Archive for Worth a Fork

Everything in balance

And that’s the important thing, right?

(Via Steve Lackmeyer.)

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Temporary vegetative state

It’s Morgan Freeberg vs. the vegetables, and it’s a standoff:

The plastic bags on rolls they hang over the vegetables. What a disgrace. You peel them off and then you open them … and open them and open them and open them. One stinking bag, you struggle and struggle, while the clock ticks. A minute, two, three … five … to pry open your plastic bag for the damn green onions. Then do it again for the artichokes. While this is going on, a little old lady parks her cart in front of the artichokes so she can get some kale. I’m left leaning over her cart to try to retrieve artichokes … pretty sure I ended up with the two scrawniest.

On the upside, she didn’t slip any kale into his cart.

I historically — by which I mean “before my current period of enforced clumsiness” — have had little trouble with the bags, though finding the little twist tie to close up a bag is too often problematic.


A chili forecast

H. Allen Smith, on the deadly serious subject of chili, as quoted here in 2005:

Mr. [Frank X.] Tolbert of Dallas, who appears to be spokesman for the group called the International Chili Appreciation Society, declares that acceptable chili should contain no tomatoes, no onions, and no beans. This is a thing that passeth all understanding, going full speed. It offends my sensibility and violates my mind. Mr. Tolbert criticizes Lyndon Johnson’s chili recipe because it leaves out beef suet and includes tomatoes and onions. Yet the President’s chili contains no beans. To create chili without beans, either added to the pot or served on the side, is to flout one of the basic laws of nature. I’ve been told that when I was a baby and it came time to wean me, I was fed Eagle Brand Milk with navy beans frappéd into it. Thereafter, all through childhood and adolescence, I ate beans three for four times a week. If Chili Bill, back there in Illinois, had served his chili without beans, I would surely have deserted him and bought chocolate sodas for my lunch.

Roberta X, not so far from Illinois, explains this further:

Tam and people in the southwestern U.S. look askance at what we call chili up here in soybean-and-corn country. It’s a flavorful stew with ground beef, canned tomatoes, red kidney beans, onion, a little chili powder and, typically, elbow macaroni. I skipped the pasta and added a small can of mild green chilis, some hot Italian sausage with the beef, a single fresh tomato along with the canned, and good dark chili powder. It’s still nothing a Texan would call chili, so I put the word in quotes or name it by describing the contents, in order to avoid a long conversation on what does and does not constitute chili. In truth, “chili” is whatever you call chili, usually a red stew with meat, much as “science fiction” is whatever science fiction readers read, usually about the future.

Which is true, I suppose, even in Cincinnati.

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Picky eaters

When I was growing up, we had essentially two choices at dinner time: Take It or Leave It. I suspect this would have gone over well in that era:

So there.

Ball Park, incidentally, has introduced a flash-frozen hamburger patty, which I found pretty decent even when microwaved.

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Bet you can’t eat just two

For one thing, there’s only one chip per package, and that package sells for $4.99:

Paqui Carolina Reaper Madness tortilla chip

There is, of course, a reason for this:

That’s because this particular snack is spiced with fearsome Carolina Reaper peppers, widely touted as the hottest variety on Earth, topping the Scoville Heat Chart at 2.2 million SHUs.

As I noted during my Summer of Bland Hospital Food, the jalapeño can’t even manage 10,000 SHUs.

Said a tester at Adweek:

It was like a religious experience, mainly because our tongue was on fire. And that accursed conflagration was reaching down down down into our digestive depths, twisting us sideways/inside-out/round-and-round with searing waves of pepper-powered pain.

For twenty whole minutes.

I note for record that this torturous tortilla chip is certified kosher (by the Orthodox Union) and gluten-free.

(Via American Digest.)

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Point missed by several centimeters

I don’t expect the Ford dealer down the street to sell me a new Subaru. And I’m pretty sure this is comparably silly:

Irvine-based In-N-Out Burger is the target of a petition that demands the fast-food burger institution add a meat-free meal to its menu.

Launched last week on, the petition by Washington D.C.-based Good Food Institute said the burger chain has been “letting its fans down by failing to serve anything that would satisfy a burger-loving customer who wants a healthy, humane, and sustainable option.”

