Posted on September 16th, 2020
I became a vegetarian because the girlfriend I had at the time didn't want to kiss me because she said I smelled like meat. That was on Earth Day 1986. We broke up after that, but I stuck with the diet because the horrific allergies I had been plagued with all my life evaporated. It also fit in with my newly acquired Buddhist philosophies, so it was good all the way around.
Back then, vegetarian versions of my favorite foods were not easy to find. And most of them you could find tasted like ass. But all that changed when I walked into a Johnny Rockets diner in Santa Monica, California where they offered "Boca Burgers" for sale. I ordered one (no grilled onions or mustard), tasted it, then had to call the waitress over because I was convinced I was accidentally served a meat burger. But nope! It was just that good.
Eventually I found them at my grocery store and was eating them at least once a week for decades.
But then my world came crashing down when Kraft bought out Boca Burger and "new and improved it." They claim that they updated the texture and taste to serve modern consumers. But to me? It tasted like liquid smoke and burning hair smeared on pencil erasers. It was fucking disgusting. But no big deal... I could still eat the "Vegan Original" which had the original taste. Until Kraft discontinued it and replaced it with a fake turkey burger. When people complained, they said that when their customers wanted a vegan burger, what they really wanted was turkey. Which is a load of fucking horseshit... which, coincidentally, is what I'd rather eat than one of their fucked-up "turkey" burgers.
And so I stopped buying their horrific "food" products.
A lot of other people probably stopped as well, because when I was at the grocery store yesterday I was shocked to see that the "Vegan Original" had returned! SWEET! I looked very carefully at the box. The photo indeed showed the light color of the original instead of the dark brown plastic look of the "new and improved" model. I bought two boxes and couldn't wait to have one for dinner.
Then I opened the box...
These are NOT the original recipe. Not by a fucking longshot. And now I'm stuck with two boxes of this gortesque shit. So as not to waste my hard-earned money, I did cook one up to give it a shot. It's not as horribly over-flavored as the non-vegan option, BUT IT'S STILL NOT THE ORIGINAL THAT THEY PROMISE YOU RIGHT ON THE FUCKING BOX!
100% false advertising. I'm writing to Kraft and insisting on a refund based on their fucked-up lies. I mean, why in the hell not put the ACTUAL product's picture on the damn box? Had I seen it was this new brown plastic crap, I would have never bought it!
And so I guess I'm finally done with Boca Burger now. After clinging to the memory of that amazing burger I ate in a Santa Monic Johnny Rockets so very many years ago, this was the last straw. I'll cook up Impossible Burgers or whatever else isn't going to taste like the physical manifestation of fucking disappointment.
Red Robin, Johnny Rockets, and everybody else has already moved on from Kraft's Boca bullshit, I guess I can as well.
Posted on September 13th, 2020
The world may be on fire, but don't let that dissuade you from pulling out the marshmallows... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Transplant! I've written a couple times about my favorite show of 2020, the Canadian medical drama Transplant. It's just fantastic television and deserves a look. If you're heere in the US, NBC is airing it on Tuesdays and on their Peacock streaming service. Today I found out that Apple iTunes Store is offering a Season Pass for all 13 episodes for $25. It didn't take me even one second to purchase it, even though I already have Canadian recordings of all the episodes. I support shows I like by purchasing them whenever I possibly can. This was a no-brainer.
• Farmer! In an age where laughs are getting harder to find, this was exactly what I needed...
Almost makes me want to get on TikTok to keep up with him.
• HEADLINE! Face masks could be giving people Covid-19 immunity, researchers suggest. Not that anything wil ever dissuade the dumb-fuck anti-mask brigade, but any news is good news, right?
• Float! Apple sure does know how to create amazing retail spaces. Every store I've visited around the world... even the most basic... is incredible. My favorites are those which take classic old buildings and turns them into jaw-dropping shops. But there's something to be said for their mind-blowing original creations...
