Sunday 14 May 2017

American Gods ep103 Head Full of Snow

There’s a starman
Waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds

Hey that’s far out – you heard him too!
Switch on the tv
We may pick him up on channel 2


American Gods leaves us Godsmacked again: Jinn. Bank Job. Puppy.

Episode 3 opens with Mrs Fadil cooking a meal for her Egyptian family. Ful Medames and Chicken Stew bubbling on the stove. On the table: Kohshari, Stuffed Zucchini, Stuffed Vine Leaves and Kibbeh. But she tumbles and when she looks around...This is not Queens.

This is the sketch I did for the concept of Mrs Fadil's last supper. Recipe for the Lemon Chicken Stew is below. I made it in a huge gorgeous authentic bram, the traditional clay cooking pot from Egypt.

Then fiery-eyed Jinn meets our Salim
and gives us the best line ever for a one-night-stand: “I don’t grant wishes.” But he does give gifts: he gives Salim freedom from his old life so he can experience the depth of his own undiscovered feelings. A new identity might just benefit the Jinn as well.

I know you’ll be thinking about their scene for a while so for those of you who like to snack after sex but don’t want stewed beans or chicken, there are recipes below for the best Kebab on a Pita you ever had.

While that marinates, here's a bit more Godsplaining:

This episode's Old Gods

Facsimiles of ancient papyrus scroll and tomb decoration     (images:TY google)

Anubis: the God of Embalming and Science. He is the guardian of the Underworld and ushers the dead to their judgement where their deeds are weighed against a feather to see if they are worthy of admittance to heaven or, if not, devoured by Ammit, the Goddess of Divine Retribution. On Egyptian antiquities, you can identify Anubis by his jackal/dog face and by the animal-skin fetish he carries. Our props department made a lovely one for Chris Obi to carry but it didn't make it on camera - nor did the very temperamental cats that were hired for the shoot but refused to act on cue so we had to greenscreen in a new cat in post production.

Middle eastern and arabic depictions of Djinn  (images: TY google)

Jinn: Salim’s beleaguered taxi driver is a Jinni – in pre-Islam Arabic mythology, a spirit born of smokeless fire (as humans were made from mud). Also called Ifrit or Marid, they have a strong affinity for the imaginary and emotional. They are often malevolent and able to take different physical forms to commit their deceptions. Our Jinni says he came to America from ancient Ubar, Lost City of Towers.
Ubar as imagined in a PlayStation game concept - (image - Sony)
Ubar is the Atlantis of the Sands. It was a thriving centre of trade, Frankincense in particular, and home to many Jinn and their half-god progeny. Each night the city was alive with thousands of travelers drinking dancing and debauching. Eventually, Ubar was destroyed because of the depravity of its denizens.

Mural in Dublin depicting Mad Sweeny's (Buile Shuibhne) epic tale    -photo by Richard Marsh

Leprechaun Mad Sweeney has a knack pulling gold out of thin air- but he’s been reckless and lost the King’s coin. His mythological template, Buile Shuibhne, stems from an ancient Irish tale of a king driven mad and in his madness, doubting his own nobility and purpose, is cursed to wander the land – leaving a trail of death and poetry as he tries to elude his fate of death by the point of a spear.

This episode’s new gods 

Media appears in many guises: Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, David Bowie and Lucy Ricardo - images Starz/Fremantle

Media: Appears in this episode very briefly - eye in the bank's camera. We've seen her as Lucy and there's a lot more to come.  In a later episode she will manifest as David Bowie whom we love and miss. So appropriate for Media as a manifestation because he was an artist-philosopher who used media well until he realized that media had began to use him. Entering this century, Bowie understood that because of the internet, music was going to be as free-flowing as water or electricity and that musicians would no longer be able to control (and profit from) their own work…it all belongs to Media. And that’s just how she likes it. As more and more devote themselves to tv and celebrity, her power grows.

Mr World: Appears in the bank's camera as well in silhouette. He is an ambiguous character who is the leader of the New Gods, he is the God of Finance and one to discuss later at length because, surprises.

But the kitchen (just be careful getting the lemons)

Mrs Fadil’s Lemon Chicken

Which, on set, Anubis/Chris Obi judged to be delicious.
Makes 4 servings.

For marinade:
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup white wine
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup dried apricots
¼ cup pitted prunes
¼ cup pitted olives
½ tsp cinnamon
3-5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp dried oregano
¾  tsp salt
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1-2 preserved lemon, quartered

one 3 ½ lb chicken, cut in 8-10 pc, bone in

1 Combine all marinade ingredients and mix together in a large zipper plastic baggie or large lidded plastic food storage container.  Add chicken and toss well. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.

