Tag Archives: food

What have I been doing that’s so important that I couldn’t invent a Bacon Dog

I mean, there have to be some vitamins in here someplace, right

 

 

GateHouse — The Little Man eats almost nothing. Nothing. Snacks and cereal. Carrots and apples, but only the non-squishy apples; if the apples have any squish about them whatsoever, they are immediately rejected, as His Highness does not cotton to mush.

Pretty much from fetus up until this week (age 8), the Little Man has subsisted almost entirely on a diet grounded in the waffle and/or chocolate milk families, with extra attention given to where those families intersect with bacon. Last year we discovered that he enjoys Clif Bars, mushy patty-like foodstuffs eaten primarily by marathoners and, I suspect, zoo animals. They also contain many vitamins, which explains why they taste like a formerly chocolate-ish object that into which someone has physically smushed vitamins with work boots. This was a big development, as it meant, for the first time in his life, he was consuming basically all vitamins from B to Q. Parenting is full of moments where you fully give up on long-held beliefs you thought you were going to keep in place, such as the times I told the 8-year-old things like, “Finish your Pop-Tarts, and then you can have more bacon.”

(There are actually two little men now, and though the older eats like he’s on a diet reserved mostly for patients without teeth, the younger one eats as though he’s storing up enough to nourish the entire daycare.)

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Deep-fried fair-food cereal: Can it be worse than regular Trix?

Pictured: Step 5 of the P90X program cycle.

GateHouse — I am not a big eater of fair food, which you can probably tell, because I am not dead.

I am also not a very big rider of fair rides, which you can also tell, for the same reason. There was an annual fair that came through my Indiana hometown every year — it had to, because it was an annual fair, and if carnies are known for anything it’s their strict adherence to contractual obligations — and I would go every year, because it was either that or play fantasy baseball with my friends. And here is this only time this sentence will ever be written anywhere on Earth: The county fair was the much stronger option for possibly meeting girls. (It was also a much better option for eating funnel cakes, which was the far more likely outcome.)

This happened when I was in my teens, in the mid-1930s according to my hair and posture, back when my unformed adolescent body could do things like consume three consecutive funnel cakes without collapsing into a heap of convulsive stomach-clutching. (By contrast, if I eat one whole glazed donut now I must run four miles to destroy the attendant calories, which is hard, as I don’t really have the two hours to spare.)

And it is a DARNED or possible GOLDANGED good thing, too, because if I were a teen hitting up the Lake County Fair now I would have all manner of newfangled (and newdanged!) fair foods to consume while not meeting any girls. (Can I tell you that I have never understood the idea of fair foods anyway, and not just because of my aversion to throwing up into a Crazy Ball game, but because I cannot fathom why, when you’re going to be hitting 8 Gs in a rattletrap spinny contraption that was built in 1956 and contains most of its original rivets, you definitely want your waist parts jammed full of unregulated dough prepared by undocumented gypsies. God the kids are going to LOVE going to the fair with Fun Dad in a few years.)

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The real reason pink slime is so delicious

Pictured: New York City school cafeteria

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GateHouse — You hear a lot about pink slime these days, because frankly, pink slime is an a-MA-zing turn of phrase. It’s a writer’s dream, a lyrical, almost onomatopoeic slice of verbal sleight-of-hand that grabs your brain and demands it to conjure up an image, requires you to stop what you’re doing — eating a hoagie, feeding your baby, delivering a baby — to consider it. Frankly as soon as someone coined the phrase “pink slime” it was over, stick a fork in it. Actually that wouldn’t work because sticking a fork in an industrial-sized vat of gelatinous goo wouldn’t be practical and actually probably really frustrating; maybe you should go with a spoon in this scenario. Or an ice cream scoop. Ooh, soup ladle!

We think about pink slime for the same reason most people think about pink slime: Because we are writing “Ghostbusters II.” But also we think about it because with a meaning that evocative, especially in an age where headline value is measured by the level of instinctual milliseconds it takes someone to click on something distracting while they’re supposed to be working and/or driving, it’s perfect. It’s like “swine flu” or “SARS” or “Newt Gingrich” — your brain can’t help but think “THAT SOUNDS JUST AWFUL AND UNELECTABLE YET I CANNOT STOP MY HAND FROM CLICKING ON IT,” and there, before you know it, you’re 12 pages into pink slime material on the web and vowing to never eat beef, or slime, for the rest of your life.

