Personal Food Facts

Since I am in between projects for a few days, I threw together a few fun personal food facts that persons who know me can utilize to explain my somewhat (according to them) odd food ways and means…

1. I had no idea what a casserole was until I was about 20. We never had them when I was a kid and only knew that “tuna casserole” was some disgusting food thanks to TV sitcoms.

Some Disgusting Casserole
To me this looks like something you find on the ground in an alley outside a shady bar at 2 am.

Note: The idea of making, eating or looking at a casserole even to this day is disgusting to me. Gross.  A pan filled with a miscellany of foods and baked together.  Only Lasagna is acceptable as it is technically a casserole.

2. I had no idea what the term “seconds” was until I was in my late teens. My parents being avid fitness and nutrition folks only ever made meals sized to how much we would eat and my sister and I ate like birds. We didn’t like food. We never had leftovers.

I went to someones house once and they asked “do you want seconds?”… I assumed it was some kind of ethnic dessert (they being slightly olive in complexion, thus “ethnic” in my hometown). I said “yes please!” being a polite child.  I was given a second plate of food.  I was in horror. I barely ate the first.  I started to cry part way into it, I couldn’t eat all of this!! I said “thank you, I don’t feel well” and ran home.

*Granted, I also had no idea what my last name was until the first day of kindergarten when they called out first and last names.  I thought they were making fun of me when they did as people laughed at my lack of response.  Yes, I grew up in one of THOSE households.

3. We never had desserts at my house except on very special occasions.  Once or twice my mother did try to make a black forest cake and failed miserably as I remember. When my sister and I went to grandparents homes we scoured them for treats.  When I went to someones house on a mid week summers day and they had pie after a simple, basic meal I was aghast. Was it a birthday party?  What happened?  Why is this thing here on the table? Are we allowed? Maybe just a little piece.

pumpkin pie
I do like pie

4. I never, ever, ever have had a birthday party or a birthday cake.  Ever.

Ever.

Me, 2047
Me, 2047, I get my birthday party

5. I only had a vague idea what brown bagging or “doggy bag” meant again from TV sitcoms primarily.  I ate all three meals at home most every single day of my childhood except special occasions where we went to an actual sit down, very expensive (for the area I grew up in) dress up place. I thought everyone did this. I had no idea for years that we had fast food in my city.  When I finally did go to a Harvey’s ™ I was grossed out by the consistency of the burger I excitedly ordered and couldn’t finish it.

6. We only ate beef 1-2 times a week and for a good three years we primarily ate Asian and Caribbean food. Seafood was was a staple. I thought only rednecks and cavemen ate beef and pork all the time. We very rarely had pork.

Ribs
Unlike pie, I do not like ribs

7. We ate more rice than potatoes which were were a strange anomalous thing we only had with turkey at xmas or occasionally as mashed potatoes which as I remember my mother could never get right.  Once she blended them and produced an inedible paste.

8. Food was never an event, it was just something we needed. I’d show up at the table at breakfast or at home lunch and dinner and something my mother threw together would be ready to eat.  I never took part in the cooking and it wasn’t until college that I actually knew how to make kraft dinner (which is again, disgusting).

9. I don’t like eggs.  I eat eggs but don’t like them.  I would tell people I was allergic to them to keep from being given any or anything that contained eggs.

 

Thus, I am not a foodie.  I do eat, surprisingly, but merely to end a craving.  I don’t care about food generally.  I have a LONG list of things I do not eat or like to eat but generally I can eat most anything.  If I could get Jetson’s food pills I could have a good two hours back each day and that would be okay with me.

