wThe hat was once a sign of sophistication, and devils on horseback also fell out of favor. But the evocatively named dish of floss-encrusted peaches wrapped in bacon has a history that stretches back to the 19th century. Variations exist in France, England and the United States, of spiced oysters instead of fruit – angels on horseback; To wieners wrapped pretzels – little pigs in blankets.
The twisted history of cannabis is told in Devils on Horseback: A Global Atymology for Dishes with Weird Names. Published by Melbourne-based duo Long Prawn – who organize culinary events and write cookbooks together – the recipe book delves into the history and rumor underpinning exotic-named dishes from around the world.
Researching the book sent Long Prawn’s Frederic Mora and Lorraine Stephens into a mysterious and inconclusive maze of characters, real or imagined: a bloated nun, a mean man named John, Jesus, and a hungry Buddha.
“[It] Mora says of the dish of honor. “I found a lot of stories depending on what century you’re in. They meant different things, had different ingredients, and I don’t think there is a right or wrong story.”
For example, the first documented recipe for angels on horseback was in a 19th-century cookbook by a French chef who called bacon-wrapped oysters, “les anges à cheval,” “the angel,” Mora and Stephens, referring to oysters, the meal The snack was popular in England and served as a delicious after dessert.
But they weren’t alone in the hunt. Illustrator Mark Chu contributed Buddha Jumps Over the Wall, an elaborate soup from Fujian, China that requires multiple animals and days of preparation.
Chef Pablo Breton, who creates surreal cakes under his moniker Deep Cake, came up with a recipe for the nun’s pet or farts, a deep-fried, custard-filled choux pastry found in Tours, France, and Catalonia, Spain.
The book straddles the knife edge between the absurd and the serious, as Long Prawn’s work so often does.
The first cookbook, Fat Brad, is based on many of Brad Pitt’s famous eating scenes in films including Ocean’s 11 and Fight Club. Their events include performance items: they cooked meals wrapped in aluminum foil using heat from the manifolds of cars’ engines as they raced through Melbourne; and dinner “consider what it means to be an owner and what is left after everyone has helped themselves”.
Each of the Long Prawn members has personal and family backgrounds in art and hospitality. Stevens’ mother is a hospitality event manager, and Mora’s grandmother is the famous visual artist Mirka Mora, who, with her husband George, has hosted owned parties and restaurants around Melbourne.
“She was smashing her face and hand into a beautiful finished dish, which I think is a little funky,” says Mora. “When everyone comes to pay their bills, she mows [holes] from her shirt so her boobs were hanging out.”
Long Prawn’s website describes the business as an “artistic food practice.” But they say they’re only inspired by the artists — choosing not to give themselves the moniker explicitly. “Someone asked if we were wearing hospitality uniforms,” Stevens jokes.
Stephens cites the 1980s New York City tapas bar and restaurant run by artist Anthony Meralda and chef Montes Guillen, as an example of how the worlds of art and cooking intertwine. El Internacional was an efficient restaurant, but indulged in quirky concept dining as well.
“[Miralda and Guillén] She created parties for the twins only and set menus based on building materials,” Stephens says.
In keeping with those subversive influences, the book eschews depictions of sumptuous food in favor of surreal visual interpretations of the names of its dishes. In honor of the honorary dish, the cover features an elderly, plastic-horned demon star riding a gleaming steed.
“The horse was in Drake’s video,” Stevens says. “Per day [the model, Seb] He was wearing a three-piece suit and was about 10-15 years older than his profile picture… I’d put him on this incredibly big horse, stick horns to his paper skin, and it was freezing and I was having a meltdown.”
Devils on Horseback The global etymology of dishes with strange names is a layer cake of rumor and storytelling. The pocketable paperback is beautifully decorated with mystical typography and illustrations, giving the feeling that its pages contain incantations, incantations, or mythical tales.
“This is not a complete authority on how these dishes got their names… You could get into an argument with someone about the origins of the dish and [those conversations are] Fuel for a dinner party,” Mora says. “This is awesome and something we don’t want to lose.”
Devils on horseback
White bread cut into slices
Butter or oil To fry the bread
6 lengths of veined bacon
cayenne pepper (optional)
Continental parsley or watercress (for garnish)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Soak the miswak in water to prevent burning. Small prunes are set aside.
Cut out 12 rounds of bread using the top of a champagne flute or a small round cookie cutter.
Fry the bread rolls in very hot fat or butter until golden brown.
Cut the bacon in half, giving you 12 strips of bacon, each strip long enough to wrap around the plums with a 2cm overlap. Skewer the bacon and snip it with a toothpick. Repeat with remaining bacon and peaches.
Bake little devils on a greased baking sheet or pan for 5-10 minutes or until bacon is crisp, flipping as needed.
Place on toast, garnish with cayenne pepper, continental parsley or watercress, and serve immediately, very hot.