Sunday, April 21, 2013


Doc said I should go on a diet, and diet I did. In fact I've lost about thirty pounds already even if for me losing thirty pounds is akin to Coraopolis PA losing thirty Italians, but trudge on I do on the fruit 'n yogurt diet where three days during the week I eat nothing but that 'n only that and the other three just watch my reg'lar intake. TRANSLATION: three days a week I feel like the Skipper longing for a "nice, juicy steak" and the other four I eat rather sparingly because my stomach has shrunk to the point where even a bowl of cereal for breakfast'll keep it swelled until it's time for my evening repast of soup broth and crackers.

Needless to say nighttime dreams have been overcome with those of food instead of the usual murder/revenge ones that usually permeate my subconscious. Sometimes I will have a dream where I'm privy to some of the tastiest fried chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy, only to wake up to find a giant pool of slobber all over my pillow. Gives a totally new meaning to the term "wet dream." Surprisingly enough most of the time I wake up without any pangs of hunger in my guts, although a good hour or two later I sure wouldn't mind downing a bag of White Castle burgers in order to fill the crater that used to be known as my stomach.

In honor of those days where I don't have to follow a strict dietary regimen comes this article featuring just a few of the tasty tidbits that I have been eating and, in some cases, enjoying. Of course indulging in too much of these platters can not only put a dent into my diet but my pocketbook, so please keep in mind that it's not like I'm eating the following foodstuffs on a daily basis, or weekly for that matter. Believe-you-me, most of these foods are plainly an occasional pleasure that I partake of on special occasions, the next one undoubtedly being the beginning of planting season next week. So whenever you're in the mood to celebrate either St. Swithin's Day or Roky Erickson's birthday or Eric Shute's for that matter (they're all of the SAME DAY which makes for an excuse for one big celebration!) feel free to use today's post as a guide to gullet filling pleasure. Just don't tip off my doctor, savvy?

LONG JOHN SILVER'S FISH, CHICKEN AND ONION RINGS PLATTER-now, I usually don't go for the costlier items that pop up on a drive-through restaurant's menu, but I was sooooo hungry and sometimes my stomach can feel bigger than my pocketbook. Not only that, but the thought of batter-dipped onion rings did sound rather enticing, so throwing caution to the wind I went and ordered this kit 'n caboodle hoping for a nice lunchtime gulpdown. Well, all I can really say is, if you want a meal that'll stay with you for the rest of the day you can't do better'n this!

Maybe it was meant for TWO people to eat, but after the second piece of fish my gall bladder was beggin' for mercy in Roberto Duran "no mas" fashion. Not wanting to waste food I did gobble the whole thing up, though the grease factor did play havoc with my entire digestive tract to the point where not only did I decide to mow the yard after things settled down quite a bit (hoping the activity would help calm the gastronomical turmoil) but all I had for dinner was, besides about three large glasses of Sprite Zero to douse the flames, a tube of frozen yogurt ("Splashy Strawberry" flavor) and an ice cream bar! A meal to share with about three other friends, or maybe they can serve this to all of those starving kids you used to see on those old CARE commercials. At least it'll prove to 'em that there are more important things to life than food!
McRIB-Don't usually eat at McDarnold's anymore since my funds are low and waist is massive, but I was kinda hungry one day and wasn't exactly looking forward to eating a brier patch. Drove through and, since the buy an extra Quarter Pounder special was on Monday and it was too late in the day to buy a Steak Burrito, I decided to get the McRib which has come back for yet another limited run at the home of the Golden Starches (as we used to say).

It's a very messy sandwich, so if you drive and eat like I do you'll get globs of the sweet bar-b-q sauce all over your snazzy jacket. Otherwise it's merely passable, kinda reminding me of those Army k-rations with the hunk of bbq pork that comes in the pouch. I kinda like that in my own way but as far as Army food goes my fave is the omelette, as long as they have some hot sauce to put on it and maybe some shredded White Cheddar to top it off with. I've been told that NOBODY but nobody likes the omelette which I guess means that I might have made the best soldier of all time given how I'm the only stroon in the toilet who goes for that calorie-laden food that was made sometime during the Taft administration! As for McRib, it might be a good sit at home meal along with an order of fries to balance it off and a cold soda to help douse the spicy aftertaste so you don't keep burping this up during your evening hours of relaxation, but it ain't like I'm gonna find out until they bring this samwitch back!
ANDY CAPP HOT FRIES AND FUNYONS-And speaking of fries... For years Andy Capp has been known as a once-funny English import to the comic strip pages that, like most comics, is hardly worth reading these days. At least the loafer's legend lives on in a series of corn/potato-based snacks shaped like thin french fries coming in cheese, barbeque and hot flavors. I first knew about the latter way back in the seventies when a younger cousin of mine swore by 'em, and thirtysome years later I can see his point. Hot and spicy's the word, not enough to burn a hole through your esophagus but enough to induce small bumps of blackheads around your mouth. A good enough he-man snack that's not for the flitzy-litzy types who hold their cup and saucer with their pinkies sticking up.

