Archive for the 'Food' Category



17
May
12

No plastic to go

My vegan wrap was something of a mess that day.

I’m not vegan. Nor am I remotely a vegetarian. I just occasionally take advantage of other people’s dietary principles to find something light and low-calorie, but filling and delicious, for lunch.

I would have taken it cold, but the girl at the cafe had thrown it on the panini grill so resolutely, so automatically and with no room for questioning or debate, that it seemed unthinkable to say anything against it. Anyway, once something has started heating, you don’t want it to take it half-heated. You might as well go all the way.

When I unwrapped it at my office and took the first bite, a dried-up chickpea fall onto my desk. It left behind an indentation in the tortilla, so I guessed it had been stuck to the outside and likely had cooked on the grill that way. Probably the order directly before mine had come undone or lost a few bits and pieces as it was removed.

I picked up the chickpea and ate it.

Then I was surprised by a dried cranberry. It was stuck to the tortilla like a jewel. I took it with a bite as if it belonged there. Could I really say it didn’t belong there? No big deal.

I don’t like to be particular, but I amused myself with fantasies of a different me — one who might be bothered by a stray chickpea in his lunch and an errant dried cranberry encrusted on his tortilla. Continue reading ‘No plastic to go’

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10
Jan
12

The 12 ways of Christmas: dinner

[Part 10]

Grandma's cake looked a little something like this.

Whereas turkey was the center of Thanksgiving a month prior, Christmas Eve dinner revolved around a turkey and a ham! Those were from Dad. It was a food orgy—like Thanksgiving plus Easter … plus a birthday party.

My uncle Dennis always brought a cold tuna-noodle salad that the food of the gods as far as I was concerned.

Aunt Kay always brought dinner rolls and home-made chocolate candies. Starch, salt, sweet and fat, the chocolate-covered pretzels were irresistible.

Grandma spent a day stewing probably the best baked beans in the world—with bacon and molasses and brown sugar … and bacon. It may one day just save the world.

Mom made her potato salad, unequalled on seven continents, with the sliced hard-boiled eggs on top and drifts of sprinkled paprika.

Continue reading ‘The 12 ways of Christmas: dinner’

02
Jan
12

The 12 Ways of Christmas: the cookies

[Part 7]

Santa's givin' you some sugar this year!

There was nothing in particular that linked my mom’s cookies with Christmas, except that we never made them at any other time of the year. You can have eggnog in the summer, but why? Grandma could make her baked beans for Easter, but why? No, these things were for Christmas only.

I always looked forward to those rare and special nights when my mom dragged out her big electric mixer and the glass and metal bowls and wooden spoons. Soon the kitchen countertop would be covered with bags of flour and sugars, syrups, shortening, butter (it was always margarine, but we called it “butter”), eggs, nuts, sprinkles, chocolate, vials of food colorings and flavorings, shredded coconut, candied cherries. Continue reading ‘The 12 Ways of Christmas: the cookies’

07
Jun
11

Take my Cake — Please

“I can resist everything but temptation.”
—Oscar Wilde

Today is the birthday of my cube mate at work. When I arrived this morning, she alerted me to an Irish whiskey cake she had made and brought to the morning news meeting. “Better go downstairs and get some while it’s still there,” she said.

It was getting rave reviews around the office. “It’s like you bought it at the store,” someone said.

“I made it without eggs and without milk,” she said.

“You made a cake for your own birthday?” I asked.

“Yep,” she said. “And there’s a coffee cake that someone brought in, too.”

I thanked her, but I decided to abstain. I’ve been trying to train myself to understand that, just because food is there, it doesn’t mean I am responsible for eating it. If there are sandwiches left over after a meeting, I do not need to take one with me if I have already had one. If there is a slice of pizza left, I do not need to eat it. Continue reading ‘Take my Cake — Please’

01
Jun
11

Orange Alert

orange

Bon appetit!

From spring through autumn, sidewalk fruit stands are rampant in New York City. It’s great, because warmer temperatures seem to convince us to eat lighter and fresher, and I like having the options. A couple bucks can get you a light and relatively healthy lunch. I should know, I passed by enough of those stands on my way to Chipotle.

