Thursday, December 31, 2009

It just ain't Christmas without cheese grits

The wildest wild goose chase I went on this Christmas was a Christmas Eve hunt for a roll of Kraft garlic cheese to make cheese grits, a Southern Christmas specialty if ever there was one.

First, I went to the little Foodland market at which I always purchased my holiday garlic cheese in the past. When I couldn't find it there, I should've known something was up. I then went to Publix, and they didn't have it. Right there I really should've known that something was up. Being the glutton for punishment that I am, I trekked to Food Lion and Kroger only to be skunked two more times.

Little did I know that Kraft's patented garlic cheese was taken off the market last year. "What the **** am I gonna do now?" I said aloud to no one in particular before I had a revelation: "I'll bet I can use a jar of Cheese Whiz and some garlic paste!" And that's exactly what I did.

First, here's my recipe for garlic cheese grits, which is actually my mother's recipe for garlic cheese grits (which she has recorded on a bank deposit slip from a bank my parents used about, oh, 25 years ago):

Garlic Cheese Grits

1 1/2 cups grits, uncooked (do not use instant grits)
4 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1 roll Kraft garlic cheese
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Cook grits in salted water. When water is absorbed, add butter, garlic cheese, cheddar cheese and Worcestershire sauce sauce. Stir until cheese is well incorporated.

Pour mixture into a greased shallow casserole dish and sprinkle with paprika. Bake in 350° oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Here's what you use in place of Kraft's garlic cheese roll:

Pour 1 8-ounce jar of Kraft Cheese Whiz into a microwave-safe bowl. Warm on "defrost" for about a minute and a half. Add 1 teaspoon of Amore garlic paste and stir well. If you want more garlic flavor, add a dab of garlic paste at a time while stirring and tasting. Now be warned: a little garlic paste goes a long way, so don't overdo it. Just be sure to keep adding dabs and tasting as you mix. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

J'adore le jambon de pays!

Today's Tennessean has a great article about the Power of Pork:

If you believe the trend forecasters at, pork will be passé in 2010.

But in Tennessee, surely that's like calling Johnny Cash uncool, or pouring out the Jack because it's proclaimed a passing fad. Some things just can't go out of style.

And even if the bacon-wrapped craze of '09 falls apart next year, many Southern cooks will no doubt stick with tradition on New Year's when bits of smoky hog jowl flavor pots of collard greens and black-eyed peas with hopes of bringing good luck.

Speaking of pork, there's nothing I like better than quality country ham, like the country ham I recently purchased at Rice's in Mt. Juliet, TN ...

For those who don't care for country ham because it's too salty, or because it's too tough when fried, I have one word for you: Coke. Place three or four slices of country ham in a shallow baking dish and pour a half-can of Coke over the ham. Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake in a pre-heated 350° oven. Cook for about 25 minutes and you'll have you some tender, not-so-salty ham that'll make you want to slap your pappy, guaran-damn-teed. [Note: Do not use Diet Coke ... trust me.]

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Joltin' Django's Mac N Cheese

Per an impassioned e-mail request, here's how I make mac-'n'-cheese (the pic above is from my Christmas Day kitchen counter):

Joltin' Django's Macaroni and Cheese


1 lb elbow macaroni
6-8 cups cold water
1/4 stick butter
12 ounces Velveeta cheese, cubed (DO NOT use light or 2 percent)
1 1/2 cups WHOLE milk (see previous post)
4 cups mild cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Bring lightly salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add macaroni, bring water back to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-high. Simmer macaroni until very tender (12-15 minutes). Remove pot from stove and drain.

Return macaroni to pot. Add butter, Velveeta cheese, one cup of cheddar cheese, milk and A LOT (at least one heaping tablespoon) of black pepper. Mix until no large lumps of cheese remain.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour macaroni mixture into a deep baking dish. Top with remaining cheddar cheese.

Place dish in oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese on top is completely melted and smooth. Place oven on broil and allow cheese to turn golden brown (should take no longer than 2-3 minutes). Remove dish from oven and allow mac-and-cheese to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, December 28, 2009


I promised the folks at Caesar's Ristorante Italiano that I'd have a review up today. Due to a f-ed up camera, it's gonna be later in the week before said review is posted.


