Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2017

Archive for the category “Food Cooking”

Do You Know The Muffin Man ?

THE TIMER IS COUNTING DOWN. Tension fills the air. The crowds are a-buzz with antici…….pation. I am on Muffin Watch.

It is Saturday morning at Gramma’s House. We have all had our tea so our hearts are once again beating.

My wife, the lovely and culinarily adept, Dawn, has put some muffins in the oven and handed me the responsibility of keeping watch on them. Everyone seems to be a bit nervous – no – they are scared. They are fearful that I will drop the ball on this and instead of hot steamy muffins dripping butter or jam we will have charcoal briquettes. I mean – really now! I am a college graduate.

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A Basket Of Brisket

WELL, HERE WE GO – OFF TO TEXAS! Surprisingly our flights were uneventful – which is what you want. Eventful airplane flights make the news and that is never a good thing. Things even went smoothly in our dealings with the TSA aerobic organisms. I think they were having an “On-The Job Slumber Party. They were just waving people through without even looking at them. I bet I could have walked through there toting a Howitzer and Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. It always makes me feel so safe.

Once we got to our ultimate destination (Corpus Christi) we did what any sensible person would do – we stopped for lunch at Whataburger. It’s a tradition that goes back to the days of the Alamo and Davy Crockett I think. A Family thing, you know.

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A Walk On The Wild Side

I DID SOMETHING TODAY THAT I HAVE NEVER DONE BEFORE in all my 120 years. It was risky some people told me. A close friend pleaded with me not to even try to do it.

“You may not get out alive.”

Don’t you just love a little Hyperbole? At least I was hoping it was Hyperbole.

I decided to not take any unnecessary chances – so I took my wife, the lovely and ever so courageous, Dawn, with me.

On our first travel day, as we headed off to Georgia, we threw all caution to the wind and – brace yourself – had dinner at “The Waffle House.”

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Congratulations To Heather

I WAS DRIVING AROUND TOWN YESTERDAY, taking care of errands and chores – the usual stuff. As I drove past the neighborhood Taco Bell I noticed something on their marquee. It read

“Employee of the Month – Heather.”

Nothing really unusual about that except that Heather has been the Employee of the Month for two months in a row there. She must be something special. Perhaps she can make tacos faster than anyone else. I don’t know, and to be honest – I don’t really care. Anyway I offer my Congratulations to Heather. I just hope that her obviously superior skills don’t have a negative impact on the other employees. People can be so petty sometimes.

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Rooty, Tooty, Point And Shooty

NAME THREE ACTIVITIES THAT CAN BE VERY DANGEROUS:

1) Sky Diving

2) Space Travel

3) Breakfast

The first two are pretty obvious, but the third can be downright deadly.

About a month ago in the town of Decatur, Illinois the pancakes went flat at the local IHOP when some customers became a bit unruly and the Manager stepped in to make everything Fresh and Fruity once more.

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Thank God Texas Has A Lot Of Room

TAKE ME TO THE BUTTER CHURN is a cry I hear on a regular basis when we go south to visit family. “The Butter Churn” is a restaurant/feeding station aka buffet just a waddle or two away from the family home in Sinton, Texas. And every time we visit, along with an assortment of several generations of nieces and nephews, we go to The Butter Churn.

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Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

joy1HAPPY! HAPPY! JOY! JOY!

The sun is back rising in the east. Up is up. Down is down and Baseball is soon to reappear and…

My favorite little hole in the wall Chinese restaurant is open again. It was closed last August when two “youths” decided to burn down the Dollar Store next door. A brilliant move it was not. Not only did the fire gut the Dollar Store, but smoke and water damage destroyed my favorite little family run restaurant. All of this just a bagel’s thrown from St. Arbucks. But now…

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I Always Cry At Weddings

wed1THE WEATHER IS BEAUTIFUL RIGHT NOW and I am longing for Springtime. You know what they say – “Springtime when a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of Chimichangas.” No, that’s not right, but then again…

Las Vegas, the Disneyland for Adults, is always striving to top itself. It all started out as a dusty desert gas station and has transformed itself into the tangible definition of “Will you look at that!” It is the only town where Elvis, Howard Hughes, and Liberace all felt at home. And they’re all dead.

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The Turkey That Gobbled Tokyo

food1I’M A CITY BOY. Well, a Small Town Boy who grew up in town. I’ve never been hunting. I’ve never been camping. I have no desire to do either of those things. My idea of roughing it is a hotel without room service. If I need food I go to the Kroger store. Stalking down a deer or a turkey is too much work and holds no appeal for me. If my turkey doesn’t come wrapped in a net bag with one of those little “I’m Ready” pop up thingys in it I consider it unnatural.

