Saturday, November 27, 2010

Nobility and Royalty

Today's puzzle is about about tandem operations between royalty and the church, in the true medieval style.  Your match has just reached its middle phase, but with some quick thinking, you might be able to end it now, rather than play through to the end.

You are red.  You must mate in 3 moves.

Scroll down for the answer.

First Move:  Bishop to h3. Check.

You opponent needs to get his king out of danger.  His only choice is to move his king to g1.

Second Move: Queen to f3.

At this point, it really doesn't matter what move your opponent makes.  His best option is to move his queen to e2, but he is trapped in any event.

Third Move:  Queen to g2.  Checkmate.

Until next time, chess fans.

Bruce Kingsford hopes that the readers of Liquid Ether enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday (especially the pickle stuffing).  He hopes that this puzzle will prove diverting while preparing your leftovers.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving Stuffing Options

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, the staff of Liquid Ether has complied our favorite stuffing recipes, in the hopes that you can spice up the traditional holiday fare.

Lord Magna hails from the south originally, and this stuffing recipe has been a perennial favorite in his household.

Crawfish Stuffing
6 tbsp. cracker crumbs
Meat from 24 cooked crawfish
1 1/2 tbsp. butter, melted
1 onion, minced
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp fish broth
1 tbsp. parsley, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten

Moisten crumbs in milk, add chopped crawfish meat to butter.
Add onions, flour, broth, parsley, salt, and pepper.
Simmer for a few minutes, then add crumbs.
simmer for an additional 2 minutes.
Let cool slightly, then add egg.

makes 2 cups worth.

Bruce Kingsford prefers fish to the regular turkey. This stuffing recipe is designed for fish, but can be used for fowl, if desired.

Pickle Stuffing
3 cups soft bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped dill pickles
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup onions, minced
1 tsp. minced parsley
1/3 cup butter, melted

Mix all ingredients except butter.  Add butter gradually, mixing lightly until blended.

Will fill 2 (3 pound) fish.

This recipe is an excellent change of pace from more traditional stuffings - it is best when served with duck, but is fine for any fowl.

Apricot Stuffing
1/2 lb. dried apricots
2 cups bread crumbs
1/4 cup cracker crumbs
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp paprika
4 tsp. chopped celery
1 tsp. minced parsley
4 tsp. butter, melted.

Wash apricots, cover with cold water and cook until tender.
Drain and chop the apricots fine (save the liquid for making sauces and puddings).
Combine the crumbs with seasonings, celery, and parsley.
Stir in butter and chopped apricots.
Mix well.

Will fill a 4-5 pound fowl.

Finally, a fine and more traditional stuffing, different enough without the exotic twist of the above selections.

Wild Rice and Chestnut Stuffing
1 cup wild rice
1/2 lb. chestnuts, blanched and cooked
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. minced onion

Wash rice thoroughly and steam, using 3 cups of waster and 1 tsp. salt, for about 40 minutes or until tender.  Drain.
Add remaining ingredients and toss lightly.

Fills a 4 pound fowl.

Happy holidays, and enjoy.

The staff of Liquid Ether hopes you enjoy your thanksgiving with your family and friends. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Queen's Consent (Part One)

A Story of the Beauchamp Universe
By Lee Strong

Richmond, Surrey, Kingdom of England
March 23, 1603

The great queen lay dying. A week ago, Elizabeth Tudor, first of that name, Queen of England and last of her dynasty, had danced like a young girl at a court reception. The ambassador of the nation that her seamen had defeated so stunningly 15 years before had compared her to a fairy princess. But now, the Angel of Death’s hand was on her shoulder, minutes away from escorting her into the Great Unknown. But he would wait those few minutes as she performed her very last service for her people.

“Your Majesty,” whispered her Chancellor. What was his name? She had outlived so many….

“Your Majesty, you must name the heir to your Throne. We will read a list of candidates and ask you to make a sign to indicate your Consent. Is this acceptable to you?”

Her hoarse breathing faltered for a moment but resumed. Her stricken face looked at her courtiers and her forefinger gestured upward, signifying acceptance. Her gentlemen nodded gravely. The Chancellor gestured to a clerk chosen for the latter’s clear, carrying voice.

