Monday, December 30, 2013

A Correspondence

Dear Health Department

I am writing to you today to draw your attention to the restaurant which served me this Jalepeño Pepper Steak (picture enclosed). As you can see, it is covered in a vile layer of phlegm. In fact, I could hear one of the cook coughing in the kitchen as my wife and I waited for our order. Frankly, it made me uneasy. I sent the dish back immediately and refused to pay.

Now, the restaurant is pursuing me for collection of the bill for this dish, which they claim is perfectly acceptable.

I believe my photograph is evidence to the contrary, and suggest you follow up with them — while I shan’t be returning, I would not wish this kind of disappointment upon another unsuspecting customer.


Mr. Lister

*  *  *  

Dear Mr. Lister:

Thank you for your letter informing us of your unhappy meal. Naturally, we are extremely concerned about any breach of public safety caused by a lack of hygiene in any of our city’s restaurants.

However, after investigation, it seems that the dish you ordered was indeed presented as it was meant to be prepared with no cause for alarm. The substance of which you were alarmed is a melted processed cheese product called “Velveeta.”

While we find the idea of a restaurant serving this product distasteful, it is by no means unhygienic. We recommend you pay your bill promptly.

Yours sincerely,

The Health Department

Favorite Brand Name Recipes For People Who Eat Food (Velveeta), Publications International, Ltd., 2001

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Pablo The Red-Nosed Reindeer

Did you hear about that time Pablo Picasso tried his hand at baking? This is his attempt at a Rudolph the Reindeer cake. 

Creative Cake Decorating, Better Homes and Gardens, 1983

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Your Just Deserts

A desert is an arid region often associated with sand dunes and hot weather, although several deserts are in fact void of sand and are very cold.

A dessert is a tasty after-dinner treat consisting most often of something sweet.

People often mistake the two because they sound alike but are spelled differently.

To get your “just deserts” is a phrase that doesn’t help matters. It means to get one’s apt reward or punishment — as one deserves. It means neither you’ll just get an arid landscape or an apple pie. Often, restaurants will “cleverly” name their business “Just Desserts” as a pun to draw a clientele who find this sort of thing witty. In fact, the word comes from “deserve.”

Who, I wonder, deserves this Baked Prune Whip?

The Miracle Blender Cookbook: The Fine Art of Modern Blending, Tested Recipe Publishers, 1967

Also from this book: The Miracle of Blending! 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Head and Shoulders Above The Competition

You might think that this post is going to be about the utter redundancy of candles on a table that is clearly being lit with a photographic light with a mega wattage resembling that of the sun. The vegetables are practically cowering from it as their shadows attempt to escape.

“What we need here to complete this picture are several candles,” someone thought as they adjusted their shades. “They will set just the right tone by providing a warm and cozy glow to offset the harsh reality of being served an entirely raw vegetable platter.” Perhaps the cook imagined that the camera lights would flash-cook them when the photo was taken.

There was a time, in the late 1970s, when food stylists reflexively added candles to every shot, as if candles suggested class and comfort. But every type of candle has clearly been lit only seconds from the shutter clicking, so that no wax be allowed to spoil the elegance. The candle, perhaps is also meant to suggest the hearth, the cooking flame from whence the food has so recently been removed.

But you’re wrong.

This isn’t about that at all.

It’s about using untoasted sesame seeds for a garnish. Dandruff, anyone?

Gourmet Christmas Cookbook, Ideals Publishing Corp., 1978

Also from this book: Ho Ho Ho Hum

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Miracle of Blending!

This photo suggests the long, eternal darkness that used to face the dentally-challenged.
You might think that miracles are reserved for events whose mechanics pass humankind’s comprehension and the laws of nature: you’d be wrong. Miracles can be found anywhere these days. Take, for example, the blender. Yes, that thing you make margaritas in.

In 1967, the blender was a miraculous invention — especially for those unfortunate people who have lost their teeth, and require foods that can be gummed and slurped. Prior to the invention of the blender, the toothless simply sucked on bits of solid food trying to extract whatever nutrients they could until they withered away.

The Miracle Blender Cookbook: The Fine Art of Modern Blending seeks to right the oversight of the Almighty by pulverizing the living daylights out of almost anything you feed into it. In it you can find many useful recipes for things that never would have been possible to concoct before: instant nonfat dry milk, for example.

