Post #498 Sometimes I Forget

August 8, 2016 at 10:01 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #498 Sometimes I Forget

When I was still married to my ex-wife, sometimes when we’d go grocery shopping, we’d buy a bunch of bananas.  She preferred them a little on the green side, and I preferred them ripe with bruises starting to grow.  It always worked out perfectly, because just as she lost interest in the bunch of bananas, I’d start eating them.  I love bananas.  I could eat a whole full bunch of them in one sitting until I’m comatose on the couch with my stomach distended and burping less than politely in mixed company.  The odd thing is that I seldom remember how much I like bananas until I’m actually eating them.  Then I don’t want to stop.

There are a few other foods that do this to me.  Grapes is one.  I love grapes.  I particularly like the giant ping pong ball sized grapes called Red Globes.  But grapes aren’t on my mind most of the time.  When I reach for a snack, I don’t often think about grapes.  Then I eat one, and the flavor and juiciness explode in my mouth and all I can think of is eating every grape in sight.  I call the left over vines the grape bones.

Any peanut butter/chocolate combination is the same.  I don’t like peanut butter that much.  I typically only eat it in a PBJ with grape jelly only.  Surround it with chocolate and I sing another tune.  The standard bearer is, of course, the peanut butter cup.  I can slam a whole one in my mouth and not come up for air until I’m done swallowing and looking for more to slam.  Butterfingers are another.  I start crunching and don’t stop until I’m licking the chocolate off my fingers.  I swallow only to get more room in my mouth for more candy bar.

I eat a lot of popcorn, but only in spurts.  I’ll go for weeks without thinking about popcorn once.  Then suddenly it’s like my brain says it needs a popcorn fix.  I try to eat it sedately, but generally end up like my brother, jamming an entire fistful into my mouth, risking choking and death to get another buttery, salty morsel of deliciousness.  I eat all kinds of popcorn, but never sweet.

Then there are days when no matter how hard I try, I just can’t find something interesting to eat.  I wander up and down the grocery aisles and nothing looks good.  I root through the pantry and can’t find a thing in the pounds of food on the shelves.  I move things around the freezer and it’s just frozen stuff.  I read through cookbooks for inspiration and it’s not there.  I tell myself (only half jokingly) “It’s a first world problem.”

Those are the days I end up eating toast, or crackers, or cookies, or potato chips.

Now to turn a little serious.  You didn’t think you’d get of easy, did you?

There are lots of kids in our country who are facing that question of what to eat every day.    They don’t have the luxury of eating bananas until they can’t eat anymore.  They don’t have the “problem” of can’t decide what to eat because when they open the fridge, or pantry, or freezer, there’s nothing there.  It’s summertime; there’s no school; there’s no meal.

The problem isn’t going away, but it is getting a little better.  More people are aware of the issue, and more influential people are helping out where they can.  The Food Network has leant its support to the cause for many years now.  More and more communities are reaching out.  Foods on the shelves are becoming healthier and less expensive.  So there’s positive movement.

The need doesn’t go away.

I was eating a Butterfinger the other day, and I noticed a number on the inside of the wrapper.  Turns out that like many other food products, if you register that number at the website provided, they will donate a meal to feed hungry kids.  Go figure.

At my store, there’s a young kid who comes in fairly regularly.  He seems about nine years old or so and he’s a smart kid.  He always has a handful of coins with him and he knows how to add and subtract and figure out what he can afford.  He brought up a bunch of bananas to me one day last week.  When I told him the price, he was very surprised.

“The sign said they were 54 cents,” he said.  I explained that was 54 cents a pound.  He was so disappointed and started to turn away to put them back when the older couple behind him said, “We’ll buy them for you.”

I very happily rang their order through as they bagged the bananas and gave them to the boy.  He seemed confused at first, but nearly ran from the store with the bag.  We all smiled watching him go.  I thanked them sincerely for what they’d done.

They both said the same thing in almost the same breath.  “How can anyone say no?  It was bananas.  If it had been a candy bar, we wouldn’t have done it.”  Things like that make my job worthwhile.  I didn’t tell them about how Butterfingers was donating food. 😉

Off my soap box for now.

Enjoy

Post #497 Some Friday Food Funnies

August 5, 2016 at 12:36 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #497 Some Friday Food Funnies

Got a very full and hectic day so I’m giving you some food funnies.  Talk to you next week!