The clerk began reading slowly from a list of royals and nobles related in one way or another to the dynasty. The Queen listened intently as the names rolled past.

“Edward Seymour, Lord Beauchamp?”

The Queen’s finger gestured upward. The clerk repeated the name. The Queen painfully lifted both hands to her head, backs of her hands to her forehead, fingers aloft, forming the image of a royal crown. The courtiers stirred in quiet excitement.

“What about James Stuart of Scotland?” loudly demanded one partisan.

The Queen’s hands lowered to her bedcovers again. The royal finger waved back and forth, signifying negation. Her courtiers bowed in acceptance. The Queen’s eyes closed in repose. It is time to go, she thought.

Edinburgh, Kingdom of Scotland
Several days later

“Who?” blurted James Stuart, the sixth of that name. “Lord Bow-schamp?” He stumbled over the French name imported into English. “Who is Lord Bow-schamp? And how has he usurped Good Queen Bess’ affection for me?”

The Earl of Lennox cleared his throat. “Edward Seymour is the son of Edward Seymour, the Duke of Hertfordshire and Baron Beauchamp, and Lady Catherine Grey. King Henry VIII named Lady Catherine as the next in line for the throne in the event of the death of his daughter Elizabeth in his will. Therefore, young Edward is the heir….”

“Was not there some question of the legality of the marriage?” interrupted the king. He was no traveler and depended on his courtiers for news of the larger world.

“There was, but that proved to be a false report. Hertfordshire and Grey married in 1560. Since she was an heir to the Throne, she required the Queen’s Consent to lawfully wed. While there was a report that the couple did not receive the Consent, in fact, they did. Had the Consent not been received, the marriage would have been illegal under English law. It is very doubtful that Elizabeth would have named young Edward her heir had his parents attempted to marry without her blessing. In that hypothetical case, I most respectfully believe that she would have named Your Majesty to the Throne of England.” He bowed deeply to express both respect and regret.

James was officially a Presbyterian like most of his subjects. In fact, he was deeply superstitious. “What demonic luck! What does this mean for Scotland?” he mused aloud. “And for England?”

London, Kingdom of England

His Majesty, Edgar Seymour, the first of that name, frowned. “I understand that I now own the former Dutch colony of New Netherlands. My question concerns this proposal to redraw the maps of my new colonies and rename this city and colony after the English city of York. What is the rationale for changing the maps and city name?” He only used the royal plural in public.

The gentlemen of the Privy Council shifted in their chairs. Edgar’s efficiency and toleration of local customs was well established. One spoke up. “The intention is to honor your subjects of York, England and to encourage them to emigrate to New York, thereby populating it with loyal subjects.”

The king tapped his finger on the table for a few minutes as he pondered the logic of the proposal. “Gentlemen, I must disagree. We must give my new subjects the chance to demonstrate their loyalty rather than assuming disloyalty. We can best do that by respecting their dignity and traditions and persuading them to become Englishmen, not forcing them. Let them keep their traditional city and provincial names.

“Likewise, I must disagree with this proposal to carve up New Netherlands into the provinces of….” The king consulted a written copy of the proposal. “The provinces of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. The same applies to this carving up of New Sweden and this artificial extension of Massachusetts Bay Colony almost to the Hudson River. Set the boundary line between Massachusetts and New Netherlands halfway between their capital cities of Boston and New Amsterdam. They are all my subjects now and I will not treat them as so many chess pieces.”

Christiana, New Sweden
July 2, 1776

John Hancock, President of the Second Continental Congress, quickly read the clerk’s notes and solemnly intoned the fateful words. “The Colonies of Massachusetts, Rensselaer, New Sweden, Virginia, Roanoke and Kingsland have voted in the affirmative. No colony has voted in the negative. The colony of New Netherlands has abstained….”

“Courteously,” amended the affable Mr. Smoire of New Amsterdam.

“… and, therefore, the Declaration of Independence is adopted,” finished Hancock.

Under his breath, John Dickinson of New Sweden cursed his monarch. “If only Edward VIII were half the king Edgar was…!”

Edinburgh, Kingdom of Scotland

His Majesty, Henry Stuart, the first of that name, should have been a clergyman. He would have greatly preferred to renounce his crown for a monk’s tonsure or a bishop’s miter. But Fate, or possibly his ancestor’s demons, had placed him on the secular Throne of Scotland where he was determined to do his best for his Earthly kingdom as well as for His Lord’s Heavenly One.

