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Indiana Jones and the lost action sequence

As a special Memorial Day treat, Jim Hill shares a scene that was cut out of Lawrence Kasdan’s original screenplay for “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Where Indy battled samurai as well as a machine-gun toting warlord

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Peter S. writes in to say:



Jim


I caught the midnight show of “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” last night. And for the most part, I agree with your review of this film. “Crystal Skull” wasn’t nearly as good as “Raiders of the Lost Ark” was. But it wasn’t as bad as “Temple of Doom” was either.


Speaking of “Raiders,” in your review you talked about some scenes that were cut out of the first Indiana Jones movie. Could you please tell JHM readers what these cut scenes were like?


Thanks. Love the site.


Peter S.


Dear Peter S.


I’ll go you one better. How would you like to read one of these scenes?


Now please keep in mind that the following is from the 3rd draft of the “Raiders of the Lost Ark” screenplay (Which was written in June of 1979). Back then, George Lucas still thought that Indiana Jones used the money that he made off of his archeaological adventures to fund a rather lavish lifestyle. Which explains the following:


EXT, FRONT DOOR, INDY’S HOUSE – NIGHT



Indy’s English Tudor, upper middle class home. Quite toney; well beyond the financial means of an honest college professor. Marcus Brody has already rung the bell. Indy opens the door. He is dressed in a tuxedo.





BRODY
I’ve got to talk to you.


INDY
This isn’t really a good time.

BRODY
Indy, it’s important.


INDY
All right. Come on in.


 



Copyright 1984 Paramount Pictures


INT. FOYER, INDY’S HOUSE



The lush tone continues here in Art Deco and shiny marble. Indy motions Brody toward the study to one side.





INDY
I’ll be in in a minute.


As Brody passes the entrance to the expansive living room, he spots a beautiful, silk-gowned Harlow-type lounging on the sofa in front of a roaring fire. She is sipping champagne.


INT. STUDY, INDY’S HOUSE



Brody enters the book-lined, dark-wooded study. He paces for a moment before the fire which is dying in the fireplace, then spots something and goes over to Indy’s big desk. The surface is covered with open books, monographs, maps and drawings — all about the Ark of the Covenant. Body smiles; he knows his friend very well. Indy comes in, closing the door behind him. Brody turns to him with a triumphant expression.




BRODY
They want you to go for it. And they’ll pay.

INDY
(Smiles) Good work, Marcus. I had a feeling this would happen. And, of course, the Museum gets the Ark when we’re done.


BRODY
(Smiles) Of course.


Indy’s manner is vigorous, aggressive




INDY
Okay, here’s the way it’s gonna be. First, I’ll high-tail it to Shanghai and get the piece from General Hok. Then I think I know where I can find Ravenwood. If only I can get —


BRODY
General Hok’s a tough customer. They don’t call him the Wild Boar for nothing. And he’s tied in with the Japanese.


INDY
I’ll worry about that when the time comes. My only hope is to find the Well of the Souls before the Nazis.















WIPE TO :


EXT. IN THE AIR – DAY/NIGHT



A Pan Am Clipper flies west over the Pacific.














WIPE TO:


INT. KEHOE’S CAR (SHANGHAI AIRPORT) – DAY




Indy is barely into the front seat of a dilapidated Ford as the driver, BUZZ KEHOE, is peeling away into traffic. In the back seat is a Chinese named BANG CHOW. Kehoe zigs crazily through traffic with only his left hand as he reaches over to shake with Indy.



KEHOE
Buzz Kehoe, Army Intelligence. You’ve met Bang Chow.


INDY
What’s the hurry?


KEHOE
Some German agents got here two hours ago. Luckily, Bang was able to have them detained at Customs. We’ll have to hurry.

EXT. HOK’S STREET – DAY



Kehoe’s car emerges from an alley. Down the block is Tengtu Hok’s modest, walled palace. Kehoe’s car slows a bit and Bang steps from the moving car with a small black suitcase in his hand. While he heads down the street toward Hok’s place, Kehoe’s car continues across the street and into an alley on the other side.




Copyright 1980 Lucasfilm Ltd.


EXT. HOK’S STREET – IN FRONT OF PALACE – DAY



A Mercedes limousine appears around a corner and squeals to a stop at the front gate of the palace, which is manned by a sturdy Chinese Gateman. There are three Germans inside, one the driver.



EXT. ALLEY BEHIND HOK’S MUSEUM – DAY



Kehoe, alone now, pushes a trash container casually into position to hide a newly created hole in the rear wall of Hok’s Museum where several stone blocks have been removed. He looks around and ambles back to his car.

 


 


INT. HOK’S PALACE – ENTRY HALL




The three Germans wait impatiently in a magnificent foyer. A chime sounds and huge double doors open to reveal TENGTU HOK, flanked by two uniformed Japanese Soldiers and a robed Chinese Advisor. He wears a fantastic gold ornamental robe. Despite the majesty, however, nothing can disguise the fact that Hok is basically a wild, fat barbarian; an animal. Hok and his escort group bow in what is the beginning of a long welcoming ceremony. The Germans exchange impatient glances but decide they should play it as it comes. They bow.



INT. HOK’S MUSEUM



No person in sight. Instead, we see a magnificent display of ancient artifacts. Glass cases hold the velvet-couched pieces at random spots on the shining marble floor. We hear an odd sound. Near the floor on the rear wall of the museum, a steel ventilation grate moves. A hand slides it gently across the marble. Indy sticks his head out and looks around.


INT. HOK’S PALACE – TEA ROOM




The three Germans are being served tea and exotic delicacies. A pleased Tengtu Hok watches from a throne-cushion. When a tray of tiny delicacies is presented to him, he takes a massive handful, crushing them together on the way to his smiling mouth.



INT. HOK’S MUSEUM



A huge golden gong, seven feet in diameter, is suspended from the ceiling by a hook. An enormous hammer hangs poised above it, from which emanate myraid tiny threads which run up and across the ceiling, then down to the various display cases. Indy looks up at the gong, then continues his quick, quiet foray among the cases. Beyond him, a high window.


INT. HOK’S PALACE – TEA ROOM



Hok and his visitors stand to go. The German’s pleased expression make it clear that they’re finally on their way to the museum.

INT. HOK’S MUSEUM



Indy arrives at his destination. The lovely, carved gold section of the headpiece is nested on purple velvet in a glass case. At the bottom of the piece is a round hollow where the staff would fit. There is a grunting sound behind Indy and he spins, already reaching for his revolver.




Copyright 1984 Paramount Pictures



A fierce Japanese Samurai is running at Indy full speed down an aisle of display cases. His sword is raised over his shoulder ready to cut Indy in half. He’s six feet away when Indy’s gun levels and fires twice, blasting him backwards. Indy is still looking over his gun when another samurai sword comes down from the side and knocks the pistol brutally out of Indy’s grip; his hand avoids amputation by a quarter of an inch.



An amazed Indy backs away from the crossing aisle as the Second Samurai steps in to face him, sword raised. Indy backs away into an open space and his bullwhip appears in his hand. He gives it one savage CRACK! to announce its arrival and the Samurai slows down, eyeing it curiously.

The Samurai does not look unhappy about this confrontation. How pure it is — The Sword versus the Whip.



EXT. HOK’S PALACE – SECOND FLOOR WALKWAY – DAY



Tengtu Hok and the Germans have obviously heard something. They are hurrying along the walkway at the side of the building. Hok in the lead. Up ahead is the foot bridge which crosses from the palace to the museum entrance over a moat.


EXT. STREET IN FRONT OF THE PALACE – DAY




The lovely Mercedes limousine blows up.


EXT. HOK’S PALACE – SECOND FLOOR WALKWAY – DAY



The Germans spin toward the blast. Drawing weapons, they ran back to investigate. Hok follows them, confused.



INT. HOK’S MUSEUM



Indy and the Samurai face each other. They’re both breathing hard from previous, no-contract passes at each other. Now Indy begins swinging the whip over his head again. It whizzes out toward the Samurai’s face. The Samurai takes two lightning-quick cuts at the leather, but misses. Indy swings at the Samurai’s feet; the Japanese jumps nimbly, slashing at the whip. Indy does it again. The Samurai hops it. Once more. The Samurai is concentrating on hopping it.


Indy sees it. The split second he wants. The whip flashes up from the floor and wraps solidly and irrevocably around the Samurai’s neck. Indy gives it a murderous pull and the Samurai is dead on his feet.