If you can't find Hot Fries the old Funyons standby will do. Onion ring shaped corn/potato mixture with onion seasoning...a good idea and worth it even if you wanna pick up the cheap imitation they sell at Aldi's. When I was a child I thought the world of these and considering how new they were on the market they most definitely were a gourmet item for the pre-pubescent crowd. Today they're as much a part of the landscape as illegitimate children and can be enjoyed by not only the very rich but scuzzos like you! Heck, they're even good for things other than snacking...say you're out of real onions for your hamburger...well just sneak a few Funyons on and you won't know the difference. Outta breadcrumbs for your meatloaf? Just crush a few bags 'n mix it in...the kids won't know a thing! Crumble some up and stick it in your soup if you're out of crackers! Sheesh, I dunno who invented these, but if the guy just didn't get a Nobel Prize (or at least Betty Crocker Award) for this invention there must be no justice in this world!

SAD NOSTALGIC NOTE-I'm old enough to remember when BUGLES were introduced back inna mid-sixties, and at the time the "roast corn" come-on being used to hype these miniature STAR TREK interstellar space suck 'em ups was enough to get me pestering momsy to get 'em as soon as they hit the aisles. Unlike PIZZA WHEELS which was introduced at the same time, BUGLES has lasted well into the present and exists not only in its original form, but cheddar cheesed and barbequed and even coated in caramel if you so desire. I decided to buy some for purely nostalgic purposes and found 'em to be rather salty and oily making for a less 'n stellar eating experience. All I wanted to do after eating these was sit like a sick lump in front of the television and watch GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, and they don't even show that anywhere anymore!
YUMMY POTATO LATKES!-I've made these many a time thanks to the miracle of Maneshevitz, but Jewamongyou's blog (see link on left) had a post on cooking 'em from scratch a few months back and I naturally decided to give these potato pancakes a try in a money-saving move! The guy who does that blog didn't have a set recipe for it and recommended that we try our own variations, so here goes...first, peel and shred about three or four medium potatoes or two biggies or a whole buncha pee wee ones...whatever you have available. Then get a medium-sized onion and stick it in one of those mincing machines until it's all chopped into small pieces.  Then break about four or so eggs and beat 'em up real good in a bowl, then add a heaping teaspoon of either all purpose flower and some backing powder, or bisquick if you got it, as well as yet another heaping teaspoon of matzo meal. Mix well, add the potatoes and onion, some salt and pepper, and then mix it all until it's evenly gooey. Now, drop some of it into a hot frying pan with oil (I used olive oil and some margarine) and fry until nice 'n brown on both sides. I used a non-stick pan to avoid the usual gaffes. Makes about ten small cakes or five big ones if you're stuffing your face. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Important note---if you do decide to make some bigguns it'd be best to microwave 'em for about a minute before gobbling down because sometimes the innards aren't quite as cooked as they should be. Got stuck with one that was kinda raw inside yesterday and well, you wouldn't want that to happen to you now, wouldja.

Sour cream goes with 'em swell-like, and although applesauce is recommended even in conjunction with the sour cream I decided not to use any. Y'see, applesauce reminds me of my school cafeteria days (yech!), and  if there's anything that I hate its having those memories of degradation and getting it from everybody from fellow students to teachers without fair and due process, and do I mean it! That's why I even avoid using blue ballpoint pens these days...the memories are just too painful!
Jimi whips out more'n his python!
CAP'N CRUNCH-Sometimes you're whole hog for something then you "outgrow" it, only to come back to the thing as an aging fanabla because it reminds you of your lost youth (see BUGLES comments above). CAP'N CRUNCH is yet personal slip back into the funziness of kid days gone by that I try to recapture (at least the good parts) even though too much water ran under the bridge back in the good old days or something like that. Heck, I remember the first time I had the was on the exact same day that the Beatles first appeared on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW and my family happened to get hold of some free samples (about the same size as a Kellogg's Snack Pack box) which were actually consumed as a dessert after we downed our traditional Sunday night fried weenies and baked beans! Of course that did not prepare any of us for the Fab Four's appearance later that evening, but the memories of eating CAP'N CRUNCH and my dad yelling at the tee-vee in over-the-top anger are firmly etched in my mind.