 

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Karen Says No – To A Pet Goat

goat-yelling
A Goat

We are cat people.  We have two, though the second was “gifted” upon us by my eldest who couldn’t keep a cat anymore due to living situations and a housemate with a large dog.  Note: His situation has improved twice since the “gifting” yet the cat remains.  We have reminded him of this as recently as last evening.  Sigh.  Fat Cat is here to stay I guess.  As I was saying, we are cat people, not dog people.  We like clean self reliant beasts in our home.  Clean the cat-box every so often (more if the furnace guy is coming to do annual maintenance), feed them, let them sleep on your legs, let them out then back in four hundred times a day.  Easy.  We couldn’t stand the smell of a dog or the constant need for friendly socialization or walking the thing every few hours.  Hence, cats.

My wife is firmly against any more pets, mostly due to some immature pet rearing and cleaning my my eldest (and myself) about 20 years ago.  The only recent other pets we had were two finches (then one after the jilted male murdered his mate) and very recently a brood of triops.  Nasty looking primordial creatures in a small bowl in the bathroom window that seem to be a cross between a horseshoe crab and a face-hugger from alien.  My wife allows these as they are self contained and don’t need to be walked.

Screen-Shot-2014-03-08-at-3.46.04-PM.png
A Triop (not a goat or cat)

So, for some reason, temporary insanity most likely, I asked Karen (She who must be obeyed) if perhaps I could have a pet goat.  A small one.  A miniature one.  You can guess the answer.  Granted it was followed by a perfectly logical “Not a chance.  Who would end up having to clean up after it? You, not me.  You don’t even like cleaning the cat boxes which you should clean once a DAY not once a week! No, no goat!”

Being honest and truthful and lacking some of that animal compassion that poor people with seventeen kids and pets combined have, I tried with “if we got sick of it, we could just eat it.”

More no’s followed.

I briefly thought about bringing up her plan for us to have chickens for “such wonderful eggs!” but held back as I remembered my response when she brought it up as a plan was something like: “Not a chance.  Who would end up having to clean up after it? Me, not you.  I don’t even like cleaning the cat boxes which should probably be cleaned once a DAY not once a week! No, no chickens!”

She has a point.

But it didn’t stop me from imitating goats screaming like humans for a few minutes as I made my morning tea.

No goats.  I guess we both say no.

Screaming Goats!

Goodbye Burger, It’s Been Nice

YOKOSUKA-NAVY-BURGER-TSUNAMI

Goodbye hamburgers. I’ll see you again on the fourth of July. It’s been good. I still care for you deeply, you just can’t be part of my life right now.

Yeah. This is when I start to get annoying. I’m going to be one of “them”. I’m in training.

And I DO love hamburgers.

Don’t get me wrong, by “I Do love hamburgers” I don’t mean the overly trendy grotesque monster gourmet burgers slathered in cheese and an assortment of odd ingredients (I am I admit partial to one called a Sk8R Boy that is made with peanut butter and banana and bacon, though I can never finish one). I mean a basic condiment, single burger, basic meat, basic bun hamburger. I much prefer homemade but I will happily have one from (in order of preference) Dairy Queen, Burger King, McDonalds (just a small single burger) and if pressed, Harveys. I also hardly ever have them really but at least once a week due to enforced eating out and sheer laziness.

But they are henceforth evil, at least until July 4, 2016.

I’m in training. I’m in training for a Spartan Race and I am REALLY REALLY old. Okay, not REALLY old, just old in my mind. I’m forty-eight and will be forty-nine before the race. Sure I have the mind, hobbies, tastes (and sadly for my wife, libido) of an eighteen year old nerdy college student, but the body, it’s old.

What is the Spartan race? Well, it’s a five kilometer run up and down a ski hill with fifteen of twenty one random obstacles. It’s hellish. It’s not one of those “tough” mud  races aging soccer moms love. It’s difficult. If you cannot finish an obstacle on the first try, you have to do thirty burpees. Yoips! Yoips I say!

I have run many five kilometer races in my life. Many ten k’s and four half marathons. Up until a few years ago I played soccer year round (still wish I was by my wife keeps reminding me of this FANTASY that she has that my knees don’t like playing anymore and I hobble for days after I play..women.) In recent years, I’ve alternated between road races and weights at the gym. I’ve never done anything like this. I have modified my training regimen to be focused on other muscle groups, more bar-work, box jumps (my scarred shins hate me), hanging L-sits etc. And now, three and a half months away, a shift must occur. I need to reduce mass, run and that means sacrifice.

