One From Column A and Two From Column B

ImageI recently read a book; a psychological thriller I later learned.  While it was well written, I didn’t like it.  I didn’t like it at all.  Why?  Because it was about the horrible mind games people can play with each other.  I like psychological thrillers, mind you.  I really enjoyed all the Girl With Dragon Tattoo, etc.; and they were pretty rough books.

But this particular book made me so sad because it dealt with a married couple who simply could do nothing but hurt each other in new and vicious ways.

You see…I love the stuffin’ outta Devoted Spouse.  Here’s just one reason:  He labels our Chinese take-out boxes with our initials so when I want to finish what I ordered, I don’t have to waste time opening all the boxes.

So, in a way, reading the terrible book was good for me because it reminded me how loved I am!  sigh…

Food Glorious Food

pic courtesy of life123.com

Will someone please explain to me why here in the Midwest restaurants think cole slaw is an appetizer?  Every time DS and I go to one of the family restaurants in this area, if I order cole slaw as a side, it arrives prior to my meal.  Do they think it’s a first course?  I don’t know about you, but I like my cole slaw WITH my meal.  A “side” accompanies the meal, yes?  just sayin’.

Do you ever give in to indulgence and order that honkin’ huge milkshake…you know, the one with gobs of whipped cream?  Oh puhleeze, you know you do.  My question is why do they fill the plastic cups so full and add that strange circular top with the opening for a straw, so that by the time you put the milkshake in your cup container, it has spilled all over you, and flows like a volcano all throughout the car? I think the server behind that little glass window gets extra points if this happens to the customer.  “Hey! Got another one wet!” Why can’t they make a top that fits correctly?  Grrrrr.

I always thought Bob Evans made the best pancakes.  Plus they’re close to my house.  Less gas money.  I went for breakfast last week while Devoted Spouse was out doing his church gig.  I ordered blueberry pancakes, my personal fav.  I got about halfway through and realized these pancakes were getting soggier and soggier and it wasn’t the syrup.  I was putting batter on my fork.  Ack.  No thanks.  Yes, got a refund.  Politely declined offer of more pancakes.

Speaking of barbecue…well sort of.  Went to a local barbecue restaurant and ordered Texas brisket.  Having not eaten brisket, Texas or otherwise, I was quite excited to see what it was all about.  Imagine my disgust when a plate was put in front of me swimming in grease with overdone meat covered with fat.  It was nasty.  I didn’t eat it.  I was surprised anyone would serve that.  When the waitress asked me about it, I explained that I didn’t favor a meal that is swimming on my plate.  She apologized all over me, offered to replace it (I had lost my appetite by then), and left to get a refill on my unsweetened iced tea.  The tea arrived and it was sweetened.  The waitress disappeared.  Devoted Spouse contentedly munched his pulled pork sandwich.  The owner came over, apologizing repeatedly and backpedaling on why I was given such a nasty piece of meat.  Turns out I received the “end” and nobody thought to actually look at the plate and see what they were serving to a customer.  He offered a better piece of brisket.  I declined.  He offered a pound of pulled pork for me to take home.  I declined.  He offered me a free beverage.  I not only declined, but let him know the one I had was not what I ordered.  He comped the check.  That’s what he should have done to begin with.  Devoted Spouse went home with a happy tummy.  I stopped for ice cream…sigh…

Food Friday

As a good southern gal (regardless that I currently live in OH), I have been a faithful subscriber to Southern Living Magazine since 1985.  I’m proud to say I have every one of their annual cookbooks dating back to that year and they’re all nicely lined up on my bookcase in the kitchen with the other tons of cookbooks.

As my friend Michele will agree, a girl’s best friend is a cookbook.  I have always collected them – I have hundreds from antique cookbooks to the modern ones; they are stored in kitchen and basement.  Recently, I’ve had to divest myself of a few since I’m running out of shelf room.

Yesterday I received two pleasant surprises; one of which I can’t divulge yet — it will be in a future post so you will just have to wait but I will tease you with the fact that it is fabulous.  The other surprise I received yesterday came in the mail in the form of the 2009 Southern Living Annual Recipes cookbook!  Woo-Hoo!  Another to add to the collection.

Now I love going through this cookbook, but the difference between my friend Michele and me is she actually uses and adapts recipes from her cookbooks.  I pretty much just like to read mine.  I might make a couple of the easier recipes but mostly my enjoyment comes from reading the recipes and looking at the pictures.  Ridiculous, I know.  Maybe this time will be different and I’ll actually go back to cooking for Devoted Spouse instead of just throwing something together.