Au contraire. This is exactly what the fans want: not to have to deal with anyone who uses the word “sustainable” unironically. Do I expect the local vegan shop — or, for that matter, the nearest halal restaurant, which is closer by — to fix me a proper sausage biscuit? Of course not.

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Boned appetit

The Spectator warns us about an eatery at a British theme park:

There is a restaurant: the Little Explorers Lunch Box. It is a yellow shack roughly the same shape as the Bates Motel; I suspect, in this land of transformation, it could become the Bates Motel in 15 minutes, with Mummy barely changing expression to change role. A yellow blob with eyes smiles out of a fake window, like custard thrown in rage. Photographs of fruit bounce across the signage. The floor is a photograph of grass; the wall is a photograph of cows so well-lit they might have wandered out of cow Vogue; the lamps are wooden clouds; a child’s painting of an apple hangs on the wall, like an ancient, remote god. It is a rebuke. Since we are technically, if not spiritually, in Staffordshire, which has farmland, this quest for a dream farm is depraved, but not quite pointless, because it is not an homage to rural life. It is an homage to rural life brought to you by TV; that is, an homage to TV, and in this it succeeds completely.

After that, the actual food would be almost irrelevant, even if it were edible:

CBeebies Land knows the covetousness of children. So it gives them a paper box — a photograph of a lunch box — which the parent must assemble. Then the child picks a sandwich, a packet of crisps, a drink and a sad piece of fruit — it may be the last fruit — for £4.25. Adults get sagging paninis, salty sausage rolls and Pringles, which is a type of crisp for crystal meth addicts who eat crisps when they cannot get any crystal meth, and so seek the crisps which most resemble crystal meth, which are Pringles. The Little Explorers Lunch Box is a brightly coloured bunker dreaming of a world it both yearns for and despises; thus it teaches children more then they sought to know.

It taught me more than I sought to know about Pringles.

(Via James Cook.)

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How soon is two hours from now?

This past weekend in Chicago:

No meat at Riot Fest for at least two hours

The Smiths did, after all, issue an album called Meat Is Murder. Still, as Emily Zanotti points out:

And after all that, no Smiths songs and a weird tirade about police brutality, Bernie Sanders and bullfighting.

Has a light gone out, perhaps?


Also melts the heart

“Decadent Fudge Tracks,” I read, and after satisfying myself that this was in fact a Walmart “Great Value”-branded ice cream and not some weirdly intersectional punk-rock compilation, I added it to my grocery order for the week.

And damn me if it isn’t just incredible:

My favorite ice cream used to be Ben & Jerry’s Brownie Fudge (or whatever … chocolate ice cream with brownies) … now, THIS Decadent Fudge Tracks from Great Value is the BEST chocolate ice cream EVER! If you love chocolate on chocolate on chocolate with peanut butter smidges in it, you will absolutely fall head over heels IN LOVE with this ice cream! I figured it’d be okay, and I was honestly expecting a little grain-ey texture like other cheap chocolate ice creams … NO WAY! This stuff is what dreams are made of! This product is, BY FAR, the BEST chocolate ice cream I’ve ever tasted! Rich, creamy, no chunky ice pieces, with a bulky ribbon of fudge (that I swear is like a brownie) and just brimming with those little peanut butter cups! And those are great, too! This will forever be my favorite chocolate ice cream!

This reviewer, unlike me, is a twenty-ish woman; however, my reaction was almost exactly the same.

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So much at steak

Most store brands speak meekly: we’re probably just as good as those Other Guys, but we perform less wallet drain.

Not so meek, I suggest, is this alternative to the justly famed Heinz “57” Sauce:

Best Choice 59 Sauce

Remind me to see if they offer a 1200 Island salad dressing.

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The candy that zigs

No, wait. Every Zig was taken off for great flavor:

Brother Paul was particularly fond of Zagnut, mostly, I think, because he liked saying “Zagnut.”

Weirdly, both Zagnut and sibling Clark Bar are still in production, but today they have different owners.