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Throwback Thursday from January 2015

Throwback Thursday from January 2015

Colleges Across The South Abandoned

Ramen Noodle Truck

I SAW THE FOLLOWING news item yesterday and I thought that it might have repercussions beyond just traffic problems.

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. — Authorities closed all southbound lanes of Interstate 95 north of Rocky Mount early Wednesday after a tractor-trailer carrying ramen noodles wrecked near N.C. Highway 4.

No other information about the wreck has been released, but boxes of noodles were spilled over a larger portion of the highway.

The state Department of Transportation said the closure could last all morning. Lanes are expected to reopen by 3:30 p.m.”

I thought that when the word of this crash got out all hell would break loose.

My brain created its own little movie of college students all over the South dropping their textbooks and i-phones and rushing to the accident scene.

The first reel, even under the opening credits, would show speeding traffic along Interstate 95, and then the Semi in question loosing traction and slamming into a bridge abutment. Next comes a slo-mo following shot of thousands of those little cellophane packets of the Ramen Noodles spreading out across all lanes like little flavored migratory butterflies.

Music comes up: Paul McCartney and Wings – reunited to sing: “Food on the run.” I can almost smell an Oscar nomination coming for the soundtrack.

The next shot cuts to hordes of skinny underclassmen and women sensing the possibility of free meals, scattering across the landscape, heading toward the Interstate. It is meals just ripe for the picking. An overturned truckload of gold bullion (not bouillon cubes) would not draw such a response.

Those Ramen Noodles don’t grow on trees, y’know. One must strike while the saucepan is hot.

In my collegiate days (Pre-Ramen) we were limited to making grilled cheese sandwiches with a steam iron or instant soups that tasted like flavored sea water. If an accident like this had happened back in the late 1960s I would have been moving with all imprudent speed to scoop up as many free and easy meals as I could stuff into my backpack.  

Most days I can look at news stories and just yawn. Things don’t vary all that much from Six O’clock News to Six O’clock News. If you want to get my attention you’ve got to do something original, or at least really dumb. Spreading several tons of Ramen Noodles across an Interstate highway gets my attention. It also makes me hungry.

Talk amongst yourselves for a while. I’m going out to get some lunch.

No Man is a Thousand Islands

200wNO MATTER HOW MUCH PEOPLE HAVE, THEY WANT MORE. No matter what people have, they want something different. That behavior pattern may be deep seated in our DNA going back millions of years – back to the days of our “Hunter-Gatherer” subsistence world. If we hunted and gathered the same things millennium after millennium we might like a change. Given the odds that we might starve to death – we would want more. Of course, one does not expect to such behaviors exhibited today.

Oh, yeah? Have you been to a salad bar lately?

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Throwback Thursday From January 2015

Throwback Thursday from January 2015

The Last Biscuit Protocol

last biscuit

 

BY AND LARGE we are a polite society. Of course, the exceptions to that are loud, obnoxious, and to be avoided at all costs – particularly around dinner time.

Whenever the family gathers, like at Christmastime, or other major events, we can have a considerable number around the table. And, for the most part, they are members of that polite society. But that politeness can lead to some interesting observations. Let me explain.

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Six Kolaches Over Texas

kol1SOME THINGS ARE WORTH EATING.

Other things are not.

A nicely done “medium-rare” steak – Yes. A “well-done” steak – No.

 Fried Chicken – Yes. KFC – No.

Airline Cookies, Cheap Mexican Food, and Beets – No, No, and No.

Kolaches – YES!

Kolaches? Wazzat?

Sit and learn, my child.

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I Am Leftovers

food1YOU WOULD THINK THAT AN ENTIRE WEEKEND would be enough time to recover, but I still feel like that beached whale. I am still giving thanks – only now it is thanks that I’m still alive, having survived my gluttony.

By this time of life I should know better and be more into a Zen-like state where I don’t engage all of my senses in a spate of overdoing it at the dinner table.

“Oh, Grasshopper, you are personally responsible for the famine in Asia. Because of you millions of people will go to bed without any pumpkin pie. The children will never know the meaning of Kool-Whip.”

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I Think I’ll Have Some More

foodA COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO I asked for suggestions about where we should go for a right fancy Thanksgiving feast. It has been our tradition to go out for our Thanksgiving dinner, but our usual buffet spot is closed for remodeling.

We got several good tips and a couple of wiseacre suggestions too – and thanks for the invitation to join you for dinner, but India is farther than I care to drive.

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An Encore Presentation  – “Hey, Butterball!”

