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The Story Behind the Toonville Murders: Part One

Jim Korkis gives JHM readers a peek at another fun what-might-have-been project. This time around, it’s a trip through the seedier side of Hollywood’s cartoon underworld.

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I was once described as a living cartoon partly because of my enthusiasm and partly because of a very expressive face highlighted by two heavy black eyebrows that are constantly in motion as if they were two caterpillars in heat. However, I have appeared as a literal cartoon character. My friend Mark Evanier without my knowledge put me in DYNOMUTT #2 (Marvel Comics January 1977) in a story drawn by Dan Spiegle called “Identity Crisis” where a talk show hostess is trying to unmask the true identity of the Blue Falcon. I am one of the suspects (along with three other friends Gary Brown, Jeff Wasserman and Alan Hutchinson who along with me were all members of the same comic book apa at the time) as well as Radley Crown who was the real Blue Falcon. Interestingly, the caricature in the comic book looks pretty close to what I looked like at the time: more hair and less poundage than today’s version. Evanier also took me by surprise again when he included me in GROO THE WANDERER #7 (Pacific Comics, February 1984) where my name was used as the name of a village that was being sacked, looted and pillaged. Then in THE PHANTOM #6 (DC Comics, August 1989) my friend Mark Verheiden (who now writes for SMALLVILLE) cast me as steersman for a boat transporting toxic waste to be dumped in Africa. And that is only the tip of the iceberg.

I’ve even written a few comic books including some Tiny Toons stories for Warner Brothers International that I am particularly proud of and am very thankful to editor Katie Main for her guidance and support which she supplied at the time. Some of you may know that I also wrote over fifty historical introductions to different comic book collections published by Malibu Graphics as well as several dozen more that were never published. One of my greatest regrets is a comic book series that I pitched to Malibu that was animation related than never got published. I think all writers have projects that they loved and think are the greatest projects of all time but none of them have been given an outlet at jimhillmedia to share them.

In 1991, Malibu was going to publish CARTOON CONFIDENTAL, the book about animation written by John Cawley and myself. I was extremely happy with my relationship with Dave Olbrich, Tom Mason and Scott Rosenberg who were running Malibu at the time. Not only were they true professionals but they had a passionate love for what they were doing that more than overcame their budget restrictions.

At the San Diego Comic Book Convention that year, I pitched several ideas to Tom that John Cawley and I had developed as well as some I had developed on my own. Since Malibu only published in black and white, I tried to create projects that would take advantage of that format. One pitch was for a three issue series entitled YOUNG WALT which would have told some inspiration Horatio Alger like stories of the early life of Walt Disney. Since it would deal in the early years before the famous trademarked Disney characters, I felt we could steer clear of possible lawsuits but still cover some of the things that inspired later Disney triumphs as well as achieving an old time movie documentary feel because it was in black and white. I pitched almost a dozen different ideas but there was one that Tom especially liked that was called THE TOONVILLE MURDERS.

Obviously we avoided using the word “Toontown” since it was so closely connected to Disney and Roger Rabbit and besides we had a different idea of how a world where cartoons and humans mixed together would be handled. The story concentrated on the old public domain black and white cartoon characters which I felt would fit in pretty well with the black and white comic book.

Two of the major human players in the story would be John Cawley and myself which I also thought was a neat idea because we were real people and not actors playing a part so it added a sense of greater reality. I also felt that this would help expand the recognition of John and I as animation historians and that the publicity might help us sell some other projects we had under development.

We would use the three issue series to pay homage to some of the great but forgotten cartoon stars of the past, parody animation art dealers/collectors, deal with questions of tolerance, provide commentary on the threat of computer animation and parallel the careers of some of the great live action silent film stars who faded when new technology took over.

A month after the San Diego convention, John and I submitted an outline and Tom wrote a detailed two page single-spaced critique of where he wanted it to go. Following all of his suggestions, we sat down and worked out the outline for a three issue limited series. John is a fox collector so we included two new fox characters (which could be merchandised of course) and I included a cute sexy young female toon because if the series had continued I would have explored what a romantic relationship between a human and a toon might actually be like along the lines of the direction being taken in television’s ALIEN NATION series.

We drove out to the Malibu offices for lunch after we had finished the final outline and got treated to a free lunch and free comics. At lunch, Tom, Dave and Scott were especially interested in the merchandising potential. We had suggested that each cover of the mini series be done with a printed painted plastic cover of a character in black and white with the actual cover being a painted background so when the two were put together it would look like a cel. In each issue would be a coupon and if the reader collected all three coupons , it could be turned in for yet another limited edition fake cel and dealers who ordered so many copies would get as a gift yet another different fake black and white cel. With all the furor of the time over animation cels and dealers marking up the price of the fake cels in the MICKEY IS SIXTY and the BUGS BUNNY birthday magazine, we thought this would catch people’s excitement to buy the comic and hopefully once they did would enjoy it. We talked about trading cards with the characters on the front and animation trivia or animation history on the back.