"My" cookbook

Joltin' Django was surprised to get this cookbook in his Christmas stocking ...

This's the first recicpe I'm gonna try ...

Stay tuned.

(Click pics to enlarge)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Eat, drink and be merry this Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Quote of the day

"Take that, vegetarian f***wad."

-- Chef Anthony Bourdain, No Reservations Christmas episode

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Some folks love 'em some grilled cheese

Would you get a tattoo for a discount on grilled cheese sammiches?

Ohio eatery offers discount for sandwich tattoos

An Ohio restaurant is offering lifetime discounts to people willing to make an indelible display of their love for grilled cheese sandwiches.

Melt Bar & Grilled in the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood specializes in spins on the grilled cheese and says anyone with a tattoo of the classic sandwich will get 25 percent off.

The restaurant has hooked up for the promotion with a tattoo shop, which is offering its own discount on grilled cheese designs. John Forgus of Voodoo Monkey Tattoo says he's been getting creative, giving one person a tattoo of Popeye holding a grilled cheese sandwich instead of a spinach can.

Here's one of the tats (pic courtesy of Slashfood):

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The taste of Taste of Home

Whenever I see a new Taste of Home recipe magazine (TOH) at the grocery store, I immediately start flipping through it. Nine times out of ten I buy it. Indeed, I'm rapidly acquiring a collection of TOH magazines that rivals my impressive collection of cookbooks.

The last TOH mag I purchased was the "Potluck" issue. It's chock-full of casseroles and dishes that remind me of what I dug-into at church suppers when I was a kid. Here's the first recipe I whipped up:

Taste of Home's Taco Noodle Bake


2 cups uncooked yolk-free wide noodles
2 pounds lean ground turkey
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
1 envelope reduced-sodium taco seasoning
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded lettuce
1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
1/3 cup sliced black olives, drained
1/2 cup taco sauce
1/2 cup sour cream


Cook noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, cook the turkey over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomato sauce, water, green chilies, taco seasoning, onion powder, chili powder and garlic powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Drain noodles; place in an 11x7-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread the turkey mixture over the top. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Top with the lettuce, tomatoes, olives and taco sauce. Dollop each serving with 1 tablespoon of sour cream. Yield: 8 servings.

© Taste of Home 2009

Three things:

I took two liberties with the recipe: I used ground beef instead of ground turkey; and I substituted a half-cup of Goya sofrito sauce for tomato sauce.

TOH's Taco Noodle Bake looks like a mess when it's completely finished (see above pic), but believe me it tastes great. Here's what it looked like before I added toppings (nice, huh?):

I took my casserole to a Christmas party and, well, let's just say every noodle, olive and shred of lettuce got eaten. That tells you all you need to know, n'est-ce pas?!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Le Lion de Nourriture

For my money -- and I'm real picky 'bout how I spend my money in the age of Obamanomics -- Food Lion is the best chain grocery store when it comes to butchered meat (sorry Publix).

I've never purchased a bad cut of meat at Food Lion. Indeed, even the mark-down cuts of meat I've purchased there have been first-class. Like the ones I cooked tonight ...

I bought that $6.38 package of chops for $3.12 at the Antioch Pike Food Lion ("Purchase By" date: 12/20). I seasoned 'em with some Szeged Chicken Rub (!), and I slow-grilled 'em for about 25 minutes ...

Those chops you see are right off the grill. I covered 'em in foil and let 'em sit for about 10 minutes ... and then I made a simple gravy with the juicy juices that leaked out of 'em.

Wish you'd been here to partake. Come on over tomorrow if you'd like some o' the left-overs!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pretty snappy, en effet!

I heeded an AMGE reader's advice and visited my local Snappy Tomato's pizza buffet today. I'm more than glad I did.

