Tag!

Krysta over at Evil Chef Mom has tagged me to participate in a meme.  The idea behind this particular meme is that one posts five random facts about themselves, along with accompanying pictures which represent that fact.  Fair enough.  But since this is a food blog, after all, I’m going to try and keep these facts as food-related as possible.

Onward!

Fact #1:

I am married to an Englishman.

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He loves tea. A lot. He does not, however, like Tony Blair. But back to tea.

When we first started dating, I made it a point to learn how to make the most killer cup of tea possible.  If my husband were to refashion Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, he would create an entirely new tier of the pyramid between “Physiological” and “Safety” simply called “Tea.”  You can see, then, how it would be very important that I — as a hopeful future girlfriend, fiancee, wife — would learn how to make a perfect cup of tea for the man I love.

My husband prefers his tea on the weak side (in my double-espresso opinion…), with plenty of milk and real sugar.  I think it’s very indicative of his personality, and I’ve discovered that you can tell a lot about a person by how they take their tea.  Richard is sweet, traditional and calm — just like his tea.  He’s the ideal counterpoint to my brash, eccentric and flighty personality. 

I perfected the tea-making art about three years ago and it’s been smooth sailing ever since.  I highly recommend seeking out that one thing that your significant other just adores and learning how to either (a) make it or (b) appreciate it.  I’ve also done this with soccer (a.k.a. football) and HP Brown Sauce.  Keys to a happy marriage, indeed.

Fact #2:

I am afraid of grilling things.

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I am not afraid of other people grilling things.  I just don’t like doing it myself.

I am terrified of turning on the propane tank on our patio grill.  I don’t like lighting the charcoal in other, charcoal-based grills.  I don’t like being that close to open flames and/or combustible gases and liquids.  I am afraid that I’ll do something wrong and the next thing you know, there will be a mushroom cloud and a smoking crater where the Coleman used to be. 

Alternately, I’m afraid that I’ll totally undercook the meat and put someone in the hospital with E. coli where they will contract a medicine-resistant staph infection and die.

I’m also afraid that I will accidentally set my eyebrows on fire.  In short, I will leave the grilling activities to my husband, my father and anyone else willing to undertake the potentiality of a painful, fiery death. Continue reading Tag!

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Google Fever

It’s been nearly a week since I posted anything.  A week!  What’s come over me, your daily (and sometimes twice- or thrice-daily) poster?  Work, people.  Work.  Like, real Day Job work.  I’m sorry; I don’t like it any more than you do.

Because I’ve been so busy with Day Job stuff, I haven’t even been cooking proper dinners when I finally get home at night.  My husband has been subsisting off old meatballs and beer-cheddar flavored Kettle Chips left over from our Superbowl party.  He’s not complaining, strangely, and I think he’s actually enjoying this whole week of junk food and random, assorted beers from the cooler in the back yard.  He’ll change his tune when all of that starts to catch up with his waistline, though…

Anyway, since I haven’t been cooking and have been doing really boring things instead, like CMS data match spreadsheets and TPS reports, I don’t have anything decently food-related to post today.  But I won’t let that stop me from posting something.

One of my favorite things to do is take a peek at the awesome page in the admin section of WordPress that allows you to see what search terms have led people to your page.  The vast majority of search terms leading people to she eats. are fairly average things like “spaghetti bolognese recipe” and “Landry’s goes private” and “J Alexanders review” and things along those lines.

But every once in a while, you get some good ones:

1.  my coworker stilling my lunch — Not once, not twice, but five times over the course of two days.  Someone (and I’m guessing it’s the same someone each time, by the creative spelling of the word “stealing”) is awfully concerned about office breakroom thievery.  Either that, or he’s desperately seeking out ways to convince his coworker to help him create moonshine out of his bologna sandwich and potato chips.

2.  licorice / bacteriology — The jury is still out on this one.  While I can’t fathom a possible connection between licorice and the study of bacteria, perhaps some intrepid bacteriologist out there has figured out that licorice has certain anti-microbial qualities and will soon come out with a successful line of Anti-Bacterial Twizzlers.

3.  nutritional information waffle house grits — The only answer to this is: BAD.  If Waffle House served your grits along with a tiny card giving you the nutritional content of their grits, all it would say is: BAD.  SERIOUSLY, THESE THINGS ARE REALLY BAD FOR YOU.  WE PROBABLY USE PURE BACON GREASE AND TWENTY POUNDS OF BUTTER PER BATCH.  ENJOY.

