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Posts Tagged ‘random’

Who Am I?

I’m not much for labels, but I’ve never been able to explain my diet to anyone. It would be nice to have a term to describe it. I’m about the farthest thing from a carnivore, but I’ll never pass up bacon. And I’m no vegan because I couldn’t live without cheese or butter. Especially if that cheese is gooey and piled up on top of a slice of pizza, or if the butter is melted so I can stick an Alaskan king crab leg in it. Pescatarian? Nope. Well, I mostly eat seafood when it comes to proteins, but I’ll eat chicken, too, and will never turn down a tasty piece of honey ham. For the most part I eat organic foods and a vegetarian diet with the occasional piece of meat thrown in, usually when I’m having dinner at someone else’s house. But the term “vegetarian” doesn’t work either. So what the hell am I?

There are definitions for people who avoid grains (gluten-free) or eat “clean.” There are Paleo diets, Atkins folks, “No Meat With Feet” eaters, raw food aficionados … even Fruitarians.

Yeah, the way Hugh Grant’s character looks at her is the way most people look at me when I try to explain myself as I pick pepperoni and sausage off a slice of combination pizza after eating a slice of Hawaiian.

It was so easy back in the day. When I was a kid, there was only one type of “eater” I knew about: the EatWhat’sOnYourPlateOrGoHungry-atarian. We ate whatever was served: peanut butter and jelly or bologna sandwiches, fresh fruit and vegetables, or fruit and veggies from a can. We ate hamburger, potatoes, tacos, fish sticks, fried chicken, TV dinners, mac and cheese, Spam and, thanks to my Mom, Friday Night Casserole, which was a combination of any and every thing I just mentioned.

But the clouds parted today when I stumbled upon something while doing some random research. There’s an actual term for how I eat:

Flexitarian.

That’s right. It’s a real thing:

Merriam-Webster Logoflexitarian

noun flex·i·tar·i·an \ˌflek-sə-ˈter-ē-ən\

Definition of flexitarian:

  1. one whose normally meatless diet occasionally includes meat or fish

Hmm. All this time I’ve suffered without my own label, but it was there all along. Though I doubt I’ll go around announcing myself as a Flexitarian; that just sounds ridiculous. If anything, it seems like a term Hans and Franz made up for someone who likes to go around flexing their muscles. But at least I feel validated now, and I have a fancy term to throw around if I ever need to explain my flexible eating habits. Actually the term “Flexitarian” could help prevent quite a few uncomfortable situations:  Are you a Democrat or a Republican? Patriots or Falcons? Paper or Plastic? Good Witch or Bad Witch?  “Actually, I’m a Flexitarian.”

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Okay, that title is just to get your attention. My Grandpa didn’t really make something called Pickle Soup. But I really did eat soup at my grandparent’s house once, and there were pickles in it.

My sisters and I loved visiting my Grandma and Grandpa when I was kid. B.K., as we affectionately called Grandpa, would always want to show us something like the latest project he was working on in his wood shop, and we’d follow along patiently, knowing he’d eventually lead us to his office to give us each a piece of candy. Our cousins lived right down the street, and all of my sisters and cousins would take turns rolling down the small hill in Grandma and Grandpa’s front yard until we’d run in the house itching like crazy from the grass. Grandma would give us each half an aspirin she crushed into a spoon of sugar water while saying “I told you so,” and then we’d sprawl out right in front of B.K.’s living room chair to watch TV. He had a bunch of little human remotes to change the channel, so he didn’t mind. He’d usually watch something like pro wrestling until we begged him to watch something else. Unless Moondog Mayne was wrestling that day – we loved to watch that crazy bastard eat broken glass and goldfish and what-not.

Whenever we’d spend the night, B.K. would tolerate our sleeping bag fort blocking his view to the TV set in the morning. He’d take us out to the orange tree in the backyard so we could pick fresh oranges to make juice for breakfast, which he’d squeeze himself. Grandma would make fried eggs, potatoes and bacon, or, sometimes … mush.

 

 

Grandma did all the cooking at the Coen homestead. For dinner, this usually consisted of elbow macaroni and red sauce, or cube steak, or … well, I actually can’t remember anything else. But whatever she made was awesome, because we were at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, and all the cousins were there and everything was right with the world. Plus, that meant I didn’t have to eat Friday Night Casserole at my house.

Grandma also made the best iced tea on the planet. I’ve never been able to recreate it, or find any place that serves iced tea that comes close to hers. She brewed it on the stove, added plenty of sugar, and then served it in a fancy porcelain pitcher. My cousin Lori said she thinks the tea tasted so good because she would drink it while sitting happily on Grandpa’s lap. I can’t imagine it tasting better than it did, because it was already perfection. But, drinking it while sitting on B.K.’s lap would’ve been heaven. I’m fairly certain I never sat still long enough for that, cuz I’d usually consume about four glasses of tea and then run around the yard in a caffeine-fueled frenzy.