That would make him so happy.

And because I’m dedicating this posting to Food – here’s an easy peasy recipe from the 2009 book for one of Devoted Spouse’s favorite foods — corn.  That boy would eat corn at every meal if I let him!

Corn Pudding

Makes 6 servings.  Prep time:  10 Min.  Cook time:  20 Min.

2 cups milk

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

1 (16 oz.) package frozen whole kernel corn, thawed

1/2 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. whipping cream

Bring milk to a boil in a heavy saucepan; gradually add cornmeal, stirring until blended after each addition.  Cook, stirring constantly, just until mixture begins to boil.  Reduce heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Add corn, stirring until mixture is the consistency of whipped potatoes.  Stir in salt and whipping cream.  Serve and enjoy!

So because Devoted Spouse has been taking such good care of me this entire year through one ailment after another, I’m gonna whip up a batch of corn pudding for him.   I’m sure it will go well with that tv dinner I had planned to serve…

So Many Coupons, So Little Need

This subject has been discussed before here at Chez Crone and Bear It.  Since it has deep psychological implications, it  needs to be revisited.

I have 327,455 coupons for 20% off at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  I have about 32,250 coupons for half off at Omaha Steaks with more appearing on an almost daily basis in my email.   There are at least 8,272 coupons for various types of Progresso Soups, Campbell Soups, Healthy Choice Soups, and boxes of Lipton Soups.  I have clipped millions of Pizza Coupons — Papa Murphy’s, Papa John’s, Papa Ooomowmow, LaRosa’s Pizza, Marion’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, Pizza House, Pizza Hole-in-the-Wall.  You need some discount veggies?  I have cents-off coupons for every type of vegetable known to man;  be they canned, frozen, or wrapped in Saran Wrap in the back of Vinnie’s Vegetable Emporium and Crab Shack.  I hoard flyers from Trader Joe’s and Jungle Jim’s and all my local grocery stores in case there may be an errant coupon lurking in the pages somewhere.

Coupons have become a new craft for me; an artistic endeavor – they are my refrigerator art.  I eagerly await the Sunday paper so I can clip out hundreds of coupons for food I don’t even like and will never buy but I cut them out anyway because there is an expiration date 6 months in the future in case I change my mind (or tastes).    Then I take all these colorful pieces of recyclable paper and hold them together with cutesy plastic clips.

Use them?  No.   Most never leave the house.  Every once in awhile I will re-visit a coupon, find I actually wish to buy the product and happily discover the expiration date is still in the future.  Then the difficult part is to actually place that coupon in my purse or wallet or checkbook and remember to take it out again and present it to the cashier at the store.  It’s exhausting work for 25 cents off a can of something that the store has jacked up 50 cents in anticipation of you using a coupon.  Whew!

What is this compulsion to cut out coupons I rarely use?  I have no clue — it’s obviously some deep-seated need left over from childhood although I don’t recall my stepmother ever using a coupon at a store.  Then again we had a limited diet with few processed foods – the stepmother made most foods from scratch and I mean that literally.  Many was the night I had to gag something down she had made from scratch.  But that’s another story for another day.

I abhor the ladies that show up on the morning talk shows and brag about how they routinely go to the grocery store with their 18 million coupons in their chubby little hands and by the time they get through the check-out the grocery store owes them $172.50 for 3 bags of groceries.  It makes me irrationally upset.  Smug little women – you want to really know why I detest them?  Because they are ALWAYS right ahead of me in line and it takes twenty minutes to go through all those &^#$ coupons!  It’s true.

It seems more logical to me to stop all this coupon nonsense.  The grocery companies and the food companies should simply mark down the prices across the board.  We would all have so much more time to do other things besides buy magazines and newspapers so we can spend hours clipping coupons or printing them online.

As for me, I will continue my clipping compulsion and I will continue to add them to the stacks already stuck to the refrigerator.  Occasionally I may use one, but I’m thinking a very good idea would be to make a large colorful coupon collage.  Bet I could even sell it on Etsy.

Car Accidents…And You Thought Texting Was the Problem…

food fight

An article in my local paper’s lifestyle section the other day was entitled,  “The 10 Foods Involved in the Most Automobile Accidents”. Sounded interesting.

Okay, I’ll bite…

1.  Oysters…because they’re too slippery to turn the steering wheel.

2.  Whole grain bread...their nuts get in the way when they buckle their seatbelt.

3.  Lamb chops…have too hard a time reaching the pedals.

4.  Octopus…too many arms to signal turns properly…you don’t know where the hell they’re going.

5.  Butter beans…you know darned well they never took the driving test because they were shy about having their picture taken for the license.

