity

Posted by Skeptic on Sunday September 10, @11:43AM

from the it's-about-damn-time dept.

One may have guessed by the news of the last few weeks that gastronomic exploits of international eatboys, the Count of Baltimore and his depraved associate Lord Cecil of Dundalk, constituted all the news that was fit to print. Thankfully the pair have sunk into obscurity, perhaps through the somnolescent effects of pork fat in the blood stream. To those brave pigs that gave their lives that the eatboys might slumber, and the rest of us might be rid of their stories of failure as international playboys, we salute you!


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Posted by Alex at 11:43 AM
September 05, 2000
For Whom the Veal Grills

MERA (Oleiros, La Coruna), Espana (JNS) _ Jose ``El Chuleteiro创 Fernandez Veiras is surely the greatest churrasqueiro alive in Spain today.

Others may claim greater showmanship in front of the parrillada, hail from the fincas of Extremadura, or pride themselves on their repetoire.

``El Chuleteiro,创 however, has an innate understanding of churrasco, the art of grilling ``que suena,创磑r in English, resonates, in the hearts of Spaniards as much as futbol (soccer), seafood, political discussions, and bad television

With a style reminiscent of Joao ``Frango创 Carbon, ``El Chuleteiro创 could reign over the chop houses of Madrid, commanding the salary of a renown bullfighter. He chooses, however, to deliberately practice his art at his own small restaurant, ``A Lanchi馻,创 in the small Galician town of Mera, across the bay from the city of La Coru馻.

While the region is primarily known for its excellent shellfish, it is also home to the country磗 finest grass-fed, free-range veal and excellent hogs. Unlike American veal calves, which are kept in pens for six months and fed milk, vitamins and hormones, Galician calves live longer and are raised alongside their mothers on small grassy plots in the hilly, green region, usually raised on family-run farms.

Churrasco can be an ecstatic, almost religious, experience or a tragedy for the churrasqueiro and the customer, as anyone who has been subjected to ``La Rosa Negra,创 or black-and-pink chicken, can attest.

Properly done, it磗 a three-part act consisting of the lume da le馻, a flaming wood fire, which creates the brasas, or glowing coals, which in turn, cooks the meat, creating the carne asado.

The meat must leave the grill, or parrillada, golden brown on the outside and slightly pink on the inside _ whether it is veal or pork. Chicken should be cooked through, but remain moist. All should be liberally salted to bring out the meat磗 natural flavor. Sauces, marinades and rubs are only used by those trying to disguise inferior meat.

The meat must become intimate with the coals and bask in their glow. Flame, however, is fatal to churrasqueiros themselves and to their reputations.

Ignacio ``Nacho创 Solomillo was one who succumbed to the llamas, or flames. A spectacular regional churrascero, as they are called in some regions, he made a name for himself in Madrid in the 20s, developing the now famous `pasadoble style in which the meat is turned only once, thus passing just twice over the coals. Nacho knew instinctively when to turn the meat, sensing with his tongs how each piece tightened as it cooked.

His career unraveled during a dinner for a group of nobles in 1924. He overextended himself, agreeing to their request to serve more than he knew his grill could accommodate.

All went well at first as the pork ribs and veal chops, chuletos, were placed over the coals. Flames, however, erupted as grease began to drip and he had no place to move the meat as the grill was full. As the meat began to blacken, he worked furiously until a support collapsed, plunging the meat into the coals and burning Nacho as he tried to save the dinner and his reputation.

Broken, he moved to the United States, where it is rumored that he invented the corn chip after opening a Mexican restaurant.

``El Chuleteiro创 uses the pasadoble style, which he says he learned from Nacho磗 son, ``Nachito,创 a competent churrasqueiro who never achieved his father磗 greatness.

``El Chuleteiro,创 does not use the traditional team of handlers _ carniceros, camareros, and the like _ using one waiter and one prep chef. He buys the meat himself, insisting on regionally produced livestock and designs and maintains his own grill.

``There are many grills and styles all over Spain, and there are many bad ones. But you will not find another like this,创 he says.

The parrillada is a simple, elegant design _ v-shaped stainless steel angle iron pieces about three feet long set about a half inch apart into two cross members which have v-shapped notches to accept the angle iron and form the grill.

Any grease from the meat is caught in the hollow of the v-shape and funneled away because the grill is tilted by means of chains that suspend it from the brick chimney above.

Churrasco, to be sure, is not the only means of grilling. Many swear by method used around Malaga in the south, where discarded rowboats are placed on sawhorses, filled with sand and bonfires are built on the sand. Skewers of whole fish, or whole red peppers, or cubes of meat are then stabbed into the sand alongside the fire, allowing the food to cook by the radiant heat of the coals and not the flames.