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White Castle’s beer/wine sales to save customers the trouble of getting drunk and ending up at a White Castle

You can find me in da club

GateHouse — I don’t know about you, but I spent New Year’s Eve getting hammered at White Castle. Ha! That’s a joke, of course — as I’ve somehow ended up with children living in my home, what I actually did was nothing! Well, at least nothing that required me to apply pants that aren’t operated by a drawstring.

But if I had gone anywhere, it would have been to The Castle, because according to a newspaper article that has been received by the Vrabel family with something close to the reckless delirium we felt when the Bears won the Super Bowl, The Castle is considering expanding its current roster of menu offerings (Gruel, Gruel On Bun, Gruel On Bun Feat. Chili, etc.) to include beer and/or wine.

Now, first of all, why this is needed is a mystery. White Castle, of course, is a brand that needs no improvement, no upgrading, no bridge to the 21st century. White Castle is built on the idea of shoe closet-sized restaurants that serve construction paper-thick burger-type objects on synthetic breadsubstance, all delivered to you in an environment that would suggest you are eating the food of kings and queens, if your royal subjects were all 400 lb. NASCAR fans or on their way home from the bars and think they’re in a Taco Bell.

Obviously, this is not a negative. This is what White Castle does, and it does it magically. Seriously if they started serving “salads” or “shrimp” or even burgers that were made of burgers I would be the first to lead the nationwide uprising. Ron Paul-college-volunteer style. “BRING BACK OUR WHITE CASTLE!” I would shout into a megaphone I stole from a hippie, “THESE NEW MENU ITEMS ARE DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO FOOD.”

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Overweight man’s beef with White Castle finally connects “White Castle” with “beef”

GateHouse — The grassroots protests spilling across the streets of New York against the excesses of Wall Street are raging into their second week and showing no signs of slowing, yet I am going to write about a dude who is too fat to sit at White Castle, because the Internet is very very large and plenty of people are talking about Wall Street, but who is standing up for White Castle in its hour of need? THIS MOTIVATED SLOVAK, THAT’S WHO.

Indeed, my blood brothers at the Castle know that I stand with them whenever some yappy 23-year-old energy drink consumption machine from The Media tries to besmirch, befoul or befmirch them with stories of “ghastly nutritional conditions” or “obese-American prejudice” or “fact-based stories about what animal remains actually constitute their Triscuit-thin patties.”

They know this because White Castle IS IN MY DNA. No, seriously, my Slovak grandparents lived pretty much across the street from a White Castle in Whiting, Ind., and my grandfather was known to spend his days there from about 7 a.m.-6 p.m. — moreso if my dear Slovak grandmother God bless her soul was feeling particularly prickly about the volume of objects he hoarded in the basement (official figures are hard to come by, but let us just say that special arrangements had to be made with the Dumpster Company in Whiting, Ind.). So when I say that White Castle is in my blood, I mean, no really, that stuff is straight IN MY BLOOD, probably slowing down the entire circulatory process and gumming things up something awful around the aorta.

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Choc-Ola returns, and not a moment too soon

GateHouse — When you see the phrase “Indiana entrepreneurs re-launch” at the beginning of a sentence and you are from Indiana, a few thoughts rocket immediately through the parts of your brain not dedicated to inventing increasingly desperate excuses for why IU hasn’t won a championship since ’87:

  • “Mellencamp’s giant robot will soon rise!”
  • “There must have been tremendous increases in the production of rickety hoops which can be attached to barns.”
  • “Whatever it is, Peyton Manning is shooting a commercial for it in the morning.”
  • “Automated Mitch Daniels-hitting device”

Ha! I kid Indiana because I love Indiana, except its stupid approach to time zones, which is such that when my cousin asked me last week what time it was in my current location I CACKLED WITH GLEE FOR TEN MINUTES because that’s literally the first time the question has swung that way in 35 years. I’m still cackling. I think I’ll take a small cackle break right now. Ha HO! Oh, it feels so good to laugh when you’ve spent 12 years calling people at incorrect times for interviews, such as that one time I woke up “Weird Al” Yankovic’s baby. Still feel bad about that.