Though Grandma was the cook, I remember B.K. making soup once. His version of soup was very similar to Mary Ann’s idea for Friday Night Casserole. Just grab a pot, add water and toss in all kinds of stuff from the fridge. Actually, B.K.’s soup was actually pretty decent; the time I watched him make it, he used vegetables and hamburger. And he really did throw in a few dill pickles.

B.K. loved to save money in every way possible. He’d drive 10 miles out of his way to save a penny per gallon on gasoline. He rolled his own smokes. He told us stories of how he made his own beer in the bathtub – even after Prohibition ended. My Dad said B.K. glued tire tread on the bottom of Dad’s shoes when the soles were thin, instead of buying new shoes. I can remember B.K. telling us kids stories of how much things cost when he was younger. He said you could get a big bag full of groceries for $4.00. He also told us the story several times about the most economical meal at his favorite diner. B.K. would count off on his fingers everything that came on that plate … “a burger, with cheese, all the fixings, plus chips, and a pickle – all for two bits.” Two bits is old-timer fancy talk for a quarter. B.K. was resourceful and loved saving money. I guess living through the Depression will do that to you. My Dad used to always tell him, “You better spend all that money, or we’ll have to spend it when you’re gone.” I say the same thing to my Dad now. He doesn’t listen; which, I guess is fair, since I never did.

Hey, I just searched “Pickle Soup” on google and it actually exists:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/dill-pickle-soup-recipe.html

Holy crap, I hope Jay doesn’t read this post tonight.

 

 

 

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Remember how I actually wrote about (and made) Big Mac Casserole because so many people were searching on that term, and then found my blog? Yeah. Good times. Well, there are still people searching for it, cuz “Big Mac Casserole” shows up in the blog’s search terms like every week. Sometimes every day. What is wrong with these people? It always cracks me up. So I decided to check my “All Time Search Terms” to see how many times people searched on “Big Mac Casserole” and then found my blog. Guess what? People out there searched on it 363 times. That’s 363 houses I never want to have dinner.

So, the list of search terms I found made me laugh out loud. Seriously. I can’t believe the things people search on, and stranger yet, how those terms led them to this blog. Some of the searches were so crazy, I just had to share. Here’s a sampling of some for your reading enjoyment:

Second only to Big Mac Casserole is the search term:

beer can hat

Weighing in at 88 searches. Speechless.

In third place, at 71 searches:

gourmet top ramen

And I thought my Mom was the only one who knew about that Asian sensation.

The rest of the searches fall below a dozen each, but all deserve Honorable Mentions:

cheerios casserole

lucky charms casserole

fruit loop casserole

Well, there’s obviously a lot of stoned college students looking for midnight snack ideas, which leads me to another semi-popular search:

food hangover

Or how about:

vomiting face

Looks like there are several foodies out there:

chicken cacciatore with beer

Yeah, that’s the only way to stomach the chicken cacciatore I’m familiar with.

outhouse casserole

That’s fair.

donny osmonds favorite casserole

Oh, whoops, that may have been my own search.

olympia beer casserole dish

And that would be searches by my family members.

This next search term is one of the strangest ever. I still don’t know how it led to my blog:

colors of the early 60s

Have colors changed since the early 60s?

stories of when I was 13 me and my sister and cousin played I’ll show you mine if you show me yours

Apparently there’s Internet access in prison.

dead dad

I love zombies

mom dressed me as a girl for Halloween

Yep, definitely Internet access in prison.

taller than grandma

daughter taller than me

younger sister outgrew me

Can’t we all just get along.

babies picking their butt

I’m still trying to figure out which tags I’ve ever used that led them here.

scary pitchers

What? Did they mean “pictures?” Oh wait, I know … it’s the dreaded powdered milk pitcher.

are you supposed to chew oyster shooters

And the answer is “No.” I hope they learned that from this post.

tag line for nightclub

Be my guest! Friday Night Casserole sounds like a great idea for a meat market.

awesome book titles

Hey, Friday Night Casserole is already the name of an awesome book-in-progress. Get in line, pal.

dog food snobs

Well, that’s certainly not right. If they’re not gonna eat dog food, they’re certainly not gonna eat anything I write about.

satan casserole

Welcome! You’ve found the right blog.

soggy cake

disgusting casseroles

Again, welcome! I think you’ll find what you’re looking for.

yankee doodle dandy casserole

That’s just the fanciest name for a casserole yet. But I don’t think they found what they were looking for.