6.  Beer…technically not a food, but still beer has been known to weave all over the road.

7.  French fries…no matter how hard they try, they can’t see out the windows.

8.  Oatmeal…no consistency in their driving whatsoever.

9.  Cheddar cheese…too sharp with other drivers which can lead to road rage which grates on everyone’s nerves…

10.  Bacon…tends to overheat in the South, leading to shrinkage and a loss of control.

Excuse me?  What?  Whadd’ya mean?  You said 10 foods that cause car accidents…Ohhhhhhh you mean while people are eating those foods. Oh…I get it now.

Nevermind.

This Ain’t No Bull

big bull

Devoted Spouse and I have been looking for a quick getaway – just a couple of days of rest, relaxation and maybe looking at some local sights within a few hours of home.  Since my disastrous driving (1,000 road  miles) trip recently, I don’t want to be in a car for more than 3 or 4 hours so that severely limits where we can go.  Plus I’m hampered by a physical therapy schedule and, of course, school starts on the 24th of August.  So if we’re to get out of Dodge for a day or three, we need to find something somewhat local.

On our coffee table in the family room sits a small book entitled, “Ohio Road Trips by Neil Zurcher” and it documents day trips and some a bit longer all over the state of Ohio and tells you the hot spots and fun things to do.  There are parks, museums, animal features, strange and odd things such as haunted places, and, naturally, tons of historical goodies.

I started perusing the book and found quite a few places north of us in Amish country that we could easily travel to and back with no problems, providing we could find a place to stay this last minute – Amish country is so full of tourists at this time of year this may turn into simply a day trip.

What truly caught my eye was the number of Ohio festivals mainly during the spring, summer and fall of the year.  One in particular jumped off the page — it takes place in a town in northwest Ohio called Tiro.  It’s named The Tiro Testicle Festival.  Yes, I said the Tiro Testical Festival.

Apparently this is not a large town – just a wide spot on the road with a few businesses but every April thousands of folks come here to join in this festival celebrating bull’s testicles.  Yes, that part of a bull some may know as “mountain oysters” or “prairie oysters” and are touted as a yummy delicacy.  The book tells the story that the owner of the local tavern was given a “box of the delicacies” back in the 1990s.  He fried them up and served them to his customers (I certainly hope he gave them fair warning of what they were about to consume.)  It seemed to be a rousing success and has now turned into an annual event.  Every April almost a half-ton of bull gonads are now cooked and served to the crowds.  This festival doesn’t have a parade (hell, the poor bulls would just limp anyway), nor do they crown a queen (who wants to put on their resume someday the fact they held the Testicle Queen title in 2005?).  So, there isn’t much to do at this festival.  To quote from the book, “We drink beer and eat testicles.”  That’s it.

I have nothing further to add.  I think the above pretty much speaks for itself.  All I can think is darnitall, it’s not April.

Shhhhh! Don’t Tell Devoted Spouse!

crockpotIt”s official – my arm and hand are strong enough for me to chop vegetables.  That means I can make dinner again.  It’s been such a long time since I did any cooking  and I will continue to ask for some help from Devoted Spouse now and again.  I still can’t lift anything heavy like the CrockPot or a frying pan – but by George I can chop the daylights outta onions again!

Of course the onions didn’t stay on the chopping board.  That would have been too easy.  My knife skills are just a tad rusty and we giggled as many of the onions ended up on the floor fleeing for their little lives.  Run, babies, run!

I managed to de-skin the chicken thighs – but Devoted Spouse had to cut up the chicken for me – he was a little worried that the thickness of the chicken and the weakness of my hand could lead to a potential loss of one or three of my fingers.  He’s so thoughtful.

I was proud of the fact I was able to wield the scissors and open up the bag of frozen veggies.  But then like the dork I am, I dumped a good part of them onto the stove, not into the CrockPot — well, I was close.  I also added garlic, and thank you to whoever came up with the idea of putting chopped garlic in little jars – I couldn’t have whacked a garlic clove with the back of a knife and my fist if my life depended on it.  But I can scoop out garlic from a jar and I did a nifty job of it, too.  Nary a garlic piece strayed.

A few spices, salt and pepper, some chicken stock, a can of diced tomatoes, a dash of chicken gravy for thickening, and voila!

Barefoot Contessa, eat your heart out!