Throwback Thursday 3

On Wednesday . ..

From November 2015

 

Brace yourself, America! It’s that time of year again when,a39f71f4-51bf-4f24-8b9e-4fe70b5801cb all across the country, people will be preparing Thanksgiving Turkey Dinners by the millions.

For most it will be a joyous chore to feed family and friends, but for many it will be a challenge comparable to trying to fly to the moon in a lawn chair powered by some helium balloons from the dollar store.

Despair not, help is available!

This year, as it has for the past 34 years, the fine folks at Butterball will be running their Turkey Hotline to answer questions and help salvage those Thanksgiving dinners for the less than expert chefs. Not everybody can be Julia Child – nor would you want to be – she’s dead.

Over the past 34 years the folks answering the calls at Butterball from mystified cooks have had to both give clarifying information and not scream or laugh out loud at the same time.

“I carved my turkey with a chainsaw. Is the chain grease going to adversely affect my turkey?” The answer is YES, don’t serve it or it might kill someone. I can’t think of a worse way to top off Thanksgiving dinner than having the diners keeling over at the table.

“How do I roast my turkey so it gets golden brown tan lines in the shape of a bikini?” The recommendation was “strategically placed foil.” I really don’t want to know why they wanted this information. That is between them and their therapist or defense lawyer.

And then there was the man looking for a quick way to cook his turkey who put it in the oven in the self-cleaning mode. While that certainly would be quicker than recommended by Butterball, so would napalm or a thermonuclear explosion.

Finally, there was the woman who called the Hotline for advice on how to get her Chihuahua out of the turkey. Let’s not go any further with that one.

Most of the calls to the Hotline are, Thank God, rather mundane, such as:

“How long do I cook it?”

“How long does it take to thaw out?”

Thankfully, there are very few questions that are matters of life and death. But as one generation of cooks learns the ropes, along comes a new crop of would-be Emerils to pull the pin on a turkey grenade.

In the last decade or so the concept of deep frying the Thanksgiving turkey has caught on. Unfortunately, it seems to be most popular with men who think that, since they can change the oil in the pick-up truck, they can deep fry a turkey. It’s just a different kind of oil. Right?

Deep frying a turkey brings its own set of caveats, warnings and instructions, none of which bear any resemblance to servicing the Ford F-150.

The Butterball people list them on their website and instruction #1 hints at what must be a recurring problem among deep frying novices:

#1 – Before deep frying – take the wrapper off of the turkey!

Really? You mean I shouldn’t leave the little net bag and plastic wrapper and labels on the bird? Why not leave it in the plastic bag from the supermarket as well?

When you try deep frying your first turkey it is firmly suggested that you wait until the bird is completely thawed – unless you actually want a geyser of hot, and possibly flaming oil, launched over you, the kitchen and, eventually, the smoking ruins of your house. If this happens you might ask the firemen who will be putting out your house fire if they know the way to the nearest Denny’s or IHOP. Both places will be serving Thanksgiving dinner all day long.

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Throwback Thursday – from November 2015

Throwback Thursday 3

Two Lobes, No Waiting

I’M FEELING IN A MAGNANIMOUS MOOD TODAY.

I feel like reachingFB_IMG_1444792041486
out to my fellow bipeds and seeing if I can be of help. So, I have declared that today is officially:

FREE BAD ADVICE DAY!

For today – and today only – I will be dispensing free bad advice on a wide range of topics.

Let the games begin!

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A Treatise on Lunch

giphyWHY I THINK OF SUCH THINGS I DO NOT KNOW. I certainly could find a better use for my remaining brain cells. There are days when I worry that my gray matter is slipping away by the cup full. Those days are usually Mondays.

The substance of my obsessive thoughts for today is: Lunch

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You Need To Lose Some Weight

imagesI’ve been hearing that ever since my carefree days as a fetus. I was about 7 lb. 6 oz. at birth (I checked my birth certificate) and that’s not too bad in most circles, but a lot of babies born with health issues tend to come in as featherweights. This makes me think that if everything had been OK healthwise I might have tipped the scales at 180 lbs at birth.

I know that my father was 12 lbs. – and he was born at home – to a mother who was barely 5 feet tall and under 100lbs.

Needless to say, he was an only child and my grandfather started smoking.

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The Good, The Bad, And The Crispy

pizza1I LOVE PIZZA. CORRECTION: I LOVE MOST PIZZAS.

Pizza is a very simple dish (or pan). It is not difficult to make. I suspect that you could make a passable pizza in one of those old “Suzy Homemaker” or “Easy-Bake” ovens.

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