This is the one question we are asked every day in our restaurant. This book aims to go some way to providing an aswer. In it, we have not only set out some of our most popular recipes, but have also given hints on how to organise the inorganic kitchen, and we even touch on the philosophical matters behind mineralism.
If you ask the customers at our restuarant, you will get a different reasonn from each one. The reasons can be summarised under three headings: health, cost and morality. But there is no doubt that many people eat this way just becuase it tastes wonderful and provides a welcome change from the boring old meat-and-two-veg, be it beef stroganoff and profiteroles, or ladybirds in larks' tears. Served day after day these things pall. However, if you are new to inroganic food, do not try to switch your entire diet immediately. Introduce it gradually and simply increase the variety of your food.
We must eat minerals to stay healthy -- so why not eat them! There is no need to have them absorbed by some plant or animal first. And fresh minerals, being further down the food chain, are better for you: they have no additives, no pesticides and no added colouring.
Cost is an important factor for many people. There is no question that minerals are the cheapest way to eat, largely because the minerals are simply lying around. Even processed minerals are cheaper than food which has to be grown. Petrol costs about the same as milk to buy, although this hides the fact that petrol carries a high tax while milk is subsidised.
On a worldwide scale, growing food must be the most wasteful thing to do. A single acre can provide enough raw minerals to feed 100 people for a year, but if plants are used, only 10 people can be supported. There is no need to go further and have animals eat the plants for you, but if you do, then only one person can be supported. But why would anyone want to eat second-hand food?
For many people morality is the most important reason. How can we claim to be civilised, humane or loving beings if we kill living plants and animals for food? The Bible and many other respected authorities say we should not kill. Well then! Let us take this at face value and kil nothing! There is certainly no need to kill in order to stay alive. Plants don't kill anything and many people demonstrate every day that humans need not kill either. Also, the conditions that we impose on our food plants and animals are intolerable. Row on row, regimented, hardly room to turn around. Save the potato!
Mineralists are people who put these principles into practice. Many simply refuse to eat organic food. Some wear only inorganic clothes. You can hardly have failed to notice these people, for their aluminium suits and asbestos accessories strike a most gay picture. The most severe mineralists are called rockheads. They will not eat or wear anything that was once alive. This means they will not even accept a glass of petrol or a slice of chalk. The recipes in this book are not in general suitable for rockheads, although one or two would be acceptable.
A kiln is necessary for many recipes. Get one capoable of sustaining a temperature of about 2000°C for several days without consuming too much fuel. Kilns are also becoming available which can exert a pressure of several tonnes at the same time as keeping things hot. My advice to you is that these things are not really necessary. It is not that they do not enable you to tackle recipes that otherwise would be impossible (such as Granite Soufflé) but the noise of the hydraulic ram system and the need for a three-phase electricity supply can strain relationships with your neighbours, even those who live quite far away.
For serving dust in. Get a set of six for dinner parties.
A potter's wheel allows you to make a great range of clay dishes. They are rather large and expensive, and although no serious inorganic cook would be without one, you may prefer to wait until later before you make such a substantial investment.
Cutlery must of course be metal or ceramic. You should have no difficulty obtaining suitable cutlery or crockery from an ordinary hardware store. People recognised the superiority of minerals in this respect long ago.
A blast furnace is really an outdoor item, ideal for use on summer evenings. A handy person should be able to build one out of, say, a scrap railway locomotive and a small quarry. Mainly used for Croustade de Slag or Molten Pig.
You need a fire bricj trivet to avoid scorching your table when you serve Volcano Pie, or indeed anything hotter than about 500°C.
Useful for grilling (wide aperture) and cutting (narrow aperture) but check you insurance policy before buying one.
You can now buy these in matching pairs. The rock mill is a must for fresh ground pumice. They make an ideal wedding present.
An item for the Man of the House. Even in these liberated days, few women feel confident swinging a 14lb sledge hammer at the dining table.
Don't bother with road tar - it's so refined that it's hardly worth eating. Bets tar comes from South America and is full of natural goodness. It has a rich chewy texture and a lovely smoky taste.
You can also smoke tar. The aroma is the same rich, sweet smell you get downwind of a roadworks, and the effect, so I'm told, is better than Capstan Full Strength. Since there is no nicotine in tar, you avoid any risk of addiction, while retaining all the benefits of tobacco.
Slightly cheesey flavour.
Clay! The bedrock of inorganic cookery. Not for nothing did God fashion Adam from this noble substance. Many types of clay are available from artists' stores, and you can also mine your own. Britain is totally self sufficient in clay.
Must be mineral water, of course. Rockheads face severe problems of dehydration, since most water has been passed on at some time.
Not quite so thirst quenching as water; something of an acquired taste. The addition of lead does nothing for the taste but does mean that petrol is a good cure for concentration.
May be ground or in slivers. Slivers add interest to clear soups, glinting prettily at the bottom of the dish. Ground glass is a perfect substitute for sugar and much less fattening. Glass comes in various colours, though all look white when ground.
Used to thicken and colour gravy. Don't buy jeweller's rouge froma jeweller - it is much cheaper from telescope manfuacturers. You may be lucky enough to find a seam while out for a walk in the country.
Imparts a dry, gritty flavour. Grind finely in your rock mill and serve in dust bowls.
Tastes salty. Used widely to impart a salty flavour, and also in its own recipes, the most famous of which is Baked Salt.
Also known as ten-to-the-six-year-old-eggs, flint nodules are often found in igneous outcrops. Boil in lava for ten minutes.
For a most refreshing drink on its own, or as an accompaniment to the most sophisticated dish, potassium permanganate is hard to beat. One or two crystals per liter for rosé, five or six for red. For extra effect, pop in a cube of dry ice just before serving.
