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Location: Great Boreal Deciduous Hardwood Forest, New England, United States

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26 April 2005

Shareef don't like it! He says it's not kosher!

Rock the Casbah
The Clash

Now the King told the boogie men
You have to let that raga drop
The oil down the desert way
Has been shakin' to the top

The Sheik he drove his Cadillac
He went a' cruisin' down the ville
The Muezzin was a' standing
On the radiator grille

Shareef don't like it
Rockin' the Casbah
Rock the Casbah
Shareef don't like it
Rockin' the Casbah
Rock the Casbah

By order of the Prophet
We ban that boogie sound
Degenerate the faithful
With that crazy Casbah sound

But the Bedouin they brought out
The electric camel drum
The local guitar picker
Got his guitar picking thumb
As soon as the Shareef
Had cleared the square
They began to wail

Now over at the temple
Oh! They really pack 'em in
The in-crowd say it's cool
To dig this chanting thing

But as the wind changed direction
The temple band took five
The crowd caught a wiff
Of that crazy Casbah jive

The King called up his jet fighters
He said you better earn your pay
Drop your bombs between the minarets
Down the Casbah way

As soon as the Shareef was
Chauffeured outta there
The jet pilots tuned to
The cockpit radio blare

As soon as the Shareef was
Outta their hair
The jet pilots wailed

He thinks it's not kosher
Fundamentally he can't take it.
You know he really hates it.

Both Muslims and Jews ain't supposed to eat pigs. To Jews, pigs are Not Kosher ( = Trafe), to Muslims they're Not Halal ( = Haraam).

After a thousand golden years of living together as neighbors in peace, respect and cooperation from Spain to India, Jews and Muslims are having hard times getting along in our lifetimes. But in the USA about five years ago, Imams and Rabbis got together to ask the processed food industry to stop using a factory lubricant which was pork-fat-based. (You don't exactly eat it, it just helps the factory push the food goop through the pipes.) Their cooperation was a success, and now the factories use an entirely synthetic lubricant.

Last year in the UK, Her Majesty's Government threatened to forbid both the traditional Kosher and the traditional Muslim method of slaughtering cows, claiming it to be unnecessarily cruel. So once again, whether they like it or not, Imams and Rabbis, and Jewish butchers and Muslim butchers are having to cooperate to save their ways of preparing meat, which are how the Torah (first five books of the Old Testament) and the Q'uran demands that it be done. On just the question of animal cruelty, both kinds of butchers passionately tell the Beeb that their kind of slaughtering is not cruel, that God forbids cruelty to animals.

I don't know if Her Majesty has backed down or changed her mind. She's the Queen. What's the point of being the Queen if your vassals and serfs can thwart you? Complaints??? Complaints??? Off with their heads! That one in the back row -- scrub him down and bring him to me after supper! (That's the way it worked in the good old days.)

Lord knows what technical disaster is about to happen, there are all kinds of strange semi-visible blinking symbols on my screen, but with any luck, you're about to see some alheira. There are hundreds of sites about this very popular sausage in Portugues, but very few in English, with a picture. (I know Steve loves pictures of raw sausages.) This is from The Portuguese Culture Web.

Alheiras, or stuffed sausage

The history of the alheira is associated with the presence of the Jews in Trás-os-Montes, after their expulsion from Castile by the Catholic Kings in 1492. They came from Benavente and Zamora by way of Bragança, Mirandado Douro, Freixo de Espada à Cinta and Chaves and they settled in several small towns includingAlfândega da Fé, Macedo de Cavaleiros, Mirandela, Mogadouro and Torre de Moncorvo, whose Rabino they were dependent on.

Here they settled and prospered until King Manuel I decided to seize their wealth, expelling them or sending them to the fires of the Inquisition.

While the rich Jews left for the lands of France, Italy, and Flanders, the poor ones stayed and converted to Catholicism. The New Christians were born.

Nevertheless, the work of the Inquisition did not stop, since even in the smallest and most isolated villages of this region, it tried to find out who did not work on Saturday, who did not eat fish without scales or pork.

It was for this reason that there began to appear above the comfortable fireplaces that lessened the rigours of winter, some golden and round stuffed sausage que seemed to be made of a recently killed pig.

But although the vestiges of their religious tradition were fading, the persecuted New Christians, instead of putting tripe from the animal that Mosaic law prohibited, used the fat hen raised in their yard, assorted hunted animals, and mixed everything together in bread with olive oil and wild garlic, giving the name to the sausage--alho, alheira.

The people who always lived here, knowing the fine taste of the alheira, began to make it, but instead added pork, which they thought was in its origin and was cheaper for them. The alheira was born.

There are only 7 days of the week on Vleeptron, and so there was no room for everybody's favorite sausage.

When my overnight ferry from England to the Netherlands served cafeteria breakfast, they served an English sausage, black pudding, that looked so disgusting that I almost wouldn't eat it.

Almost. And it tasted disgusting, too.

As you've probably begun to suspect, I have a serious sausage-abuse problem. Heroin, opium, cocaine, liquor, Oxycontin, methamphetamines, LSD, I can take 'em or leave 'em ... but of all the addictions, a sausage jones is the wurst, particularly when I'm doing the trains and ferries of Europe.

Wherever the train stops for three minutes, there's always a vendor of hot fat-dripping local sausage ready to enable me. Euros and the sausage are exchanged, and I'm straight again for the next 170 km. Language skills are not required. I just point. Often I never learn the name of the tubular thing I just tossed down my maw.

Another English-language site is a specialty (read: overpriced) sausage-maker from Ludlow, Massachusetts,
which I could drive to in about 25 minutes. They claim to make alheira, but their recipe is part chicken and part Porky and Petunia.

Ya know that's not kosher!

When the US military began gearing up for the first Persian Gulf War, the Clash's "Rock the Casbah" was the first song their radio station played for the soldiers (and every Muslim with a transistor radio within 500 miles of the transmitter).


Blogger Joana said...

Good boy! You've done your homework on the «alheira».

You deserve a «virtual» alheira ;)

Blogger Bob Merkin said...

Another excuse to eat a new sausage! Life is good!


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