From Found in Mom’s Basement:


Aside from the general absurdity of the ad, check out where the “Rice Council of America” is located!  For those of you not interested in peering at the fine print, it’s Box 22802, Houston, Texas 77027.  Sweet.

Houston: Crazy Rice Pioneers of the 1960s.

…I wonder if they still distribute that intriguing-sounding “Rice Ideas Men Like” pamphlet…

Thursday Answers

We’ve had a rather interesting turn of events in this week’s trivia contest.  Although only three of you submitted your guesses, it still made for an entertaining grading process.  The winner…after the answers:

  1. Meat and other foodstuffs were preserved in honey in classical Rome and Greece.  Sounds much tastier to me than vinegar, frankly.  And this marks the second time that “honey” has been an answer on Tuesday Trivia!  Perhaps I need a fresh source of trivia material…
  2. Wine bottles are tinted green to keep out light, specifically the ultraviolet light which is one main culprit in wine spoilage.  The green tint absorbs the UV wavelengths; not just any color will do, you know!
  3. Cheese, yogurt and sour cream are the three most common cultured dairy products here in the West.  The fourth deserves just as much credit, in my opinion: buttermilk.  Can’t make decent cornbread or pancakes without it!
  4. False.  An egg’s grade has nothing to do with its freshness and everything to do with the thickness of its albumen (the white part) and the strength of its yolk.  A grade AA egg has a thick white and a firm yolk.  A grade B egg, however, has a runny white and a weak yolk, which is easily broken.  To quote McGee, if you’re simply “scrambling or boiling them or making them into a custard,” then the extra grades (AA or A) aren’t necessary.  However, if you’re planning on making a meringue or a souffle, then the higher grade is worth it.
  5. The chestnut is composed of a whopping 52% water!  Acorns stand at about 14% and cashews at only 5%.   The trade-off, of course, is that cashews are extremely high in fat — 46%! — while the chestnut only has 2% to its name.  The chestnut and the acorn are both extremely low in fat, actually, with most nuts having an average fat content of 57%.  The good news?  At least it’s unsaturated fat.
  6. BONUS: the cashew’s little friend is the cashew apple, a false fruit.  Also called an “accessory fruit,” this is the part of a plant which wasn’t produced by the ovaries.  A false fruit is perfectly edible, and some false fruits are highly prized, such as the familiar strawberry (the seeds of the strawberry are the real fruit; the flesh of the strawberry is false).

So here’s the fun part: the winner.

Congratulations go to long-time reader and commenter coffeefrappe!  He or she doesn’t have a website to which I can direct you, nor do I know their real name or gender.  All I know is that I adore them for being a constant supporter, reader and commenter.  You rock, coffeefrappe!

Tied for second place are the lovely croquecamille and the always-funny Cory, which I found amusing as Cory never takes these seriously and usually provides dirty, hilarious answers instead.  I’m sure he’ll be at least somewhat shocked to learn that he tied for second-place this go round.  For more Cory, check out his Houston foodie blog at I’ve Got The Munchies.

Congrats to all and happy eating until next time!

Thursday Answers

The weeks keep passing so quickly these days! I can’t believe it’s already Thursday and already time for the answers to Tuesday Trivia. With no further adieu…

  1. El Pollo Loco — the crazy chicken! — was founded in the seaside town of Guasave back in the 1970s.  It is true that Denny’s purchased the chain in 1983, but most people don’t realize that Denny’s turned right around and sold it (along with all their other holdings) four years later.  Today, El Pollo Loco is a privately-owned company headquartered in Irvine, California, and operating in Mexico and the United States.
  2. Wendy’s introduced the drive-through window in 1971 at their second store in Columbus, Ohio.  McDonald’s didn’t incorporate this concept until 1975.  Of course, the folks at In-n-Out Burger had the first modern “drive up” service, created in 1948, but Wendy’s created the modern drive-through as we know it.
  3. Ancient Romans were the first to sell food from stalls in the street.  One of the most popular “fast food” items of the day was botulus, a blood sausage made from salted pork.  In fact, botulism takes its name from botulus, as the first diagnoses of botulism were in response to people eating bad botulus sausage (botulus meaning “sausage” in Latin).
  4. One out of every eight Americans has received a paycheck from McDonald’s.  That means at least a few of you out there have worked for Mickey D’s.  Own up, folks!
  5. Americans spend an average of $134 million on fast food each year, more than they spend on education, car payments or computers.  Amazing, if frighteningly unhealthy.
  6. BONUS:  Catching up to us in almost every facet of modern life, including consumption of natural resources and automobile ownership, China is the second-largest consumer of fast food in the world.  Throw their huge smoking habit into the mix, and we aren’t exactly creating very healthy world superpowers these days.