EXT. HOK’S PALACE – SECOND FLOOR WALKWAY – DAY



Hok and the three Germans are looking down at the flaming remains of the Mercedes. A look of concern crosses Hok’s face. He turns and runs back to his beloved museum.


INT. HOK’S MUSEUM



Indy is at the case containing the headpiece. He smashes the glass with a samurai sword, reaches in and grabs the piece. Immediately, behind him, the huge hammer falls and the sound of the gong thunders through the museum.


EXT. HOK’S PALACE — SECOND FLOOR WALKWAY – DAY



At the sound of the gong, the running Hok skids to a halt with a crazed expression on his face. He disappears for two seconds in an alcove and emerges holding a big, black Thompson Submachine Gun. He runs across the foot bridge and is just barely over it when it blows up. Hok, safe, looks behind him in amazement and then turns to the museum.


INT. HOK’S MUSEUM



The double doors at the entrance slam open to reveal Hok. Indy is halfway along an unprotected wall back to his ventilation entry route. Hok opens fire on him, cutting off his retreat. Indy jumps behind a marble column, which is promptly blasted with machine gun fire.


Indy looks above him, sees the giant disk of the gong. Reaching up, pushing with tremendous effort, he maneuvers it off its hook. It bounces down to the floor on its side, chipping the marble with its monstrous weight. Indy steadies it and then puts his whole body into rolling it across the room toward the window. As it starts to roll, Indy slips behind it and runs across the room with it.


Hok can see the rolling gong. He opens up on it. The vicious cacophony of machine gun is joined by the musical reports of bullets hitting the gong and ricocheting away. Very, very noisy.


Behind the gong, Indy gauges his move. As the gong is about to be stopped by a marble bench, Indy takes a long stride onto the bench and dives through the glass of the high window. Hok’s bullets hit the wall.


EXT. ROOF – DAY



Indy lands in a shower of glass on the jutting roof of the museum’s first floor. He rolls to a crouch and is immediately being fired upon. The Germans, cut off from the museum, are standing on the palace walkway firing at him. Indy takes off fast for the rear of the museum.


EXT. ALLEY BEHIND MUSEUM – DAY



Kehoe, craning to locate Indy, has the Ford rolling slowly along the back of the museum. Bang scouts from the back seat. Indy appears on the roof at a run, gauges the movement of the car and jumps from the roof of the museum to the roof of the sedan. Unfortunately, the roof of the old car can’t take it and Indy’s legs knife right on through to the interior, where he scares the hell out of Kehoe.


INT. KEHOE’S CAR – DAY




Indy squirms his way down into the seat.





KEHOE
Jesus ! Are you alright !


INDY
(he’s felt better)
Great. Got it.

 


Copyright 1980 Lucasfilm Ltd.



Kehoe guns it, throwing Indy back against the cushions.




KEHOE
What now?



INDY
I’ve got to get to Nepal.










WIPE TO:

EXT. DC-3 IN THE AIR – DUSK




The plane flies west into the sunset.


INT. DC-3 – NIGHT



Under a meager seat light, Indy is pouring over a journal article by Abner Ravenwood and related map of Nepal.


A few rows back, across the aisle, a trenchcoated European Spy eyes Indy.

Kind of a fun scene, don’t you think? So why did George Lucas & Steven Spielberg cut this particular sequence out of “Raiders” ? A variety of reasons, actually.

 

For one, George & Steven were trying to keep costs down on this Paramount Pictures production. And an additional action sequence like this would have quite a dent in the film’s $20 million budget.

 

More to the point, Spielberg supposedly felt that it was crucial to introduce Marion Ravenwood as quickly as possible in “Raiders.” Which is why Indy’s exciting side trip to Shanghai eventually got cut and — in the finished film — he flew straight to Nepal to then begin his search for the Ark of the Covenant.


Mind you, Lucas liked a lot of what Lawrence Kasdan had written for this “Raiders of the Lost Ark” action sequence. So much so that George lifted various elements from this cut scene and then dropped them into “The Temple of Doom” ‘s opening sequence.

 

So what do you folks think? Would “Raiders” have been a better movie if this particular action sequence had been left in the shooting script?

 

Your thoughts?