They suggested PVC figures and wanted to make sure that the characters we finally picked would be suitable for that type of project. We also talked about producing a video with some public domain cartoons of some of the characters that would appear in the series along with commentary by John and myself. John and I guaranteed that we could get some publicity in the animation related publications and that we would make ourselves available so we could talk about animation to radio and television shows publicizing the books since we had both had extensive media training.

We went away and started to work. Then things fell apart. Tom liked the story but worried about finding a suitable artist. John and I talked about approaching friends we knew like Scott Shaw or Dave Bennett or some other animation artist to do the work and then cut them in on the ownership. Tom started to question why Cawley and Korkis were appearing in the book since we weren’t as famous as Leonard Maltin outside the animation community. No matter how much we cut back on the Cawley and Korkis involvement in the story, we kept getting requests to feature Paul Terry, Walt Disney and Winsor McCay as the heroes. We discussed why this might result in some lawsuits and emphasized the publicity advantage and the sense of reality of having Cawley and Korkis in the book and available for appearances.

It became apparent that we were pretty low priority in the overall scheme of things as Malibu was developing other outlets including video games and possible media tie-ins, so by mutual agreement, the project was abandoned. There were no hard feelings. They had obviously worked with other creators who wanted to take projects in different directions than Malibu wanted to go. John and I had other projects including other books where we could devote our energies. Malibu in fact published another animation book by John and I about animation art collecting and I continued to write stuff for Malibu including a three issue comic book history of Sixties Rock and Roll (which was this close to publication until Marvel bought the company and decided not to publish some of the Malibu projects that had been developed).

But, by golly, I liked the TOONVILLE MURDERS and in the hopes you might like it as well. Here is one of the outlines of that comic book series that never was that featured Korkis and Cawley:

 

THE TOONVILLE MURDERS: BOOK ONE

Inside a dingy tenement apartment, silent toon star Dinky Doodle sits reading the obit of his toon dog who committed suicide in his water dish as the Phil Donahue show on television blares away in front of him with Gertie the Dinosaur discussing “Bisexual Toons”. The scene is intercut with film noir images of a large faucet filling up a dirty bathtub.

Debby Doodle, a twenty-something toon girl who is sexy in a wholesome way, is the niece of Dinky and is dragging a human reporter up to the apartment to interview her uncle. Entering the apartment, she screams as she sees an inky sludge floating on top of the bathtub water and spilling onto the floor.

The police arrive and squeegee up the mess and list the cause of death as “washout.” The police officer in charge who resembles Jack Webb explains to a rookie how too much real water will simply “wash” away old black and white toons. In fact, there is an underground business called “cel washing” where they assist old toons with suicide. A distraught Debby is taken off to a Silly Sidney the Elephant cartoon marathon to cheer her up.

The next day at the Toon Placement Center, human and toon employees try to find work for older toons. It is also a social center where old toons gather to play checkers, blow each other up with dynamite, argue about colorization and computerization and reminisce about the old days. All these activities are seen by two humans who look like Dave Olbrich and Tom Mason. They try to comfort Debby who works at the Center. They tell her that the market isn’t right for a comic book about her uncle and that no one would be interested in reading about him.

Foxette, a female toon who also works at the Center, brings in Korkis and Cawley to interview some of the old toons for their next book. The toons are disappointed that it is not Leonard Maltin and even though they have never heard of Korkis and Cawley, they each try to compete for the attention of the writers by recreating some of their classic routines with disastrous results since they lack the timing and flexibility they had when they were younger.

These misadventures end with the entrance of Gertie the Dinosaur and her nephew, Guenther, a sullen, black jacketed bi-ped dinosaur about the size of a small elephant. She is excited that she has an upcoming audition for a commercial about dinosaur shaped cereal and has brought samples. An angry Debby attacks Gertie, claiming the dinosaur ignored her uncle’s repeated calls to her. She is slapped across the room by Guenther and runs outside, followed by Korkis and Cawley. She tells them that if they want a real story to come with her to her uncle’s apartment.

In the alley behind them is a strangely shaped shadow and there is crackling laughter which the trio do not hear. In the apartment, human collectors are ransacking the place, taking model sheets, cels, etc. while landlord Molly Moo Cow, a toon, explains that she let them in because they paid Dinky’s back rent. Korkis and Cawley have to physically restrain Debby from tying the cow’s udder to her cowbell and they yell at everyone to get out.

They sit Debby in front of the television to watch Dan Rather on the news and calm down as they straighten up the apartment. Korkis finds a magazine shoved behind a desk with a reference to computer animation circled. Debby is puzzled because her uncle hated computer animation.

Suddenly, Rather announces the suicide of Gertie the Dinosaur, switching to a toon reporter standing in Gertie’s backyard. There is a large grey sludge floating on top of a swimming pool. An upset gardener who looks like Rodney Dangerfield tells police that he doesn’t know how real water rather than toon water got in the pool.

“It wasn’t suicide,” states Cawley to a stunned Korkis and Debby, “It was murder and I can prove it. The killer made one mistake.”

Through the open door to the apartment are seen gloved hands holding a water bucket with water dripping down the sides. Join us next time for “Water You Doing?” or “Wetting for Godot.”

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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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