The sweet, corny taste really sent me, as did the fact that the commercials were made by the Jay Ward people meaning they were more or less condensed versions of the same ROCKY AND HIS FRIENDS humor that's been on the tube perennially ever since the late-fifties. I wonder if my abandonment of the cereal has to do with the post-Ward revamping of the television commercials, but by the time I was sixteen it wasn't like I particularly was paying attention to such details and besides, even with Crunch Berries it wasn't like I was that big of a fan of the cereal or even breakfast anymore.

But considering that a box of the stuff had somehow entered our abode as of late I naturally had a bowl, and the taste was so happy memories good that I have another and another until we were all out and in no way would I touch the Honey Bunches of Oats! I mean, it was so good in the way that whenever I eat the stuff I reminisce about them days of yore running around in my stocking feet yellin' at my sister while some cartoon would be blarin' onna tee-vee and all I ever cared about were my toy dinosaurs and Matchbox cars. I know, I do live the exact same existence lo these many years later (with rock fanzines and records replacing the aforementioned) but eating CAP'N CRUNCH makes it all the more relevant. Local varieties at budget prices will also do.

And hey, if anyone out there ever had any CAP'N CRUNCH SHIP SHAKE (which used to go by a slightly different name amidst the third graders in my school) can ya tell me what it was supposed to be anyway???
TOOTSIE POP DROPS!-I vividly remember when I first head about these wonders during the summer of 1971 when, during some prime time ABC program, a guy dressed up like Unca Sam (this being during the Silent Majority patronize the rubes with patriotic push days) was peddling this unique idea of miniaturized Tootsie Pops without the sticks! And just like Sam said, I actually rushed down to the corner shop to see if they had any, that's how hot I was on a treat that I thought would replace Life Savers as the food to carry in my snot ragged pockets!

They didn't have 'em that night, but soon Tootsie Pop Drops were the biggest thing to hit candydom since Pixie Sticks. And they're still around and proliferating candy counters from here to Fredonia and back which of course makes me a happy little hypoglycemic. Unfortunately there's no more Lemon inna bunch, but they still have chocolate, cherry, grape, orange and now "blue raspberry" which tastes like your fifth grade science project but I ain't complainin'. I only eat 'em first and save the other (better) ones for later. And fortunately for us the taste remains the same, and one suck'll bring back those fond memories of when you were a kid'n you got a freebee Tootsie Pop at the shoe store 'stead of the uninspiring Dum Dums they still push on you at banks and life insurance waiting rooms. One of the few things we have left that connects us to our prepubescent pimplefarm blob days, so don't forsake it!
HOTCHA DELICIOUS TREAT TO GET YOU THROUGH THEM COLD WINTER MONTHS (OR HOT WINTER MONTHS IF YOU SO DESIRE)!-I'm not whatcha'd call a drinker of hot beverages considering how they always burn my esophagus when I gulp 'em down fast (and hey, when I drink something I do it because I'm thirsty, not to warm the cockles of my heart!), but here's a hot drink that not only keeps me warm these chilly days but actually tastes pretty good too. You've probably noticed how the grocery stores have been selling apple cider (which unfortunately has been pasteurized...if you can find some of the kind that has the propensity to turn hard then you're in luck!) not only during the autumn months but year 'round...well, get some, pour it into a microwave-safe bowl (hopefully one with a handle), sprinkle a little cinnamon in it and zap the thing until it's as hot as you want it. If you have a sweet tooth like me, stir in a little sugar or saccharine (or any other artificial sweetener as long as its the kind that doesn't lose its potency when heated up). Then pour into a mug and sip away! Keeps you warm and really satisfies your tastebuds to boot. Not only that but if you drink enough of it your bowel movements are gonna be nice and carefree, the kind that have you struttin' outta the bathroom feeling as if you're walkin' on a cloud! So for once there is something out there that's good for you which also tastes good, and if I didn't know better I'd say it was all an insidious plot to lure us all into better living. To which I say...well, OK this time!

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