Jim Hill is an entertainment writer who has specialized in covering The Walt Disney Company for nearly 40 years now. Over that time, he has interviewed hundreds of animators, actors, and Imagineers -- many of whom have shared behind-the-scenes stories with Mr. Hill about how the Mouse House really works. In addition to the 4000+ articles Jim has written for the Web, he also co-hosts a trio of popular podcasts: “Disney Dish with Len Testa,” “Fine Tooning with Drew Taylor” and “Marvel US Disney with Aaron Adams.” Mr. Hill makes his home in Southern New Hampshire with his lovely wife Nancy and two obnoxious cats, Ginger & Betty.

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Jens Dahlmann of LongHorn Steakhouse has lots of great tips when it comes to grilling

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Sure, for some folks, the Fourth of July is all about fireworks. But for the 75% of all Americans who own a grill or a smoker, the Fourth is our Nation’s No. 1 holiday when it comes to grilling. Which is why 3 out of 4 of those folks will spend some time outside today working over a fire.

But here’s the thing: Though 14 million Americans can cook a steak with confidence because they actually grill something every week, the rest of us – because we use our grill or smoker so infrequently … Well, let’s just say that we have no chops when it comes to dealing with chops (pork, veal or otherwise).

So what’s a backyard chef supposed to in a situation like this when there’s so much at steak … er … stake? Turn to someone who really knows their way around a grill for advice. People like Jens Dahlmann, the Vice President and Corporate Executive Chef for Darden Restaurant’s LongHorn Steakhouse brand.

Given that Jens’ father & grandfather were chefs, this is a guy who literally grew up in a kitchen. In his teens & twenties, Dahlmann worked in hotels & restaurants all over Switzerland & Germany. Once he was classically trained in the culinary arts, Jens then  jumped ship. Well, started working on cruise ships, I mean.

Anyway … While working on Cunard’s Sea Goddess, Dahlmann met Sirio Maccioni, the founder of Le Cirque 2000. Sirio was so impressed with Jens’ skills in the kitchen that he offered him the opportunity to become sous-chef at this New York landmark. After four years of working in Manhattan, Dahlmann then headed south to become executive chef at Palm Beach’s prestigious Café L’Europe.

Jens Dahlmann back during his Disney World days

And once Jens began wowing foodies in Florida, it wasn’t all that long ’til the Mouse came a-calling. Mickey wanted Dahlmann to shake things up in the kitchen over at WDW’s Flying Fish Café. And he did such a good job with that Disney’s Boardwalk eatery the next thing Jens knew, he was then being asked to work his magic with the menu at the Contemporary Resort’s California Grill.

From there, Dahlmann had a relatively meteoric rise at the Mouse House. Once he became Epcot’s Food & Beverage general manager, it was only a matter of time before he wound up as the executive chef in charge of this theme park’s annual International Food & Wine Festival. Which – under Jens’ guidance – experienced some truly explosive growth.

“When I took on Food & Wine, that festival was only 35 days long and had gross revenues of just $5.5 million. When I left Disney in 2016, Food & Wine was now over 50 days long and that festival had gross revenues of $22 million,” Dahlmann admitted during a recent sit-down. “I honestly loved those 13 years I spent at Disney. When I was working there, I learned so much because I was really cooking for America.”

And it was exactly that sort of experience & expertise that Darden wanted to tap into when they lured Jens away from Mickey last year to become LongHorn Steakhouse’s new Vice President and Corporate Executive Chef. But today … Well, Dahlmann is offering tips to those of us who are thinking about cooking steak tips for the Fourth.

Photo by Jim Hill

“When you’re planning on grilling this holiday, if you’re looking for a successful result, the obvious place to start is with the quality of the meat you plan on cooking for your friends & family. If you want the best results here, don’t be cheap when you go shopping. Spend the money necessary for a fresh filet or a New York strip. Better yet a Ribeye, a nice thick one with good marbling. Because when you look at the marbling on a steak, that’s where all the flavor happens,” Jens explained. “That said, you always have to remember that — the higher you go with the quality of your meat — the less time you’re going to want that piece of meat to spend on the grill.”

And speaking of cooking … Before you even get started here, Jens suggests that you first take the time to check over all of your grilling equipment. Making sure that the grill itself is first scraped clean & then properly oiled before you then turn up the heat.

“If you’re working with a dirty grill, when you go to turn your meat, it may wind up sticking to the grill. Or maybe those spices that you’ve just so carefully coated your steak with will wind up sticking to the grill, rather than your meat,” Dahlmann continued. “Which is why it’s always worth it to spend a few minutes prior to firing up your grill properly cleaning & oiling it.”

