Month: July 2006

English Shepherd’s Pie

On a recent trip to England, I was delighted by that great English contribution to cuisine — English Shepherd’s Pie.  This is basic “meat-and-potatoes” eating, yet seems more sophisticated than your average working man’s meal.  Since returning from the U.K., I have been attempting to recreate the Shepherd’s Pie in my own kitchen.  Here is a recipe which comes very close.

English Shepherd’s Pie

Serving Size : 6

* 5 large Potatoes
* Salt
* 2 tablespoons Butter/margarine
* 1 dash Milk/whipping cream
* Pepper
* 1 pound sirloin steak
* 1 large Tomato chopped
* 6 Sliced mushrooms
* 2 tablespoons Chopped parsley
* 1 tablespoon Tomato paste
* 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
* 1 cup Brown gravy
* 1 package (10-oz) frozen peas or 1 lb — peas shelled

Cook potatoes in salted water to cover. Drain, cool and peel. Mash in large bowl with butter, milk and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

I like to cut up the sirloin steak and grind it up in my VitaMix blender machine. Saute the shredded steak until browned. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes, mushrooms, parsley, tomato paste, Worcestershire and gravy. Stir to mix. Add peas and cook about 5 minutes. Turn mixture into casserole.

Spread potatoes evenly over meat. Bake at 400 degrees 40 minutes until top is crispy brown.

I serve it with a side dish of steamed cabbage, cut up into small squares.  This makes a truly terrific dinner!  Try it!

Honey From the 6th Dimension

By Ken Korczak
Warning! What I am writing about today may fry your brain. If you don’t like the thought of your cerebral cortex sizzling like a corndog in a vat of boiling vegetable oil, don’t read this column. In fact, if this does not fry your brain, then your brain is just unfriable. Is “unfriable” a word? I don’t know, but I digress. Now, on with the brain buzz, and you’ll soon understand what I mean by “buzz.”

Imagine having the ability to see, with your naked eye, a quark particle spinning in the weird and shadowy quantum world. Imagine being able to perceive subatomic particles winking in and out of existence. What would it be like if you could easily see electrons shimmering in their orbits around atoms? Furthermore, think about what it would be like if you could exist naturally in a realm of six dimensions, rather than being cramped into the three-dimensional world you live in now. What if you could perform a sensational six-dimensional dance?

Well, that may be what the world of the common honey bee is like. If the theories of mathematician Barbara Shipman are correct, honey bees can not only perceive the energies of the subatomic, quantum world directly, but they also use six-dimensional space to communicate with each other. The fact that Shipman stumbled upon this theory is a classic example of what Louis Pasteur called: “Chance favoring the prepared mind.”Shipman is a mathematician at the University of Rochester, but her father was a bee researcher for the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. Shipman would often stop by her father’s office and he would show her the amazing world of honey bees. One aspect of bee behavior which has fascinated and baffled scientists for more than 70 years is the mysterious dance they perform in their hives. The dance — a kind of crazy wing-waggling jitterbug (no pun intended) — communicates to other bees where new sources of yummy flower food can be found. By watching the dance of a scout bee, other bees, called “recruits” get an exact idea of the direction and distance of where new food can be found.Even though bees were not her field of study, Shipman could never get the mystery of bee dances out of her mind. In the meantime, Shipman’s work as a math theorist led her to an area only a select few other mathematicians were working on — something called manifolds. A manifold is a geometric shape described by certain complex math equations. There are an infinite variety of manifold configurations.

They can describe shapes of many dimensions. Shipman was working with a six-dimensional structure called a flag manifold, when suddenly, in one of those eerie moments of scientific coincidence, she realized that the flag manifold very closely resembled the pattern of the honey bee waggle dance.Now, because the flag manifold is a six-dimensional object, it cannot be perceived in our three dimensional world. We can visualize only an approximation of what it looks like by projecting its “shadow” into two dimensional space. The shadow of an ordinary sphere, for example, projects onto two dimensions as a flat circle. And when you project a sixth-dimensional flag manifold onto two dimensions, it matches exactly the patterns dancing bees make. But two-dimensional bee-dance patterns are not enough to explain how bees interpret these patterns to locate distant sources of food. A good explanation may be that the bees actually perceive all six dimensions. In order to do that, the eye or senses of the bee would need to be able to see subatomic activity directly! When a human scientist tries to detect a quark–by bombarding it with another particle in a high-energy accelerator–the flag manifold geometry is lost. If bees are using quarks as a script for their dance, they must be able to observe the quarks in their natural states.At first, scientists speculated that bees were perceiving their flight directions similar to the way birds follow migration routes. It is commonly accepted that birds sense the earth’s magnetic fields because they have a mineral called magnetite in their heads. Magnetite helps birds follow terrestrial magnetic fields like a directional beacon. Even though bees have been found to have tiny amounts of magnetite in their bodies, it does not explain the bee dance and communication process. Also, it is unlikely that the two-dimensional pattern of the bee dance is a perfect shadow for a six-dimensional flag manifold unless there is a connection.

What are the implications of bees being able to directly perceive the quantum, subatomic world? For one thing, it means that we have to reevaluate the fundamental nature of bees. One might speculate that bees have a kind of special cosmic ability to transcend three-dimensional space, operate in a multidimensional universe, and straddle multiple levels of time, space and existence. Bees may be living proof that higher dimensions of reality exist physically, and not just in theory. There also may be doorways for entering into those realities — if you have the right equipment. But the bee evidence has much wider implications for quantum mechanics as a whole, which I won’t get into here.I think this bee phenomenon borders on the miraculous. Imagine these amazing creatures — honey bees — plying the quantum oceans, transcending mundane three-dimensional space as they perform their common labors. A bee is like a tiny winged Prometheus, entering the realm of the gods to bring back a wonderful gift to mankind — the sweetness of honey. Furthermore, I can’t help but speculate that there may be a way to harness the multidimensional ability of bees to expand our own perceptions and abilities. Can we tap into the bee nervous system to help ourselves more directly experience that which can currently only be described with numbers? Can bees in some way enhance the information we collect from gigantic atom smashers? Can bees become the instrumentality that opens a direct portal for us into higher dimensional realms? Can we create bee sensors to make a quantum beam that will shine into the eldritch spaces between atoms, electrons, protons and quarks? It stings the imagination! Or to paraphrase a great poet: “It sings the body electric!” At the very least, it gives my brain a buzz! Yours?