Apple Stores are practically destination-worthy. If we were in different times, I'd take a diversion to Singapore to see this marvel.
• New New Order! One of my all-time favorite bands has released new music!
It's different. But as a huge fan of dream-pop, this half-step in that direction is not something I hate. I actually rather like it, even though it's not what I was expecting.
• Lunch! Yesterday I was going to get up at 7am, get some bread started, clean the kitchen, put another coat of paint on the cabinets, then cook up a vegetable bake with dumplings for lunch. But then I took one look out my window as smoke was pouring into the valley and decided I'd sleep until noon. This was lunch...
Now-a-days, you do what you can do and try not to feel like a failure for not doing what you feel you should be doing. Just getting up in the morning to feed my cats was doing good during a pandemic. But while the world is on fire during a pandemic? Vodka Coke and frozen veggie corn dogs is a frickin' miracle.
And now... once more into the breach.
Posted on September 4th, 2020
Growing up I never had much exposure to cilantro. It appeared in salsa, but that’s about it. Over the years I’ve been kinda meh on cilantro, but once I started exploring Martha Stewart’s meal service, I’ve come to love it (so much so that I’m going to try growing it eventually).
Yesterday I was craving cilantro but too tired to cook after getting some from the grocery store, so I made me some Coconut-Peanut Rice Noodles with extra cilantro for dinner tonight...
Amazing stuff. I find it sad that some people have tastebuds that register cilantro as “soap” tasting, because it’s become a favorite flavor of mine.
And speaking of Martha Stewart's meal service...
On of the meals this past week was Spinach & Tomato Lasagna Rolls. I made half without the Spinach, which I felt were far superior because the texture of the spinach was kinda gross. Great stuff though. They have you mix pesto into the tomatoes for a darn delicious sauce. The best part is that the noodles crisp up on the edges when you cook them. I honestly thought that the filling would come pouring out as they cooked, but nope...
Yummeh. If I can find pasta sheets, I have to make this again.
Well, that's enough cooking for a while. Back to peanut butter sandwiches for a while.
Posted on August 14th, 2020
Now that I'm hip-deep in my kitchen remodel, I've been trying to take a serious look at how I cook so I can streamline how I organize things and get rid of stuff that I no longer use.
Oh... and also make room for tons and tons of spices.
As a vegetarian, things can get a little boring, so I am always looking for something different. Back when I was able to travel the world, discovering new flavors was a huge part of what made it so much fun. Since I may not be able to travel for a long time, I decided to bring the flavors of the world to my kitchen. Thanks to the exceptional spices and blends to be found at The Spice House in Chicago, it's pretty easy.
I ordered 33 items... old friends and new ones to try. Tonight I decided to fry up some potatoes and try six of the blends I bought...
Then I wrote some notes so I could find out which ones I liked best...
But here's the thing... I LOVED THEM ALL!
And my kitchen smells amazing.
Around the world in 15 minutes. Whether it was Parisian Shallot Herb Blend from France or Garam Masala from Southern Asia or Za'atar from the Mediterranean or Market Blend from Marakesh or Adobo from Spain or Village Blend from the Ukraine... they were all really different and tasty! The most surprising blend was the Garam Masala, which had cinnamon and cloves that I most associate with sweet foods... but they were really savory in the absence of sugar. Tomorrow night I want to try out some of the spicy blends I bought. I expect I'll love those as well.
I suspect that I'll be placing another order for more spices soon. Because once I have my new kitchen, I'm going to want to cook in it, and I'm piling up recipes to use all these spices with.
The Spice House gave me a 15% Off link if you're looking to spice up your life. Click here to shop!
Posted on August 5th, 2020
Okay... this is probably TMI (Too Much Information) but last week my ass exploded.
I had made fresh potato salad in the morning so I could have it for lunch at work and dinner that evening. Not so long after eating my lunch, I suddenly felt the cramping as my insides were turning to liquid. It's that feeling you get when you know it's only a matter of time before you have a serious problem on your hands. Well, not on your hand... hopefully... but in your toilet.