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Neapolitan is dead

Now it’s Camo ‘n Cream:

Blue Bell Camo 'N Cream ice cream

Camo ‘n Cream Ice Cream is a combination of pistachio almond, milk chocolate and cream cheese.

“We are having a little fun with this flavor,” said Carl Breed, director of marketing for Blue Bell. “You see the camo design on everything these days, so we thought why not create an ice cream flavor that looks camouflage? The best part is these three flavors taste great together. We tried a few different combinations but chose these flavors because they complement each other so well.”

Yeah, but how do you know when the package is empty?

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Second verse, just a bit worse

Pleased with the results I obtained last time, I decided to give Walmart’s online grocery another shot. It was not quite so successful.

Departures from the ideal:

  • The stuff from last week’s order was inexplicably still in my cart, and clearing it out wasn’t exactly intuitive.
  • I got all my goods, and about six plastic bags full of someone else’s. I have no idea why. I took them back to the store.

I still recommend the service, but perhaps a shade less enthusiastically.

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Mr. Swift declines

He did say, however, that he appreciated the choice of entrées:

Please initial your choice of entree

Note: I found this on Twitter the day before yesterday, and scheduled a post; the person who tweeted it later decided to make his timeline private, so it was no longer available.

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Buckets o’ fun

So what would you do if a Secret Recipe came over the transom?

Our mission: find out if 11 ingredients handwritten on a piece of paper could be the secret blend of 11 herbs and spices that go into Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Original Recipe — a closely guarded formula that remains one of the world’s biggest culinary mysteries.

The recipe came to us by way of Colonel Harland Sanders’ nephew, Joe Ledington of Kentucky. He says he found it in a scrapbook belonging to his late Aunt Claudia, Sanders’ second wife. Ledington, 67, says he used to blend the spices that went into his uncle’s world-famous fried chicken, and the recipe in question is the real deal.

We wanted to see — make that taste — for ourselves. So we put it to the test.

I won’t spoil it for you, except to suggest that there might be a twelfth ingredient.


Groceries 2.0

For the first time in two months, I had to restock groceries today, a task I was not at all feeling up to, what with this whole not-walking scheme. A friend suggested yesterday that I should try the Walmart Online Grocery system, and while I am not overly fond of Walmart, I am less fond of traipsing through a store when my traipsing equipment is below par.

So last night I went to the Web site they’d set up just for this function: Apparently it gives you the option to order online if it detects your IP address as being near one of their participating stores. (I am not quite two miles from the Belle Isle Supercenter.) The user interface was fairly intuitive, bumping up quantities was simple, and I rang up 18 items in short order. What’s more, since I’m a new customer and all, they knocked $10 off my initial over-$50 order.

I set pickup for today at 1 pm. At precisely a quarter to one, they called me to remind me. The instructions: call when you’re within 10 minutes of arrival. There are dedicated parking spaces on the side of the store. I called in, described my car (nothing you don’t already know), and took a space in the middle. Within about a minute they’d brought out a cart with all my goodies and loaded up the trunk. (Well, almost all my goodies; they’d substituted A&W root beer for Mug. I was fine with that.) Standard rule: “chemicals” (dish soap, for instance) are stashed on the right side. I was home before 1:30, though it took me three trips across the garage to move a dozen plastic bags of stuff out of the trunk. And apparently I got a price break on one item between last night and today.

Would I recommend this? If you have no emotional objections to all things Walmart, then certainly. The selections are somewhat limited compared to what’s in the store, but I noticed no items that were conspicuous by their utter absence. They did give me a small bag of samples I might want to try. And yes, there’s the inevitable survey: but it has only one line.

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Remote forage

From early on in The Sparkle Chronicles:

Next day at 5:56, the doorbell rang, and my heart did a couple of half-gainers off Kilimanjaro. It was the evening repast: bean sprouts and hummus and stuff Fluttershy wouldn’t dare feed Angel and sort-of-freshly baked bread and a couple of bottles of what was probably filtered tap water from Wichita. I was sufficiently crazed to demand no change from two twenties. The fellow’s truck — what, he didn’t ride a bicycle? — had just barely cleared the driveway when the feeble little bleep of my thirty-year-old wristwatch announced the hour, and an oval of light appeared on the concrete.

