Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Flying Tiger in the kitchen

Joe Rosbert is a charter member in the Greatest Generation. During World War II, Rosbert trained as a Naval aviator before America's involvement in the war. Later, he left the Navy to serve with the Flying Tigers of the original AVG (American Volunteer Group) in China, 1941-42.

After the war he traveled around the globe, combining business with pleasure as a businessman, airline exec, and chef. He documented his life in an interesting and unusual format: An adventure story cookbook.

Rosbert published his life story in 1985: Flying Tiger Joe’s Adventure Story Cookbook, Giant Poplar Press, Franklin, NC. He chronicles the interesting and the dangerously adventurous into six parts, further divided into chapters, and concludes each part with recipes pertinent (sometimes) to the regions represented by these stories.

Naval aviator training in Philadelphia segues into hoagies, scrapple and crab cakes. Part II concludes with a chapter on the Flying Tigers in combat. Appropriately, Rosbert invites his surviving fellow pilots to contribute recipes for this part of the book. "Tex" Hill contributes Oriental Barbecued Pork Ribs and that's about the only recipe with flying and fighting in China. But these guys are guest contributors and anything from them is welcome. Rosbert kindly provides a brief bio of each.

The chapters that comprise Part IV give way to the "real" Chinese dishes such as Duck Tongues Moon Chen, Kung Pao Ching Ting, and Szechuan Duck. Following a lengthy list of Chinese recipes... what's this? Pasha. A traditional Russian Easter dessert. Skip over the next recipe and you crash into Squirrel Stew a la Chennault (contributed by General Claire Chennault). Still ahead in the same section, the Flying Tiger Joe ventures into Southern Style Biscuits and Clam Chowder and Whiskey Sours.

Don't try to make sense of the placement or sequence of these and other recipes in certain chapters--just enjoy the ride! You're flying through this book with a fighter pilot after all.

Rosbert had a passion for living--from flying to fine cuisine--that is undeniable the deeper you get into his book. He engaged Japanese pilots in dogfights over China, survived a harrowing crash in the Himalayas and the months-long journey back to civilization, helped start a cargo transport airline, opened and operated a hotel and later a restaurant that shared a name with the title of this book.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous22/2/10 19:37

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