A Bite of Guru: Ham and Cheese Sandwich
Attention food manufacturers: I could be representing your product online. Hire me and experience a whole new world of exposure. What would it be like? Here’s a little taste. –Ed.
“What is that?” some moron asked me one day.
I chewed and gulped hard. “It’s a ham and cheese sandwich,” I replied even though my mouth was still full.
“And what the hell is that?” they continued with their clever line of questioning.
“I’ll be happy to explain it for you.”
First find yourself some wheat. Harvest the caryopsis (a combination of endosperm, germ, and bran) and mill it to a fine powder. Add some water and a handful of single-cell microorganisms (species Saccharomyces cerevisiae), stir, let rest and insert into a high-temperature chamber for awhile.
Meanwhile kill a pig. Process the meat via curing, smoking or salting. Slice the meat thin.
Find a cow (preferably a female). Gather the white liquid produced by the mammary glands. Allow the liquid to curdle, then beginning mill when it becomes curds. Do this for a long while until the sharp edges of the curd pieces are removed. Allow to ripen. Finally, process the whole thing with additional cow white liquid, salt, preservatives and food coloring. Shape (wheel or loaf) and allow to harden. Be sure approx. 10% or less of the final product is mold. Slice into thin pieces.
Using the same white liquid, agitate forcefully until the fat is separated from the rest. To the fat add salt, flavorings and preservatives. Spread this substance on half of the baked wheat product made earlier.
Finally, take an emulsion of oil and combine in a blender with the golden-yellow part of the chicken reproduction process and vinegar or lemon juice (your choice). Spread this on the remaining wheat product.
Stick the processes thin meat and thin pieces of white liquid mold between the wheat product pieces. This entire assembly is known as a “sandwich.”
Optional: Fry the whole thing in a skillet, if you wish. It can be served hot or cold.
Note: You can skip the “find a cow” sections by purchasing Kraft Singles which adds the following additional ingredients: milk, whey, milk protein concentrate, milkfat, sodium citrate, contains less than 2% of calcium phosphate, whey protein concentrate, salt, lactic acid, sorbic acid as a preservative, cheese culture, annatto and paprika extract (color), enzymes, vitamin d3. (Source: Wikipedia.)
Growth Of Thorns
I used to think any form of growth was unsustainable. Just like a perpetual motion machine it’s one of those things that’s impossible. (One of my favorite words.) Then, just now, sitting here, one of my brain cells did something. (It can happen.) For lack of any originality on my part let’s call it my latest theory, k?
Tom’s Theory #42 – Societal Asshole Leech Theory (SALT)
The percentage of leech-based humans is growing over time. Or, the more advanced a civilization the higher the amount of leechage.
As far as we know, there is no causal relationship with the number of pirates known to exist, but admittedly further testing is required. This is a work in progress. (I was on a break.)
98% of all email is spam. Of those messages, 98% attempt to deceive or infect. (The rest merely sell growth products like Viagra, the greatest achievement of our civilization and, dare I say, the entire universe and space-time continuum.) My web server is probed and attacked by cyber-terrorists (mostly from China and Russia) 36 hours a day. There’s an entire subset of humanity that does not have jobs and produces nothing of value yet still has food, shelter, cigarettes, pets, cars, smartphones and internet access.
Is this amount of leechage really on the rise or is it merely my touchy empirical perceptions?
Continue reading →
Survivor: Abyss Island – Day 12 Reward Challenge
Be sure to take this post with a grain of salt. I know I will.
What can I say about the Abyss Island Survivor journey as of Day 12? Variety is the spice of life and I’m damn short on variety.
Nothing but plain white rice, red beans, and fruit. Let me emphasize the word “plain.” That means no spices. No soy sauce. No pepper. Not even a single grain of salt. You ever eaten totally plain beans and rice before? The word bland can’t do justice experience. 1. Put the nutrient matter in mouth. 2. Masticate. 3. Swallow. 4. Repeat.
