Tag Archives: Food

This, That And The Other Thing

 

 

Just a few random thoughts/questions that may or may not be tied into each other. I’m not really sure these days.

Chick-fil-A

Full disclosure, I’m not a big fast food person. By fast food I mean, Mcdonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, etc. If any of my grandchildren want to stop there, I’ll pick at some fries but I stay away from what the Tiger King crowd considers edible. By the way, I’m not a food snob by any means. I prefer casual rather than fancy, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have some standards. Though some may say I don’t have many. But who listens to them anyway.
Now apparently Chick-fil-A  has a serious groupie following. So one day after seeing a movie with two of our grandchildren,  they asked if we could stop at CFA for lunch and we thought, why not. We’ll give it a try. Bottom line, I don’t get the fascination. It’s fast food fried chicken. Put in on a bun or lay it on a plate, it’s average at best. But I’m not here to judge, only to tell you about a sighting.

About nine months ago a CFA opened about fifteen minutes from us. The crazy thing is,  every time I pass it, without fail, there is a serious double line of cars waiting to go through the drive thru. By serious, I mean 30-40, complete with security and orange cones helping cars weave through a large strip mall parking lot.

And then this past weekend happened.

I drove past there at 3:15 on Saturday and there were 64 cars on line. On my way back home, at 4:45, there were 97 cars on line. 97! How do I know? Because I stopped and counted both times. Don’t judge. Like most people I have lots of time on my hands these days and my numbers had to be accurate for this post. You see, I do have some standards.  Besides, I was curious as hell and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
Now I don’t know how long it takes to fill an order but even if, by some miracle, they can push a car through each minute, people will still be waiting an hour and half for fast food fried chicken.  Do the math for two minutes, or three.

Come on now. Am I missing something?

Traffic Reports

On a normal day, the local channels around here provide  traffic reports each morning, afternoon and evening. But these are not normal times, So for the life of me, I don’t understand why these people are still coming on each day to provide an updated report on nothing. NOTHING.  All the roads are green and have been for weeks. There is no traffic to be found anywhere. We live 45-50 minutes outside of NYC. East bound traffic  is usually a mess during morning  rush, and west bound in the evenings.   Not these days. Once in a while I can see excitement in the eyes of these traffic reporters when there is a road construction project to report. But it doesn’t matter because the maps are still green. Even closing two of three lanes on the busiest stretches of Route 80 during rush hours won’t create a problem these days. Why? BECAUSE  NOBODY IS DRIVING ANYWHERE.

Unsubscribing

I often get junk mail in my in box. When I hit the unsubscribe button to get taken off the list I sometimes get a message that says I’ve been unsubscribed and they’re sorry to see me go. But more times than not, I get asked to enter my email address. Why? Don’t they already have it? If I’m unsubscribing from the email address they sent mail to, why can’t they just do what others do, say thank you and move on. Why does it have to be annoying? I don’t understand.

Taneytown

Taneytown, Maryand is a city of less than 7K people about 40 miles outside of Baltimore. A few days ago the local police apparently had to issue final warnings to residents who were going out  to get their mail without  pants on. Now I don’t know what that means and the stories I read didn’t elaborate. Did these people have under garments on or were they buck naked? Because that’s a big gap in the story. (no pun intended). If there’s anyone out there from Tanytown feel free to respond.

Imagine if the name of the city was Tinytown. That opens up a whole new set of jokes. Thank goodness for vowels.

Finally

I’ve heard so many people say that they can’t wait for this self quarantine to be over, but no one has mentioned what they plan on doing when it is. So my question is….

What’s the first thing you’re going to do when this cloud is lifted? Where’s the first place you plan on going? If it’s a restaurant, which one? If it’s a location, where? If it’s going to see a person, who?

Stay in and stay well!

 

Remembering

Remembrance Day July 15 2045

A man about 70 years old is sitting in a backyard chatting with his eight year old granddaughter as their family is preparing for other family members to arrive.

Grandpa, did we celebrate Remembrance Day when you were my age?

No, not when I was your age. I was closer to your mom and dad’s age. This day has only been a national holiday for a little over twenty years, w,ell before you were born.

Mom and Dad say we get together because of a bad virus that spread all over the world and we remember so we don’t forget. Why do we want to remember a virus that got lots of people sick?

Well, it’s not so much the virus we remember but those who were most affected by it. We remember the people who didn’t get better and the people who helped us get through that time.

You mean like doctors and nurses?

Yes, like doctors and nurses but so many more who risked their own health so that others would remain safe. People like first responders, police officers, firefighters, and those in the military. There were so many.

They’re always the heroes, right?