This paragraph was done with a local firm in mind, though I admit I hadn’t actually patronized that firm at the time. Now I have.

Dining Delivery Express of Oklahoma City, better known by its phone number — 858-TOGO — takes orders for participating eateries and arranges for delivery to your very porch. For those of us who aren’t in the mood to go crawl across town, this is ideal, if a tad pricey: a flat $5.99 delivery fee, plus an appropriate tip to the driver. Anyway, this was tonight’s decidedly not vegetarian repast:

858-TOGO invoice for Oklahoma Station BBQ

Ended up being close to $30 when it was all done, but it was worth it, and delivery took less than half an hour, competitive with the pizza parlors. Considering that my typical pizza order ends up over $20, and that barbecue joints are not known for being economical, I’m not about to complain.


More than a Colonel of truth

Suddenly I’m kind of hungry:

Kentucky Fried Chicken ad from October 1964

Neither of these locations remains open. Then again, as you might have inferred from the prices, this was a long time ago.

(Source: The Oklahoma Journal, 1 October 1964.)

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Let’s call it an off-flavor

And then we should probably leave it at that:

Ass Sandwiches

(From Bad Menu via Miss Cellania.)


Bar none, or few anyway

Picture, if you will, a deep-fried Mars bar:

Which again, I wouldn’t want to eat because fried and my gut would pay the price and I don’t think it’s worth it to me, but the author made an interesting comment: that deep fried Mars bars are seen as the ultimate in low-class food by many, but, he said, put a well-prepared one on a fancy plate with a fancy name (and fancy price) and people would rave about how the flaky crust and the melting chocolate and caramel and fondant (I think a British Mars bar is what we call a Milky Way?) and how it was a gourmet treat.

I’d hate to have to explain the American Mars bar to a space invader:

The worldwide Mars bar differs from that sold in the US. The American version was discontinued in 2002 and was replaced with the slightly different Snickers Almond featuring nougat, almonds, and a milk chocolate coating. Unlike the American Mars bar, however, Snickers Almond also contains caramel. The US version of the Mars bar was relaunched in January 2010 and is initially being sold on an exclusive basis through Walmart stores. The European version of the Mars bar is also sold in some United States grocery stores. It was once again discontinued at the end of 2011.

The British and Canadian Mars bars are very similar to the United States Milky Way bar, which Mars, Inc. produced (not to be confused with the European version of Milky Way, which is similar to the United States’ 3 Musketeers).

The only Mars bar I truly understand, I think, is sold in the States as “Milky Way Midnight Dark,” which when I was a kid was called “Forever Yours.”

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Hominy and understanding

A wonderfully Hair-y sign:

This is the awning of the cage of asparagus

(Via Miss Cellania.)

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He’s a dawg

The Oklahoma City Dodgers are promoting what they call a Cali Club:

Cali Club at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark


Guacamole, diced tomatoes, pepper jack cheese, and shredded lettuce on an all-beef hot dog!

Ask about it at Franx.

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It’s weaponized!

With bacon, the question always is “What can’t it do?” See, for instance, this oh-so-British incident:

On her way to the market, an 86-year-old woman stopped by an ATM, according to the Greater Manchester Police’s Facebook page via Time, and when she started off home, she wasn’t alone. As she pushed her cart full of groceries out of the store, she was “challenged by an unknown female who grabbed her trolley and demanded the money she had withdrawn.” Instead of handing over the pounds, the elderly woman beat the thief with meat until her attacker ran away. Who knew bacon was so lethal?

[insert “meat beating” joke here]

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I do believe it’s true

Now, about those seeds:

boneless watermelon

(Via Todd Wilbur.)


Gut reaction

This isn’t quite the British equivalent of “Here, hold my beer,” but it’s close:

A man was rushed to hospital, suffering from severe stomach pains, after eating three chicken wings doused in sauce made from what is thought to be the world’s hottest chili pepper.

Mark McNeil, 36, was hoping to be able to eat ten of the chicken wings to win a competition.

Despite being given advice at the University Hospital of North Tees for severe stomach pain, he is looking to try again in the competition which is held at The George on Stockton High Street.

The pepper in question?