Others prefer sardines, which grow to more than six inches in Galicia, carefully tended over a flaming wood fire.

None, however, compare to the mastery of wood, heat and meat of ``El Chuleteiro.创

If you go, seat yourself quickly and don磘 order too much. Good churrasco should be enjoyed and not forced upon yourself.

``Ainda sta fallando? Boteche ali, xa sta feito!创 he says as we discuss his art at the bar, asking us in the regional dialect, Gallego, if we are still talking and telling us to ``put yourselves over there. It磗 ready!创

Posted by Alex at 04:49 AM
September 04, 2000
Playboys scout for polo ponies

Posted by Guillermo Zapateiro on Monday September 04, @04:44AM

from the What are the little people doing today? dept.

SAN SADURNINO (El Ferrol), Espana (JNS)_ The international playboys scouted for polo ponies this weekend, appearing at two local festivals and putting to rest reports that they had been kidnapped by Basque separtists.

El Conde de Baltimore, admitted that separtists masquerading as a cleaning crew did enter his room at the stately Taberna do Porto in Mera. However, he was able to convince the trio that even if they were able to subdue him by force, the future of their cause did not lay in violence and extortion, but in the development of the Basque community, which already has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and semi-autonimous rule. Convinced by the sanity of his message, the trio decided to use their powers for good instead of evil.

``I think they rightly saw the wisdom of my position,创 El Conde said in a statement released by his press office.

Separatists unhappy with this outcome tried to convince the local media that they had indeed captured El Conde for ransom, but the appearance of the pair at the weekend festivals in Betanzos and San Sadurnino laid those claims to rest.

El Conde and Formula 1 driver John Sullivan traveled through the lush green countryside on Friday to Betanzos for the twice monthly market in the medieval riverside town.

After viewing the clothes, vegetables, breads, cheeses and other products in the town磗 main square, Mr. Sullivan purchased a bottle of honey to give to Rosario, who has been hosting the pair for lunch at her seaside villa.

The two then went to the livestock area where El Conde examined the horses for sale as well as the pigs, quail, partridges, hens, roosters and rabbits.

Not finding any to his liking, the pair had lunch in an adjacent barn where vendors prepared ribs and chorizo sausages over wood fires and boiled octopus in large copper pots. Meanwhile, the farmers and buyers ate at long tables set up in the large concrete barn, washing down the meal with red and white wine served from wood barrels.

After lunch, El Conde bought two pairs of breeding quail, or cordorniz (1,200 pesetas), for Rosario磗 estate, hoping to convince her to breed the birds, one of his favorite lunch items.

``El Conde, as always, is in the epicurean vanguard,创 said Josefa Cocineira Forno, editor of the Madrid-based Pork and Shellfish Quarterly Report. ``Quail from this region is delicious, and I believe with his influence, it will now become fashionable.创

The pair then chatted with a vendor of riding tack who told them of an equestrian festival the next day outside of Ferrol _ an important naval center northeast of La Coruna.

Getting off to a late start the next day after a bit too much madrugandiando, the playboys were pleased to find the event was held at a fairground near a bucolic mountainside village.

Local horsemen dressed in neat white shirts, black vests and caps with rolled blankets across their knees competed in time trials and showed off their mounts. The horses are trained to trot quickly without breaking into a gallop, providing a less bouncy and more comfortable ride.

Also on display was a breed distinct to Galicia, smallish stocky horses that are mainly chestnut with bushy black manes and tails.

``El Conde seem quite interested in the breed, and we are hoping he will acquire one,创 said Joaquin Cavalho Castanho, a local horse breeder.

Following a lunch of veal grilled over wood accompanied by regional bagpipe music, the pair toured El Ferrol before returning to Mera.

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Posted by Alex at 04:44 AM
September 01, 2000
International Playboys Kidnapped

Posted by Wolf Blitzer on Friday September 01, 2000 @10:59PM
from the radical minority dept.
MERA, Oleiros, La Coruna, Espana (JNS) _ Reports indicate that the Count of Baltimore, Alejandro Dominguez, and his traveling companion, Formula One racing driver John Sullivan, were kidnapped today by Basque separatists.

A statement attributed to Andreu Ixtaban, spokesman for the Basque terrorist group, ETA, claimed responsibility for the abduction. The two international playboys were apparently abducted from their beds at a swanky inn near La Coruna, just before noon local time.
The kidnapping was accomplished by 3 or 4 men disguised as a cleaning crew. No demands have been issued to date, but the international community has expressed concern for the safety of the popular pair. Mr. Ixtaban issued his statement from an ETA safe house and has thus been unavailable for further comment.

Posted by Alex at 10:59 PM