And so I looked through my bag for an Imodium, took it, then hightailed it home where I made it to my bathroom jussssssst in time. Thinking that perhaps I had caught a bug... or the coronavirus... I worked at home, staying close to my toilet for the occasional detonation of my intestines.
And of course I had a big bowl of potato salad for dinner. It tastes so good because my potato salad is wicked awesome.
Which, in retrospect, was an incredibly stupid thing to do... but, in my defense, I hadn't quite put
To say that I had a bad night is a gross understatement. I think at one point I actually fell asleep on the toilet because I dare not leave it. And since it was always an emergency run I never got the door closed. Which means my cats were compelled to come in and say hello from time to time. Not necessarily because they cared that I was dying, but because they wanted to know if they could have a treat since I was up already.
I was able to go into work the next day, but I was feeling pretty poorly. I almost packed more potato salad to eat for lunch, but thought better of it because I remembered that it was after eating it that my problems started. Instead I put the salad back in the fridge and took saltine crackers instead.
Fast forward to this morning and I see this pop up in my newsfeed as an update:
Onions sold at Kroger, elsewhere recalled due to Salmonella outbreak.
My "instenial distress" happened within 45 minutes each time. Apparently Salmonella poisoning doesn't develop until around 6 hours. So was the problem I had related to the onions in my salad? I dunno. But to be safe I threw out all the onions I had left because there was no sticker to tell me whether or not they were from "Thomson International."
And of course the lawyers are all over this:
Ron Simon & Associates files the First Lawsuit in the Red Onion Salmonella Outbreak.
I don't want to sue for a million dollars... well, I do, but not really... I just want replacement onions! Food is expensive, yo, and I can't afford to be throwing purple onions in the trash!
Even when they cause me to spend 24 hours within toilet-reach.
Oh well. Thanks to the pandemic I wasn't going anywhere anyway, but it still wasn't a fun way to pass the time.
Wait! I don't just want to sue for replacement onions... I want replacement Imodium as well! Wonder what lawyer will take that case?
Probably all of them.
Posted on August 4th, 2020
My favorite paper towels are Brawny brand. But Brawny is owned by the Koch Brothers, so I buy Bounty brand.
I've been trying to use less paper towels in an attempt to live more sustainably, but there are some times that it's the perfect tool for the task at hand so I still buy them on occasion. Thanks to the pandemic, that's a hit-or-miss proposition lately. My small-town grocery had no name-brands available when I last went shopping so I ended up getting something called Simply White which totally sounds like a resort for white supremacists or something, but it was my only option...
And now... perhaps somebody can answer a simple question for me?
Why is it that cheaper brands can't make a paper towel which tears off the roll properly?
Because I've had to buy other cheap brands when I was on location for work... or I was too poor for name brands... or couldn't find anything else... and they ALL have one thing in common. THEY DON'T FUCKING RIP AS ADVERTISED! You go to rip one off the roll and it doesn't tear along the perforation, it tears everywhere except the fucking perforation!
So what is it? The major brands are the only ones who can afford perforating blades that are worth a shit? Cheap brands are manufactured by major brands who want them to suck so you won't buy them? The laws of time and space don't allow cheap brands to exist any other way? I don't get it.
The mind boggles.
And speaking of mind-boggling stuff... I just found out last night that most of the sourdough you buy in a store is not made from an actual sourdough culture. It's just regular old bread that has a sourdough flavoring. I was video-chatting with a friend and complained that the sourdough I bought tastes like it was made from chemicals.
"Probably because it was. Most mass-market sourdoughs you find at the grocery store are just flavored that way."
A few minutes Googling that shit and, sure enough, that's a thing.
Products are apparently designed to disappoint. On top of not being built to last.
Posted on August 2nd, 2020
2020 never seems to end, but neither does the bullets... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Umbrella 2! I liked the first season of The Umbrella Academy despite the fast that it took some serious liberties with the comic book source. The second season just dropped and I binged it all in a day...
