June 20th, 2012

Bravery Takes Different Forms

I am not a courageous man. I do not take risks. I rarely even watch a movie or TV show without knowing what I’m getting myself into. I can’t remember the last time I got mad at a spoiler – even if I wish I hadn’t heard it, it isn’t the end of the world for me.  Knowing how magic tricks are done is more enjoyable to me than the viewing of the actual tricks. I don’t like surprises. This is just how I’m built. It leads to as much stability as a person can have, but I do know that the accompanying danger is that you can get stuck in ruts.

A few years back, as a byproduct of improv, I made the conscious choice to say “yes” to more things. I wasn’t going to get all crazy about it and say yes to everything, just more things. To the outside observer, it probably wouldn’t look like I’ve changed much, but from in here, I can see some big steps I’ve taken.

One of the steps has been with food. I’m a meat-and-potatoes guy, always have been. “Fancy” food is wasted on me, and there are plenty of tastes and textures that make me gag. A while back I said yes to trying some salad, and now there’s a salad at Texas Roadhouse that I actually crave every so often. I still don’t like lettuce on my burgers, but it’s something, at least. I eat broccoli on occasion now, but I still despise peas and asparagus. It’s a process, and I’ll never like everything you want me to.

This calendar year has had me trying some new things that apparently gross a lot of people out. Here’s the thing: I don’t think you can be all “Hey, you should try more stuff!” and then be all “No, I meant this other stuff, not that gross stuff!” That pretty much tells me you don’t really want me to try new stuff, you just want me to like what you like. Secondly, the next thing out of your mouth is going to be, “Ugh! that is SO unhealthy! You eat terribly!” I will grant you that these things are not the healthiest, but I will also tell you that these are not my normal day-to-day diet. Yes, I eat things that aren’t good for me. No, I don’t only eat things that aren’t good for me. If you’ve ever eaten and enjoyed ice cream, pizza, candy bars, or crème brûlée, than you’ve done the same thing I have here.

(I don’t mean to sound jerkful here – I just take a LOT of guff about what I like and don’t like. It doesn’t bother me that you don’t eat steak, so why should it bother you if I don’t like beets or mushrooms?)

So here are three new things I have tried this year:

    • Doritos Locos Tacos – And, apparently, I’m not the only one. These things have been selling like the dickens. You know why? Because they are super tasty. My wife makes taco salad for us occasionally – ground beef with some spices that we put over Fritos and put cheese and sour cream on (she also puts tomatoes and other things on hers). This? This is kind of like that, only with Doritos. It is really, really tasty. I have eaten, to date, nine of them. But you know what? I don’t think I’m going to have any more of them, because they kind of play havoc with my stomach.  Too bad, really.
    • Twinkie Wiener Sandwich – Inspired by UHF. I had wanted to try it for a long time, I just had never gotten around to it. So, on the occasion of my 40th birthday, with friends gathered around, I tried it. And it was… not bad. The Twinkie tasted like a sweeter hot dog bun, really.  And having cheese on your hot dog isn’t that strange.  I’m not going make a habit out of eating these, either, but if I needed to, I could eat more of them.
    • Bacon Sundae – Just tried this one today at Burger King. It was okay. Nowhere near as good as the previous two entries. Honestly, if they had smaller, crispier pieces of bacon that were mixed in rather than on top, this would be a lot better.


Burger King’s Bacon Sundae. I went with four coworkers, one was too chicken to try it.

I’ll leave you with one last discovery. I was picking up some things at the grocery store last week, and my eyes landed on some WhoNu? cookies. I decided to give them a try, because why not? You know what? Not bad. Not bad at all. I can eat these things, and they satisfy my sweet tooth.  Take a look at that link there. Turns out, cookies might be the healthiest experiment I’ve undertaken.

Nice work, cookies.

October 27th, 2011

Food Memories

I made myself sad the other day by remembering a cereal I used to like that they no longer make, and that reminded me of other foods I loved when I had them that I can longer find. I know it’s pretty much the height of ridiculosity to complain about foods I no longer have access to when I am so completely blessed to live somewhere where I can get almost any other food there is, so please don’t castigate me for that. I simply mean this as a memory for foods past.

Snapple Tru-Clear Root Beer – I had this several times over the course of a summer spent traveling out West in the late 90s. I would find it a random gas stations and grocery stores and bought it every time I could. I was on a tear of trying every new rootbeer I could, and in a summer of many new brands, this one stood out to me. It was colorless, which was sort of freaky, but I really liked the taste of it.  It disappeared from shelves soon after and I don’t think it’s ever coming back. Maybe that’s a good thing, as this review of it isn’t so loving.

