A guest post by Carrie Anne Ebner
(W-OZ note: There is a genre of autoethnographic exploration that focuses on food, on using recipes, cookbooks, memories of meals, and other food-related investigation to aid self-understanding. Ebner’s writing inspires this kind of autoethnographic—and autobibliographic/autoculinary—thought.)
Are you with me here in this forest? Will you light a match to frame your face in the eerie dark, one familiar to wanderers on the brink of curiosity and cold? And then throw that flame in the pile of sticks and dried moss for the start of a campfire? It will ignite.
You thought you heard something rustle in the cold dark night. And you were right. Ten enflamed eyes shine at you from the forest. You are startled and aware of your vulnerability; the precariousness of existence. Your soft-skinned frame is, by your estimate, dwarfed compared to those eyes standing above your own height. Or are they perhaps in the trees? You have heard of these mythical creatures; you are sure they exist. Legend has it they are dangerous. Quests have been set out to kill them. You are not yet immune to fairy tales, young-at-heart that you are.
And it is now your knightly quest to chop and blend the fire-breathers, for it is the Five Dragons recipe that has set your imagination aflame. One tail curls around a scaly body of Onion. Another, red this time, nods the don’t-touch-me head of Cayenne. An enemy it is not, the Garlic creature, as its exhale reminds you of so many dishes that don’t need artificial ingredients for perfection. And it is not without love that the Horseradish monster, its raw supermarket rarity finds its nose-nipping expression in your concocted quintessence. Along with Ginger, belly soothing and bright, these five towering entities of the real and incorporeal, beckon you further to create.
But you think, fleetingly, of some other dragons, the shadow ones not with you on this night. Time, Space, Doubt, Perfection, and Death are also with us. The slaying of these, and their relatives, is impossible. We can only stave them off as best we can. The five dragons understand this.
It is shortly morning and we are now walking in this forest of medieval light. The fire-breathers accompany us down the path, not talking, but bounding, lurching from tree to tree, flapping their scaly wings in voluminous gusts of power; in effect, they are animating. Together they are a dance, a story, a symphony, a body of five, unified.
They perch on tree branches, and observe us from above. They disappear and reappear at leisure and with cheerful play. Or one will walk behind, like a loyal old dog. I glance back at Onion, his tail twice the length of my body. Cayenne is shyer and hides further off, not making much contact with the underbrush he steps on, like light floating on motes, disturbing nothing below despite his elephantine bulk. Ginger, naturally, is a girl, and has long eyelashes that bat at us mischievously. She is sweet. And Horseradish is stoic, like an ancient statue unearthed from a buried city of soldiers. Garlic is just and, therefore, good. Garlic is always good, and will let you sit on his back and fly off into the sunset for our mutual happy ending.
When working with dragons, it is best to give them equal weight, so they do not become jealous of each other. I chop them up equipollently then add them to a blender topped with apple cider vinegar. The elixir formed is then thickened into a dressing with mayonnaise. When they are together, they compliment coleslaw beautifully, and you may add chicken and almonds. Try this, and go beyond your imagination.
Ginger Root (scrape with a spoon)
Horse Radish Root (peal with a potato peeler)
Cayenne Peppers (remove tops and use whole pepper & seeds)
Put equal amounts chunked into a blender and add enough Braggs, Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar™ to cover. Blend well.
Five Dragons Cole Slaw (with & w/o Chicken)
2 cups shredded Cabbage
1 grated Carrot
1 cup shredded Cabbage
1.5 chopped Apple
1.5 diced Celery
1 large cooked Chicken breast (pulled apart into very small pieces by hand)
Five Dragons Dressing:
2/3 cup Grapeseed Veganaise
1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
½ dropper-full of liquid Stevia (add less if using mayonnaise)
1/2 cup Five Dragons
1/2 cup chopped Sprouted Almonds
Add 1/3 of the dressing to the Slaw and the remaining 2/3 of the dressing to Apple/Chicken Slaw.
Layer the Apple/Chicken Slaw on top of the Cabbage/Carrot Slaw.
Top with chopped, sprouted almonds.
(Note: Can be prepare ahead of time but add the almonds just before eating.)
Note: “Five Dragons” is adapted from “Dr. Richard Schulze’s Super Tonic Formula” by Paula Baer