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Food and Film, an Oscar Celebration: Gladiator and Roman Ribs

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The Oscar's, or Academy Awards, have become an international yearly tradition for film fans the world over. Millions of people look forward to the one day of the year when a gold plated little naked bald man takes over the media universe. Whether you love or hate the choices of the academy members, the fact-of-the-matter is, the Oscar's are a cause for celebration -- and what better way to celebrate than with food! This year we'll celebrate with some great food from the films which have taken home the Oscar for Best Picture.

Gladiator (Best Picture, 2000): When it comes to the cinema and the portrayal of the Roman Empire, often times schlock transcends fact. According to historians, this is was not so much the case with Ridley Scott's epic, Gladiator. Nominated for twelve Academy Awards and winning five of them (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Costume Design and, Best Visual Effects), Gladiator is a virtual adventure tour-de-force. As you watch the film and take notice to the food therein, you will find that protein was the culinary order of the day. During this time of the Roman Empire, fruits, nuts and meat were the staple of a Gladiator diet (and wine).

Though pork brisket ribs were not a common meat during the Roman Empire (albeit pork was consumed), this is a rib dish which Gladiator's would have devoured. So, you might be asking your computer monitor, just what the hell are pork brisket ribs? They are an outstanding, tasty tender part of Porky which, since they are not a popular cut of pig, are pretty cheap (economic) to purchase. A few pounds will only run you a few bucks and they can be found in the meat department of most supermarkets. They contain a small gristle knob (not really a bone).

When you take away the marinating time for this recipe, this is a pretty quick dish to prepare. You can marinate these for only an hour at room temperature or you can marinate them in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Since this marinade is acidic (thanks to the raspberry vinegar), you don't want to marinate them more than 24 hours.

Ingredients needed for Roman Ribs (serves 2):

  • 4 shallots, minced
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. chili oil
  • 1 Tbs. crumbled dried oregano
  • 2 lbs. pork brisket ribs

Steps:

  1. In a large bowl whisk all the ingredients, except the ribs, until well combined.
  2. Add the ribs to the marinade, toss to coat, and marinate at least 1 hour (if more, then chill -- see narrative above).
  3. Pre-heat your grill or broiler.
  4. Place the ribs on the grill or broiling pan and grill/broil about 8 minutes per side (or to desired doneness).
  5. Remove from the grill and let sit 5 minutes before serving.

The internationally bestselling cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards, "Edwardian Cooking: 80 Recipes Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals," is now in it's third printing and available worldwide in both hard cover and e-book versions. The paperback version will be released March 4, 2014.

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