Category Archives: Let’s not eat

The key lime pie vacation

Last year Mr. Food and I took a trip to the sunny land of Captiva Island, Florida.  We did nothing all week but walk on the beach, sit in or by the pool, and eat key lime pie.  What follows is our chronological record of our eating accomplishments, including notes taken at the time and only just now properly transcribed…

first day, first pie, from here. not limey enough. too condensed milky. no whipped topping. ($5.95) [view from our balcony– Gulf of Mexico]

second day, pie number two, from here. mushy, bland, pale crust. filling was nice and lime-y. not cloying. liked the topping. ($1.49)

second day, pie three, from here.  finally a graham cracker crust! but crust was too thin and filling too thick, gooey, and plentiful. bad green (apple?) syrup on top, overshadowing lime flavor. ($4.95)

third day, pie four, from here. four pies in and on day three of our trip, I proclaimed this the best slice so far.  crust is ideal. nice topping, lime-y filling. one complaint– too chiffon-y, could be custard-ier. ($5)

fourth day, the fifth pie, from here. with the name key lime in the name, it’s no surprise that this rated better than the slice just above– though just a bit. crust was crunchier and more substantial.  filling rated close to perfect by one of us and not light enough by the other. great and attractive topping.  but spider web of sauce only detracted from the lime flavor of the pie. ($8)

fourth day, sixth pie, from here.  just as good as the fifth. crust crunchy and laced with coconut. filling thick but could be limier. topping was tasty though on the side. ($7)

seventh day, the seventh and last pie, from here. this is mr. food’s second favorite, after the fourth. crust was ideal and filling was thick and lime-y.  very smooth. only complaint is lack of topping. ($4.95)

The pie summary: In a unanimous second place finish, pie number seven! We both liked this one for its traditional ingredients and lime-y filling.  And we have a tie for first place with both pie number four and number five (minus the awful tasting plate decoration) claiming the top honors– the former nominated by Mr. Food and the latter by me and my taste buds.  Hearty thanks to all the pies who participated.

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Q. What’s a cupcake without the wrapper?

There are two kinds of cupcake eaters in the world.

There are those who will not think anything is amiss with a cupcake that arrives without a paper wrapper– even a little cake without the tell-tale ridges that come from being baked in one. All cupcakes are created equal to these folks. “It is a cupcake and I shall eat it,” mumble these brave faux-cupcake eaters, mouths full of muffin. Mr. Food is part of this crowd and so are co-workers N and A, I found during an informal poll recently.

I am not one of those people.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll still eat the cupcake; I’m not crazy and I’m not going to waste a decent piece of cake. But the absence of the wrapper signals to me that this unfortunate cakey round has been left on the fence between cupcakes and muffins. A muffcake, if you will. In my book, the two do not meet for lunch. Muffins are usually a bit sweet but should not be overly so. My favorite muffins are more of the banana or pumpkin varieties, not the chocolate chip or crazy-carrot-cake-“muffins”-masquerading-as-cupcakes-drowning-in-frosting sold here. Muffins have smooth sides and would look weird clothed in paper sheaths. Cupcakes, on the other hand are allowed to be smothered in any kind of frosting and colorful toppings that are available. For the record my preference here is for the good old yellow cake and chocolate frosting combo with any bright, little crunchy bits on top. A cupcake must be dressed in ridged paper pants. A’s husband, N, is so far my sole co-conspirator on this issue. (If there are more of you out there, speak up!)

This issue came to the forefront of my food thoughts recently after a trip to The Spotted Apron with N over lunch break. I ordered a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting. It came with several spots on top. N wonders if they are in fact Necco wafers… I’m pretty sure they’re not, but they sure look like them. Anyway! I went to eat it and noticed its unclothed appearance. Shocking for a cupcake to be naked, I thought to myself. N was not concerned. She did not seem worried about eating hers later in the day. I ate it but it bothered me and it still does. And, to note, it was indicative of the overall quality of the “cupcake.” I won’t be doing that again.

A. It’s a muffin. End of story.

I’m not a cheeseburger fan…

(they’re just not my thing)… but this is pretty amazing. Craig LaBan, restaurant critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, is actually singing here about cheeseburgers! My favorite is the “Truffles fall like snowflakes, on my plate” line. Followed closely by the emotional chorus: “Cheeseburger, I hold; Mischief heart of liquid bleu; Cheeseburger, I hold; You melt into mine.” Wow. Follow the links for the audio and video components– they’re priceless. And thanks to L of the tunafish (I really hope you don’t mind me calling you that, it’s kinda catchy I think!) for pointing this out to me, I never would have seen it otherwise.

Funky cuppa tea

I went to my favorite tea store last week to stock up. One of my favorites is #211 (Creme de la Earl Grey, they call it) and another I like is a black tea they have tossed with rose petals. I bought some of each and brewed a cup of rose tea the next day. But, it smelled funny and tasted the same. I drank it just in case my nose was wrong… but it was not and the honey in the cup did not help much. I smelled the bag it came in and noticed the rose was overwhelmed by something smokey, something lapsang souchong-y. The usual tea seemed to be mixed with something more of an oolongish shape and color. So, what was it? I never found out. Took it back yesterday and (without the original bag or a receipt) got a replacement bag. Of 211. Back to the usual, I guess. Cheers!

Why I won’t eat canned tuna

In short, it smells funny. Also, it reminds me of high school lunches.

But before that, when I was too small to be entrusted to make my own lunch, Grandma “Monkey” would make me and my brother the best tunafish sandwiches (I think I actually called them that). My elegantly tall and thin grandmother hated to cook — she actually owned the I Hate to Cook Book by Peg Bracken — would mix a can of tuna with delicately chopped celery and a bit of lemon juice. I was by all accounts a picky eater but would eat these without complaint. Glass of milk on the side, please.

I continued to eat tuna sandwiches and even to enjoy them much of the way through high school. But then there was the summer I think of as the time of too much tuna. Though I must have had some retail job or another, I ate at home quite a bit. My stepmother loved these stinky sandwiches (and still does, somehow) and made them every day for lunch. I can still see the can opening, fish crumbling into the big wooden bowl, adding some mayo and celery and smooshing some between slices of wheat bread. I ate them day after day those few months and have never done since. I should have eventually picked up a knife and some peanut butter and made my own lunch, but for some reason I never did. Half a lifetime later, I still can’t be in the same room with a can of tuna.

Late last year L brought out a fancy can of tuna and offered up a taste. A squinched nose gave me away– could it be she had never realized what effect that summer had on my taste for tuna? I paraphrased but agreed to try it despite our history together (me and the tuna, that is). Well, we won’t be seeing that happen again anytime soon! I still leave the room when Mr. Food pulls out his can for an occasional lunch. My day-job boss also eats the stinky stuff once in a while. Too bad I can smell it in my office too. At least the rest of the time I can avoid canned tuna, and I hope that someday (in line with peanut butter bans perhaps!) my little hypothetical kids won’t have to put up with it at school. Unless, of course, they take after their father.