When it comes to pizza buffets, Snappy Tomato don't hold a candle to Angelo's Picnic Pizza's buffet. It is, however, far superior to Fletcher's pizza's buffet ... even if it don't have cole slaw on its spread. Here's why:

I didn't bother trying Snappy Tomato's pasta and salad 'cause, well, as soon as I saw pizzas garnished with jalapeños, I had nothing but pizza on the brain. After grabbing a plate, I got me two slices of jalapeno-'n'-peperoni, a slice of peperoni-'n'-sausage, and -- as always -- a shaker full o' red pepper flakes. Then I sat down ...

When it comes to "cheap" pizza buffets*, Snappy Tomato just might be the best I've ever had. It's better than Fletcher's, and it's far better than Mr. Gatti's. The crust is fresh tasting; the cheese and toppings are first-class; and, by God, any pizza joint that puts-out slices with hot peppers as the first offering on its buffet is a-okay in my book.

*Regular price is $5.99. Watch your local paper and you'll find dollar-off coupons 'bout every three weeks.

Snappy Tomato Pizza
493 Old Hickory Blvd.
Brentwood, TN 37027

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Time is absolutely runnin' out

If you like country ham, you need to get yourself out to Mt. Juliet sometime between now and Christmas Eve. Just so you know, Ed Rice's country hams are ... well, by God, they're the best country hams in the whole, wide world. (Don't trust my word --just look at all the ribbons he's won.)

Stay tuned for pics of my Ed Rice 'n' Son ham. You'll see 'em, oh, about one week from today.

Edward Rice and Son
12217 Lebanon Road
Mt. Juliet, Tennessee

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oh, dear God

I've not eaten a McDonald's chicken McNugget since, oh, about 1997. Even after watchin' this ...

... I don't care if another twelve years goes by before I eat another'ne. Indeed.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hey, I've been there!

Be sure to check out tomorrow night's Man Vs. Food on the Travel Channel (9 p.m. CST). Host Adam Richman will be visiting Ted's Restaurant in Meriden, CT. I visited Ted's last year and wrote about it here. A pic from my adventure:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Hagar 'n' salted cabbage

I was all prepared to post this funny with an I-Love-Sauerkraut tag (click it for a big-view) ...

After looking at the funny in question online, however, I'm pissed that the Tennessean saw fit to edit the f-ing thing (which didn't need no editing).

So much for me talking about kraut. Maybe later ...

Happy Hanukkah!

Them's some good thin-'n'-crispy Joltin' Django latkes (seasoned with my Hanukkah salt shaker).

More 'bout the Festival of Lights, from

It took Hanukkah celebrants more than 2,000 years to hit upon the dish that's now considered the quintessential holiday food.

Potato latkes, as inextricably linked to the wintertime festival as dreidels, menorahs and chocolate gelt, are such a relatively recent addition to the Hanukkah canon that food writer Mimi Sheraton -- who grew up in a Jewish family in Flatbush -- was 30 years old before she realized the oily pancakes were connected to the holiday.

"Though my family observed that holiday with the weeklong lighting of the silver candelabra ... I never knew those marvelously crisp, hot, onion-scented latkes had anything whatsoever to do with the celebration," Sheraton wrote in 1981.

For many years, they didn't. While food plays a ritual role in many Jewish holidays, the only edible tradition associated with Hanukkah was the rather loosey-goosey custom of eating something with oil in it.

The practice -- intended to commemorate the miracle at the heart of the Hanukkah story, in which one day's worth of oil burned for eight days -- was variously interpreted by Jewish communities across the globe: Jews in Greece celebrated with loukoumades, little orbs of deep-fried dough soaked in honey; Jews in Spain made yeasty bunuelos; Jews in Russia ate buckwheat pancakes and Jews in the Middle East enjoyed fried jelly doughnuts.

When a New York Times reporter interviewed a Tangiers native about Hanukkah traditions in 1959, he discovered "the nearest she could come to remembering specifically the foods served was to describe a pastry that was something like a fried doughnut, dipped in honey and sprinkled with cinnamon."

To the reporter's evident exasperation, his other sources provided similarly unsatisfying insights: "Several persons, asked what they remembered about the foods they ate for Hanukkah when they were young, had only the haziest recollections," he wrote.