Yes, they are, but there were many other people who put their own health at risk so the rest of us could live our lives safely at home. Before that time, we never gave much thought to truck drivers or people who worked in food stores as heroes, but those drivers transported food to the stores, even though it was risky. And the people who worked at those stores showed up everyday so that the rest of us were able to purchase food.
Teachers made sure their students continued to learn, people who worked in pharmacies made sure people continued to get their medicine,  restaurants stayed open so that some people could order food if they couldn’t get to the grocery stores. Maintenance people made sure the hospitals stayed clean and those who worked in banks kept coming in so people could get money if they needed it. I’ve probably not mentioned nearly as many heroes as there were during that time.

So that’s what today is about?

Partly, yes. We want to remember all those who lost someone and we want to give thanks to those who helped us get through that period of time.  We don’t ever want to forget any of them.

Do all countries celebrate this day?

Well, a few other countries remember this pandemic in their own way, but they don’t call it Remembrance Day since that name means something different for other countries.

Mom and Dad said things changed after the virus. Did they change a lot?

For many, yes. Others just went back to the same routine and the life they lived before this happened.

What kind of things changed?

Well, you know we lost our way of life for a while; our freedom to go where we wanted when we wanted. To see and hug  the people we love the most. You really don’t know how much you miss something until it’s been taken away from you. Then you realize you miss it even more than you could have imagined.
People used to live very busy lives. Many families never had dinner together, were pulled in different directions and missed family celebrations or birthdays, because of commitments they thought were important.

People really missed birthday parties and celebrations?

Sadly, yes. But a strange thing happened after this was over. Some people came to understand what was really important in life. That you can’t get some days back. There’s only one of them and when you miss it, it’s gone forever. Just like people. Unfortunately, some people learned that the hard way.

So people changed?

Like I said ,some did. But not all. You see, during that time you really couldn’t go anywhere and families were forced to spend a lot of time together. So instead of rushing around with other commitments, they went for walks, played games, ate together, talked a lot more, went for bike rides, read books, watched movies, cooked meals together and just hung out. They had time to make time for each other. Sometimes they got on each others nerves, but when it was over and they were able to do the things they did before, some realized they would miss what they had during the time they were forced to stay home. They decided they wanted more of their down time and less of the craziness they had before. So they changed the way they lived their lives. They made compromises and adjustments so they could have the best of both worlds. They realized it was easy to do if they just focused on what was most important to them.
But like I said, not everyone felt them same way.

Did our family change?

Eventually yes, but it took a little time, which was probably true of most people.

Mom and Dad said people who used to work in offices had to go in everyday. That must have been weird for kids. I couldn’t imagine not having mom or dad home almost everyday.

Well, it wasn’t weird before the virus. In fact, that was pretty standard. But two things happened. People realized they could work just as efficiently from home and be able to spend more time with their families. And companies realized if they allowed that to happen without it affecting their business their employees would be happier and they could cut down on the amount of office space they needed and save some money on rent in the process. So there was a compromise of sorts. Some people began working in the office one to three days a week on rotating shifts. Not all jobs could do that, of course, but quite a bit more than people realized just a few months earlier.

So the virus wasn’t all bad?

Well, for some it was terrible. Many people lost family members and some nurses and doctors had a tough time healing after what they experienced. But people also became kinder to one another. If you went for a walk during that time, people who were strangers would wave to you and ask if everyone was okay. If someone needed help, they received it. People sang, and danced, told jokes, made crazy videos and raised money for those who were less fortunate and needed support.
So to answer your question,  there was some good that came out of something that was bad.

That happens a lot doesn’t it.

Yes, that happens a lot, if we pay attention and just look hard enough.

For several minutes, the little girl said nothing, looking past the people who started to arrive. Finally, she asked her grandfather if he thought  a virus like that could ever happen again.

He hesitated before answering, putting his arm around her and holding her close.

It’s possible, I suppose, though we’re much better prepared in case it ever happens again. But if that period of time taught us anything, it was to live in the moment and not worry so much about tomorrow. And our moment is coming through the door as we speak. Your cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents are all here. How about we go remember and celebrate this day with them.

The little girl looked up at her grandfather and smiled.  I think I’m going to give them all big hugs so they know how much I love them.

The grandfather pulled the little girl close, hugged her tightly and whispered softly in her ear.

I think that’s a great idea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Colors Of New England

With everything going on out there, I needed to escape to a better time. So I started looking at some of the photos we took during our trip this past fall to Vermont and New Hampshire. For too many years this fall trip of colors has been on our bucket list. We were finally able to work it out this past year ad what we found was breathtaking. As with many beautiful spots, no picture can really describe or give justice to the beauty that surrounds you. It’s like a brilliant 360 degree canvas that follows you wherever you go.