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Calvin 17

food jokes 4

food joke 10

food joke 5

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And as always,

Enjoy

Post #496 Lemons Add Life to Food

August 1, 2016 at 3:04 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #496 Lemons Add Life to Food

Okay, I’ll admit it.  I used boxed cake mixes on occasion.  Sometimes, they’re just the easiest way to go.  They’re consistent, reliable, and mostly, they taste good.  Usually, I use the “perfect size” mixes that make enough cake for two people for two days.  But we had a mix that we’d had for so long it was about to go stale.  It’s French Vanilla flavored which makes it the perfect base for any number of other flavors if I chose to add them.

I did choose.

Partner/Spouse did some grocery shopping on his way home this morning and I had him pick up two large lemons.  See where this is going?  So I made the cake mix in a bundt pan per the directions.  Knowing what I was going to do to the cake, I left it in the oven for five extra minutes with the oven off.  I wanted the cake to be rugged, able to stand up to what I was going to do.

When I took the cake out of the oven, I let it cool in the pan for a few minutes as I finished up the next step.

I made a simple lemon sugar syrup.  It’s very easy, and it can be used for all kinds of things.

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Juice from one large lemon
  • Zest from the lemon
  • 1 tablespoon water

In a non-reactive pan, mix all the ingredient together except the zest over medium-low heat.  Stir constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved, then take off the heat.  Add the zest and allow to cool.  Store in a jar in the fridge for up to a week.

I left the zest out for the next step in my cake and because it would get in the way of this step of my cake.

While the cake and the syrup were both still warm, and the cake was still in the pan, I drizzled the syrup over the cake so it would seep into the cake.  I wanted the lemon flavor in the cake, but I wanted it distinctive from the cake’s original flavor.  To combat the amount sweetness from the cake and the syrup itself, I used extra lemon juice.

After several minutes, allowing the cake to cool almost entirely, I turned it out onto a cooling rack over a baking sheet.  If there were any dribbles from the syrup, I wanted easier clean up.  But there wasn’t.  So far, my plan was working.

I allowed the cake to cool completely then placed it on my cake plate.  Time for the next and final step.

I zested both lemons and place that aside.  Then I squeezed the juice out of the remaining lemon and used that to make a lemon glaze.

Glazes are simply powdered, or icing, sugar melted into a liquid base.  The more sugar you add, the stiffer the glaze will be, but it will also be sweeter.  You want to constantly test the glaze as you’re making it.  Also, the more sugar you add, the whiter and more visible the glaze becomes.  So if aesthetics are important to your cake, be aware of that.

I put the lemon juice into a glass measuring cup (after straining it, of course) and added the sugar a tablespoon at a time, mixing it with a fork.  I wanted my glaze to run down the sides of my cake, but I also wanted it to adhere to it so I needed a fairly stiff glaze.  But I didn’t want the glaze to be too sweet.  I solved the dilemma by adding sugar until I reached the flavor I wanted, then letting the glaze sit for a few minutes to set up.

Some people will use a spoon or a piping bag to put glaze onto a cake.  By making my glaze in the measuring cup, I have an automatic pouring spout built in.  I went slowly around the cake pouring the glaze in a zigzag pattern to get drips down the outside and the inside of the cake.  I used the last to place “pretty” dribbles in areas that needed it.  Then I sprinkled the zest over the top for decoration.  Then, on a whim, I added just a few colorful sprinkles to give it a festive look with the yellow zest.

What do you think?  Pretty, huh?

lemon bundt cake

All this talk about lemon reminded me of something that happened years ago in my home town.  I was cycling home from work one day and stopped at a fruit stand owned by a friend of mine.  It was a pretty big operation involving the whole family since all the stuff they sold they had grown in their own groves.  I wanted to get a quart of fresh squeezed orange juice to take home.  While I was talking to the younger sister of the guy I was friends with, she handed me a pale section of some citrus fruit.

“It’s the first white grapefruit from our new trees.  You gotta try it.  It’s good.”

“No thanks,” I said.  “I don’t like grapefruit at all.  Don’t like the flavor.”

“This one is really sweet.”

So I took it and popped it into my mouth and bit down.  On a section of lemon!  I sputtered, choked, my eyes teared up, but I managed to swallow it.

“Why would you do that?” I asked when I got my breath back.  Lemon is only meant to be enjoyed in small quantities.

After she stopped laughing, she said, “I wanted to see if you’d really eat it.”

Enjoy

 

 

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