The collective culinary obliviousness that took hold of Sheraton and the unnamed Moroccan immigrant was probably rooted in Hanukkah's official status as a very, very minor festival. Long observed by only the most devout Jews, Hanukkah is the religious equivalent of Flag Day.

"Not even the Zionists make a fuss about Chanukah," the American Jewish Chronicle confirmed in 1916, in a passage quoted by Jenna Weissman Joselit in her definitive "The Wonders of America: Reinventing Jewish Culture, 1880-1950."

Hanukkah might have slipped off the modern Jewish calendar entirely were it not for a lucky stroke of timing. Although Hanukkah's starting date moves with the moon, it almost always falls in December, when most Americans are fixated on Christmas. Eager to lure their congregants away from the Christian holiday, rabbis in the early 1900s began touting Hanukkah's charms.

Since no holiday celebration is complete without treats, Jewish homemakers scrambled to create dishes that might conceivably compete with roast turkeys, plum puddings and mincemeat pies. Joselit quotes from 1941's "The Jewish Home Beautiful," which included recipes for egg salad sandwiches trimmed to resemble Maccabean fighters and "menorah fruit salad," a molded cream-concoction shaped like the holiday's signature candelabra.

But mostly they made latkes, a fixture of Ashkenazi cookery since the 16th century, when potatoes first appeared in Eastern Europe. Potatoes were so plentiful in the Pale of Settlement that when Rabbi Abraham Shemtov's family couldn't afford a menorah, his father "cut a hole in a potato, and poured the oil into the potato," he told the Times in 1977. Eastern European Jews ate potato pancakes year-round, but the delicacy -- typically fried in schmaltz, or goose fat -- almost always surfaced around Hanukkah. American Jews seized on the practice, making latkes a compulsory component of holiday celebrations by the 1950s.

By 1958, Los Angeles' Montebello Jewish Educational Center had begun throwing an annual latke party, featuring songs and dances from "The Nutcracker" and "a traditional meal of potato pancakes and all the trimmings."

The "trimmings" probably weren't as fancy as the Los Angeles Times implied -- latkes are typically accompanied by just two condiments: applesauce and sour cream. Among eaters who made their first super-greasy latkes as children under the tutelage of a patient Hebrew School teacher, serving potato pancakes with ketchup is still considered as uncouth as smearing mayonnaise on white bread.

But the conservatism that clings to latke condiment selection doesn't seem to extend to the latke recipe itself, which has been updated and tweaked thousands of times over the last half-century. Jewish publications have taught their readers to make spinach, eggplant and ricotta cheese latkes (a dairy variation that harkens back to the pre-potato Diaspora.)

Yet the single greatest innovation in the latke's short holiday history occurred in 1973, when Cuisinart introduced the first food processor for home use.

"Lately, knuckles skinned on the grater are no longer the battle scars of the devoted latke maker," Florence Fabricant crowed in 1977. "With a food processor, you can ply your family with latkes for each of the eight nights of the holiday. The machine grates the potatoes in a twinkling. They do not even require peeling."

Armed with their tater-grating machines, Jewish-American cooks churned out latkes at an unprecedented pace, solidifying forevermore the brand new bond between Hanukkah and a plateful of oil-drenched potato pancakes.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

"I'm hungry now!"

Here's a man who's really gotta eat ...

Friday, December 11, 2009

"It's a grade A meal when I'm in the mood"

Cowpokes'll come from a near and far
When you throw a few steaks on the fire
Roberto Duran ate two before a fight
'Cause it gave a lot of mighty men a lot of mighty might

-- Rev. Horton Heat, "Eat Steak"

Earlier in the week, I picked up a couple of Ledbetter bacon-wrapped beef chuck fillets at Publix. The price certainly seemed right: they were on sale for $2.99 a piece. I threw 'em on the grill tonight ...

... and I gotta tell you they were mighty tasty. Tasty and tender.