2 In a shallow baking pan, spread chicken pieces out eveny in one layer. Pour marinade over top, cover with lid or sheet of aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes in an oven preheated to 325°.  Check periodically to make sure liquid has not evaporated away. Adding more wine if necessary – chicken should be immersed in at least 3/4 inch of liquid. Remove lid/foil for the last 10 minutes to brown/crisp the top of the chicken pieces. Serve with rice or cornbread.

Me: I wish I could have a tasty lamb kebab without going outside.
Kitchen Jinni: Try this at home:
Mmmmmake kebabs at home!

Lamb Kebabs

You can use chicken or pork instead of lamb – Makes 4-5 skewers
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small tomato, finely chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp dried oregano or mint
Juice of ½ lemon
salt and papper to taste

1 lb lamb shoulder cut in 1-inch cubes

1 Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and marinate 4 to 24 hr, stirring a few times to marinate evenly. Thread cubes of lamb onto skewers and broil in oven 4-5 minutes on both sides or grill on barbecue. Marinated meat cooks quickly so be careful not to overcook or meat will be dry.

2 Slide meat off skewers. Check seasoning and salt if necessary. Stuff meat into pita bread with sliced tomatoes, sliced red onions, turnip pickles and condiments such as hummus or yoghurt.

Lemon Pan-fried Potatoes

½ lb baby red potatoes, washed
½ lemon
2 Tbsp olive oil
sea salt

1 In a small pot, covered potatoes with water, add 1 tsp juice of the lemon, and boil just until tender, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly and cut in quarters.

2 Heat oil in a saute pan on medium-high heat and add potatoes, tossing to coat potatoes in oil. Continue sautéing until potatoes have browned and are crispy. Squeeze remaining lemon over potatoes and continue sautéing until potatoes are crispy. Salt and serve with Kebabs.

Home-made Pita Buns

Makes 8 small pitas

1 pkg yeast
1¼ cup warm water
1/8 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cups flour
¾ tsp salt
corn meal

1 In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in ¼ cup warm water. Add sugar and let it develop until double in volume. Then stir in oil and the rest of the water.

2 In a large bowl, mix flour and salt. Pour liquid into the middle of the flour and stir together until all the flour is incorporated and the dough gathers in a ball. Dough will be slightly sticky and moderately firm. Add more water or flour if necessary. Knead 4-5 minutes with your hands until dough changes from slightly sticky to smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and return to the mixing bowl. Rub olive oil over the ball and cover bowl with a moist towel. Leave in a warm place for about 1 ½ hours or until doubled in size. Punch dough down to deflate it and divide into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and roll it out or press with your fingers into a 5-inch circle about ¼-inch thick. Place on lightly oiled baking sheet that has been sprinkled with corn meal. Repeat until all dough has been shaped. Cover with towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 500°

3 Sprinkle cold water on the tops of the pitas to keep them from browning. Place baking sheet on lowest rack in oven and bake for 6 minutes. They should puff up which will create the pockets. Do not overbake. Pitas should be pale and soft. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks – they will deflate as they cool. If they didn't puff up, your oven might not be hot enough. They will still be tasty. Wrap individually in plastic wrap if not eating immediately. They will keep at room temperature for several days.

Turnip Pickles

1 lb turnips, peeled and cut in ½ -inch batons
½  beet, peeled and cut in ½ -inch batons
1 ½ cups water
2 Tbsp kosher or sea salt
½ tsp sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1 clove garlic, peeled thinly sliced

1 In a small pot over medium heat, combine salt an sugar with half of the water and simmer until salt and sugar crystals melt completely. Remove from heat. Cool and add the rest of the water and the vinegar.

2 Put turnips and beets in canning jar or container with a tightly fitting lid and pour vinegar mixture over to cover turnips. Refrigerate, covered tightly, for 5 days.

Next week: Love's long look back. We will sit back and enjoy the story of Shadow and Laura in what Bryan Fuller says is the best episode to date. There's pie...

Next time Shadow makes it snow, you can make these snowflakes
to snack on while he struggles in the storm.
All images and text copyright of Janice Poon Feeding Hannibal/Feeding American Gods except where indicated. Unauthorized reproduction strictly prohibited.


  1. These all look fantastic! Do you have a preferred preserved lemon? I make my own (plain) ones from a friend's recipe, but would love to branch out.

    1. Nice recipe! Thanks for the link. I don't have any special technique or ingredients for making preserved lemons - except for the addition of a sprinkling of black Nigella seeds. I think the success of the recipe depends more on the lemons. So I try to make them in summer when the rinds are thin and the lemons are sweet and juicy. Some say Meyer lemons are best but I don't think they are sour enough.

    2. I feel like Meyer lemons have too much of their own flavor, and I prefer a more neutral citrus flavor. I'll have to pick up some Nigella seeds next time I spend all my money at Penzy's.

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