Monday, June 8, 2015

Café Liégeois and the Great War

  Café Liegeois in Liege, Belgium

Have you ever enjoyed a Café Liegeois? They are a delicious dessert made with coffee, ice cream and whipped cream. You can think of Them as Sunday for adults. I enjoyed one last night on a quick trip to Liege, Belgium.

Here is a recipe that uses espresso and coffee ice cream ...

One might be pardonned for supposing Café Liegeois to be Belgian. It is a French dessert. Prior to World War I, the cafe's of Paris would prepare this dessert and call it a Café Viennois.

Meuse River
Liege, Belgium
Then in 1914 the guns of August broke out and it became unfashionable for French restaurants to feature desserts that saluted the Austrian capital.  The lights went out all over Europe and even gastronomy would not be unaffected by the war.

Liege Tower
In the early days of the Great War the Germans invaded the fortress city of Liege, Belgium, which lies on the river Meuse less than twenty miles from the German border. The Belgian forts were made of concrete strengthened by earthworks. Each fort was armed with machine guns and track-mounted artillery in casemates and steel cupolas.

Belgian Soldier WWI
Liege Belgium
One hundred and fifty thousand of the Kaiser's soldiers pressed in upon Liege Who Was Defended by forty thousand Belgian troops. The initial German assaults Were repelled and the Belgian government Issued year overoptimistic announcement: "We are completely victorious.
All the German attacks have been Repulsed. "  (Source: Catastrophe 1914, Europe Goes to War, Max Hastings, 2013).

By August 7, 1914 General Ludendorff led the German soldiers into the heart of Liege capturing the city and earning himself a decoration For Merit from the Kaiser.

To the Defenders of Liege
The defence of Liege had, however, slowed the German advance and cost about 12 days. This would later be credited with helping to "save" Paris from the German onslaught in 1914. French chefs Would honor for the plucky Belgians Their courageous defence of Their homeland.

Patrie Belge 1914-18
Le Grand Curtius, Liege
And so now you know why a German invasion transformed Café Viennois into Café Liegeois!  Raise a glass in honor of the brave defenders of Liege.

Travel notes:  If you are fortunate to visit Liege in 2015 be sure to visit the Exposition on World War I in the Liege train station.  Here is the link...
I stayed at the Pentahotel which is very decent and a good value for money...  The Grand Curtius is a wonderful eclectic museum in Liege and a must for anyone with an interest in weaponry or Belgian history...

WARNING: Don't drink two Café Liegeois after dinner unless you want to stay up all night!

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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Midwest Book Review on America Invades

The Midwest Book Review had this to say about America Invades...

America Invades
Christopher Kelly & Stuart Laycock
Book Publishers Network
PO Box 2256, Bothell WA, 98041
Smith Publicity
9781940598420, $29.95, 396pp,

Synopsis: Americans have invaded nearly half the world's countries and been militarily involved with all the rest, except Andorra, Bhutan and Liechtenstein. In "America Invades: How We've Invaded or been Militarily Involved with almost Every Country on Earth", authors Christopher Kelly and Stuart Laycock take the reader on a global tour of America's military activity around the world ranging from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli -- and everywhere in-between. Whatever your political views this is an extraordinary and often surprising story. Enhanced with the inclusion of personal photos, maps and an index, "America Invades: How We've Invaded or Been Militarily Involved with Almost Every Country on Earth" provides a perspective and approach to American history that should be brought to the attention of every U.S. citizen.

Critique: An impressive collaboration, "America Invades: How We've Invaded or been Militarily Involved with almost Every Country on Earth" is exceptionally informed and informative. An inherently fascinating read from beginning to end, "America Invades" is very highly recommended for both community and academic library American History reference collections and supplemental studies lists. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "America Invades" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.99).

Thanks Midwest Book Review!

You can now purchase Commander Kelly's 
first book, America Invades or on

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Monday, June 1, 2015

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks
St. Albans, UK
About fifteen minutes outside of London by rail is the ancient town of St. Albans.  This town was founded by the Romans and is noted for it Cathedral and school.  It is also home of Ye Olde Fighting Cocks -- the oldest pub in England as verified by Guiness.  There has been a public house on this site since around 793.
St. Albans Cathedral
It is a short amble from St. Albans Cathedral to Ye Olde Fighting Cocks.  A general rule that has served me well in England and throughout Europe is that, wherever you find a church a pub cannot be far away.  Underground tunnels link the Cathedral and the beer cellar; monks get thirsty too!

The Ye Olde Fighting Cocks pub that a visitor can see today was built in the 11th century.

During the English Civil War (1642 - 1651) Oliver Cromwell is reputed to have spent a night at this pub.

Cock fighting was a national sport in England for 600 years from Henry II until the nineteenth century.  Public executions and bear baiting were also once popular entertainments in England.  Queen Elizabeth I, for example, is said to have appreciated bear baiting far more than Shakespeare.  In 1849 cock fighting was banned in England.

But that has not prevented the looney left from raising a fuss about the name of this historic pub.

Commander K. at Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks made national news here in Britain recently when PETA challenged the pub name insisting that they change it to "Ye Olde Clever Cocks".    A spokesperson for PETA said, "Changing the name would reflect today's rejection of needless violence and help celebrate chickens as the intelligent, sensitive and social animals they are."  You just can't make this stuff up!  Here is the link...

According to polls most Britons do NOT seem to agree with the maunderings of the publicity hungry activists from PETA.  The folks I met at the pub were not in the least miffed by PETA's feather-brained maneuvers.  They were delighted by the attention for their establishment.

Oldest pub in England
You can learn more about Ye Old Fighting Cocks and perhaps plan a visit on their web site...

You can now purchase Commander Kelly's 
first book, America Invades or on

My latest interview for America Invades...