We spent some time in the beautiful village of Woodstock, Vermont at a terrific Bed and Breakfast called the Blue Horse Inn. We ended with a few days in the quaint little village of Jackson, New Hampshire, exploring the surrounding towns and lakes while staying at the Wentworth Inn.

We’ve always been big fans of upper New England, spending a lot of time exploring the Maine coast along with the villages and towns of Vermont and New Hampshire. There’s something magical about these places; the people have always been friendly, and the food, well, what can I say.

But seeing it in the fall takes it to another level.

So if you have a few moments, (and who doesn’t these days), take a little trip with me to a better time. One we will all get to again very soon.

Enjoy and stay well!

P.S. I’m not a photographer so these were taken with only an iPhone; and I’ve enlarged them a bit here so the clarity may be off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How can I forget a sampling of the food…:)

 

 

Sign Sign, Everywhere A Sign

I love looking for fun sayings which are placed on almost anything these days. Here are some which I’ve been gathering the last few months.

I think many can attest to this one.

At least it’s something..

Yeah, well…

Don’t we all know at least one person like this!

Not a political statement but it’s hard to deny sometimes..

Enough said!

I think wine can be inserted into this also.

Okay then…

Any arguments? Didn’t think so..:)

True enough.

No argument here.

I bought this t-shirt with someone in mind…:)

I don’t know who they’re taking about..:)

It’s still a pretty long list!

It’s why I love chocolate!

This might be my favorite..:)

 

Ramblings

I’ve been away for a bit but my mind hasn’t completely shut down. There are all these little thoughts that my brain manufactures, or things I’ve seen, and I’ve missed getting over here to write them and interact with you. So I’m going to make an effort, starting with this post, to write when I can and hope some of it makes sense. So here it goes….

I read several days ago that a private practice nutritionist suggested that having pizza for breakfast was a better option than cereal. Where, in God’s name, has she been all my life? I have to believe her private practice is going to blow up in her favor. Anyone who favors pizza over cereal for breakfast must have some other unique nutritional value suggestions we’ve been waiting for all these years. Finally, someone who speaks our language.

On the flip side of the pizza hunt for red October, I watched a documentary on Netflix recently, called Forks Over Knives. It’s essentially a suggestion that a plant-based food diet can help to eliminate any number of health related issues we may be having, including but not limited to heart, diabetes, blood pressure, etc. The studies they conducted and the results that were shown by individuals were pretty interesting. I’m not sure I can give up bread and chocolate but a halfway point might be considered. Anyway, if you have 90 minutes to spare one day, its worth exploring.

Finally, one last food topic. Some weeks ago riots spread out across France when supermarkets offered steep discounts on Nutella. France is one of the best trips we’ve ever taken and even though it’s been quite a few years since we’ve been there, I’d book a flight tomorrow if they ever pulled that Nutella trick again. Nutella is crazy good and my impression of the French people, while already high, moved up several more meters on the good crazy scale.

Our Ninety year old Aunt, who still drives, doesn’t take a single medication, has never been to a doctor and has all her facilities, received a one thousand piece puzzle as a gift recently. Of course she has no use for a puzzle that size so she decided to give it to us. Except she placed the pieces in a plastic bag and threw out the box it came in. She didn’t think anyone needed the box, or the picture on the front cover. I’m not a fan of puzzles anyway so it worked out in my favor.

We saw the movie  Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, last month. One of the better acted movies I’ve seen in some time. If you haven’t seen it, I’d recommend it.

On the television front, binge watched Stranger Things, on Netflix. I’m not a big sci-fi fan but I really enjoyed this show. We also watch The Amazing Mrs Maizel on Amazon. Very funny and well acted. Set in the late 1950/ early 60’s. Recommend both if you have the services.

We went out for a late lunch the other day and were seated near a table of nine older women who were just finishing up. I heard the waiter apologize as he was giving them their individual bills because he only had seven pens. When they left and he came over to us I was teasing him about having to write-up nine bills but he just laughed it off. I asked him if that was normal for both men and women and if it varied by age. His answer surprised me. He said the two categories for separate bills, in his experience, are older women and younger men. The older women didn’t surprise me but the younger men did. I don’t think I’ve ever gone to lunch or dinner with anyone where we just didn’t split the bill, even if I thought I ordered less. But everyone is different. I just didn’t think younger men would fall into that category.

Fact…..if you’re painting a room and cover everything completely, a drop of paint will find the tiny little crevice that became separated between drop cloths. It just will.

