the Goliard

April, 2002


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Piolline              the tiger prepares to chef some carrot loaf

"This won't be your mom's carrot loaf." Piolline promised as he took his first turn under the Staff Dinner chef's hat. And considering the ensuing flatulence and gastrointestinal discomfort that the loaf caused the group, we all had to agree that it wasn't. "I grew up in a sprawling house with my own little privy," Piolline admitted. "We just never had to consider things like that."

Cooking in the combat zone, which can be the Staff dinner kitchen, hasn't been a problem for Piolline. "The first thing I remember about kitchens was my younger brother getting up early, sneaking into ours, licking all the cookies and crackers, and spitting in the cereal so nobody else would be able to eat anything. My mom was storing motor oil in the fridge at that time for some reason and I'd often drink a gulp of it thinking it was cranberry iced tea. One morning I got up and my girlfriend, who had, unbeknownst to me, moved into the back of the house somehow, was suddenly labeling everything in the kitchen with the levels marked in crayon so nobody else could "borrow" anything. I was just looking for a sip of juice. I'm telling you, this group is tame compared to what I've been through."

Piolline's career as a creative mixer of pantry items was founded out of necessity when he was expected to fend for himself in the kitchen at a young age. "Tuna mixed with rice and mayonnaise was my staple for awhile," Piolline reflected recently. "Sometimes I'd stir in one of those Helper boxes. I'd prepare a big vat of the stuff and hide it from my brothers somewhere in my room. Turns out if you keep it down in the hamper under damp towels or underdrawers you can keep it for a couple of days before it'll turn. Other times I'd save my lunch money, pick up a loaf of Rainbow Bread on the way home from school and make a stack of bologna, cheese spread, and jelly sandwiches. Those were better tasting than they sound I can tell you and eating a stack of sandwiches alone in your bedroom listening to the radio sure beat risking the Amphi Junior High cafeteria. The food was vomitous for one thing but I could have probably tolerated that if every time I tried to sit and eat, kids weren't constantly hocking loogeys at me and flicking my ears and buttocks with their combs. My digestion has never been all that good anyway but I'm sure associating meals with pain and humiliation couldn't have helped me out too much."

Moving into a bachelor pad when he was seventeen with another Goliard staff member proved to be the ground where Piolline would finally be able to drop the training wheels off his culinary bike. "We'd heat up a chuck steak in a skillet every Saturday night," reminisces Piolline. "With plenty of Mickey's Big Mouth and Potato Buds. Then we'd go drive around town for hours belching contentedly and looking for something to do. Captain Crunch was big also. We were eating about a box a day of that stuff back then." 

A Goliard recalls a night when Piolline had inherited a roast during some sort of family electrical break down and decided to cook it up as a treat for the guys. "He never has liked the sight of blood so he let it sit in the sink under a rag until all the juice had drained," remembers Goliard. "After all the hype of hearing how good it was going to be we were finally served. We sat around the table and hacked at that thing for quite awhile trying to make pleasant conversation until somebody's girlfriend stopped by, assessed the situation, and pitched everything in the trash. I think we all ended up at El Taco or somewhere, except for Piolline who had gone to bed. It's not like it sounds, he was sleeping 14 to 16 hours a day back then."

Goliard, as it turned out, was just beginning to serve as guinea pig for Piolline's creations. "I came back from Hawaii one time and was trying to get back into school and reacclimatize to regular society when Piolline had me to his place for a welcome home supper. Within an hour of eating this glutinous heaping plate of something he had dubbed "Spaghetti the way Piolline used to Make" I was in the emergency room getting an EKG after suffering what I thought was a heart attack. I was only 22 at the time! It turned out to be dyspeptic ulcers, which I didn't recover from for more than a year. Piolline kept saying it was all the raw fish and poi I had been eating on the islands but I don't know. I felt fine up until that night."

Piolline has matured greatly as host since then and a lot of water has passed under the bridge, a colloquialism perhaps best proven by Piolline's cooking some form of white fish at seven successive Staff Dinners. Taking advantage of the pleasant arbor like surroundings of Piolline Park where he makes his home and which evidently include trees producing bushels of pinion nuts and pineapples since they were also featured at nearly every gathering, Piolline's get togethers represented a chance for the group to remain casually acquainted with nature, engage in post-prandial strolls about the grounds, and converse around the bonfire with a gaggle of characters who would keep emerging from the shadows and that a person would be hard pressed to find at any table. 

After the fish streak finally subsided, Piolline's most recent offerings, perhaps produced as proof that he had overcome his trepidations at dealing with cuts of meat, featured his "World's Greatest In Your Face Piolline Chile" - a dish claiming to contain seven kinds of farm flesh and with beans conspicuously absent. Emulating some of the finer restaurants, Piolline added a level of class to a dinner recently by serving such miserly portions that visitors were left standing around under the scenic trees wondering if they had eaten yet and would get caught by surprise when Piolline began ushering them towards the gate. "I guess the chili was OK but how about some filler mixed in" commented an alarmed Movie Man as he was thanked for attending and escorted onto the street. "I mean I can see that he lives in a little green trailer but this is kind of ridiculous." Piolline wasn't fazed. "It's because I refuse to serve any beans at my dinners." He admitted with a grin. "As you can see, I don't live in a sprawling house anymore,"


2 cup minced onion
1 tbs butter
1 lb mushrooms, chopped
1 ½ tsp salt    
1 tsp basil
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp dill
3 to 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ lbs carrots, grated (about 6 cup)
2 cup superb bread crumbs
1 cup (packed) grated cheddar cheese
2 eggs, beaten
Black pepper, to taste


Lightly oil a 9x13 backing pan. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large skillet, sauté onions in butter over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, salt, herbs and garlic and continue to sauté for about 10 more minutes. In a large bowl, combine carrots, bread crumbs, cheese, eggs and pepper. Add the sautéed mixture and mix well. Spread into the prepared pan and sprinkle with your choice of toppings (dill, cheese, bread crumbs, sesame seeds). Cover the pan with foil. Bake for 30 minutes covered, then uncover and back 15 minutes more. Serve hot or warm with generous availability of Beano or another deflatulator.


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