First law of fat


Everything tastes better with sugar and/or butter on it.

— My mother.




…there is one culinary product that has proven, year in and year out, a particular favorite of extra-terrestrial diners: shrimp cocktail.

via Astronauts Favorite Space Food: Shrimp Cocktail – Megan Garber – The Atlantic.


On Southern hospitality


A steady assault of “rusty salt pork, boiled or fried … and musty corn meal dodgers” brought his stomach to surrender. Rarely did “a vegetable of any description” make it on his plate, and “no milk, butter, eggs, or the semblance of a condiment” did he once see. New Englander Emily Burke observed that “the people of the South would not think they could subsist without their [swine] flesh; bacon, instead of bread, seems to be THEIR staff of life.” On this staff they leaned heavily. “You see bacon upon a Southern table three times a day either boiled or fried.”

via The Great Hog-Eating Confederacy – The New Inquiry.


Garbonzos I Have Loved


The inspiration is one of my favorite snacks sadly, not shared by my assistant, yet, carrot sticks dipped in hummus and here I tried to deconstruct the two things only to reconstruct them better.

via carrot soup with tahini and crisped chickpeas | smitten kitchen.

I made this soup, which is delicious, if standard, and became fully converted to the camp of Chickpeas Make a Great Snack. There are not a lot of people in the camp, I know. But I am just saying, if you get a post card from me with a funny postmark, don’t get alarmed.

Roasting chickpeas on a cookie sheet can be a little tricky. The little guys can turn black in a hurry. But the end result, with just a little garlic and oil, is all kinds of potato-chip hearty. They are a perfect compliment to soups, as in the above excerpt; but it is enough to simply eat them by the greedy handful.

I am not making that up.

Fool Me Three Times…

…when the lights were turned off, dogs in a room with their human owners were much more likely to disobey and steal forbidden food. The study says it is “unlikely that the dogs simply forgot that the human was in the room”… instead it seems as though the dogs were able to differentiate between when the human was unable or able to see them.

via BBC News – Dogs understand human perspective, say researchers.

Years ago, I had this mystery happen to me. It was real “Hardy Boys” stuff. I was living in a house in a cozy little sort-of enclave of [deleted] that had only one recognized meth dealer, and for some reason I had begun buying butter by the stick.

Butter and a butter knife

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Usually, I would buy real butter in a tub. But one day, like I said, I bought a box of butter sticks. My mother had done this — actually, it was margarine — for years when I was a kid, I imagine because tubs of the stuff had not yet become popular. Or, I don’t know, who knows what she was thinking. For one thing, she never called it margarine; she called it oleo or butter. The point of the story is that my mental image of butter was a stick of it softening on a saucer in the open air of the kitchen, and so what I did next seemed natural to me.

One day, I made a loaf of bread or something and, you know, in planning ahead, I had put a stick of butter on a saucer and set it on the counter. Eventually, I cut a slice of bread and turned to the plate of butter and — it’s gone. I mean, the plate is there but the butter is gone.

Now, when this happened, I didn’t really think twice. I immediately assumed that I had merely meant to set out some butter and had actually forgotten. I walked to the fridge, took out another stick of butter and set it on the saucer. I scraped off some cold butter onto a slice of bread and thought nothing more about it.

Suspect No. 2, as a puppy.

Suspect No. 2, as a puppy.

A few hours later, I thought about having dinner and went back into the kitchen. And I immediately noticed the plate that I had put the butter on was empty. This time, my first thought was confusion. I checked the inside of the fridge, to see if I had put the butter plate in there. I checked the freezer, to see if I was even more absent-minded than I thought I was. I checked the cupboard where I kept the plates. I checked cupboards where there were no plates. No butter. And the mysterious thing was, to my eyes, there was no sign of butter on the plate that was on the counter. The same plate I was sure I had put butter on a few hours earlier.

Now, you might have guessed a dog was involved. As I stood there, bemused, I began to wrench my brain in the direction of suspecting one of my two dogs. Suspect No. 1 was a black mixed-breed too short to reach the counter comfortably — so I say — but Suspect No. 2 was a three-legged golden retriever, about 60 pounds and fairly nimble. Still, I found it hard to believe that she both knew the butter was on the counter — she was nowhere near the kitchen when I unwrapped either stick — and was able to get it off the plate without making any suspicious noises.

Any reasonable person would have endeavored to keep the butter in the fridge from then on. My idea was to see if my dog would do it again. I opened the box, pulled out the last stick of butter and set it on the saucer. Then I looked around to see where my three-legged butter thief was. I checked the front room, my bedroom and then walked back through the kitchen to the basement. She wasn’t down there, either. I came back upstairs and guess what I found on the butter plate? Nothing.