4.  bart inside clam — I still fail to see how this search term led anyone to my page, much less two separate visitors.  I’m fairly sure they didn’t find what they were looking for.  And now that I’ve actually included the entire phrase in a blog post, I’m sure to confuse even more future visitors to this blog.  In an effort to appease these visitors, I have posted a picture of what is — to me — the most unappealing and disgusting food item I’ve ever personally encountered, the geoduck clam:

geoduck.jpg

5.  bacon licorice — Chalk another one up for licorice, my least favorite candy ever.  Someone out there must like it, though.  And they like it enough to attempt to pair it with bacon, in an effort to produce some unholy licorice-bacon hybrid creature.  When that day comes, I quit.

6.  unhealthy food in houston — All around you, baby.  This shouldn’t be that hard.

7.  cartography of love — You want a map of my heart?  That’s sweet.  Seriously, though?  You’re in the wrong place.

8.  paint for white electric stove — I’m imagining the end result of this quest is going to be a fireball and a giant crater where someone’s mobile home used to be.  Yes, let’s paint a stove!  Let’s get that highly flammable paint up close and cozy with a mechanism purely designed for producing extremely high and prolonged temperatures!  The Darwin Awards are calling…

And my personal favorite:

9.  can you eat every part of a pig? — Yes.  Yes, you can, as this diagram helpfully illustrates:

pigbutcheringguide.jpg

I eagerly await next week’s batch of search terms.

An Open Letter

Dear Person Who Ate My Lunch Out Of The Freezer At Work Today:

Really?

I mean, I hear about this kind of lunch thievery all the time, but…I thought that people were just losing their lunches or being paranoid or something.  I didn’t know people like you actually exist.  You’re like the Lunchroom Boogeyman, but frightfully real, it turns out.

So, back to my original question:  Really?

You really ate someone else’s Weight Watchers® Smart Ones Santa Fe Chicken (now with a full serving of vegetables!) out of the lunchroom freezer?  Were you that desperate for food?  Because — truth be told — even I wasn’t looking forward to eating frozen chicken mush with sad little bell peppers and mealy black beans.  Not at all.  But you, apparently, were just that desperate.

There’s a cafeteria downstairs, you know.  And it actually has pretty decent food.  And there are about — oh, I don’t know — 75 million restaurants in the immediate vicinity.  This is Houston, after all.

But not for you, you rebel.  No.  You would rather break bad by surreptitiously nuking someone else’s frozen entree instead of buying a lunch or just bringing your own food from home.

I hope it was good.  I hope you enjoyed your full serving of vegetables and the twenty grams of protein that my lunch provided you.  Because at least then I’ll be sort okay with this whole “stealing my lunch” thing.  I mean, you got a nutritious meal and who am I to say that’s necessarily a bad thing, even if you did have to resort of sneakthievery for your nutrition needs?

But if you didn’t like it?  If it wasn’t good, or if you only took a few bites and then threw it out?  Then I’ll be pissed.  Because I’m the only one that’s allowed to decide whether or not the lunch I’ve purchased is crap.  And even if it is crap, I will totally choke it down anyway.  You know why?  Because that’s the only food I brought today and I’m hungry.

Which brings me to my next question: Since you so graciously helped yourself to my lunch, what were you imagining that I would eat in its place?  A cup of Butternut hot chocolate (that ubiquitously and mysteriously resides in every office lunchroom the world over)?  A sugar packet or two from the coffee bar?  Maybe help myself to some Hershey’s Kisses on my coworker’s desk?  Because none of those are particularly appealing choices for me.

Maybe next time you steal someone’s lunch, you can leave them a little note in lieu of the food, suggesting what they should eat in its place.  That would have been helpful.  Instead, I clawed around the freezer for a good five minutes looking for my lunch, tossing frozen bricks of food aside hither and thither like a madwoman.  A note would have made this entire expedition unnecessary and maybe I wouldn’t hate you as much as I do right now…

Nope.  I’d probably still hate you.

In closing, I hope you choked on my Santa Fe Chicken, you thieving bastard.  You suck.

Love,

K.