Goodbye hamburgers. Hello chicken and fish. Hello high protein low carb higher number of veggies and less fruit. None of this is terrible to me as that’s most of my normal diet but yeah, no more weekly hamburgers.

But why you may ask, why do this, why not just run more and do more weights? It’s working. You have really defined legs and arms and shoulders and you certainly wouldn’t want to get punched by you. Because age. I hate age. I hate getting old. I hate being older. I hate the speckling of gray in my thick youthful hair. I hate wrinkles. I hate reminders that I am a little over two years from being the same age my father was when he died overweight and unhealthy. I am Peter Pan, or I was. Lately I feel like “The Pan” as played by Robin Williams, who accidentally got old.

Age sucks donkey.

SO I am in the race with coworkers much younger. I am working out three to four days a week and bumping that up to five. I am preparing for the final obstacle, the leap over a pit of fire. Then I can die a Vikings death. No not the one involving scurvy on a stinking boat in the middle of the Atlantic, lost and alone. The other one! The glorious one! To Glory! To Valhalla, oddly via Sparta!

I am so going to scarf down a triple meat DQ brazier burger and chili fries on July 4 and wash it down with about four cans of German beer. Damn, I should probably quit beer too.

Goodbye Hamburgers!

[sl1]

Karen Says No – To Beer Snobbery (Another Excerpt From My New Book)

Karen Says No: To Me Being A Beer Snob (an actual conversation from today)

 From: Liddle, Karen

Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2015 10:00 AM

To: Liddle, Sean Subject: question from our hosts

What kind of beer do you wish available?

 

From: Liddle, Sean

Sent: December-08-15 10:02 AM

To: Liddle, Karen

Subject: RE: question from our hosts

Well, since we need to get up early in the morning I’m okay with no beer. But since you are going to say “you need to be social” I don’t care really. Ales over Lagers, nothing fruit flavoured.

 

From: Liddle, Karen

Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2015 10:29 AM

To: Liddle, Sean (IO)

Subject: RE: question from our hosts

Answer answer answer answer

 

From: Liddle, Sean

Sent: December-08-15 10:30 AM

To: Liddle, Karen

Subject: RE: question from our hosts

Sigh.  I don’t have “a beer” anymore.  I usually pick a couple every week or so that I haven’t had before or something that I know I like. Boddingtons is good.  Light beer (3.7%) but tastes like a nice winter ale or if he is going for more posh, anything by Wychwood Brewery or St Peters Brewery in north england .. typically I like anything with a higher than. 20 EBC and a 40 IBU .. see, I try not to be a beer snob in front of people but you make me a snob.

ebc

 

From: Liddle, Karen

Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2015 10:31 AM

To: Liddle, Sean

Subject: RE: question from our hosts

Honest to god I don’t need an excel chart.  I will suggest Boddingtons or St Peters Ale.

 

From: Liddle, Sean

Sent: December-08-15 10:31 AM

To: Liddle, Karen

Subject: RE: question from our hosts

 

ibu

 

From: Liddle, Karen

Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2015 10:37 AM

To: Liddle, Sean

Subject: RE: question from our hosts

Oh my god.

 

From: Liddle, Sean

Sent: December-08-15 10:51 AM

To: Liddle, Karen

Subject: RE: question from our hosts

See, my first answer was the most diplomatic.  I mean really, I don’t just buy beer.  I’m not some sort of lager swilling West Ham fan… jeesh.

Note: An Oktoberfest is low in hops but nice on a hot autumn day with a plate of sausage and sauerkraut… and I do enjoy a dunkelweisen in the summer

 

From: Liddle, Karen Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2015 10:52 AM To: Liddle, Sean Subject: RE: question from our hosts

AREN’T YOU DONE TALKING ABOUT THIS YET??

