I'm not much of an innovator in the Old School blogosphere, but I think I may have finally come up with something original*. I'm not a DM and I've never felt qualified to give a review of anything Old School, until now. I AM a proven Old School cook, so here's a review of a recent recipe for Gaming Grub posted by Mr. Digital Orc a few weeks back -- his Dad's Pepper Dish. I've recently moved to central Pennsylvania and Saturday evening I was bored and hungry, waiting for the Irenic apocalypse:
|The hellish view from my back porch Saturday evening (slightly altered)|
The recipe is simple: 1/2lb bacon; 3lb red potatoes; 15-20 banana peppers; S&P to taste. That's it. Cook in phases in a covered skillet. Well, I looked at my skillet and could not see all this fitting in there, nor did I have a lid for it. So I went to the next biggest heavy implement: my Dutch Oven. Seriously. It took me a few hours to realize how weirdly appropriate this was. I started in simmering the bacon and then adding in the red potato wedges:
I strirred/tossed this every 5min or so to spread the browning love. While this was going on, I was dealing with the peppers. I used Hungarian wax peppers ... presumably the same thing? But DO's instructions were confusing:
Remove caps and seeds of banana peppers, cut into 2 inch rings, add to skillet, allow to cook for 15-25 minutes until banana peppers cook down.Being the type that will always play the system as written before house-ruling it, I cut the peppers into 2"-long, er ... tubes? In the end, I don't think this matters, but removing the seeds and membranes (my habit, not strictly in the recipe) from these is a real pain in the ass. But eventually I prevailed:
Raggi's new Random Blogospheric Asshole Generator, due out this Fall from Goodman Games.
But all of this worry was for naught. I have no idea if this is the correct outcome (i.e., the hash format), but this dish was DELICIOUS. The bacon of course is going to be nice, but because of the potatoes it doesn't make the dish overly salty (you still need to add salt at the end). The bacon fat makes the potatoes creamy but not heavy, and the juices from the peppers permeate the dish and add a really nice noticeable but mild, clean heat to the dish. The tanginess of the peppers adds a distinct flavor and if you've got good bacon these two things provide all the seasoning you need outside of S&P.
Okay, it's good, but how good? Well, at the end of the night here's what the dutch oven looked like:
In Conclusion: Digital Orc's Dad got this dish right and is presumably a genius. It embodies everything I love about rustic one-pot cooking. 4.5** of 5 stars
* I've been looking at some older posts from Grognardia, The RPG Corner, Jeff's Gameblogs and DNDWPS lately and it's shocking to see how many ideas I think are new have been circulated in the OSR back in fucking 2006 or 2008. Prog rock RPG setting? Yes, it's been done.
** I need to leave open the possibility of something even more awesome than this dish; otherwise, 5 of 5.