In Which We Recreate La Madeleine

Let me just start this post by saying: I’m excessively hard on chain restaurants.  I’ll admit it.  But there are a few chain restaurants that you will catch me inside of, from time to time.  La Madeleine is one of those.  I’m sorry, people, but I really love their Caesar salads and tomato-basil “soupe” and the free crusty bread with strawberry-rhubarb jam.  Feel free to thumb your noses at me and scoff in distaste.  I’d probably do the same to you.

But here’s the thing: La Madeleine is a reliably cozy — albeit in an incredibly fake way — and easy place to meet up with friends and family and defrost next to their also very fake but cozy fireplace.  You learn not to order certain suspect items off the menu, as you will inevitably disappointed in their utter lack of authenticity, and you especially learn to avoid their “bakery” section, where everything tastes as if it came straight out of the deep freezer.  And you enjoy your Houston Press while sipping on bottomless cups of coffee and eating your aforementioned free bread.

Now, Richard, my oft-mocked but truly beloved husband, has decided that he wants to recreate not only the enjoyment of sitting next to a fireplace in a restaurant (and La Madeleine happened to be the first one that sprang to mind, hence the first two paragraphs here…) but also the cozy warmth of the public houses back home in Ye Olde Englande.  And to that end, we’ve decided to install a fireplace in the dining room.

EEEEEEEE!!!

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this.  I never cared to have a fireplace in the living room, since it’s never truly cold enough in Houston to necessitate prolonged use of one, but somehow I’m peeing-my-pants excited about having one in our dining room of all places.  I’m picturing morning coffees and newspapers…by the fire; romantic dinners…by the fire; intimate gatherings and elegant dinner parties with friends…by the fire; holiday dinners…by the fire; writing this blog…by the fire (since I do most of my writing in the dining room on my laptop) — the possibilities are endless!

Am I crazy?  Or does the prospect of a fireplace in the dining room strongly appeal to anyone else?  I mean, it certainly isn’t necessary in our climate and it’s not going to be big enough to, you know, cook things in a large kettle or anything.  But, the ambience, people.  The ambience!

Ooh, I can’t wait…  Now all we need is some decent cold weather and we’ll be all set.

Fried Meme Tomatoes

I was poking around the net tonight on — gasp! — completely non-food-related blogs and happened to stumble across this food meme.  I simply couldn’t resist.  So here goes…more about my odd culinary interests than you probably ever cared to know:

1. How do you like your eggs?  Poached, scrambled, overeasy, hard-boiled, whatever.  I’ll take ’em any way I can get ’em.  I can’t be picky about everything after all.

2. How do you take your coffee/tea?  Coffee with sugar and half & half.  Tea with nothing, especially if it’s a fruity tea.  Sugar, honey, lemon, etc. in tea make me gag, literally.  I don’t know why…

3. Favorite breakfast food:  A fresh, toasty bagel with salmon and lox — all the fixings, please.

4. Peanut butter:  Peter Pan, chunky, the kind with “added vitamins and minerals” or some such nonsense, since it makes me feel better about eating what is basically a high fructose corn syrup extravaganza with no other nutritional value, a.k.a. a PB&J (with grape jelly, natch).

5. What kind of dressing on your salad?  Blue cheese.  I should think that would be fairly obvious by now.

6. Coke or Pepsi?  Dr Pepper, you fools!  Dublin Dr Pepper, more specifically.  Although…here in Texas, the conversation would go more along the lines of:

Me: You wanna Coke?
Fellow Texan: Yeah, sure.
Me: What kinda Coka ya want?
Fellow Texan: Hmm. Whutcha got?
Me: Dr Pepper and Big Red.
Fellow Texan: Dr Pepper, please!

7. You’re feeling lazy.  What do you make?  Reservations.  *ba-dum-pa!*  No.  Not really.  My ultimate go-to, lazy, comfort food is pasta with peas.

8. You’re feeling really lazy. What kind of pizza do you order?  I don’t appreciate you making an issue of my laziness, meme.  I work really hard, okay?  I have a full-time job and I write this blog and I supervise our household to make sure my husband doesn’t accidentally burn it down or feed the dog chocolate.  How did you know that we even ordered pizza tonight?  That’s just creepy.  Whatever.  It was a totally healthy, thin crust veggie pizza from Papa John’s.  So there.

