Belcher Gastronomique

A cheerily unalphabetical dictionary of food terms


Soffritto is an Italian term referring to various incarnations of a base common to a wide variety of Italian dishes. A basic soffritto typically consists of chopped onions, parsley, and carrots or celery fried in olive oil (though butter, or a combination of oil and butter may be used, especially in the North of Italy). Though there are many regional variations, the soffritto is ubiquitous as a first step in the preparation of risotto, marinara and other ragu, soup, and many other dishes.

“Was there ever a dish more misunderstood than spaghetti Bolognese?… Some vague folk memory of the soffritto (the sautéed mix of onion, parsley and carrots and celery that forms the base of almost every Italian pasta sauce) dictated that carrots were usually present, but usually accompanied by all sorts of surprising vegetable additions.”

– Heston Blumenthal, In Search of Perfection, p. 172


January 6, 2010 Posted by | S, So, Sof | , | Leave a comment

Major General Albert (Bert) N. Stubblebine III

Major General Albert (Bert) N. Stubblebine III is an expert in PsyOps and Intelligence. He was the subject of Jon Ronson’s The Men Who Stare at Goats. Ronson was led to him through Uri Geller who claimed to have been working as a psychic spy. As if the story could not get stranger, Major General Stubblebine, with his wife Rima Laibow, and their Natural Solutions Foundation, is behind an extraordinarily transparent misinformation campaign regarding the sinister Codex Alimentarius.

That such a campaign is transparent, however, does not of course mean that it has not been successful. A vanishingly small number of people are aware of Codex Alimentarius and what it will mean when it is implemented from December 31st 2009. The Codex, which is clearly intended from its latin name onwards, to be unintelligible, will have serious repercussions for millions of people. It can be soberly said to declare war on civilisation, which began with agricultural cultivation and, of necessity, the storage and selection of seeds, since, following the destruction of Iraq and its cultural inheritage in the second Iraq war, a law known as Order 81 has been passed in Iraq – sometimes called “the cradle of civilisation” – a law which outlaws the keeping back of seeds, ensuring that farmers may be controlled by a small number of huge agricultural corporations such as Monsanto, Cargill and Dow selling seeds which, due to the terminator gene, produce crops from which seeds cannot be held back (it seems curious to me that of all the variables determined by genes, it should be the ability to produce a new generation that should be most in need of ‘correction’, but this only demonstrates the focus of the impetus in genetic modification), and, of course, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides which would in many cases prevent the very crops from growing if they were not genetically modified. Codex Alimentarius, eventually, seeks to do something similar worldwide. That there has been precious little mention of it in the newspapers and mainstream media is evidence that Stubblebine and others who would have the public at large misinformed or uninformed about Codex Alimentarius have been successful.

Major General Albert Stubblebine is a very interesting, very strange creature indeed. His pronouncements on 9/11 warrant attention. His pronouncements on Codex Alimentarius, credible or not, gives credence at least to the tagline of a member of one of the thousands of internet forums out there people by individuals who don’t quite know what to make of this world we are living in but who know that there have been better, less complicated, less sinister times, and who hope that, with any luck, there will be better times ahead: In ten years we’ll look back on this moment, laugh nervously, and quickly change the subject.

General Stubblebine is confounded by his continual failure to walk through his wall. What’s wrong with him that he can’t do it? Maybe there is simply too much in his in-tray for him to give it the requisite level of concentration. There is no doubt in his mind that the ability to pass through objects will one day be a common tool in the intelligence-gathering arsenal.

– Jon Ronson in The Men Who Stare at Goats

October 11, 2009 Posted by | Stu, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment