Five Thousand Years of History and One-Minute Cucumbers

A “thorny plant that grows beneath the waves, called How-the-Old-Man-Once-Again-Becomes-a-Young-Man” (Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablet IX) bears little resemblance to our common cucumber, yet ancient people who first encountered it in the wild believed in its magical properties. Discovered and cultivated in ancient India about five millennia ago, humble cucumber found its way to Middle Eastern civilizations, as evidenced by its appearance in the Epic of Gilgamesh, King of Uruk, universally considered the oldest surviving work of literature in the world.

Gilgamesh, pretty much a mythical character, was the first super-hero, predating Superman by three thousand years. He didn’t have kryptonite, but was born of a mixed marriage between a man and a goddess and somehow came out as two-thirds god and one-third man – go figure this out! Regardless, he had great power which he abused all over the place, raping any woman who caught his fancy and pressing his subjects into forced labor in order to build magnificent temple towers and impenetrable city walls. Eventually, the cries of his people reached gods who decided that Gilgamesh has grown a bit too large for his britches and needed someone to take him down a notch. So they created a wild guy called Enkidu and sat back to watch a good fight. Lacking television and social media, that was the ancient gods’ only means of entertainment – remember the Trojan war? Same idea.

Imagine the two of them: a great king, majestic demi-god in all his glory against the ancient version of Mowgli, suckled by the animals and grazing in meadows. Surprise! After a short, but spectacular fight, they become best friends, and when Enkidu, a mortal without a drop of divine blood in him, falls ill and dies, Gilgamesh becomes a basket case. His heart is shattered; overnight he transforms from a cruel despot into a wise king. Yet now he is mortally afraid of growing old, becoming ill, and dying. He is searching for immortality, or at least eternal youth. And that’s when, after all kinds of adventures, he acquires a miraculous plant that restores youth, a “thorny plant that grows beneath the waves, called How-the-Old-Man-Once-Again-Becomes-a-Young-Man,” which is none other that our friend the cucumber. In reality, as best as archeologists have figured it out by deciphering the stone tablets containing this story, King Gilgamesh of Uruk did have an extraordinarily long life; he eventually died at the age of 126. Perfectly understandable, since, according to the story, the magic cuke was eventually stolen from him.

Another cruel despot who believed in miraculous cucumbers stepped into historical arena unwillingly, with great trepidation. Tiberius, the second Roman Emperor, brilliantly portrayed by the late Peter o’Toole, insisted on being served cucumbers every day. Cucumbers were cultivated for medicinal purposes in Rome, used to produce more than 40 different remedies for a variety of maladies, from bad eyesight to infertility (http://www.vegetablefacts.net). Ravaged by venereal deceases, indulging in all kinds of depravity, Tiberius managed to live to a ripe old age of 77 and perhaps would have lasted even longer, had he not been smothered to death to clear the way to the throne to Caligula, his grandson by adoption, instead of Gemillus, his natural grandson. Infamous Caligula, brought to the screen by the immense talent of Malcolm MacDowell, has been branded the murderer, as it is shown in the movie, yet historians are not certain. One thing has been proven, though: miraculous cucumbers do not protect from assassins.

Latest studies show, however, that cucumbers have important health benefits:

I have tried several cucumber recipes offered by a great Russian chef and Youtube star Vasilij Emelyanenko, and they are all terrific, but my favorite is the one called Minute Cucumber.

As you see, it takes four ingredients, three steps, and one minute: slice a large firm cucumber, add roughly chopped dill and garlic, season with salt, cover, and shake for one minute. While you are shaking it, you might want to play hot Latin music, with lots of percussion, like this one:

Years ago, we found ourselves in the midst of a New Year celebration out on the streets of San Juan, Puerto Rico, much like the one you see in this clip. Every time when I shake-shake-shake One-minute Cucumbers, I am transported back to the ebullient excitement of that night. Having fun is another important health benefit of cucumbers, Beautiful People!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large firm cucumber, sliced thin in circles
  • 2 – 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • Bunch of fresh dill including stems, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • colorful peppers or tomatoes to garnish

PROCEDURE

  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Cover, shake vigorously for one minute.
  3. Garnish and serve

Enjoy!

About the guest author:

undefined Dolly Aizenman is the brainchild behind Kool Kosher Kitchen (Which her blog and her book are named after).

This charismatic Russian blogger is fond of cooking and writing.

She has a BA in Art and Music Education, MA in English, MS in Education and Ed.D. in Educational Leadership.

Published by koolkosherkitchen

I am a semi-retired educator. I love to cook and I love to write. I am trying to combine these two for no other purpose but to share some of my old favorite recipes, as well as some new inventions, and to exchange food ideas and opinions. Kosher food is just like any other food - fun to create and fun to experiment with, especially if you get kids involved! My book is found on amazon.com/author/koolkosherkitchen.

44 thoughts on “Five Thousand Years of History and One-Minute Cucumbers

    1. 🤷🏽‍♂️ Dolly, I am not responsible for the disappearance of the “Reblog” button; the issue lies with WordPress because the “Reblog” button is on in my settings.

      I looked at some of the blogs from my fellow bloggers (including yours) and I noticed the absence of a “Reblog” button.

      It looks as though you will have to do a bit of old-fashioned linking (Type the title of the post and include your guest post’s URL).

      I would also like to add that it is always a pleasure having you as a guest blogger on “Renard’s World”.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you Dolly for another lovely yummy recipe.Most of us love cucumber.I enjoy its crunchy sound when eaten raw.

    Oh that garlic flavour!

    Love the benefits of cucumber clip explained by the guy and also the Puerto Rico band.

    Who does not love the beauty benefits it gives to our skin specially the Face?

    The storyline was interesting and first time I am reading this.Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

              1. Oh ! Feeling great.
                I didn’t come across the movie Sure to check it out.
                I understand it’s a Romantic movie where cooking takes the centre stage and happy ending for the lovers.
                I just can’t wait,thanks for recommending.

                Dolly, you people put mind heart and love with total dedication in cooking.

                Not all are capable .Its an art with passion but done lovingly.
                Thank you

                Liked by 1 person

                1. It is a romantic movie, very Spanish, and very true to the book, but in the book every chapter starts with an actual recipe. If I could ever reach the degree of passion shown in that movie, I’ll be a true chef.
                  Thank you for your kind words, dear Philo.

                  Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 Hi, Jackie. I am Renard — the administrator for Renard’s World. I would like to personally thank you for sharing your response to Dolly’s guest post.

      Dolly probably was not notified by WordPress about your comment (Those things do happen).

      Do enjoy the rest of your day!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Simple but delicious…I love cucumbers…just to let you know I can see the reblog button on both your blogs..mine disappears sometimes and then as if by magic it is back and sometimes I have to change my browser…I think all the changes WP are making are what causes these little hiccups…:) x

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Dolly I am looking at your reblog button now on bitten by a chicken and other posts it has to be your browser I have had the same issue and had to change from microsoft edge to Chrome or I couldn’t see reblog or press this or like posts…xxx

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Just tried Chrome, and it’s the same. Some people see it and some don’t. Same with several other bloggers, including Renard, who is a techie, but he still doesn’t understand what’s going on.

          Like

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