 

From: Liddle, Sean

Sent: December-08-15 10:54 AM

To: Liddle, Karen

Subject: RE: question from our hosts

I originally said “…ales over lagers, nothing fruit flavoured”.

 

From: Liddle, Karen

Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2015 10:57 AM

To: Liddle, Sean

Subject: RE: question from our hosts

Yes, but I just wanted you to give me say three names.

 

From: Liddle, Sean

Sent: December-08-15 10:58 AM

To: Liddle, Karen

Subject: RE: question from our hosts

Boddingtons, St Peters (Winter or organic ale), Tom Green Ale

 

From: Liddle, Karen

Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2015 10:59 AM

To: Liddle, Sean

Subject: RE: question from our hosts

There.  Now was that so hard?

 

From: Liddle, Sean

Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2015 11:00 AM

To: ‘Liddle, Karen’

Subject: RE: question from our hosts

I’ll tell ya what’s hard little lady.. 😉

 

……………………………@

(Insert sound of tumbleweeds as silence completes the conversation)

 

Ode to a Tofurkey On Rye Sandwich

Oh you, yes you. I am looking at you. It is not even close to lunch hour yet you may not survive the ensuing three hours you tasty friend of yours truly.  Five glistening grey brown thin slices of roasted soy based faux-turkey goodness. You sat unaware upon a piece of lightly buttered Klosterbrot, abbey bread to the uninitiated, betwixt you a layer of artisanal Dijon moutard.  I hid you, like a child at play in the autumn, beneath a pile of baby kale. I imagined you laughing with glee as your Tofurkey father yells “hey! I’m trying to rake these up before your Tofurkey mother gets home!” and you kept on playing beneath the detritus of fall knowing he isn’t truly angry. I covered you with a blanket of more Klosterbrot but not before it too was lightly buttered and slathered with sweet relish.  Asleep in your bed, blissfully dreaming Tofurkey dreams of slaughter free food manufacturing technology, I cut you in half and shoved your carcass in a Ziploc bag. 

I shall eat you now, your screams filling my ears as I plan my weekend.

Ooh look, I brought Kimchi and gouda with melba toast for dessert!!

Product Review 001 – Water

Product Review #001 – Water

image

I cannot remember the first time I became acquainted with water but one would assume it was in the late 1960’s.  As years progressed, I have come to find that water does in fact change in taste, colour, transparency and odour based on one’s source. 

What is commonly known as “tap” water (as it is sourced from a “tap”) usually comes from a municipal water treatment facility, originally drawn from either a large body of water or a series of large wells. 

If one visits a more rural location or a third world country (much the same however the latter has more swarthy persons than the former), the usually source of drinking water tends to be a personal well (dug or drilled), often untreated or filtered and can contain high levels of insect particulates and mouse.  Quote from a local well owner “that’s free proh-teen! (Hyuck..)”. 

A third more modern form of drinking water is what is colloquially referred to as “bottled” water.  It is sold commercially and is delivered to the  consumer in (ironically enough) plastic or occasionally glass vessels known as bottles.  Most always it is sourced from the same municipally owned and operated large well systems as “tap water” (non-rural) and repackaged in 500 ml to 1000 ml sizes.

To facilitate this review I have obtained a single, room temperature 250ml glass (real glass, clean and dry) of each.  I am rating each brand of drinking water on the following parameters:

Colour

Transparency

Odour

Taste

Price

Tap water:

The colour is clear, transparent almost.  It seems to refract light in a pleasing way. Taste, oddly, like nothing at first but as one swishes and spits, it brings out a slight chlorine (pool) taste with hints of algae. Odour: none. Price $0.00 (for me as I simply drew it from a tap I do not own).

 
Rural “well” water:

Colour, clear again, again with the light refraction.  A few bits of what appears to be fibrous material, likely mouse hair or something from another mammal. Taste, an interesting blend of nothing and pennies.  Odour, a not unpleasent mild hydrogen sulphide, like a slightly off biere or an ouef that has been left too long in the pantry.  Price, $0.00 (again, I went to someone’s home, walked in (they don’t lock their doors in the “country”) and drew it from a kitchen tap).