I enjoy going shopping with my wife and I consider myself to be a pretty patient person. However, I think I’m more patient when there are a couple of chairs strategically placed in clothing stores. It doesn’t have to be fancy or especially comfortable. It just has to have four legs and a seat. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. It’s hard to believe  that retailers can’t figure out that when a women is shopping with their significant other, a place to sit goes a long way in the length of their visit, the mood they might be in, and more importantly, the direct correlation in how much they end up spending. I just don’t get it.

A few weeks ago I read that a woman from Concord, New Hampshire won 559 million dollars in the lottery but has yet to claim it because she doesn’t want anyone knowing who she is. Apparently, if she would have set up a trust before she signed the back of the ticket, the person in charge of the trust could have signed their name and she could have remained anonymous. Now I understand wanting to remain behind the curtain, but you just won life changing money and you knew the rules going into the game. She may yet win her case but at the end of the day that’s a whole lot of money. I’m not sure I’d want her problem, but I’m not sure I’d turn away from it either.

Sorry this is so long, but if you stayed till the end, ice cream is on me tonight. Whatever flavor you would like.

 

 

Three Quotes And A Photo

We took a two-week road trip recently through Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky, (another blog), and I came across three quotes or phrases that I thought were fun, along with one very interesting photo.

The phrases first…

What is a bookshelf other than a treasure chest for a curious mind.
(I like this for all the obvious reasons)

Say what you will about the south but no one retires and moves north.
(I never thought about this before but there is some truth to the words)

Intoxicated people, children and leggings, never lie.
(Well now, we can go on forever about this line)

As for the photo, I was stopped at a light in Lexington, Kentucky and saw this window advertisement for the attached business.


Now, I’m not really sure what kind of establishment this is. Is it a bait and tackle shop? A bar and grill? I was thinking maybe both but the fine print right next to her lips and below the anchor says…you’re sure to catch something.

That altered my mindset just a bit. While I was tempted to investigate, I thought better of it and left when the light turned green. Not that I wasn’t curious but you know what they say about curiosity.

Besides, I just wasn’t in the mood to catch anything from a place called Ole Hookers.

More Summer Thoughts

I keep thinking in snippets this summer, which shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me these days. My attention span is limited and though I sometimes try to loosen the strings on it, it just keeps coming back. So anyway, here are a few thoughts.

Burgers

When was the fifteen dollar burger born and where the hell have I been hiding? Come on. It’s a slap of chop meat, after all. But I guess if you put it on a brioche roll with caramelized onions and aioli mayo, it begins to market itself. it sounds higher end, like a dive with tablecloths. This burger craze started about ten years ago when the market fell out and people wanted alternative places to go for dinner that were reasonably priced. But as with everything else, people always try to push the envelope to see just how much the public will tolerate. And it appears, at least with burgers, the carnivores are willing to pay the price. But it’s still a slab of chop meat on a roll dressed up for a cheap photo shoot date.

Home For Mom

Joan Lunden does commercials for a place called A Home For Mom. It’s a senior care referral service. As I watched the commercial, I began wondering what happened to Dad. Is there a different commercial for him? I never saw one. Do we not think Dad is going to need a place or do we figure he”ll figure it out on his own? That’s a scary thought. Statistics tell us that women live longer than men but to blatantly toss dad to the side of the road on these commercials is a bit harsh, don’t you think? I wonder what 75 year old Dad is thinking as he’s sitting across from Mom and finishing his second bowl of chocolate, chocolate chunk caramel ice cream and this commercial comes on. Just wondering.

Eclipse

I think the eclipse thing was interesting and if you were in certain parts of the country when it was full it must have been a cool experience. But I saw people interviewed who drove fourteen hours for the two minute blackout and estimated it would take them twenty hours to get home. I saw others who were crying at the experience. There were people who planned their trips and marriages around this, paid lots of money for hotel rooms, endured standstill traffic jams and didn’t get to see much because it was cloudy. I don’t know what to say about these people. I hope you’re not one of them but if you are I don’t know what to say about you people. If you really want to be entertained and don’t mind traveling. I can take you to the beach in New Jersey one day. There are sights and people there that will entertain you for hours. You don’t know what you’re missing.

Scouts Of America

Apparently there’s a feud brewing between the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. It seems the Girl Scouts are upset because the Boy Scouts are trying to turn the tide on decreasing membership and decided to recruit girls for their organization. The Girl Scouts, of course were not amused. They referred to it as a “covert campaign” that was “reckless and unsettling.” The Boy Scouts argue that many millennial parents prefer their children be in the same organization and some girls have petitioned to join the ranks of the boys. Now I don’t know about you but I would never go to war against a woman. Men just aren’t properly equipped emotionally or intellectually to even be on the same dance floor as women so what makes anyone think this little battle will end up on the positive side of the ledger for the boys. That being said, it’s hard to argue for gender inclusion on one side of the coin but not on the other. I’m looking forward to a fun ten rounds, though I predict the knockout will come in round one.

