Monday, August 29, 2011

Chaucer - Shakespeare and an English Pasty Recipe

The only thing better than an underdog story, is a tale where a a fallen champion resurrects themselves and finds redemption.

Sampson had his eyes plucked out and was forced to turn a grain wheel until God let the Hebrew muscle head pull the pillars out from underneath his enemies, thus vanquishing them.

Patrick Pfundstein, an employee of the Mill City Museum, once did a demo at the Saint Agnes Kitchen during the Minnesota State Fair that was so epic.....people talked about it for years.

I don't even remember what the actual title or theme was, but I do remember that he came with several duffel bags of props, one of which was an 8 foot strand of rope that had the diameter of a telephone pole.

After using this to teach the crowd object lessons, he began ranting about how Twizzlers could not charge sales tax since licorice had flour in it.

I don't know.... I guess you had to be there, but I can assure you it was fab.

Patrick is a self proclaimed geek that in many ways sits on Klecko's hero mantel next to John the Baptist, Jane Goodall and Mike Finley.

I have always respected his ability to balance intelligence,humor, mercy and compassion.

In many ways I try to emulate how he lives his life.

The problem with hero's though, is sometimes they have feet made of clay.

This has never been more true than with Patrick.

Last year during our "Iconic American Recipes Tour" Patrick acted like he was the king of turd island and strutted all about the place eluding that he was going to drop perfection on anybody who saw themselves fit to enter the Creative Activities Building.

Mr. Pfundstein was still reveling in the fact that Klecko gave him the 2010 "Best Performance Demo Award" and who knows....maybe he decided to rest on his laurels and that's why he "mailed in" his 2011 performance?

The only thing worse than having to pass your scepter of excellence, is when you have to toss it into the lap of your Ex Wife LOL....and that's exactly what happened.

You see, just about this time last year Patrick rolled onto my stage with a smirk and a small back pack of unimpressive items. don't get me wrong...with his quick wit, a roll of quarters and a box of crackers, Patrick Pfundstein could present a demo 10 times better than you or I, but by his standards.....the bar just kinda sunk.

Paired with the fact that his audience was old (as in blue hair old) and the fact that some wicked breeze was blowing through the forest of reason....Patrick Pfundstein received a B minus at best from Klecko.

While he retreated to the bleachers to sulk and lick his wounds, his ex wife took the stage with her then current lover and business partner from Big Bell Ice Cream.

These are the peeps that send out the fleet of Ice cream trucks across the Twin Cities that blare that obnoxious calliope music.

Sue McGleno utilizes their services often on Hartford Avenue.

The Ex wife and her lover did a humorous presentation which discussed methods of making ice cream with things laying around the office.

They started off by yanking a kid onto the stage and having him place 8 coffee creamers into a bag of ice and shaking it violently, in an up and down motion.

Next they took vanilla ice cream and ran it through some weird extruders that you could possibly purchase at some old school hardware store.

When you applied maximum pressure, noodle looking ice cream fell onto the plate.

The kids who is tossing the creamer bag, now had noodle arms, and his hands were frozen and wet.

The ex wifes lover encouraged him though, in a "top 40 disc jockey" voice he told the kid to continue...or he would be removed from the stage.

As the kids arms went back to simulating jack hammers, the ex wife now put jelly onto the ice cream noodles. The jelly was meant to simulate tomato paste, and then Whopper's Malted Milk Balls doubled as meatballs.

The whole act had impeccable cadence and the ex wife and her lover were not only declared the New Millennium Fred and Ginger in Klecko's eyes, but they snatched the Best of Show Golden - Star out of Patrick's pathetic outstretched arms.

It was hard to watch.

The ex wife and her lover didn't relish humiliating Patrick Pfunstein, they both kept a fond place in their hearts for him.

But fact is fact. The ex wife and her ice cream making lover kicked Patricks a**.

So just like God took pity on Sampson, and gave him a platform from redemption.....Klecko contacted Patrick and encouraged him to swing for the fences one more time, but his offer was intercepted with an attitude that was bankrupt of confidence.

"I'm not sure I can't keep with the 2012 theme of EURO TABLE. I am the least Euro guy I know, nah, I'm not sure I can do it.....why don't you give me a day to think about it though, and I'll see if I can come up with something?"

At this point legions of angels must of held hands and sang John Denver songs or Kumbaya,because the next day when I spoke with Pfundstein, a new spirit was projected from his voice over the phone.

"You know what Klecko? I'm going to do English Pasty. I don't know a ton about the U.K. version, but my family wolfed them every chance we got while driving back and forth from the U.P., yeah....put me down for that."

And Just like Rocky's 1st fight with Mr. T, remember how he got his a** handed to him? Remember how Rocky moped and whined like a little Fop after his trainer Mickey died?

Well Patrick recommitted himself and stepped into the ring today and spoke with a new glow in his eyes.

His voice rolled like thunder, and truth be told.....he probably didn't need to wear the Madonna microphone head set.

In my minds eye, I honestly cant remember how he started out his set, but I remember the crowd got bigger, and bigger, until I think I may have seen the biggest crowd in the history of the 500 shows I have presented.

Dude was tossing out facts about Chaucer's Pasty references in literature.

Shakespearean recipes where the filling included the crushed bones of our enemies, and then after an interesting hands on tutorial, Patrick formed a smirk, because he knew that he had redeemed his crappy baked bean performance.

He knew that he would be a finalist for the Klecko Golden Star again.

But more importantly......Patrick is his own worst critic, and if my perception is correct, I think he satisfied the one person he wanted to the most.


Then with the smile of Huck Finn, you know....when he hung his feet off the raft and submerged them into the Mississippi and watched his checkered past fade away into his minds rear view mirror, Patrick smiled and asked.........

"Would you like to hear the recipe?"

The crowd clamored and found satisfaction while this particular posts protagonist read a Mark Ryan poetic-recipe in a loud-clear voice..............

One and a half pounds of good plain flour -
8 ounces of fat and some muscle power -
Mix it together with both your hands -
Til looking like breadcrumbs the mixture stands -
Add some water and bind it up -
Tip it gently from a 1/2 pint cup -
If its to gooey, add some flour -
And stick in the fridge for about an hour -
Then roll it out to the size of your plate -
Fill with potato's to make it great -
A layer of turnip and onion as well -
Salt and Pepper make them smell -
Chip up some steak and chuck it in -
Add a little butter and crimp up the skin -
Polish with an egg and cook like cake -
And you'll have a pasty like momma can bake!

And for the record, they tasted fabulous!


  1. Wow ... more epic than the Aeneid. You've got it all working in this one. And after a long day in the flour barn.

  2. Dang! Now I know how Achilles felt when Homer did that Illiad blog about his fight with Hektor!

  3. LOL...............................