Photo by Jim Hill

And speaking of heat … Again, before you officially get started grilling here, Jens says that it’s crucial to check your temperature gauges. Make sure that your char grill is set at 550 (so that it can then properly handle the thicker cuts of meat) and your flattop is set at 425 (so it can properly sear thinner pieces of meat).

Okay. Once you’ve bought the right cuts of quality meat, properly cleaned & oiled your grill, and then made sure that everything’s set at the right temperature (“If you can only stand to hold your hand directly over the grill for two or three seconds, that’s the right amount of heat,” Dahlmann said), it’s now time to season your steaks.

“Don’t be afraid to be bold here. You can’t be shy when it comes to seasoning your meat. You want to give it a nice coating. Largely because — if you’re using a char grill — a lot of that seasoning is just going to fall off anyway,” Jens stated. “It’s up to you to decide what sort of seasoning you want to use here. Even just some salt & pepper will enhance a steak’s flavor.”

Then – according to Dahlmann – comes the really tough part. Which is placing your meat on the grill and then fighting the urge to flip it too early or too often.

“The biggest mistake that a lot of amateur cooks make is that they flip the steak too many times. The real key to a well-cooked piece of meat is just let it be, “Jens insisted. “Of course, if you’re serving different cuts of meat at your Fourth of July feast, you always want to put your biggest thickest steak on the grill first. If you’re also cooking a New York Strip, you want to put that one on a few minutes later. But after that, just let the grill do its job and flip your meat a total of three or four times, once every three minutes or so.”

Of course, the last thing you want to do is overcook a quality piece of meat. Which is why Dahlmann suggests that – when it comes to grilling steaks – if you’re going to err, err on the side of undercooking.

“You can always put a piece of meat back on the grill if it’s slightly undercooked. When you over-cook something, all you can do then is start over with a brand-new piece of meat,” Jens said. “Just be sure that you’re using the correct cut of meat for the cooking result you’re aiming for. If someone wants a rare or medium rare steak, you should go with a thicker cut of steak. If one of your guests wants their steak cooked medium or well, it’s best to start with a thinner cut of meat.”

Photo by Jim Hill

As you can see, the folks at Longhorn take grilling steaks seriously. How seriously? Just last week at Darden Corporate Headquarters in Orlando, seven of these brand’s top grill masters (who – after weeks of regional competitions – had been culled from the 491 restaurants that make up this chain) competed for a $10,000 prize in the Company’s second annual Steak Master Series. And Dahlmann was one of the people who stood in Darden’s test kitchens, watching like a hawk as each of the contestants struggled to prepare six different dishes in just 20 minutes according to Longhorn Steakhouse’s exacting standards.

“I love that Darden does this. Recognizing the best of the best who work this restaurant,” Jens concluded. “We have a lot of people here who are incredibly knowledgeable & passionate when it comes to grilling.”

Speaking of which … If today’s story doesn’t include the exact piece of info that you need to properly grill that T-bone, just whip out your iPhone & text GRILL to 55702. Or – better yet – visit  ExpertGriller.com prior to firing up your grill or smoker later today. 

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Tuesday, July 4, 2017

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Brattleboro’s Strolling of the Heifers is a sincere if somewhat surreal way to spend a summer’s day in Vermont

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Some people travel halfway ‘around the planet so that they can then experience the excitement of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. If you’re more of a Slow Living enthusiast (as I am), then perhaps you should amble to Brattleboro, VT. Where – over the first weekend in June – you can then join a herd of cow enthusiasts at the annual Strolling of the Heifers.

Now in its 16th year, this three-day long event typically gets underway on Friday night in June with a combination block party / gallery walk. But then – come Saturday morning – Main Street in Brattleboro is lined with thousands of bovine fans.

Photo by Jim Hill

They’ve staked out primo viewing spots and set up camp chairs hours ahead of time. Just so these folks can then have a front row seat as this year’s crop of calves (which all come from local farms & 4-H clubs) are paraded through the streets.

Photo by Jim Hill

Viewed from curbside, Strolling of the Heifers is kind of this weird melding of a sincere small town celebration and Pasadena’s Doo Dah Parade. Meaning that – for every entry that actually acknowledged this year’s theme (i.e. “Dance to the Moosic”) — …

Photo by Jim Hill

… there was something completely random, like this parade’s synchronized shopping cart unit.

