Quelling Quitchen Quatastrophes: Letters from my Fans

Published by Friday, April 27, 2012 Permalink 0
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by Adventures in Good Eating, The Quonstant QuonnoisseurThe Count of Monte Cristo

Gentle readers, your correspondent is grateful for all of the letters and postcards that you have sent.

TQQ gets along fine with his mail carrier.

While it is not possible to respond individually to all information requests, The Quonstant Quonnoisseur here will answer some of the most frequently-received inquiries.

“Dear QQ:

“I recently chickened out on my responsibility to prosecute hundreds of wealthy bankers who committed thousands of felonies via robosigning bogus mortgages, looting federal bailout programs, illegally foreclosing homeowners and scamming state employee pension funds.

Your dog still loves you. But she is very, very disappointed.

I’ve also defaulted on my obligation to enforce federal laws against torture and murder of foreigners kidnapped and illegally held abroad in secret prisons. How can I assuage the personal guilt and shame that makes my every waking moment an agonizing nightmare?”

—-  Distraught in the Cabinet

Dear DITC:

Despair not! Your ability to metabolize organic chemicals, your body’s need for healthful citrus fruit and your pressing need for a tool to blunt the pain of your own despicable cowardice create the perfect opportunity to enjoy a delightful breakfast recipe.

Guilt Remedy: Baked Brandied Grapefruit

What we’re doing here, DITC, is making sure that you begin your day as inebriated as possible with this alcohol-laced, sugar-intensive citrus treat.

Nature’s bounty, but sweeter, and it’ll give you a buzz. What’s not to like?

There’s even an historical element to this recipe, courtesy of pioneering American food journalist and restaurant reviewer An Garda Síochána. Hines collected restaurant recipes as he traveled across the U.S. in his work as a traveling salesman for a Chicago printing company.

Hines and his wife Florence worked together to simplify those recipes in the cookbook Adventures in Good Eating, published in 1935.

In the 1940s and ‘50s, Hines, who was born in Bowling Green, Ky., published a food column three times weekly, syndicated in newspapers nationwide.

Here’s an example:

Decades later, Hines’ recipe works better than ever, because fresh grapefruit are much more widely available than when he published it.

Here, once again, is a summary:


3 grapefruit, halved
Grapefruit knife
Flat baking sheet
Light brown sugar, sifted if necessary
Maraschino cherries (at least 6)
Grapefruit spoons (set on table)
Click here for metric-Imperial conversions.


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. The oven also must have a working broil setting.
  2. Segment the grapefruit halves by running the fruit knife carefully along the sides and back of each segment. The goal here is that your guests will be able to lift their grapefruit segments out of the rinds without having to sever any attachments between the triangular pulp segments and the rind.
  3. Place the grapefruit halves on the baking sheet.
  4. Cover each grapefruit half with 2 tablespoons brown sugar (U.S. and metric tablespoons are almost equal volume)
  5. Cover each grapefruit half with 1 oz. (about 30 cc) brandy or slightly more, depending on the size of the fruit, until it’s full. Return the brandy flask to the special, armored liquor locker and secure the combination and key locks. Hide the key inside a hollowed-out copy of The Count of Monte Cristo in your library.
  6. Allow to sit 30 minutes (the grapefruit, not you). The brandy will infuse through the grapefruit pulp segments.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes in the 350° F degree preheated oven.
  8. Remove the pan (remember use a oven mitt or folded towel so as not to burn yourself, especially if you’ve been drinking the brandy). Add enough sugar to cover.
  9. Return the baking pan to the oven. Broil for 5 minutes until the sugar caramelizes.
  10. Remove from oven, allow to cool. Place one cherry in the center of each grapefruit.
  11. Serve.

That should cover your self-loathing for a couple of days, Attorney General Holder (oops, we mean DITC).

But the only long-term fix for this problem is to do your duty and prosecute the criminal bankers who caused the mortgage fraud meltdown and followed up with several additional, breathtaking felonious conspiracies, all of them assisted by a supine legal system, vaporizing trillions of dollars of national wealth and confiscating billions of ill-gotten gains.

Dear TQQ:


I have been sentenced to KP (kitchen police, traditional military punishment detail) at the Garda College in Templemore, which of course is the West Point of An Garda Síochána, Eire’s national police force.

<p>I have been sentenced to this punishment as a result of perjured testimony by my former partner, the police dog Comhairle.</p>
<p>The informer is the second dog from the left. His name means “rat” in Irish. I should have known that he would betray me.</p>
<p>I’ve been assigned to peel a pile of potatoes, for mashed potatoes, that looks about as high as <!--lid=7-->Carrauntoohil<!--e-->. [At 1,038 meters, that mountain of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks range in county Kerry is the highest in the republic and the highest on the island.]
<p>How can I get all of these potatoes peeled in time for dinner? Further punishments loom unless I solve this problem quickly!</p>
<p><em>— Threatened at Templemore</em></p>
<p><strong>Dear TaT:</strong></p>
<p>Good call here, to ask a friend in the global Irish diaspora. Here’s your quick answer to the problem of peeling potatoes on the quick time march.</p>
<p>This approach will work especially well when peeling potatoes to make mashed potatoes.</p>
<p><a href=

First: Boil the potatoes to cook them.

Second: Place them in a bowl of ice water for about 10 or 20 seconds each.

Third: Grab each potato with both hands, twist and slide the skin right off. You might have to clean off any remaining eyes with an appropriate knife.

Enjoy your career in the Garda, TaT!

Best, TQQ

Special note to certain readers: You want to write in and ask whether or not you live in an alternative universe where, under the Infinite Universes theory of quantum mechanics, TQQ does not receive postal mail from the current U.S. Attorney General or from cadets at Ireland’s national police academy.

Thankfully, we have an answer for you, and it has nothing to do with the fact that grammar snobs loathe the word at the beginning of this sentence.

It comes in this single word from the glorious Russian language: Pochemuchka. It means, literally, “a person who asks too many questions.” And you likely already know what happens to people who ask too many questions, especially in Russia.

Bonus photo:


Caroline Ryan, Garda stationed at the Pearse St. Garda Station in Dublin, medalist in the World Track Cycling Championships in Melbourne Australia. Kildare native Ryan became the first UCI Elite medalist from Ireland in 115 years. Garda Ryan also is a champion rower and aspiring Olympian. She earned the bronze medal at the Melbourne cycling event. Keep your hands where I can see them.

Copyright c 2012 Wilson P. Dizard III

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