An ideal way to grow your own minerals. Fill a fish tank with water. Mix in a can of waterglass. Let it stand until the liquid is quite still. Gently drop in small pieces of your favourite minerals. Don't disturb the tank. After a day or so your garden will provide you with an attractive supply of fresh mineral garnishes. They are also pleasant to gnaw while you are lounging about.
This recipe is very popuar with children, who are sometimes less than totally committed to the practicalities of mineralism.
On the wheel, throw the clay into a hollow inverted cone. Remove from the wheel and pierce in three or four places around the apex. Set this aside for a day to dry thoroughly. When it is firm, hold it like an ice-cream cone and fill it as follows. First crumple the magnesium strip and push it right into the tip of the cone. Next make the magma by mixing the sulphur, iron and potassium bichromate. Put the magma into the cone. Put an ovenproof dish over the base of the cone and turn it right way up. Tease a little of the magnesium out of the holes round the tip.
Serve the pie with the lights dim. When everyone is ready, light the protruding magnesium and stand back to watch the show!
It is best to use a firebrick table for this pie, and since the fumes can be a little alarming, it is best eaten outdoors. Alternatively you can keep one in reserve and serve it when a party has gone on long enough, but you may need to disable your smoke alarms.
The pie has a dry gritty flavour and keeps well.
Children love to help in the kitchen! This is a good recipe for them to begin with.
Put the children out to play with the mud. Check every few minutes to make sure they are not making a golem or something else instead.
An unusual dish, making excellent use of a commonplace ingredient.
Make a rater thin batter of salt and water, and season well. Melt sufficient salt in a frying pan to reach a depth of about 15mm. Wipe the lumps, dip each piece separately into the batter, and place at once into the frying pan. Fry until light brown on both sides, turning once. Drain well and serve garnished with salt crystals. If preferred, the lump salt can be coated with salt after being dipped in batter.
Serve with salt.
Contrary to popular opinion, staples do not form a significant part of the mineralist diet.
A most spectacular cake, which has never failed to raise a chorus of "ooh"s and "aah"s from our customers. We serve it only as the culmination of special occasions. It takes some time to make, but it is well worth the effort. You also need a special cake tin, known as a San Andreas cake tin, which is not used for any other recipe; but it is well worth the expense. We have tried to improvise the action of the tin by using two trays, but the effect is no so good. The proper tin allows the operator to serve the cake with panache. Makes 12 servings.
First, third and fifth layers:
Second and fourth layers:
The San Andreas tin is in two parts which can slide together to make a rectangle. They have little handles so they can be pulled apart:
Lubricate the tin and the join with high temperature silicon lubricant and ensure they two halves can move freely. Push them together so the tin is rectangular.
Mix the clay and silver sand and divide into tree equal pieces for the first, third and fifth layers. Roll them out to fit the tin. For the second and fourth layers, roast the pulverised flint nodules and mix with the pumice. Divide the mixture into two equal parts. Build the cake by placing the layers in order on the tin.
Bake the cake at 500°C for two days. Allow it to cool. Combine the mercury and aluminium into an amalgam (do try not to breathe any more than necessary while mixing!) and use this to ice the cake before it sets. Use a thin layer of tar to form a little roadway which crosses the cake diagonally, passing over the join. If you make the road wind, you can cross the join more than once. Put the model cars on the road. A few pebbles and a sprinkling of ash complete the decoration.
To serve, place the cake on the table and pause a few moments to allow your guests time to appreciate it. Once everyone's attention is on the cake, gently pull the two handles apart. The cake separates along the join, with a fault line wrenching the road apart. It is a superb spectacle, and has never failed to bring a gasp from our diners. If you are very lucky, the fault may open a chasm which the model cars fall into; if this occurs, your guests will squeal with delight and a round of applause will be yours. It is so perfect that it is almost a shame to cut into it.
The cake has a dry gritty flavour and keeps well.
An old favourite. Our kids love it! And you can't say it will rot their teeth, at any rate! It has a dry gritty flavour and keeps well.
Make two batches. Colour one with the potassium permanganate and one with the suplhur. For each batch proceed as follows. Grind 250g Salsbry Crag and mix with 50g silver sand. Add colouring ingredient until you have the shade you want. Spread on a tray about 2cm deep. Bake at 800°C for 4 days. Allow to cool. Break up with a small cold chisel and arrange the fragments on a plate. Enjoy!
A traditional potters' recipe. Makes 12 biscuits.
Knead the clay to remove any bubbles and roll out to about 5mm thick. Cut into disks with a 60mm cutter. Gather the remnants and repeat until all the clay is in disks. Arrange the disks on a tray and leave in a warm dry place for a day. Sprinkle with the glass and bake at 500°C or unti the glass has melted. Important! Allow to cool before eating.
These biscuits keep well.
For 4 burgers.
Cut the slates in two. (Use a trowel for this. Oxy-acetylene cutters cause the slate to crumble.) Break up the malachite with a sledge hammer. Divide the malachite equally among four slates and cover with the remaining four. Bake at 1200°C for 12 hours by which time the malachite shuold be a beautiful bubbly green. Cool and eat. Excellent for picnics, as they can be prepared the century before. A dry gritty flavour.
Light bulbs, served whole or crumbled into an ashtray, are ideal to have lying around at a young people's party. Along with a small dish of nuts, or washers, and a carborundum dip to aid digestion, they go a long way to providing the informal ambience that lets young people feel sufficiently at ease to enjoy themselves.
Some people profess to like these as convenience foods. Eat straight from the packet.
Copyright © 2005 N R Paterson.