I spent 10 years in the Navy and eight of those in the Navy boxing team, It was a lot of fun but most of all I got to go on some great trips.
Every port we visited our recreation officer would set up a boxing card, often miles from our ship. A good example was the one I fought in Grenada Spain.
The ring was set up in a big tent, like the circus tents used by all the traveling shows around the country. The placed was packed, and later we found out there were over 500 people in the tent.
After the fights were over the Spanish organizers threw a party in our honour and it was something to see, a long line of tables, piled high with food. We even had servers to cut the meat for us. There were several whole lambs that had been cooked on a spit, and one whole side of beef cooked and carved as the guests filed by.
As well as that there were huge bowls of salads, fruits of all kinds and a lot of things I had never seen before. I was way beyond impressed. Oh, by the way, I won the fight.
Not all of our boxing trips were that great. I took part in a match in Toledo, a marvelous city in central Spain that we reached after a long trip by train.
The arena was small, dirty and packed with drunken Spaniards. It was a bad night but we all lived through it, even though several of our boys got hit by flying beer bottles. We won all our fights so that was some consolation.
The contrast to Grenada was even more oblivious when we saw the food they laid out for us: two tables full of overcooked meat, wilted salad and piles of iffy fruit. I stuck yo beer, at least they could not mess that up.
That match was not at all what we expected. Most of them were fun with tons of food, all the beer you could drink, and, for the most part truly wonderful. The thing I like most about those days was amazing variety of food and the eagerness of the various chefs to share techniques and recipes. Her is a recipe from that part of the world, a recipe for lamb that originated in Turkey.
2 cups rice
4 cups of meat stock or consommé
1/2 lb. lamb
3 medium onions, chopped
1 large tomato
1 tsp. black pepper
salt to taste
1/4 cup currants
1/4 cup walnuts
Freshly chopped sage and parsley
Cut the lamb into strips and sauté in a bit of olive oil. Add the nuts, rice, tomato, spices and stock or consommé.
Cook over low heat, stirring often, until the rice is cooked. Let sit, over a very low heat, until everything is well done. Serve with black olives and figs n the side.
Here is a Turkish apple fritter, that goes well with this dish.
6 tbsp. flour
1 generous tbsp. olive oil
1 egg, separated
Pinch of salt
5 tbsp. tepid water
Sugared slices of apples
Mix the flour with the water, add the egg yolk, salt and oil and let rest for two hours at room temperature. Just before use, beat the egg whites and fold in. Dip the apple slices in the batter and fry in hot fat till golden brown. Drain, sprinkle with sugar (or not) and serve. Its good, enjoy.
See Ya Next Week!