 

Bottled water:

Colour, clear, somewhat shimmery in the sunlight that has now graced us with it’s presence. Taste, mild, bland, slightly plastic-ish, not unlike air but wet. Odour, none. Price, $2.69 for a full litre of the nectar of the clouds.

 

Overall:

Water is boring, bland, even the variety of sources and means of obtaining it do not produce any substantial differences that bring it above milk or lemonade or gin.

Rating: Two glasses half full out of five.

Recommendation: Gin as an alternative to water at all times though water can be used to reduce alcohol content in gin for small children when you are starting their drinking of alcohol early in life.

Just Stop It Already

Simpler times
Simpler times

Well, after a few months of stupid viruses, general overall business and a touch of grumpy old bastard apathy, I present you with a new rant-ish post. This is something I’ve started a few times and even incorporated into my next novel (if I EVER finish it). Enjoy.

Dear McDonalds and Dairy Queen:

When I was a kid, back in the stone age of the seventies, I wasn’t a frequent visitor to your restaurants mainly because my parents were heartless hippies who cared about my health. It was therefore a treat to visit once in a blue moon. At that time, and I do fully understand that it was a long time ago, you didn’t have to compete with Taco Bell, pizza joints and places that made salads. Hell you didn’t even MAKE salads back then. Your menu was simpler, smaller, easily printed on a sign and hung up on the wall behind the cash registers. Burger, cheese burger, fish sandwich, shake, pop (I don’t even thing milk was an option then). You didn’t flirt with things in wraps, Thai flavoring, baked goods or coffee that wasn’t a cheap pot of hot black gunge that some kid made at eight in the morning and sat there thickening until someone else’s grandfather brought them in for a burger. It was a simpler time.

Now I get that over the years we have moved on from painted signs and pots of crappy gas statio-esque coffee. I get that you must diversify and try new things to grasp and cling onto an ever thinning client base. I get that you need to re-vamp your frigging restaurants every two years and replace the now dated teenage slogans and catchphrases some forty-something marketing “expert” suggested you slap on the walls after they spent a weekend watching already cancelled Nickelodeon sitcoms. I fully comprehends all of that. What I cannot understand is your gods damned video menus.

How much is a hamburger? I just want a snack. It’s two in the afternoon, I haven’t eaten since eight and I won’t be home till six. Wait, the screens have all changed to become an advertisement for a fucking Santa Fe Salad with organic quinoa and poppyseed dressing. Wait, it’s back, I see a combo is $7.99 and that includes the burger and fries but how much is a .. Jebus H Cripes why are there straws and lids sliding and dancing back and forth across the screens?! Hold on, now it’s an ad for coffee. I like your coffee now, maybe I’ll have one with my.. FUCK WHY ARE THERE SCENES OF PEOPLE RUNNING THROUGH A FIELD??  There is no way any of them eat here, they are way too fit and happy. Okay, wow, menu is back. The “sandwich” (when the fuck did a hamburger become a sandwich?) is $5.99. Isn’t there a “value” menu? I don’t want a quarter pound of burger, just the small one, I guess I could get a kid’s meal. I don’t need the fries but I can give them to a hobo, I guess. OH MY FUCKING GODS it’s me next and the screen is blank.

“Good morning sir, how can I help you?”

“Um, I guess I want a… your menu sucks you know.”

Whispering “I know. I can’t even see the value menu over there”

Value menu??

“I guess I’ll have a coffee please, and a fillet of fish thing.”

“A combo?”

“No, thanks. Just the coffee and the fillet of fish”

“Okay, large?”

“No, medium please.”

The screen shows me smiling faces and something that looks like a salad the size of a small turkey platter. I am distracted.

“Sir? Did you want fries with that?”

“Sorry, no. But I’ll have one of those salads”.