Even better than the first season! Number 5 must be one of the best comic book characters ever brought to life on the small screen. If I have a small bit of criticism, it would be that the series got a bit mired in personal drama that was boring and not terribly important towards moving the story forward. Particularly Vanya's time on a farm(?)... a diversion that could have been adequately addressed in 1/3 the screen time. Otherwise? genius.
• Just Do It! There is some serious image re-mapping and aligning going on here and it's incredibly well done. This is beautiful to behold...
Bravo to the art director and their team for how this came together.
• Cheapness! A couple people asked me about the "cheap movies" I bought and where I bought them. I monitor a site called Cheap Charts then, when I find the cheapest price on a sale movie I want, I go ahead and buy it if it's from iTunes (because that's where all my movies are). If it's not on iTunes, I check MoviesAnywhere to see if the movie can be bought at a member site, which means iTunes will import it automatically. Usually iTunes is the most expensive place, with Amazon Digital and Microsoft Digital being the cheapest. If the movie is not a part of MoviesAnywhere, then I usually don't buy it... unless it's super-cheap, then I just suffer through having to use Amazon or Microsoft's player to watch it. And now you know.
• How to Mask! Sarah Cooper has been on fire with her last several videos, but this one is just beyond...
Nice to know at least one thing to laugh about when it comes to the horror show we're currently trapped in.
• Biscuits! Thanks to friends on Facebook, I've finally cracked the puzzle of making the perfect Egg & Cheese McBiscuit! I start with FROZEN Pillsbury Grands and smear the tops and bottoms with butter. Cook pushed together as directed. THEN I smear the tops with butter AGAIN... separate the biscuits AND FLIP THEM OVER. Increase the heat to 400º and cook for four minutes longer so the tops get fried on the hot cookie sheet. VOILA! Perfectly crispy biscuits with fluffy insides that taste every bit as good at McDonalds!
Now I no longer have to pay ridiculous prices (THREE DOLLARS AND FORTY-NINE CENTS EACH?!??) to get one of my favorite treats! Hooray!
• US History! It's easy to see how the reason so many people are so ignorant about how things actually are in this country is that they don't have an accurate picture of how we got here. The mind boggles...
Smartly done. But the people most needing to see this and understand this are exactly the people who will never watch it.
• Memory! Face, Velvet, Church, Daisy, Red. Yep, still got it a week later.
I guess that's all I got for this week. See you next Sunday.
Posted on July 12th, 2020
I'm too dang tired for bullets, but it's not like I can stop... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Nuke 'Em! I've been using my microwave less and less. I prefer my food cooked in an oven or on a stove with real heat, and that's how I've been preparing my meals for a long while now. The rubbery texture and uneven heating don't make the convenience and speed worth it. And then I discovered microwave pancakes and French toast. If ever there was a perfect application for a microwave, this would be it. Since the items come frozen after having been fully-cooked, you're not really cooking them so much as reheating them, and they reheat beautifully, evenly, and without cold spots...
I like the Eggo pancakes great. But FarmRich has better French Toast Sticks.
• NEWSFLASH! American Passports Are Worthless Now — "I think it is difficult for Americans to understand that they are, to use an epidemiological term, completely fucked."
• NEWSFLASH! Netherlands plans to remove gender from ID cards entirely — Sensible. Because what possible fucking difference does it make? You don't have to be male to vote or drive a car... at least not in this country... so why is this something that has to appear on your identification?
I’ve found most D&D players take coronavirus seriously. We know two things from experience:— Patrick Sean Farley (@blueshifter) July 6, 2020
(A) a 2% risk is *not* as low as it sounds.
(B) no matter how high your Constitution score, you can *always* fail your saving throw.
• NEWSFLASH! Disney World Emphasizes Safety Protocols Ahead of Reopening: "You Must Follow All Posted Instructions" — Be our GUEST! Be our GUEST! Put your health up to the test! Be our GUEST! Be our GUEST! The worst than can happen is your death!