So…who won?  Once again, we congratulate the mighty Pooh!  Congratulations, Pooh!

Although she and The Grumpy Chef were tied for first place, the tie-breaker was their answer to queston number three.  The Grumpy Chef ventured “Persian,” while Pooh! couldn’t make up her mind and offered both Greece and Rome.  These two are neck and neck each week, I tell ya.  One day we’ll just have to play Final Jeopardy to see who reigns supreme.

Until next week…happy eating!

Tuesday Trivia

Don’t you ever just feel like a little snack sometimes?  Something that you know is bad for you, that sends you on a shameful guilt trip after you’ve eaten it, that holds no nutritional value, and that is probably made of “parts” or some form of partially-hydrogenated substances?  Then today’s Tuesday Trivia is for you.

This Tuesday’s round of questions is brought to you by this super-creepy original-recipe McDonald’s commercial:

I wouldn’t have bought a burger from that clown.


  1. What popular fast food chain, with locations throughout Houston, was founded in a small coastal town in Sinaloa, Mexico in 1975?
  2. Which fast food restaurant introduced the drive-through window in 1970, allowing you to gorge yourself on burgers without ever leaving the comfort of your wood-paneled station wagon?
  3. Which ancient civilization literally invented fast food, selling ready-to-eat meals from stalls in streets and markets?
  4. One out of every eight American workers has received a paycheck from which fast food restaurant?
  5. How much money do Americans spend on fast food every year?
  6. BONUS:  Which nation is the second-largest consumer of fast food after America?

Good luck, Fry Kids!  And watch out for the Hamburgler…  Answers on Thursday.

Thursday Answers, Part Deuxsie

Answers to Tuesday Trivia, Part Deuxsie are here!

Well, well, well.  Someone swooped in late this time and got Every.  Single.  Answer.  Correct.  Who, you ask?  The answer, after the answers:

  1. The egg came first, of course!  The egg as a form of sexual reproduction is at least one billion years old, much older than the first birds, which arrived on the scene about 100 million years ago (the chicken as we know it, for example, has only been around for four to five thousand years).  Reptiles, on the other hand, have been laying eggs for over 250 million years.  Ridiculous, age-old question solved!
  2. Champagne was invented by a Benedictine monk named Dom Pierre Pérignon.  Because champagne doesn’t sound all that fancy when you simply call it “Pierre” (let’s open a bottle of Pierre to celebrate!), the famous champagne-maker Moët et Chandon adopted the monk’s title and last name when they began selling this brand as Dom Pérignon in 1936.
  3. They traditionally belong to the lily family, Liliaceae.  A bone of contention over the years in scientific circls, most botanists have now moved the onion and the leek into the Alliaceae family, while moving the asparagus into the Asparagaceae family.  However you slice them, though, they’re all still in the Liliopsida (lily) class and still one big, happy, delicious family.
  4. Castor beans don’t belong in that equation.  While useful for a good number of other things, they are not a legume, as were the others.
  5. The sauces are hollandaise, béarnaise and mayonnaise.  The complex science behind emulsified sauces makes it hard to imagine that anyone ever managed to make a hollandaise in the first place, and involves such Scrabulous words as “flocculation” and “colloidal system.”  It will certainly make you appreciate Hellman’s in a whole new light.
  6. BONUS:  Speaking of Hellman’s, mayonnaise is the only emulsified sauce that must be made at room temperature.  Hollandaise and béarnaise must be cooked, since they are both made with butter (which is, of course, solid at room temp.  Mayonnaise, on the other hand, is made with oil and egg yolks.

Deciding the winner this time was extremely difficult, and let’s discuss why.

The Grumpy Chef came in fast and strong, beating everyone else to the punch with his answers.  However, his answers to numbers 5 and 6 used “aioli” in place of “mayonnaise.”  Now, knowing that The Grumpy Chef is European (although he, like my husband, would probably argue that he is “English” and not “European”), I understand his tendency to use “aioli” instead of “mayonnaise.”  It’s very common across the pond to use those two words interchangably.