S’mores Crunch Cereal – Very much like Golden Grahams, but had chocolate bits and little marshmallows. Wikipedia says it was discontinued in 1988. I’ve been pining for it ever since. 23 years of pining is a long time.

Fruity Marshmallow Krispies – Another cereal! I’m on record as not caring much for actual fruits, but I like many fruit flavors. This cereal had what I would describe as a “light fruity flavor,” and the marshmallows were those great cereal ‘mallows that you only ever get in cereal. Here’s way more info about it than you’ll ever want.

Fruity Yummy Mummy – Not only another cereal, but also another fruit-ish one! You’re familiar with Count Chocula and Frankenberry, most likely, and you might even know Boo Berry, but you probably don’t know Fruity Yummy Mummy. He replaced Fruit Brute (which you Tarantino fans probably know), but was discontinued in the 90s.

Snickers Almond Limited Edition Dark – This is the strange one of the bunch, because I only ever had it one time. I saw it at a checkout, got it, and loved it. I can’t eat regular Snickers any more because peanuts upset my stomach now. There are still dark chocolate Snickers to be found, as well as almond Snickers, but I have never seen another Snickers Almond Limited Edition Dark anywhere. They warned me right on the package that it wouldn’t be around long, but the heart (stomach?) wants what it wants, I guess.  I’d think I imagined it if it weren’t for other people’s recollections.

The thing about all of these is that I suspect if I had them available again and were to try them, they wouldn’t meet my memory’s fondness rating. How could they? Much like someone bemoaning the loss of “the good ol’ days” that weren’t, in fact, all that good, I am sure my brain has ascribed wonderfulness to things that were probably okay, but have gained deliciousness via time.

April 20th, 2010

Honey Pie

Song Info (from Beatlesongs):”Honey Pie” is on the White Album, and was 100% written by McCartney. Nobody in the group had much to say about this one. 

Lisa Loeb has the right idea, I think.  When faced with two choices, try to take them both.  But some times it isn’t practical or advisable or not-rude.

For the most part, I’m a “cake guy.”  I’m a dessert guy overall, but in the hierarchy, I rank cake above pie.  That’s just in general, of course.  There are some pies I like above some cakes, and even some cakes I don’t really like at all.  But if you offer me cake or pie, I’m usually going to go with cake.

That said, there are some pies I get a hankering for every so often.  My all-time favorite pie is Oatmeal Pecan Pie, which is so good that it deserves the capital letters.  I was introduced to this pie at The Upper Krust, and I look for it every time I’m back there.  It’s basically a pecan pie (which are my second favorite kinds of pies) with oatmeal mixed in.  It cuts the sweetness of the syrup a bit, and it is just wonderful.  I haven’t had a piece in years, but I still imagine it every so often.  Someone made me one a few years ago (4, I think) on my birthday, and it was very good.  I keep thinking I will get a recipe and try it myself some day.  In fact, I have some pecans in my freezer right this moment (Texas pecans, even), and I think they are destined to become an Oatmeal Pecan Pie one of these days.  I need an occasion, I think.  As much as I know I could eat the whole thing myself, I don’t think I should.  I like my pecan pies cold.  Most restaurants serve it either hot or room temperature, and neither is okay by me.

Officially, my second-favorite pie is lemon cream.  I say “officially” because there are a lot of times I’m actually more in a mood for lemon cream than for pecan pie.  You know how it is, certain foods fit certain moods.  Lemon cream pie is more of an all-moods kind of pie than pecan is.  If you’re looking for a good version, try out your local Perkins.  They’ve got a very smooth and rich lemon cream pie.  One of the decisions I got to make for the upcoming wedding was the dessert for the rehearsal dinner… and they just happen to have a lemon cream pie at the place we’re holding it.  I did not get to try a sample, unfortunately, so it’s a bit of a gamble, but I’ve had more good lemon cream pies than bad, so I have high hopes.  Sorry, those of you who are coming to the rehearsal dinner and don’t like lemon cream pies.  Perhaps I can eat your pieces, too.  Bring some Oreos, I guess.

I’d never heard of sugar creme pie until I moved to Indiana.  It’s apparently the state pie?  Unofficially, maybe.  It reminds me a lot of pecan pie, if someone scraped all the pecans off the top of it.  It is served either warm or cold and, really, either is fine.  Do yourself a favor, though, and never ever ever have it room temperature. Room temperature sugar creme pie is a bit too phlegm-like for anyone’s good.

I don’t really care for fruit pies (most people don’t count lemon cream in the fruit category, which I think is a ripoff), not even apple.  I can eat apple pies, but I prefer not to.  I still like hot dogs and some Chevrolets, though, so my American-ness is not in question.

For those of you hoping this song title would lead to a discussion of pi instead, I’m sorry to have disappointed you.