Photo by Jim Hill

And for every piece of authentic Americana (EX: That collection of antique John Deere tractors that came chugging through the city) …

Photo by Jim Hill

… there was something silly. Like – say – a woman dressed as a Holstein pushing a baby stroller through the streets. And riding in that stroller was a pig dressed in a tutu.

Photo by Jim Hill

And given that this event was being staged in the Green Mountain State & all … Well, does it really surprise you to learn that — among the groups that marched in this year’s Strolling of the Heifers – was a group of eco-friendly folks who, with their  chants of “We’re Number One !,” tried to persuade people along the parade route not to flush the toilet after they pee. Because – as it turns out – urine can be turned into fertilizer.

Photo by Jim Hill

And speaking of fertilizer … At the tail end of the parade, there was a group of dedicated volunteers who were dealing with what came out of the tail end of all those cows.

Photo by Jim Hill

This year’s Strolling of the Heifers concluded at the Brattleboro town common. Where event attendees could then get a closer look at some of the featured units in this year’s parade…

Photo by Jim Hill

… or perhaps even pet a few of the participants.

Photo by Jim Hill

But as for the 90+ calves who took part in the 2017 edition of Strolling of the Heifers, once they reached the town common, it was now time for a nosh or a nap.

Photo by Jim Hill

Elsewhere on the common, keeping with this year’s “Dance to the Moosic” theme, various musical groups performed in & around the gazebo throughout the afternoon.

Photo by Jim Hill

While just across the way – keeping with Brattleboro’s tradition of showcasing the various artisans who live & work in the local community – some pretty funky pieces were on display at the Slow Living Exposition.

Photo by Jim Hill

All in all, attending Strolling of the Heifers is a somewhat surreal but still very pleasant way to spend a summer’s day in Vermont. And that’s no bull.

Photo by Jim Hill

Well, that could be a bull. To be honest, what with the wig & all, it’s kind of hard to tell. 

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Sunday, June 4, 2017

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Looking to make an authentic Irish meal for Saint Patrick’s Day? If so, then chef Kevin Dundon says not to cook corned beef & cabbage

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Let’s at least start on a positive note: Celebrated chef, author & TV personality Kevin Dundon – the man that Tourism Ireland has repeatedly chosen as the Face of Irish Food – loves a lot of what happens in the United States on March 17th.

“I mean, look at what they do in Chicago on Saint Patrick’s Day. They toss all of this vegetable-based dye into the Chicago River and then paint it green for a day. That’s terrific,” Kevin said.

But then when it comes to what many Americans eat & drink on St. Paddy’s Day (i.e., a big plate of corned beef and cabbage. Which is then washed down with a mug of green beer) … Well, that’s where Dundon has to draw the line.

Irish celebrity chef Kevin Dundon displays a traditional Irish loin of bacon with Colcannon potatoes and a Dunbrody Kiss chocolate dessert. Photo by Tom Burton. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“Green beer? No real Irishman would be caught dead drinking that stuff,” Kevin insists. “And as for eating corned beef & cabbage … That’s not actually authentic Irish fare either. Bacon and cabbage? Sure. But corned beef & cabbage was something that the Irish only began eating after they’d come to the States to escape the Famine. And even then these Irish-Americans only began serving corned beef & cabbage to their friends & family because they had to make do with the ingredients that were available to them at that time.”

And thus begins the strange tale of how corned beef & cabbage came to be associated with the North American celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. Because – according to Dundon – beef just wasn’t all that big a part of the Irish diet back in the 19th century.

To explain: Back in the Old Country, cattle – while they were obviously highly prized for the milk & cheese that they produced – were also beasts of burden. Meaning that they were often used for ploughing the fields or for hauling heavy loads. Which is why – back then — these animals were rarely slaughtered when they were still young & healthy. If anything, land owners liked to put a herd of cattle on display out in one of their pastures because that was then a sign to their neighbors that this farm was prosperous.

“Whereas pork … Well, everybody raised pigs back then. Which is why pork was a staple of the Irish diet rather than beef,” Dundon continued.