I'll admit that I wasn't expecting much from a $3 fillet. I was very impressed with the quality of my $3 steaks, however, and Ledbetter fillets now have the Joltin' Django Seal of Approval. Indeed.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Re: Mashed potatoes

From the Omaha World-Herald:

Creamy mashed potatoes rank almost as high as turkey and pumpkin pie on the list of must-haves for Thanksgiving dinner.

They can't come from a box of dried flakes or a mystery freezer bag plunked in the microwave.

They must be fresh and mashed with butter and cream — not chicken broth and not skim milk, says Claudia Grisnik. ...

Grisnik, 60, makes the luscious style of mashed potatoes that families crave on Thanksgiving. And she gets lots of practice throughout the year.

Most days, she makes several batches to accompany meatloaf, pot roast and rib-eye steak at Taxi's Grille & Bar near 120th and Blondo Streets. She has been cooking since age 11 and working in the restaurant business for 30 years.

I agree with Ms. Grisnik's affinity for real butter and hand-mashers; however, I take issue with her insistence that heavy cream must be used to make "real" mashed potatoes.

Now, you can make mashed potatoes with cream if you want, but be warned: your taters will taste sweet ... and the sweetness will overpower the flavor of whatever "style" o' potatoes you're using.

My Granny Ruby taught me to make mashed potatoes with whole milk. (Yes, whole milk is sweet, but it's not as sweet as heavy cream.) That's how I make it to this day. I've served my mashed potatoes to hundreds of folks -- sometimes at one sitting -- and I've never heard a single complaint.

If only I could introduce Claudia Grisnik to my Granny. Her taters-must-have-cream theory would go right out the nearest f'ing door ... like a rocket.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Yeah, baby

After watching this commercial ...

... I don't know if I want to eat a plate o' Mr. Spriggs' ribs, or make sweet, sweet love to 'em.

(For the record, Mr. Spriggs BBQ is in Oklahoma City, OK.)

Monday, December 07, 2009

Channeling my inner Ben Matlock (redux)

Just so you know, Nathan's hot dogs are on sale at Food Lion right now (buy-one-get-one-free). I stocked up on cheese franks -- Food Lion doesn't carry the dogs with casings.

Please to enjoy a short piece I wrote last year 'bout Nathan's Cheddar Cheese Beef Franks:

It's no secret that I love Nathan's with-casing hot dogs. They're my favorite store-bought hot dogs. Until today, I'd never had Nathan's Cheddar Cheese Beef Franks. I'd seen 'em in the "dog section" of my local Publix, but I'd never even thought about giving 'em a try. You see, I'm pretty loyal to them Nathan's with-casing hot dogs. (Did I mention they're my favorite hot dogs?) ...

I was never a big fan of cheese-infused hot dogs when I was a kid. I guess that's 'cause pre-packaged "cheese dogs" were a menu staple at my elementary school. I'm pretty sure the hot dogs were made out of soybeans and sawdust, and I don't even want to think about what was in that cheese. All I know is the wrinkly-looking things smelled like holy hell after they came out of the microwave. That was enough to turn me off of cheese dogs for a long, long time. Hell, it's amazing that I didn't develop a lifelong revulsion for hot dogs after smelling and looking at those wretched meat-and-cheese tubes in a bun.

Well, Nathan's cheese dogs are nothing - and I mean
nothing - like the cheese dogs of my youth. They were full of Nathan's beefy goodness, as one would expect, and they were infused with a semi-sharp cheddar that provided a perfect balance of cheese and dog. That is, there wasn't so much cheese that you couldn't taste the dog; and, likewise, Nathan's signature mixture of beef and spice didn't make me say, "Where's the cheese?" I guess what I'm trying to say is this: I had me one hell of a hot dog tonight. Actually, I had two.