However…  Aioli and mayonnaise aren’t quite the same thing.  Traditional aioli is made without egg yolks, and uses garlic as the emulsifying agent instead.  I know, I know — I’m nitpicking, especially for a contest where the prize is NOTHING.

That said, I have awarded the prize for this week’s contest to Pooh! and her late, but correct, answers.  And a very honorable mention goes to my adored Grumpy Chef (seriously, if chefs could have groupies, I’d be one of his).

Pooh! runs a blog with all manner of humorous observations about life, Houston and life in Houston.  Go pay her a visit!

The Grumpy Chef runs a blog called “Who Dares Cook” about being a chef in the UK.  It’s a great behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in the kitchen and what the chef really thinks of you:  “I am a Chef. A good Chef living on the edge of insanity within an Industry full of morons and aristocrats! Everyday, customers rain down on my establishment to cause chaos, mayhem and anarchy with their ill-conceived ideals of what is right in an environment like mine. Believe me, the customer ain’t always right. I also have blue eyes and a temper Satan would be proud of.”  He does not mince words.  And he is hilarious.  Go pay him a visit!

Stay tuned for the next round of Tuesday Trivia next week.  Til then, happy eating!

Tuesday Trivia, Part Deuxsie

Hey, hey, hey!  It’s that day of the week again, and this time I’m not letting it pass us by.

Today’s round of trivia is brought to you by The Moody Blues and their eternally cool ballad, “Tuesday Afternoon.”  Trivia questions begin after the video…

And now onto the questions:

  1. Which came first: the chicken or the egg?*
  2. What famous beverage was invented by a Benedictine monk named Pierre?
  3. The asparagus, leek, and onion all belong to which plant family?
  4. Which of these things is not like the other?  Peas, mung beans, lentils, castor beans.
  5. Name the three principal emulsified sauces.
  6. BONUS:  Which of these emulsified sauces is made using ingredients at room temperature?

That’s it, folks!  Good night and good luck.

*I’m quite serious about this.  There is an actual, scientific answer to this conundrum.

Thursday Answers

Welcome back, friends!  Let’s not waste time dilly-dallying around, shall we?  I know you all came here for two things only this afternoon: answers and a winner.  So here we go!

The answers to Tuesday’s trivia questions:

  1. Honey.  Jars of edible honey have been found in 3,000-year-old Egyptian tombs.  They certainly knew how to preserve things…
  2. Almonds.  The other favorite sauce-thickener prior to the introduction of wheat flour was torn pieces of dense bread.  Yum!
  3. 20,000,000 pounds.  Yes, 20 million pounds — believe it or not, tea importation exponentially exploded to 1,000 times the amount that England was importing only a century earlier.  Not everyone was pleased with this change, particularly barkeepers.  One notable writer decried that “…tea has no useful strength in it; that it contains nothing nutritious; that, besides being good for nothing, has badness in it…”  Ah, what perspective time and science can lend.
  4. Water, carbohydrates, proteins and liquids.  Look at all of you clever things with your carefully-memorized copies of On Food And Cooking!
  5. 2,000 B.C. in India.
  6. 9,000 B.C. in the Middle East, which leads to Richard’s eternal question: why on earth is chicken more popular than lamb in the United States?  Sheep have certainly got the time advantage.  Anyone?

And this week’s winner is: croquecamille, narrowly edging out Pooh!  Huzzah, croquecamille!  Honorable mention goes to Cory for making me expel fluids through my nose and Jo for correctly identifying Harold McGee as this week’s inspiration.

Folks, if you haven’t read croquecamille’s blog, I highly encourage it.  She is a pastry chef who voluntarily transplanted herself to Paris along with her husband.  Her blog chronicles her adventures (both culinary and otherwise) in her new home.  In her own words:

In this blog I intend to chronicle my dining, cooking, and general food-related adventures in my new hometown: Paris, France.  Of course I may digress now and then, but if you’re into vicarious eating, you’ve come to the right place!

I am a pastry chef by trade and a lover of food and travel by disposition.  As such, my husband and I decided to uproot ourselves and become expats for a while.  So far, it has been a daily adventure.  There are things we miss (Mexican food, chicken-fried anything, a decent cheeseburger) and things we can’t get enough of (amazing bread, fresh croissants, plentiful duck, lait cru cheese).

So, go and check out this week’s winner and enjoy her luscious blog.  Stay tuned for next week’s edition of Tuesday Trivia on June 9th.  Thanks to everyone who played along this time!