And how would the Lemon Salad Dressing have been made without a blender? The Steak Sauce? You might think that is cream in the parfait, but you’d be wrong again. It’s whipped nonfat dry milk — clearly a favorite of the authors.

The Miracle Blender Cookbook: The Fine Art of Modern Blending, Tested Recipe Publishers, 1967

Also from this book: Your Just Deserts

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ho Ho Ho Hum

Fed up with all this Christmas hoopla from which it is impossible to escape? Are you sick and tired of hearing the jingle of bells every time you walk into a shop or turn on your radio? Does your family expect you to celebrate the season by cooking all day long and then washing a mountain of dishes while they fall asleep in front of the TV? Does the thought of wrapping another present make you want to stab yourself with the scissors? Would you rather wash a handful of depression pills down with a large vodka than sip from a punch bowl of wassail?

Then break the cycle of traditional merriment and serve your family this hearty spinach lasagna for Christmas dinner. Its Yuletide colors of red and green will suffice to remind them that not everyone is filled with unreasonable happiness at this, the darkest time of the year.

There’s enough here to feed at least two people — and if they clamor for more, give them an apple! My mother always used to say “if you’re not hungry enough for an apple, then you aren’t hungry at all.”

Gourmet Christmas Cookbook, Ideals Publishing Corp., 1978

Also from this book: Head and Shoulders Above The Competition

Randolf, The Red-Nosed Rainmoose

If you are the sort of person who views garnishes with suspicion — that they are being used to hide some deprecation of the food they are meant to enhance, say — then you might be on to something.

The word garnish comes to us from the Proto-Germanic term warnejan, which lead to the Old High German warnon, “to take heed” and from which we have the English warning. The stem of the proto-Germanic word lead to the Old French garniss, or garnir in the 14th century, meaning “to provide, furnish, fortify or reinforce.”

To garnish, or embellish a dish in the culinary sense dates from 1700, and comes to us English via the sense of outfitting oneself with arms for war.

If you have a lot of time on your hands, you might want to explore some extreme garnishing by turning two innocent apples into turkeys. Be sure to use plenty of lemon juice so they don’t turn brown halfway through!

Garnishing: A Feast For Your Eyes, Francis Talyn Lynch, 1987

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cabbage Christmas Tree

Are you the sort of person who makes their own laundry detergent?

Do you wash and re-use Ziplock bags?

Are you a secret foil hoarder?

Do you wait for illnesses to “run their course” rather than succumb to “conventional” medicines?

Do you recoil at the thought of fake Christmas trees, yet find yourself in an ethical dilemma when thinking about the tremendous waste involved in buying a “fresh” one each year, only for it to end up in a landfill?

Then you will LOVE this handy alternative!

A cabbage Christmas Tree has all the wonder of the real thing (including artful decorations) without the fuss of pine needles, the annoyance of sticky resin, the danger of flammability, and the emotional scarring that comes with following the herd and handing over real money to a seasonally-employed fellow hawking farm-grown trees out of a parking lot.

Who needs the smell of pine when you can enjoy the smell of raw cabbage! And just think of the savings you will encounter by being able to eat the entire thing afterwards (decorations and all!)

And who has the space for a tree? They only force you to rearrange your furniture and can usually be seen form the street, inviting hooligans and miscreants to rob you blind. This all-natural tree can be placed on your table and does not need watering. All you need to do to keep it fresh is remove the shriveled decorations every now and then, shave the tree, and replace with new decorations.

If you’re worried that there won’t be room for presents under your cabbage Christmas Tree, never fear: Christmas isn’t about the wanton consumerist greed and commercial religiosity that has plagued the holiday in recent years. This tree delivers the REAL message of Christmas: no gifts necessary.

You wouldn’t want your children to grow up with Santa Claus as a role model, would you? He’s clearly overweight and relies upon the slave labor of elves and reindeer to do his work. This way, you can dispense with all of that nonsense and give your children the gift of disillusionment instead — it’ll serve them far better in the long run.

Finally, if you’re unsure about desecrating a religious celebration by bucking the system, reassure yourself that the baby Jesus would encourage you to keep humble and use vegetables to represent his nativity; after all, that’s probably what the Holy Family would have found in their stable — none of this chocolate and fruitcake business.

Go ahead and make yours today.

Garnishing: A Feast For Your Eyes, HP Books, 1987

Pin It