However, you can never be sure of the quality or the flavor. And you should really wash that stuff off before you munch on the go. So it’s a good idea to have some alternative reliable sources.

I could always find the best oranges at this little deli on 46th near Broadway, a couple doors down from my office. I don’t work in New York any more, however, and those oranges are among the things I miss most about my routine there. They were consistently easy to peel. And unlike the typically dull, pulpy monstrosities of grocery store fare, these had an intense flavor every time without fail. I don’t know what voodoo those shopkeepers were working. I have no idea where the fruit came from. But no matter the season, they were always awesome.

Having them there kept me from defaulting to a bagel with butter or a two-egg and cheese on a roll. (Though I miss those things dearly, too.) If they didn’t have any oranges in on a given day, I would walk right back out of the store.

So now that I work in Philadelphia, I need to find a new routine, a new source. I don’t yet know where to get a good bagel near the office, and that’s probably for the best.

27
Apr
11

A Mister and Mister Mystery

Mr. and Mrs. Bunny

Alternative lifestyle bunnies are also available as Mr. & Mr. Bunny or Mrs. & Mrs. Bunny.

The Easter Bunny came early to our house this year. A couple of weeks ago FedEx delivered a mysterious package to our house. In the box was an inviting bundle of mylar bubble wrap, shredded paper, packing tape and a card in a sealed envelope. I set aside the card (You only open the card first if someone is looking!) and dug through the packaging to find a melted ice pack and a plastic bag containing two chocolate bunnies.

The bunnies had bright little blue eyes and wore green chocolate overalls. They came packed with some jelly beans and a few foil-wrapped chocolate eggs.

I opened the card — “Happy Easter, Jeff and Eric!” — but there was no sender. Luckily my mom solved the case for me later that day when she left me a voice mail to ask if I received them.

Before I returned her call, I looked up the website of the chocolatier she ordered them from, Gayle’s Chocolates. I didn’t see a pair of bunnies in green overalls, but I did find a similar item: Mr. and Mrs. Bunny, a boy bunny in green, and a girl bunny in a rather silly looking pink and purple cape. Secretly I was glad, because the boy bunny was much cuter than the girl bunny. (But then again, of course I would say that.)

And then I spotted the disclaimer: “Alternative lifestyle bunnies are also available as Mr & Mr Bunny or Mrs & Mrs Bunny.”
Continue reading ‘A Mister and Mister Mystery’

11
Oct
10

Hungry, Hungry Hypocrite?

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is getting some guff for pushing to prevent poor families from buying sugary snacks and sodas with food stamps while at the same time offering similar items to employees at his financial firm. This is the height of hypocrisy, some say. (“Mayor’s Soda Plan and His Company’s Policy Differ“)

He has, on the record, served junk food at Gracie Mansion and at events in his townhouse. Further — gasp — he uses salt at home.

So, does this deflate his argument that poor families should not be using food stamps to buy crap for their kids? Not at all.

Bloomberg’s employees are given healthy snacks as well as Coke and Fanta. I agree 100% that it’s a little weird that he gives away soda. His employees are basically a captive audience. They will take what is given to them. Just like families on welfare. They’ll take what’s available to them. So, to align better with his public policy, he should probably do away with the free junk food at work.

Better yet, he should install a vending machine. Then will people have to actually buy the stuff. It would be completely their choice and their responsibility.

If he wants to salt his food and if his employees want to spend their own money on junk food or bring in whatever they buy from elsewhere, let them. But we should not allow poor families to use taxpayer money to buy crap for their kids. Force them to make better choices. Lobby retailers to offer better options.

Food stamps should be used for things that are actually nutritionally beneficial for kids. Anything else is a waste of money and an insult to the taxpayers who fund assistance programs. Food stamps are for food: fruit and vegetables, meat, cheese, bread, milk. Someone at some point has already had to decide what families are allowed to purchase with food stamps. Items have already been vetted and either added to or eliminated from the program. Under further scrutiny, it’s a very excellent idea to cut as much nutritionally void content as we can. A government in the business of assisting its less fortunate citizens has a responsibility to give them access to the good stuff, not some bullshit that’s going to make them worse off.




the untallied hours

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