He spoke excellent French, which was not only the mark of a gentleman but especially fortunate at this juncture, as the French general holding a map in front of him spoke no English.

“Therefore, Monsieur le Roi, with your permission, the French Directory will place an army commanded by myself in Scotland. Transporting my army to your country will require the combined efforts of the French and Scottish navies. Once our armies are established in Scotland, we will march south and overthrow the Seymour kings who have so long thwarted the natural ambitions of Scotland and France.” The French general was short but full of energy. His eyes glittered as he traced the proposed military movements on the map of the British Isles and the surrounding seas.

Henry studied the map carefully, especially the middle sized kingdom south of his own smaller one. “And it is definitely agreed that I will become the King of England, Wales and Ireland? As God and His Majesty King Henry Tudor VIII intended.”

The French general looked directly at the Scottish monarch. “Of course, Monsieur le Roi, of course. France merely desires an end to English hostility and trading rights with your empire. With yourself on the Throne of Scotland-England, our two great nations will be in complete accord.” His face glowed with sincerity.

Henry simply said, “Very well, General Bonaparte. I agree.”

The Editor welcomes this original fiction by our very own Lee Strong.  Look for more work from this talented  author in your local bookstores and libraries very soon.  This story is considered a prequel to his previous work, "What would you have me do?" This work is copyright Lee Strong 2010. All Rights reserved.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

From The Kitchen: Hot Ham Sandwiches

Being competent in the kitchen is vital to being a gentleman - you cannot rely on a cooking staff or family members to provide you with meals. In addition, when entertaining, a prepared meal is far more impressive than restaurants to a discerning future paramour. With that aim in mind, this publication aims to provide you with simple and effective ways to cook meals that will be exciting for you palette and easy on your pocketbook.

As the weather turns colder in our part of the world, our fare turns to warm meals on brisk afternoons and evenings. This little hot sandwich is easy and inexpensive, to say nothing of delicious.

1 lb. chopped cooked ham
4 tbsp. creamed butter (or butter spread)
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. mustard
16 slices white bread
2 eggs
2 cups milk

Combine chopped ham, butter, mustard, paprika in a large bowl. Mix well.
Spread combined ingredients onto 8 slices of bread, covering with remaining slices.
Cut each sandwich into 3 strips.

Beat eggs slightly and add milk.
Dip sandwiches in egg mixture.
Saute in butter, cooking until brown, then flipping.

Serves 4.

The Editor has had rave reviews from familiy on this particular recipe, and hopes you will share it with your own kin with similar results.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Kingsford Coffee

With Thanksgiving and Christmas fast approaching, it has come time to turn our attentions to festive drinks to keep you warm and full of cheer throughout the season. This fist item is an old family favorite that has served me well for many years. Enjoy with my compliments.

Kingsford Irish Coffee

5oz. Irish Cream Liqueur
5oz. Irish Whiskey
2 cups Brewed Hot Coffee (the stronger the better)
6 Tbsp. Whipped Cream
1 dash Ground Nutmeg

Mix the liqueur, whiskey, and coffee together.
Top with whipped cream.
Sprinkle nutmeg.

Enjoy in front of a warm fire.

Bruce Kingsford neglected to inform the editor of his Irish decent to The Editor before submitting this drink. In light of this excellent drink, though, he has been forgiven this lapse. The editor hopes that all other revelations about him are accompanied by such fare.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A One-Two Punch

Today's puzzle is about the value of a two-point offense. You and your opponent have reached the endgame, each of you are reasonably well-defended, but your opponent is in a weak enough position that bold action could win you this match.

You are white. You must win in two moves.

Scroll down for the answer.

First Move: Queen to h7. Check.

At this point, your opponent must take your queen, and must do it with his knight, because he cannot put his king in check (your knight would threaten him). Knight to h7, taking your queen.

Second Move: Knight to g6. Checkmate.

Until next time, chess enthusiasts.

Bruce Kingsford's chess puzzles are usually quite challenging, but The Editor found today's fare rather simple. Bruce has been advised of this, and promises a more complicated puzzle next time.