If you’ve been to Medieval Times you’ll grasp the true meaning of finger food. The place-our local branch is virtually across the street from the Meadowlands-is both hoky and depressing. Unlike Disneyworld and its ilk, the offshoots of artistic inspiration, Medieval Times is little more than a weird business idea housed in a pile of stucco off the Jersey Turnpike.
Kids, however, whose taste veers to the half-assed and slapped together, seem to like the place, and ours was no exception. Of particular appeal was the food (or “feast” in Medieval-speak), though I believe part of the joy lay in screaming for the “serving wench”. Everyone eats the same stuff: tomato soup (“bisque”) a Frisbee-sized round of bread, a half chicken accompanied by a spare rib, finished with an apple turnover, all washed down with your choice of Coke, Sprite, or slushie.
And so we put on our crowns and ate. As everyone knows, the fare is served sans utensils-even the soup, which one eats by gripping a handle welded onto the side of a pewter bowl. For canned soup it was pretty good, though to ask the small child on my left you’d think it contained the ripest seasonal heirloom tomatoes and herbs grown in the back next to the horse stalls.
He polished off the whole thing: dunking the bread in the soup and slurping every last drop. Despite scalding my fingertips breaking down our two half-chickens, the entrée wasn’t bad, and we both munched along to the sounds of swords crashing on shields. Needless to say, he filched my turnover, so I can’t report back on the dessert.
The lack of utensils, it turns out, is Medieval Times’ lone stroke of inspiration (the show is pretty lame). For a few hours, your customs are inverted, and that’s pretty cool. Until afterward, when you step into the winter night and negotiate the famous Holland Tunnel bottleneck, which isn’t so cool and you wonder whether it was worth the trip just so you could eat chicken with your hands. And come home only to realize you’re still wearing a paper crown.
Today’s post: an experiment in finger food. Otherwise known as hors d’oeuvres.
salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 225.
- Use a mandolin to slice up the veg thinly (not tissue paper, but pretty thin-1/16 inch).
- Generously splash some oil on a baking sheet and use your fingers to spread all over. Lay the zucchini in rows over the oil then flip to coat both sides. Season well with salt and a bit of pepper.
- Bake for about 1 1/4 to 1 ½ hours. Check after an hour. If they’re browned on the bottom, flip over. They’re done when browned, not burnt (duh). When you shake the tray, they’ll move like chips. Remove and store in an airtight container for as long as you can resist.