Archive for the ‘Food and Drink’ Category

Stretch food dollar further with one-pot meals for under $10

The Chicken Bake looks pretty good. Also read the comments for a few reader submissions.

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An interesting list from the NYT.

I already enjoy pumpkin seeds, sardines, and cinnamon (though not at the same time). I think I could get used to cabbage on my sandwiches and beets in my salad, too.

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You know the big problem with our country today? Sugar doesn’t cost nearly enough. There’s nothing worse than going into the store and seeing sugar priced too low. Fortunately Congress is here to help.

this and much more via The Corner at National Review

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That’s the policy of African leaders:

Reason Magazine – Demon Seed

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Why are portion sizes so large? Transterrestrial Musings expounds on the economics and explains why running a fast food business has a lot in common with launching a space shuttle.

I don’t mind large portion sizes because, like many of the commenters, my wife and I almost always get doggie bags (well, styrofoam boxes) when we eat out. Last night’s dinner is usually tomorrow’s lunch.

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I’ve been to the Library of Congress web site many times but I never noticed this cool recipe section: Immigrations – The great American Potluck. Lots of traditional recipes contributed by immigrants from all around the world. (seen here)

And this week’s Carnival of the Recipes is also up, with lots more yummy sounding things to eat and drink.

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Upchuck with 7up!

I’m not sure exactly how it happened, since I’m making this all up, but  back in 1953 there was apparently a sudden massive surplus of Seven-Up. Maybe they discovered a lost cache of soda in a hidden storage room deep beneath 7-Up Castle. Maybe a Coca-Cola double agent sabotaged the books. Whatever happened, it left the company with far more 7-Up than anyone could possibly drink.

Something had be done. The answer? Cooking with Seven-up! James Lileks has all the distubing, fizzy, all-family details.

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A tipping point

How much should you tip in buffet restaurants? Interesting discussion over at the Volokh Conspiracy. Unless there’s an unusual reason I only leave a token tip at buffets, because sometimes I don’t even see a waitress. Takeout and fast food? Not a chance. Pizza delivery? Sure, keep the change.

To be honest I have very mixed feelings about tips. The evil part of my nature secretly agrees with Mr. Pink’s famously obscene rant (warning: strong language). However hard they work they’re not my employees, and there’s no rational reason to pay one group of service workers tips and not another. Restauraunts should stop expecting special legal treatment and pay their employees what they’re worth, like everywhere else.

In practice I’m really pretty softhearted.  If someone does a good job and is reasonably attentive then they get 15% (and it’s easy to work out – just multiply the 5% tax here in Maryland by three.) If they do a sucky job and ignore us, then they get less. It’s been a long time since I haven’t left any tip at all. We (the wife and I) try very hard not to punish the waitstaff for things that aren’t their fault. If the cook is slow or the manager is goofing off and messing things up then it’s not the waitresses’ fault. We’ve had ocassion to walk out of Denny’s with our meal on the table because of stupid mistakes by the cook, but the waitress who was almost reduced to tears by the whole situation still got a nice tip.

What does bother me is the expectation that tips need to constantly go up. If you do a particularly good job then you deserve a good tip. But pushing the "minimum" tip upward from 10% to 15% to %20 and higher is just silly. The cost of the food has already gone up over the years, right? So the fixed percentage of that amount that’s given as a tip also went up at the same time. I know waitresses work hard, but no harder than a lot of other people. Unless you can make a case that the waitstaff is working 5% harder now than they were before I don’t see any justification for giving them a higher and higher percentage of my bill. (And yes, I know it’s not an exact coorelation, but I think it’s close enough.)

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An article from last week’s Washington Post asks Why the Red Delicious No Longer Is. It’s interesting reading.

After years of avoiding apples I’ve started eating them almost daily. It seemed to me that these apples weren’t as good as they used to be, and I was right. Modern Red Delicious apples are just about tasteless, except for those that have a thin, sour aftertaste.

The growers and the distributors and the marketers were so engrossed in
their preconceived notions of what the consumer wanted (shiny, crayon
red) that they lost sight of the most important thing about any fruit:
the taste. Habit and interia will let you slide by with lower quality
for a little while, but eventually people will start to drift away.
After that point it’s very hard to get them back.

I prefer Fuji apples lately. I have fond memories of Winesap apples
from my childhood, but they never turn up in grocery stores anymore.
Maybe I should check out a few roadside stands. My father-in-law grows
apples, too, and his are very good, if a bit tart. I’m not sure what
variety they are.

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I’ve previously linked to the famous Table of Condiments That Periodically Go Bad. This page of Surprising Expiration Dates also looks handy.  Looks like the winner in the condiment category is Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins of course) at 10 years.

The food expiration dates seem reasonable, but I don’t know about some of the household items. Why would bleach go bad after 6 months? What is there to go bad? Dish detergent expires after a year? Dunno ’bout dat.

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