The Carolina Reaper, originally named the HP22B, is a cultivar of chili pepper of the Capsicum chinense species. It is currently the hottest pepper in the world.

On the Scoville scale, where the jalapeño rates somewhere below 10,000, the Reaper checks in well beyond a million.

(Via Bayou Renaissance Man.)


Dough, boy

I’m not sure I believe a word of this. That said, there are thieves, and then — well, there’s this guy:

Martin Klein, 41, of Las Vegas, was arrested after a shoplifting incident turned horribly wrong. According to reports, Mr. Klein and his partner, Jerry Weis, had stolen several grocery items from the Las Vegas Walmart.

Reportedly, Klein and Weis had entered the Las Vegas Walmart at approximately 11 A.M. and headed towards the breakfast food aisle. Both of the men had taken several cans of Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls from the aisle and headed towards the bathroom. According to CCTV footage, Klein and his partner entered the restroom and stayed inside for nearly 20 minutes before exiting.

I’m not sure you want to know how this worked out:

According to eyewitnesses, the EMT that treated Klein on the scene said the Pillsbury Cinnamon Roll can exploded due to the amount of pressure inside Klein’s anus coupled with the shock of the fall. The can and its contents were removed from Mr. Klein. Mr. Klein was treated for his injuries and then placed into the custody of Las Vegas Police. Jerry Weis, the other suspect in the shoplifting incident, was also arrested. Weis gave a bizarre statement to authorities upon his arrest: “I hope my Mr. Martini will be ok. We just wanted to spice up the love making tonight with something sweet and thought that some Cinnamon Rolls would do the trick. Well at least my darling got the Cinnabuns he wanted. I hope he has some leftovers for me to try.”

Trolling level: Grands.

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Lost in the sauce once again

Jay Friedman says that salt and pepper are for sexual squares:

Describing store customers who are “repulsed” by more exotic spice combinations, Friedman argues that people who stick to salt and pepper “have a strict recipe for life … believe in sex for procreation only” and live their lives “in fear of falling off the edge.” Hence they seek “refuge in rules and regulations.”

He continues with the theme, saying people who keep their spices simple are the driving forces behind “anti-gay, anti-birth control, anti-sex education sentiment.”

They are “anti-sex and anti-pleasure, with such sentiment sometimes turning hostile,” Friedman writes. Never missing a chance to mention that he’s a sex educator, he continues that “I’ve endured angry confrontation, received hate mail, and faced vitriol that’s escalated to the level of death threats.”

Well, we certainly don’t have to traffic in vitriol. How about this: Friedman leaves me alone about my steak au poivre, and I don’t suggest that he find an anal application for sriracha.

(Via Weasel Zippers.)

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Twenty years from now it will be mandatory

So I distrust this, as I distrust all such pronouncements. But for now, the Food Police are boasting of their latest easy bust:

Breaking news: Everything fun causes death.

The FDA, aka, killjoys, has said it is no longer safe to eat raw cookie dough — even if you’re using one of those Pinterest recipes that doesn’t use raw eggs, according to the Indy News. In fact, the administration said in a new consumer update posted Tuesday, it’s not safe to eat raw flour in any form. Not homemade “play dough,” not licking the spoon of brownie batter. Nothing.

The FDA never finds a thing in the world wrong with, for instance, autostart video.

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And the lines are drawn

The first thing I noticed was that the food was much better down here in rehab. So I started comparing notes, and eventually arrived at the truth of the matter: the Happy Healers imposed several dietary restrictions on me, so I got gruel, or worse, diet gruel. In rehab, all I face is a 75-gm cap on carbs.

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I’ve had worse

And perhaps so have you:

What I ate today:

  • coffee
  • 1 banana
  • apple slices with almond butter
  • 3 carrots w/ tahini (This tahini isn’t raw.)
  • jicama
  • salad w/ mixed lettuce, tomatoes, pine nuts, avocado, white balsamic vinegar, olive oil, nutritional yeast
  • 1 zucchini
  • coffee
  • Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Drink (Acquired taste.)
  • 6 Kalamata olives

She said “coffee” twice.

And some folks are perfectly happy with that. It makes me want an Eskimo Pie.

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