Billie Jean

I was listening to Michael Jackson sing his hit song on the radio the other day and two lines reminded me of our politicians and those who blindly follow along.

And mother always told me be careful who you love
and be careful what you do ’cause the lie becomes the truth.

Have a great rest of your week and weekend. I’ll be working on my thoughts.

 

Free Grandparent Advice

 

My five-year old granddaughter, Sophia, called me tonight and said, “Grandpa, you’re the best person in our whole family.”

I sat up and raised my eyebrows a bit because Sophia doesn’t usually dish compliments easily. So I figured she either wanted something or she had a high fever and was a bit delirious. I cautiously thanked her, told her I loved her, and she asked if I wanted to speak to her Mom. I said okay.
When my daughter got on the phone I asked her where that came from. She said they were in the kitchen and Sophia just said it. When my daughter asked her why she felt that way she said, “because grandpa always gives me chocolate chip cookies.”

BAM!!!!!

images-2

Its like I always say, if you’re going to show up, you have to show out.

Sometimes it’s fun being the man. Even if it only lasts five minutes and requires a chocolate chip cookie payoff.

 

No Raw Cookie Dough?

So the FDA has announced that it’s no longer safe to eat raw cookie dough or batter. The FDA, that bastion of all things right. The organization that consistently allows things to come on the market and then pulls it after they find there may be a bit of a problem associated with it. These are the people  who are trying to mess with my ability to enjoy life. Because really, has anyone ever told you that it was safe to eat cookie dough? Of course not. We just did it anyway. We lived dangerously. We chose the wild side.

Unknown

It seems that it’s not just raw eggs that can cause you to get sick but flour can also harbor E. Coli. Okay, thanks for the heads up. FDA. I’ll take your warnings under advisement. By the way, when you found red coloring No. 3 caused cancer you banned it from cosmetics in 1990. Nice move. I’m just a little confused on why you allow it to remain in our foods. I’m sure there’s some logic you can provide for that along with other questionable decisions you’ve made in the past.

Apparently General Mills recalled all types of flour at the end of last year because of this contamination, however I can tell you without hesitation that since that time, cookie dough has passed my lips on several occasions with no problems.  The FDA claims that since December, 38 people in 20 states have become sick with diarrhea and stomach cramps that can last up to a week. That’s roughly five people a month. I don’t know about you, but I like my chances. It’s safer than getting in a car, that’s for sure. I wonder what would happen if I pushed the envelope and drove while eating cookie dough at the same time. Do you think it’s against the law? Do you think the FDA works with local law enforcement? Because if you cramp up while driving, well, that could create a messy situation.

images-1

Oh yeah, the FDA also suggested that we not give children cookie dough to play with. Come on, let’s get serious. Does the FDA  think we’re all savages without an ounce of common sense in our bodies? I mean, I love kids, but cookie dough should be revered and kept in a place of respect. We don’t play with cookie dough. We eat it. What was the FDA thinking?

images

So based on my findings, or should I say the FDA’s, the risk for getting sick because of this flour thing is very small. Heck, we all sometimes get a stomach virus without going near cookie dough or cake batter. If we do get it because of that, at least we derived an afternoon of enjoyment in the process. So I’ll take my chances.  Because anyone who has licked a cake batter bowl or enjoyed a taste of cookie dough understands that this is one of life’s great pleasures. But I know there are some of you out there who don’t condone this practice and I respect your opinion. Just do me one favor…

Please pass the cookie dough before you leave.

P.S. I wonder what’s going to happen to all that cookie dough ice cream.

 

 

 

 

Watermelon and Peach Caprese

We’re big fans of summer fruit so when my wife found this recipe we had to try it. It’s great for lunch or a light dinner and really simple to make. All you need is seedless watermelon, two large yellow peaches, a ball of fresh mozzarella, olive oil, balsamic glaze, kosher salt and fresh basil leafs.

IMG_3494

Slice the watermelon into wedges or circles, about a half-inch thick. Slice two peaches into rounds, and then thinly slice the mozzarella.
On a plate, arrange a slice of watermelon, peach, mozzarella and a basil leaf. Repeat to make a taller stack and add one more slice of watermelon on top. Drizzle the stack with olive oil and balsamic glaze. Sprinkle a bit of kosher salt and top it off with another piece of basil.
Prep time, 20 minutes. Makes four servings.

Enjoy!