Usually when I eat a hot dog, I top it with chopped onions, a quality mustard, or some Heinz Piccalilli Pickle. A Nathan's Cheddar Cheese Beef Frank is so good, it don't need none o' that. Indeed. I ate my Nathan's cheese dogs with no adornment other than a bun. And I kinda felt guilty about eating the bun.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Vegans et al., part three

Back in September, the Tennessean's Jessica Bliss got all worked up vegan corn bread with jalapeños. I decided to give it a whirl tonight (first time in my life I cooked with/consumed soy milk and flax seeds). Here's the recipe:

Vegan Corn Bread with Jalapeños


2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
6 tablespoons water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup soy milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1-2 jalapeños, sliced into rings


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Spray 8-inch-square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan.
4. Add the ground flax seeds, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer the ground flax seeds in the water for 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
5. Set aside
6. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt until well-combined.
7. Add the ground flax seed mixture, soy milk and canola oil to the flour mixture.
8. Beat just until smooth (do not over beat).
9. Pour into prepared baking pan and top batter with jalapeño rings. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
10. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes; invert corn bread onto wire rack, then turn right side up and continue to cool until warm, about 10 minutes longer.

Two things you need to know: I didn't have have (!) any fresh jalapeños, so I skipped that part; and I couldn't bring myself to cook corn bread in a baking dish, so I cooked it in a skillet ... you know, like God intended.

So, how'd my vegan corn bread turn out? Well,it made a pretty picture (see above), but it tasted like -- how shall I say this -- raw cornmeal seasoned with dirt. Why I expected "tastiness" from anything seasoned with soy milk and flax seeds is beyond me. Surely my Granny Ruby is Up There laughing at me right now.

That said, I thank GOD that I didn't waste a single jalapeño trying to season-up my skillet of fluffed-up you-know-what. But I hate that I wasted several pats of good BUTTER trying to choke down the same fluffed-up, er, stuff (the irony of that endeavor is not lost on me ... en effet).

Saturday, December 05, 2009

On vegans et al., part two

When it comes to the vegans and vegetarians that I have encountered over the years, I think what I've most disliked about 'em is (a) their insufferable self-righteousness, (b) their authoritarian tendencies, and (c) their abject hypocrisy.

Two personal experiences 'bout (a) and (b) follow, and you can check this out to see what I mean 'bout (c).

I was working for a trucking company when my great-grandfather died at age 94. When I got back to work following the funeral, I started telling a co-worker about my great-grandfather's career as a hog and tobacco farmer. I also happened to mention that my great-grandfather probably didn't eat 20 meals in his entire life that didn't include pork, or something that was seasoned with pork, and that's when the company's resident vegan decided to interject himself into the conversation.

The vegan in question was famous for opining about his decision to give up meat whenever conversations, even conversations in which he hadn't been invited to participate, turned to food. But he didn't just opine, he proselytized. He would get so worked up about the evils of hunting and meat-eating that I often joked that one of his close family members must've been bludgeoned to death with a deer carcass in a sausage factory.

Now, when I was talking about my great-grandfather, Mr. Vegan took it upon himself to tell me this (I remember his exact words because it remains one of the stupidest fucking things I've ever heard in my life): "[My great-grandfather] maybe could've lived to be a hundred if he didn't eat meat."

The man lived to be 94-years-old and a vegan has the balls to tell me ... you see what I mean 'bout self-righteous?

That said, 'bout three years ago I went to see Against Me! at Nashville's Exit/In. (I prefer not to discuss how I ended up at that show, so don't even ask.) Upon entering the club, I spied two merch tables. At one table you could purchase Against Me! T-shirts and CDs, and at the other table you could buy all kinds of left-wing books and videos. I couldn't help but check out Table No. 2.

A small TV/DVD player on the "2" table was showing a video in which various kooks - and I'm being charitable by simply callin' 'em kooks - were extolling the virtues of the vegan lifestyle. One particular kook, a greasy-looking sombitch who had "vegan" tattooed on both forearms, said "carnivores" should be "stopped by any means necessary." (Oh, and when he said "by any means necessary," he sorta leaned his massive 125-lb frame toward the camera.)

I was tempted to get the left-wing-merch guy to explain what necessary means should be employed to get carnivores to stop eating meat; however, I decided that drinking a cold beer at the bar was a better way to spend my time than trying to butt heads with an idiot, so to the bar I went.

If you'd like to know why disliking -- or should I say, having no patience for -- vegans and vegetarians is a noble endeavor, I encourage you to read Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential. He'll set you right in a jiffy 'bout the folly of not eating meat (apologies to Ernest T. Bass).