And probably my favorite search ever:

can you profit from 70’s casserole dishes

From my experience with this blog, I’d have to say that’s a definite “No.”

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On a few occasions, most likely a Pay Day Friday, my family would go out for Chinese Food. That was pretty much the only Asian cuisine we knew of around the Vallejo suburbs back then. I specifically remember the Cathay Inn. Not a fan. Not that their food wasn’t good. Of course I wouldn’t know, the only thing I ever ate there were the deep-fried prawns. The only thing my family ever ate was the Sweet and Sour Pork and Chow Mein. However, this wasn’t your Sweet and Sour Pork and Chow Mein of today … I vaguely remember chunks of fat covered in limp, bready stuff with bland red sauce and bean sprouts, maybe with a few noodles mixed in. I’m not sure the waitress ever handed us menus, because this is all we ever ordered. The prawns were a safe bet for my discerning palette, and even though I didn’t like fortune cookies, at least there was the promise of a goofy fortune at the end of the meal.

I swore I hated Chinese Food until my sister, Coleen, dragged me to the Mandarin House in Napa as an adult and ordered Broccoli Chicken for me. I was in love. This was Chinese food?! What the hell were we eating as kids?! I don’t remember Orange Chicken! Or potstickers! Cashew Shrimp? Food, glorious food!! Take me to a restaurant now, and all I want is Chinese, Japanese or Thai. Make it Asian please. Domo arigato!!

But I digress. When we couldn’t make it to the Cathay Inn, Mom had her version of Asian fare, and believe it or not, I think I actually enjoyed this one.

Ingredients:
• 4 packages of Top Ramen or any dried Asian noodles on sale. Alright, Top Ramen probably cost 2-1/2 cents a package then, so I have a feeling my Mom splurged for it.
• Prepare the ramen in pot as directed.
• Don’t bother transferring the noodles to a big fancy serving dish — you don’t have one.

Prepare a few of these optional toppings:

Chopped green onions
Grated carrots
Chopped hard-boiled eggs
Chopped pieces of “Land-o-Frost” Pressed/Cooked Luncheon Meat
Diced tomatoes
Chopped Spam
Canned peas

Place each topping in its own special little bowl (substitute old margarine tubs as needed). Put the pot of Top Ramen in the middle of the table. Make sure to place it on the knitted potholder your youngest made for you in summer school. Space the little bowls equally around the pot (this is quite impressive if your kids’ friends come over for dinner). Put a teaspoon in each dish. Go to the small kitchen canister, dig your hand in past the stale saltine cracker packages and grab a handful of the soy sauce packets you saved from Chinese takeout. Place one at each table setting. Spoon some Top Ramen into each person’s dinner bowl and then let them dig into the toppings. If you want to make it fancy and expose the kids to some Japanese culture while they’re eating, be sure to turn on The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.

 

 

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Today’s Jay’s birthday. The big one. Well, the big one until the next decade rolls around. Jay is in a class by himself: he has so much personality, and is always coming up with the funniest things. And I’m not just talking about his famous food concoctions. No, one of his latest goals is to be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. If you asked me, I’d say he was trying to break the world record for the most Selfies and Photo Bombs. I think Jay created Selfies. Here’s a picture below, taken by Jay somewhere around 2001 with a Kodak camera, when no one really knew what a Selfie was:

SAMSUNG

I remember thinking what a weirdo he was. Cute, but weird. Who takes pictures of themselves? Of course, then I saw Dave Attell take pictures of himself on “Insomniac With Dave Attell” when he was pub crawling with complete strangers. Now that was funny.

Here’s another Selfie Jay took circa 2003:

jay selfie mirror

Now that’s a fancy version of a Selfie. Taking a picture into a mirror? Somebody loves himself.  I also remember all the times in the past Jay would sneak into staged photos right when they were being snapped – which is now known as photo-bombing. Guess he invented that, too. Jay’s photo-bombing rubbed off on my Dad. Here’s Papa Don photo-bombing us. Jay was taking another Selfie and I just happened to be in it:

selfie with dad photobombing

Actually I guess Jay’s quite the revolutionary. So back to the Guinness Book of World Records. He got my attention with the word “Guinness.” Jay has many talents, and the one he’s working on now should result in, as he claims, making him the guy who can catch a grape in his mouth thrown from the farthest distance. He’ll often ask nieces and nephews to throw a grape, peanut or M&M at him so he can practice catching. Sometimes it lands in his mouth. If it doesn’t, he eats it anyway.