For fun I punched my daily diet into the computer. It said I was reaching 5 mg of my recommended daily allowance of 1,500 mg of sodium. Hells, yeah, I’m now a real Survivor!
Then came another one of those damned clever pieces of tree mail from my
Probst baby. Reward challenge #2 was eminent and it cryptically hinted at the tantalizing possibilities:
Now you see it
Now you don’t
Oh there it is
Oh no it’s not
Think real hard
Think real fast
It’s what you’ve been wanting
If you lose it’ll be most haunting
Unlike previous tree mails, this one I studied carefully for hints. I suspected some sort of memory challenge was afoot.
The phrase “what you’ve been wanting” was dizzying. What had I been bitching about the most? Spices. What that just a hint of sodium in the air?
I could sense the winds of change were heading my way.
Continue reading →
I’ve been looking for that niche product that’ll finally get me a chip and a seat at the big table. I think I may have finally found it. It’s hard to believe the answer was right in front of my face the whole time.
Would it surprise you if I said I’m rather chipped off about it?
I’ve decided to invent a new variety of potato chip. Believe it or not, I feel the market is wide open for this sort of thing.
To assist with product design, I’ve identified several key variables: Preparation, Cut, Salt and Flavor.
Santana DVX sparkling wine (aka “champagne”) is the perfect pairing to this post because it is so crisp.
This post is going to require some maths. And here I thought there were lots of varieties of Wheat Thins. Compared to potato chips? Wheat Thins ain’t shit.
Continue reading →
Cooking with Tom B.
I’ve been cooking all of my life. Mostly with food. And sometimes I even eat what I cook.
And guess what? I’m still here.
About six years ago, though, something happened that brought a dramatic change to my cooking life.
I married a woman who is “gourmet” in the kitchen. All of the sudden it was goat cheese (yuck), blue cheese crumbles (yum), and things like caprese salad and amuse-bouche.
I realized that my way of cooking was slowly being lost and that if I didn’t do something, it would completely disappear and then the world would forever be without that knowledge.
Thus the idea for my newest project: Cooking with Tom B.
I know what you are saying. What are this guy’s qualifications? Let me put that to rest right up front. I was taught by my father, inventor of things like his “world famous spaghetti sauce” and “hot dog juice soup.” I have taken his trainings and built upon them adding my own twists.
The focus of my show will be cooks who don’t have time, want to cut corners, and favor techniques that result in the least amount of dishes that will need to be washed.
Here’s some of what will be featured during season one of my new show:
- Tom’s Bonus Tip #1 – Curl your fingers back when slicing and dicing. Yeah, this is famous advice from chefs. But based on how many cutting accidents there are on cooking shows like Top Chef and Iron Chef by the “experts” I think this bears repeating. Most of the time you don’t want blood all over your food. You also don’t want to be emergency wrapped up like a mummy, then suffer through the high drama of “look at me – I can still cook even with tendons showing!”
- Episode #1 – No Salt of the Earth. In the series premier I expound on my theories of the American sodium-rich diet and advocate the modern salt-less kitchen.
- Episode #2 – Safety before Flavor. A special safety-first episode where demonstrate things not to do, like knocking knives off the counter on your bare feet, the proper way to wield a peeler, and avoiding painful skin on graters. Bonus product: Apron that says, “I’m the cook so fork you!”
- Episode #3 – Where’s the Particalized Beef? Making decidedly unauthentic ethnic foods like tacos? Then this episode is a must. I’ll show you how to cook ground beef while obtaining the smallest possible pieces that can still legally be called “food.” Bonus tips: Avoiding chunks. Shorter cooking time means less pleasing browning. Choosing the right fat content. Cold start.
- Episode #4 – Pound Sand not Chicken. This episode teaches time-honored time saving techniques for preparing chicken. I’ll show you how not to pound a chicken and how not to trim excess fat. Bonus tips: Not worrying about the hidden chunky and cartilage parts.