Three sticks of butter. One day. And I never figured out, really, which dog was doing it. Or, you know, if it was some kind of Disney-esque team effort.

‘You Don’t Eat Chickpeas, Do You?’

Carrot soup with tahini and crisped chickpeas.

Carrot soup with tahini and crisped chickpeas. (Photo credit: Me.) 

[3:21 PM] Bob …all right….honey roasted chick peas

[3:21 PM] Me: You don’t eat chickpeas, do you?

[3:24 PM] Bob …well …no…you have me there…but…Super Saver had….ranch and bar-b-que….or dorito lookibg color…thought maybe since you can get anything…honey roasted…

[3:26 PM] Me: Chickpeas come in a sack. A can, maybe …not snack size bags.

[3:28 PM] Bob …so…no ….then…¿?…

[3:28 PM] Me: You, Sir, are a bit of a cad. Aren’t you?

[3:30 PM] Me: Sorry. I meant rube.

[3:31 PM] Bob ….no…I think not…your off about the flavored…peas, eh….

[3:32 PM] Me: What do you call a man who’s never had a chickpea, flavored or otherwise, but a rube?

[3:37 PM] Bob …its just if I were going to jump in ….I would go with honey roasted…thats all…

[3:37 PM] Me: And. For me, it’s just that THAT makes you a rube, Sir. That’s all.

[3:38 PM] Me: Here’s what you do. Get a can, add them to your next salad. Like croutons. Protein. Fiber. Bonzo. Good for you

[3:38 PM] Me: Then…

[3:39 PM] Me: Get a sackful. Soak. Roast on a cookie sheet, with garlic, coriander, whatever. Eat like peanuts.

[3:39 PM] Bob …well…if you say so…

[3:39 PM] Me: Then, Sir, and only then you can hold your head up. And be called not a rube

And Then the Sphinx Says…

Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


[12:35 PM] Me: Now. Here’s a riddle. Why is it a grilled cheese sandwich if you fried it, not grilled it?


[12:41 PM] Bob: …why not saute….then…eh….broiled…


[12:41 PM] Me: Yes! Right? From now on, I’m calling them sauteed cheese sandwiches.


[12:42 PM] Bob: …cheese toastie….cheese melt….


[12:42 PM] Me: Cheese sneeze!


[12:51 PM] Bob: …believe it came from the 1920’s use of a grill to describe a dinner type foods…and the sandwich…cheese melted on bread with all manner of meats and salads layered on…where concocted using the ….grill…the term used for the Viking g1140 model range which included a flame grill, flame broiler, griddle (which in its self is often refered to as a gril) , convection oven and warming oven….to this day the flat griddle type cook surface in a Dairy Queen is refered to as a grill…even though it truely is a large hot plate…which things are fried…


[12:52 PM] Me: You really are a scholar!


[12:55 PM] Bob: …I think it is frying that got us in all this confusion…when have you ever prepared …one inch deep or more container of oil …heated to around 370 degrees …then plopped a pattied burger into …well…to fry a burno frying is the problem…my burgers from a pan…are browned and heated through…in a pan I just finnished carmelizing onions in…not fried…




Me, Too

I’ve been having a sordid affair… a sordid affair with toast.

via My Love Affair with Toast – Amateur Gourmet.

The Amateur Gourmet has great advice (click through) for delicious toast, and as much as I enjoyed it all I am compelled to add that I make no fuss about it, myself. But there must be toast. Store-bought bread is fine, just let it be first thing in the morning. With coffee. Peanut butter will do, though I am partial to butter and strawberry jam.

Stop talking, start toasting.

Ode to the Bit of Onion That Landed on My Shoulder

His dinner was rendered to a hungry mouth
in rough fistfuls,
without interruption.
Without skill or subtlety.
Sauce-drenched bits,
white knuckles,
unblinking desire.

In front of him,
of it,
a large plastic bowl,
unlidded with haste.
To the side, a discarded top
dirty-side down
on a watch cap
and a book.
Beady eyes fixed on the contents,
a gelatinous swirl of I-really-do-not-know-what.

The first lunge catches the observer off guard.
From under the desk,
a flabby hand swings up and plunges
into sauce and vegetable,
plucking out a white fleshy morsel.
It was torn, not cut,
formerly living tendrils
that hinted at earlier lusting.
Fingers curl around wet meat,
hand becoming a fist,
fist becoming a missile,
whirling back toward the head.

A second lunge, just as surprising,
and the other hand sweeps above the stained papers 
not moments after the first
arrived above the chin.
Teeth peek through lips,
and a tongue emerges eagerly.
Three fingers and the morsel enter,
then the lips contract.
The meat is gone,
the fingers swabbed,
but not clean.
Moving fast,
blurry and shiny.

It doesn’t stop.