You know before the Guinness Book of World Records was established, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! was the world authority on oddities, extraordinary feats and weirdness. I should know; this is my Uncle:

Uncle Gardner

Yep, that’s my Great, Great Uncle Gardner Taylor. He was a blacksmith with very strong ears (“cauliflower ears” as my Dad called them) who fashioned hooks to an anvil and lifted said anvil up by his ears: 150-something pounds of anvil. He made it into Ripley’s Believe It or Not! When I was a little kid, I remember my Grandma showing me an old postcard Uncle Gardner sent her featuring him doing the same thing. That’s when I realized I came from fancy lineage. Let’s see if I married into it.

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I’m amazed by all the electronic devices and handheld toys kids have these days. I mean, Portable NES, PSP, Retro Duo, tablet, Kindle Fire, iPad, portable DVD player,  laptop, smart phone … just to name a few. I’m not even sure I’ve got those names right.

You know what kind of fancy electronic device my sisters and I played with as kids? A calculator. Oh yeah, that would entertain us for hours. It was a huge step up from writing on foggy car windows with our fingers during long car rides. You remember these clever calculator combinations, right?

Naturally:

hello

And the ever popular:

hell

And the more fancy ever popular:

ohhell

Not to mention a few other words I shouldn’t list here. I tried to recreate this amazing number/word phenomenon on my smart phone, but when I turned it upside down, the display just went sideways and turned into some crazy Albert Einstein-worthy display of symbols I’ve never seen before in my life.

Besides the calculator, we had just as much fun playing on the phone back then … a rotary phone nailed to the kitchen wall with a long cord that we could barely wrap into the adjoining family room to have some privacy during our allotted 30 minutes of talk time. I can’t remember it now, but there was a number we could call to make the house phone ring. My sisters and I would dial the number … dragging one number around the dial, then another, until finally all seven digits were dialed. When the phone rang, we’d pick it up fast and say “Hey, so-and-so, your boyfriend’s on the phone!” Then so-and-so (one of the sisters who wasn’t in on the prank that particular day) would pick it up … and hear that loud whistle that escalated and escalated then dimmed, and escalated and escalated and dimmed. It was hysterical. Unless my older sister Tracy was the unwilling victim, cuz then she’d beat the crap out of me.

Sometimes my Mom would get trapped at the front door talking to the gardener for a half hour, and she was too nice to dismiss him, so we’d have to pull that phone trick to save her. Wait a minute, we had a gardener???! But I had to eat Friday Night Casserole???!

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I love Friday the 13th. I don’t care what all you big babies think; there’s nothing unlucky about it. Friday’s my favorite day of the week, and 13 is my favorite number. So what’s not to love? Well, I guess the movie Friday the 13th. And I’m not talking about one of the 1,400 remakes. I’m talking about the original 1980 version I saw in the theater when slasher flicks were just gaining momentum. The thought of Jason still scares the crap out of me when I’m camping near a lake. Which is every summer at my Dad’s. The original Friday the 13th was pretty cheesy now that I think about it; but back in the day, sitting in a dark movie theater and seeing that stuff on the big screen, along with the crazy “Ch-Ch-Ch-Ah-Ah-Ah” sound effects, was much scarier than renting a copy of Freddy vs. Jason and watching it on TV while texting and tweeting.

Fri 13th

My high school boyfriend took me to see the original in the theater when it came out. He thought for sure I’d be the one to freak out. I was fine. Until the end of the movie when you think it’s over and (Spoiler Alert!) suddenly What’s-Her-Face was out in the boat in the middle of the lake with her hand in the water like a dumb-ass, and Decomposed Jason jumped up from the watery depths and grabbed her. Holy sh*t! That was the precise moment when my boyfriend was pulling on his jacket sleeve, and he flailed back like a little sissy, slamming his arm into my face. It was like Decomposed Jason was actually attacking me. Yeah, that freaked me out.

Then I went and saw Friday the 13th– Part II the next year with my bro Dave. Dave was sure I’d be trembling or freaking out throughout the massacre, so he told me he better hold my large Dr. Pepper drink during the movie. Um, the first time Jason jumped out at one of the idiot camp counselors, Dave shot that Dr. Pepper in the air, and it landed on me.

So regardless of the movies, I love Friday the 13th. Of course, those movies aren’t half as traumatic as what I saw in the store the other day. I was in one of those big box grocery stores, which shall remain nameless, and something caught my eye on the top shelf. I don’t know why. I hardly ever walk down that particular aisle, and I rarely look up. But I was searching for tuna in a can – you know, the good stuff, solid white albacore, not the chunky, regurgitated bottom-feeder fish stuff that probably contains some of Jason’s soggy skin cells. And shudder, up on that shelf … there they were … together:

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Really?? Deviled Ham AND Spam??? Or actually, Spam SPREAD??  Throwing up in my mouth again.

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