9. You feel like cooking. What do you make?  I always feel like cooking.  And I cook a lot of stuff.  That’s kind of why I write this blog.  Next.

10. Do any foods bring back good memories?  My Meemo’s chicken and dumplings, my mother’s meatloaf, her lasagne, her beouf bourguingnon, my father’s beer-butt chicken…  My family has always displayed their love through food and cooking, so there’s really too many things and correlating memories to list here.

11. Do any foods bring back bad memories?  I once ate an entire bowl of some crunchy peanut butter candies and then ralphed all over my grandparent’s rug.  Also, there’s, like, the dozen or so times a piece of steak has gotten stuck in my stupid, scarred esophagus and I’ve had to sit there for fifteen minutes and either wait for the peristalsis to painfully work the steak down, or else I’ve just involuntarily thrown it up.  GERD sucks.

12. Do any foods remind you of someone?  Just one story, for brevity’s sake:  Plantains remind me of my college boyfriend, Nick, who set his kitchen countertops, kitchen cabinets and his own hand on fire when trying to fry some plantains for dinner.  He put them into the hot oil straight from the freezer, started a grease fire and then tried to put it out by throwing water on it.  I’m amazed that he’s survived as long as he has.  In the wild, he’d have already fallen victim to natural selection.

13. Is there a food you refuse to eat?  I don’t refuse to eat things like veal or foie gras on principle.  But on the other end of the spectrum, I do try to refrain from eating food that’s being served in a chain restaurant, food that’s unnecessarily bad for me (as in, this doesn’t even taste good!  why am I eating this?), or food that was created solely for mass consumption.  I don’t eat to survive, I survive to eat.  And I like what I eat to be good.

14. What was your favorite food as a child?  Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, like I imagine most kids enjoyed.  I also loved, loved, loved Granny Smith apples but they don’t agree with me anymore.  Weird.

15. Is there a food that you hated as a child but now like?  Beets and raw onions.  Man, was I missing out!

16. Is there a food that you liked as a child but now hate?  Nope.  But I carry my hate of licorice to this day.

17. Favorite fruit and vegetable:  Fruit: pomegranate.  Vegetable: any green, leafy veggie (spinach, kale, mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens…*drool*)

18. Favorite junk food:  Freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies.

19. Favorite between meal snack:  Pickles — bread & butter or dill.

20. Do you have any weird food habits?  I have to “paint” things.  For example, I can’t eat a piece of toast or a biscuit unless the surface area has an equal amount of jam or butter on it.  Same thickness, all parts covered.  Takes a while, too.  Drives my family nuts.

21. You’re on a diet. What food(s) do you fill up on?  God, diets.  I don’t believe in diets.  If you eat healthy and move your ass, you’ll be fine.  If I’m trying to eat healthier, I tend to snack on a lot of fruit and raw veggies, especially raw cauliflower and carrots.

22. You’re off your diet. Now what would you like?  I haven’t been on a diet since…college?  Hell, I don’t even remember.

23. How spicy do you order Indian/Thai?  Now THIS is a question I can get behind!  If it’s Thai, spicy.  If it’s Indian, mild, because they tend to take you very seriously when you say “spicy” and — although I love the spicy stuff — I like to be able to go home with at least 25% of my tastebuds intact.

24. Can I get you a drink?  Tanq and tonic with extra lime, but only every once in a while.  Usually it’s just a half-pint of Boddington’s.

25. Red or White Wine?  Pinot noir, slightly chilled.

26. Favorite dessert?  Too many to choose from, but I’ll tell you one that I don’t get very often: rhubarb pie with strawberry ice cream.  Holy perfect pairing, Batman.  And now I’m craving House of Pies…

27. The perfect nightcap?  Robot Chicken Star Wars.  “What the hell is an Aluminum Falcon?!?”

Okay, so the last question wasn’t food-related.   But…nightcap?  Are we living in the 1960s?  If I eat or drink anything a few hours before going to bed, I’ll be up with heartburn all night.  And Robot Chicken is way cooler than acid reflux.

My challenge to you, fair readers: come up with a better food meme than this.  I know that someone out there can do it.  I want some really insightful, thought-provoking questions.  I want something that was clearly written by a foodie.  Is anyone up to the challenge?