• Grey! The Tom Hanks WWII movie Greyhound on Apple TV+ is such a wasted effort. Yes, the battles are thrilling... but there's nothing personal about any of these characters so you can relate to their struggle against overwhelming odds. You root for them just because you know you should root for them, not because they've earned it. I know this is supposed to be based on a true story, so they likely wanted to restrain embellishment, but they might as well just made a documentary.
And don't get me started on the musical score. The MUSIC parts are not bad at all, but they accent it with stupid-ass sound effects that sounds like whales screaming and other horrific shit that assaults your auditory senses and makes you want to put the entire movie on mute so you don't have to listen to this shit. Who approved it? It's awful, awful, AWFUL.
And that's enough for tonight. Have a good one.
Posted on July 9th, 2020
My favorite burger... by a wide, wide margin... is the Impossible Whopper at Burger King.
It used to be the Boca Burger "Streamliner" at Johnny Rockets, but then Boca was bought out by Kraft and they decided to "new and improved" their recipe into something that tastes like toxic sludge, feels like fiber, and has a grotesque artificial brown color that looks like (literal) shit. Johnny Rockets couldn't serve that to their customers, so they replaced it with a Spicy Black Bean Burger. It's not bad, but not what I want. At least it's edible though. Red Robin replaced Boca Burgers with their own disgusting "ancient grains and quinoa" patty which tastes like vomit.
Since losing Boca Burger, I've tried dozens of other vegetarian burgers to eat at home. The one I end up going back to is Morningstar Farms "Grillers Original," but the texture is awful. It's squidgy and gross and I only eat it when there's nothing else in my freezer.
Impossible Burger finally released their heme-infused burger "meat" in frozen form a while back.
I finally found some to buy at the local Albertson's so I could give it a shot.
And it's everything I was hoping for. When cooked in a hot skillet you can get a nice brown sear on it, so the taste and texture are flawless. Which is to say that now I can make my own Impossible Whoppers at home whenever I want. Impossible Burger is expensive... $10 for 12 ounces... which works out to about $2 a burger because I like them really thin... about 2-1/2 ounces...
I get a skillet really hot... then squish a ball of Impossible Burger between two plates lined with wax paper... drop in some butter... then fry it up for a couple minutes each side (weirdly enough, it smells like chocolate as it cooks).
Just look at the glorious char. It adds flavor and a thin, crispy exterior that tastes great...
I haven't barbecued them yet, but I'm anxious to try it because it might taste more like an Impossible Whopper that way. I just worry about my burger falling apart on the grill, so I might have to try freezing it before cooking.
The good news is that I finally... finally... have a decent vegetarian burger to eat at home. That's no small feat... even though it seemed like such a simple thing. But, hey, being able to tell Kraft to take their shitty "Boca Burgers" (that are not Boca Burgers at all) and shove them up their asses is something I've been dying to do.
But what to have for dessert?
Posted on July 8th, 2020
My mom had a particular way of mixing chocolate milk when I was a kid. She wouldn't just pour a glass then dump in the Nestlé Quik powder... instead she would pour an inch of milk, add the Nestlé Quik, then mix and mix and mix until all the powder was gone. THEN she'd pour in the milk and stir it up into chocolatey goodness.
I was thinking of that last week and made a note to get some Quik when I went to the store. But when I got to Safeway, I couldn't find the cans of Quik anywhere...
Eventually I found something called Nesquik in a plastic box, which I assume was the same thing. I kinda recognized Quik the Bunny, despite the fact that he's wearing stupid human clothes and no longer has a big Q necklace on...
Here's Quik the Bunny I remember...
It tastes pretty much like I remember. Unlike Hershey's Syrup which is bitter and shitty, Quik... ahem... Nesquik... is sweeter and tastes more like you want chocolate milk to taste.
And, yes, I mixed it just like mom used to make.