- Episode #5 – Attack it with Packet. Cooking takes too much time. That’s where packets come in. This show is our first broadcast on location, coming to you from Casa Mexicana (hosted by Lawry’s) at Disneyland, Anaheim. Dishes will include “Hot Taco” tacos (muy spicy), original style spaghetti, meat loaf, and, of course, sloppy joes.
- Episode #6 – Secret Ingredients Garden. Learn more about hidden treasures found in your neighborhood grocery story like mini cans of mushrooms known as “pieces and stems” and many more.
- Episode #7 – It’s all about the Ketchup. A whole episode devoted to my favorite condiment of all time. Pairings include: macaroni and cheese, omelets, hot dogs, fries, burgers, potato chips, tacos, hash browns, steak, fried eggs, cottage cheese, mashed potatoes, scrapple, onion rings, pasta, ice cream and tuna sandwich.
More episodes are possible depending on how many more things I might do wrong in the kitchen. Stay tuned and Bone Appetite.
Sodium won’t catch up
Ketchup or catsup? At least as far as my browser’s built-in spellchecker is concerned, it’s definitely the former. It chokes on the latter.
I went to Wal-Mart last night to get a good deal on cat food. I normally avoid Wal-Mart like the plague. I hate that place. While there, however, I remembered we were out of ketchup, so I attempted to traverse my way to the grocery section – without the aid of a map.
I found ketchup and began scanning the various shapes and sizes focusing on cost per ounce. A mysterious empty section of the shelf caught my eye. It was completely empty. A little label said “Heinz Ketchup, 40 ounce, $1.00.” Whoa! What the heck was that all about? At my local grocery store this would have been $3 or more. I bent down and saw four bottles way in the back. They were mine! I watched like a hawk at checkout and sure enough, those bottles were $1 each with no coupon. Wow.
I love ketchup. A lot. It’s by far my favorite condiment. It goes on fries (of course), hash browns, scrambled eggs, macaroni and cheese, meat loaf (pre-veggie days) and probably a few other things I’m forgetting. My wife the expert cook doesn’t use it quite as much as me and many times I’ve tried to use it on her cooking and have received the Stare of Death.
The ingredients in Heinz ketchup (per the label) are:
- Tomato concentrate from red ripe tomatoes
- Distilled vinegar
- High fructose corn syrup
- Corn syrup
- Onion powder
- Natural flavoring
Wow. High fructose corn syrup! The label says a “serving” of ketchup is 1 tablespoon and contains 15 calories. A tablespoon is three teaspoons and a teaspoon of sugar has 15 calories. So I guess that means that ketchup is made of about the equivalent of one-third sugar. Yikes.
On a 2,000 calorie per day diet those calories represent about 3.3% of your “daily values” or DV (even though the label doesn’t actually do the DV math on calories).
Then the word “sodium” on the label caught my eye. A serving contains 190mg or 8% of DV. Eight percent of your daily salt limit in a single tablespoon of ketchup? Yikes, that seems high. That must have something to do with the fact that “salt” is the fifth ingredient (by volume). I can only imagine what happens when I use ketchup on my heavily over-salted french fries.
Earlier this month Heinz quietly changed their formula for ketchup. It was the first “significant” change to their recipe in nearly 40 years. A company spokesperson said that the change will not be noted on product packaging except, presumably, in the Nutrition Facts box. The amount of sodium reduction will be about 15 percent or 160mg per serving.
This recipe change pertains to the United States version of Heinz ketchup. In Canada the recipe is already only 140mg of sodium per serving and “tends to have a sweeter taste than the U.S. version.”
The politics of ketchup? We heard a bit about Heinz when John Kerry was running for president. This sodium change, however, is at least in part to the “National Salt Reduction Initiative” spearheaded by New York City and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “Heinz is one of 16 major food manufacturers that has voluntarily joined the program.”
So, naturally, web sites like the aptly named Hot Air decry Heinz ketchup a “casualty of the liberal doctrine.” Yeah, whatever.
I personally believe the average American diet contains way too much salt. I salt very few things like steak (which I don’t eat any more) and corn on the cob. I believe that most processed foods we eat already contain so much salt it would be nuts to add more.