Easy Cheesy Pizza Teasies

Lately, something that’s very high up on the list of Things I Utterly Despise is the newest Olive Garden commercial. You know the one. The husband and wife are telling their Olive Garden waitress (who, in real life, would not give two shits about why you’re there or even what you want to order) that they’re at Olive Garden tonight because they’re “treating” themselves.

Wait… what? Treating yourselves? At Olive Garden?

You could have sat at home and microwaved a can of Campbell’s minestrone soup and cooked a box of Hamburger Helper and accomplished the exact same thing, minus the tacky decor. Then again, if you’re “treating” yourselves by going to Olive Garden, then I imagine that the plastic ferns and faux Venetian plaster probably are your idea of haute interior design.

Or maybe you live in Waco, where I suffered for four years in the pursuit of higher education. In that case, Olive Garden and Red Lobster were — seriously, far and away — the nicest restaurants in town.  They were also ideally situated in the parking lot of the only mall in town.  And I believe they might have been the only restaurants in Waco to give you cloth napkins.  In that case, your choices for a pleasant night out involved either cheese biscuits at the Red Lobster or driving two hours to Austin.

And if that’s the case, then run this abomination of a commercial in places like Waco or Abilene or Lufkin.   That crap does not belong on the air in Houston, or any other major city.  Because we hate it, and hate you even more by association, Olive Garden.

I think MadTV summed it up best:

Why I Try Not To Shop At Randall’s

Or:  Why Safeway Sucks And I Want Randall Onstead Back

I had to stop by Randall’s last night on my way home, as we were out of milk and spaghetti noodles (two things which go way too fast in a household with only two people…hmm).  It was 6:30 and, inevitably, only three lanes were open for the dinnertime rush.  I got into the “Express Lane,” which never does quite live up to its moniker.

The cashier must have been new.  New or mentally-challenged.  I’m not entirely sure.  Either way, her consternation with the customer in front of me was hilarious.

Cashier (confusedly holding up a bag of tiny, pearlescent, orange fruit):  How you call?

Jovial Middle-Aged Man:  Ah, yes.  Those are kumquats!

Cashier:  Con-kwass?

Jovial Middle-Aged Man:  Yes, kumquats.

Cashier (visibly frustrated):  Con-kwass???

Jovial Middle-Aged Man:  Yes, kumquats.  With a “k.”  They’re a citrus fruit.

Cashier:  Ehhhh…..  How you say?

Jovial Middle-Aged Man:  KUM-QUATS.  K-U-M-Q-U-A-T-S.  KUM-QUATS.

Cashier:  I don’t know.

At this point, she sets them down and looks incredibly frustrated.  She stares around for a bit, as if trying to remember what her training manual said in Chapter 8:  When You Don’t Know What A Particular Fruit Or Vegetable Item Is, And How To Overcome This Predicament.  Her memory must have been failing her.

Cashier:  How much?

Jovial Middle-Aged Man:  I believe with my Randall’s card they were $3.49 a pound.

Cashier:  How much?

Jovial Middle-Aged Man:  $3.49 a pound.

Cashier:  Uh, okay.  I no have code.

Here is where it got really good.  Instead of calling a manager or fellow cashier for assistance, she proceeded to rip out the page from the produce code book in front of her and thrust it towards the kumquat man.

Cashier:  Here.  You find.

Jovial Middle-Aged Man (scanning the sheet):  Ah, let’s see…  K.  Kumquats.  Here they are.  The code is 40439.

Cashier:  Okay, give back.

As she enters the code enter her register, the kumquat man begins ruminating to her about his bag of fruit, which has now held the rest of us in the “Express Lane” for about ten minutes.

Jovial Middle-Aged Man:  You know, kumquats are of the subgenus Fortunella in the Rutacaea family.  They’re related to oranges and grapefruits.  And they’re in the Sapindales order, which also makes them related to chestnuts!  Would you believe that?

Cashier (staring at him blankly):  Ehhhh…..   You total $34.17.

These two people couldn’t have been a more perfect paradox:

Kumquat Man, the jolly, amateur botanist, eager to buy his fruits and share his wisdom with the world.

And Cashier Woman, hating her job and all of the Kumquat Men that came with it, and with absolutely no interest in learning English or checking people out at the grocery store, let alone learning about some fruit she’s never seen before and will hopefully never see again.