Friday, December 04, 2009

On vegans et al., part one

A few weeks ago, I received a jackass e-mail from a feller or gal named Melky85 who said that the only reason I repeatedly take digs at vegans and vegetarians here at AMGE is 'cause I have a "problem" with folks who choose to "eat healthy." 
As I explained in my response, I don't have a problem with anyone choosing to eat anything, whether it's meat, fruits and vegetables, or cardboard.  What I do have a problem with is folks who try to dictate that others should eat fruit, vegetables, and soy-based crap that tastes like cardboard.

Dictating is what most vegans and vegetarians, a great many of whom profess to be "pro-choice" on other matters, are all about these days -- and that's why I like taking deserved pot-shots at the don't-eat-meat crowd.

So there.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Still can't do it ...

I have some very good friends who hail from the U.K. A decade ago they tried to get me to appreciate eating baked beans and eggs and toast for breakfast. To borrow a phrase from George Costanza, it didn't take.

Now, I like toast and I like fried eggs and I like baked beans, but eatin' 'em all for breakfast just don't do nothing for me. I once fried some fine-ass Wilson County country ham for my U.K. amis, and eatin' such didn't do nothing for them. In fact, they admitted to hating every bite.

All that said, has up a story 'bout the British classic breakfast. Even though the feature pic looks really pretty, it don't make me want to partake (sorry Peter and Sandra). To wit:

A staple of British food culture, baked beans appear regularly in breakfast menus across the U.K., but rarely grace food counters stateside. Whereas American baked beans traditionally include molasses or brown sugar, the British Heinz variety strictly includes white beans and tomato sauce, creating a much more savory dish.

Here, blogger Luscious Temptations created this blissfully easy, hearty breakfast dish, topping the carb-and-protein plate with a hearty drop of Maggi seasoning and a generous dash of white pepper for kick. The dish may be simple, but definitely disproves the stereotype of British food lacking flavor -- this is easy comfort food at its best.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

L'olio d'oliva è molto buono!

Looks like extra-virgin olive oil is good for more than one kind of noodle ...

Oleocanthal, a compound that occurs naturally in extra-virgin olive oil, can alter the structure of toxic proteins in the brain that contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.

A study by researchers at Northwestern University and the Monell Chemical Senses Center found that the change inhibits the ability of the toxic proteins, called ADDLs, to damage nerves in the brain.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A gong-bangingly good rice cooker

For reasons I won't go into here, I've always detested Aldi grocery stores with a purple passion. Alright, I'll tell you one reason: I got really sick one time after eating a hamburger made with ground beef, lettuce and tomatoes purchased at Aldi.

Now, you will never, ever catch me shopping at my local Aldi; however, I have to admit that I have some newfound respect for the place.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend asked me if I wanted a rice cooker that he'd never used. I like me some rice, and I liked the idea of having a gadget to cook the stuff; and when my friend told me that said gadget had never been removed from its box, I said, "Yeah, I'll take it."

It was only after I'd said "I'll take it" when I learned from whence said rice cooker had come -- you guessed it, Aldi. Since I didn't want to look like an ungrateful ass, I didn't un-agree to take the rice cooker. I simply ran through my mind's Rolodex® wondering upon whom I could unload a rice cooker purchased at the worst grocery store in the U.S.A.

Before giving the thing away, I decided to give my rice cooker what I figured would be a one-and-only whirl the night before Thanksgiving. I fully expected the thing to either overcook or undercook my rice ... or blow up and leave the walls in my kitchen studded with cheap-rice cooker shrapnel.

Well, to say that my fears were unjustified is a big, honkin' understatement. My kitchen emerged unscathed after I'd cooked rice in my Aldi cooker, and, by God, Ms. Lucy never cooked rice that turned out as fluffy and fine-tasting as what I got outta my little Aldi pot.

UPDATE: After a few Google clicks, I now know that my Aldi rice cooker retails for $9.99. To borrow a line from Eddie Murphy, what a bargain!

UPDATE II: Bumper sticker I seen on my way home this evening ...