So if that’s what people actually ate back in the Old Country, how then did corned beef & cabbage come to be so strongly associated with Saint Patrick’s Day in the States.? That largely had to do with where the Irish wound up living after they arrived in the New World.

“When the Irish first arrived in America following the Great Famine, a lot of them wound up living in the inner city right alongside the Germans & the Jews, who were also recent immigrants to the States. And while that farm-fresh pork that the Irish loved wasn’t readily available, there was brisket. Which the Irish could then cure by first covering this piece of meat with corn kernel-sized pieces of rock salt – that’s how it came to be called corned beef. Because of the sizes of the pieces of rock salt that were used in the curing process – and then placing all that in a pot of water with other spices to soak for a few days.”

And as for the cabbage portion of corned beef & cabbage … Well, according to Kevin, in addition to buying their meat from the kosher delis in their neighborhood, the Irish would also frequent the stores that the German community shopped in. Where – thanks to their love of sauerkraut (i.e., pickled cabbage) – there was always a ready supply of cabbage to be had.

“So when you get right down to it, it was the American melting pot that led to corned beef & cabbage being found in the Irish-American cooking pot,” Dundon continued. “Since they couldn’t find or didn’t have easy access to the exact same ingredients that they had back in Ireland, Irish-Americans made do with what they could find in the immediate vicinity. And what they made was admittedly tasty. But it’s not actually authentic Irish fare.”

Mind you, what Kevin serves at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant at Disney Springs (which – FYI – Orlando Magazine voted as the area’s best restaurant back in 2014) is nothing if not authentic. Dundon and his team at this acclaimed gastropub pride themselves on making traditional Irish fare and then contemporized it.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

“Take – for example – what we serve here instead of corned beef & cabbage. Again, because it was pork – rather than beef – that was the true staple of the Irish diet back then, what we offer instead is a loin of bacon that has been glazed with Irish Mist. That then comes with colcannon potatoes. Which is this traditional Irish dish that’s made up of mashed potato that have had some cabbage & bacon mixed through it,” Kevin enthused. “This heavenly ham – that’s what we actually call this traditional Irish dish at Raglan Road, Kevin’s Heavenly Ham – also includes some savory cabbage with a parsley cream sauce as well as a raisin cider jus. It’s simple food. But because of the basic ingredients – and that’s the real secret of Irish cuisine. That our ingredients are so strong – the flavors just pop off the plate.”

Which brings us to the real challenge that Dundon and the Raglan Road team face every day. Making sure that they actually have all of the ingredients necessary to make this traditional-yet-contemporized Irish fare to those folks who frequent this Walt Disney World favorite.

“Take – for example – the fish we serve here. We only used cold water fish. Salmon, mussels and haddock that have been hauled out of the Atlantic, the ocean that America and Ireland share,” Kevin stated. “Not that there’s anything wrong with warm water fish. It’s just that … Well, it doesn’t have the same structure. It’s a softer fish, which doesn’t really fit the parameters of Irish cuisine. And if you’re going to serve authentic food, you have to be this dedicated when it comes to sourcing your ingredients.

Copyright Mitchell Beazley. All rights reserved

And if you’re thinking of perhaps trying to serve an authentic Irish meal this year, rather than once again serving corned beef & cabbage at your Saint Patrick’s Day Feast … Well, back in September of last year, Mitchell Beazley published “The Raglan Road Cookbook: Inside America’s Favorite Irish Pub.” This 296-page hardcover not only includes the recipe for Kevin’s Heavenly Ham but also it tells the tale of how this now-world-renown restaurant wound up being built in Orlando.

On the other hand, if you happen to have to the luck of the Irish and are actually down at The Walt Disney World Resort right now, it’s worth noting that Raglan Road is right in the middle of its Mighty St. Patrick’s Day Festival. This four day-long event – which includes Irish bands and professional dancers – stretches through Sunday night. And in addition to all that authentic Irish fare that Dundon and his team are cooking up, you also sample the fine selection of beers & cocktails that this establishment’s four distinct antique bars (each of which are more than 130 years old and were imported directly from Ireland) will be serving. Just – As ucht Dé (That’s “For God’s Sake” in Gaelic) – don’t make the mistake of asking the bartender there for a mug of green beer.

“Why would anyone willingly drink something like that?,” Dundon laughed. “I mean, just imagine what their washroom will look like the morning after.”

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Friday, March 17, 2017

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