But though I love Indiana as a state, frankly many of their exports have left something to be desired, and yes, I’m looking at you, Babyface. You and Choc-Ola, an old chocolate-based beverage that’s being relaunched by two Indianapolis-based entrepreneurs, Dan Iaria and Joe Wolfla, the latter of whom said “It’s the greatest-tasting chocolate milk you’ve ever had.” The GREATEST-TASTING. Brave words, Wolfla; rare is the man who messes with Hershey and survives.

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Carolina Chocolate Drops – Knockin’

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Denny’s Bacon Maple Sundae: Wait, Denny’s is pushing an unhealthy food product of some kind?

I'm bringing sexy back

GateHouse — “You’re welcome for your next column,” my friend Bradshaw said with great satisfaction upon sending on a news story about Denny’s new Bacon Maple Sundae, which, as of press time, had killed 239 people in test markets in Iowa. Ha! I’m just kidding, Denny’s Fans And Lawyers: Most of the victims remain safely in Iowa hospitals and/or makeshift baseball fields having their intestines removed, but doctors are optimistic that in the coming years they’ll be able to subsist on a reasonably stable diet of gruel and pudding, which is, incidentally, the name of the worst breakfast buffet in London.

I suppose we should get out of the way that the Bacon Maple Sundae looks like the thing that my dog did after she devoured that entire box of chocolate Santas that one year, but who are we kidding: Denny’s has already gotten what it was looking for when it began the lengthy, probably international process of launching a dessert product that resembles dog chork: Pinheads on the Internet writing about a dessert product that resembles dog chork.

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Morrissey – Every Day Is Like Sunday

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Yes, we are bombing Madagascar, but Cap’n Crunch isn’t retiring so it’s a pretty even week overall

I'm ALIVE! Neckless, but alive.

GateHouse — Happy Spring Break, everyone! Hope you all had/are having warm, froofy-drink filled vacations and/or forced furloughs. Sit back, put your feet up and inhale a few more precious moments of clear-eyed fiction before you return to the unfettered horror that has become everyday life, the drive back to which will cost you $2,400 in gas.

Indeed you are probably going to want to return to whatever blissful malt-liquor induced haze you just reluctantly emerged from, because everything out here on planet America is, as is so often the case, worse than ever: Gas prices are ohthisisweird forehead-slappingly high again, the country’s largest corporation, G.E., pays exactly zero in American taxes in an inexplicable tongue-unrolling hilarity which will be humiliatingly justified by most of your boring GOP presidential losers (“Obamacare!” Tim Pawlenty will shout to an empty Elks Lodge), you have to pay to read NEWSPAPERS online now and though your public school hasn’t the remotest hope of “fixing those bus exhaust problems” or “replacing those teachers,” we’ve magicked up several billion dollars of bomb money for that 45th war going on in, I think it was Madagascar? Kazakhstan? Whatever. It’s brown on my globe.

And yet, in an age where daily soul-crushing reports of untethered greed and corporate power drive the nation’s economy, one hideous headline stands apart: They’re getting rid of Cap’n Crunch.

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Blues Explosion – Crunchy

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Krispy Kreme + Cheerwine donuts: 85% of your recommended daily allowance of goo


I know, it's like you don't even know where to start eating first, right? (Photo: Raleigh News & Observer)

GateHouse — Oh hey, great, I’ll bet you, America’s elitist class of health-obsessed spin-class-overfilling radish-snacking plutocrats and people who purchase “cereal bars” because they might taste a very little like the Pop-Tarts which are sitting on THE ADJACENT SHELF waiting for you to inevitably come crawling back, I suppose now you and your skinny jeans are going to HATE this new idea that just walked into my newsroom, the one where Krispy Kreme donuts are stuffed with Cheerwine-flavored filling. I’ll bet you are going to HATE the idea of glorfing down, Kobayashi-style, liquefied warmed-up donut/goo pluffed to the bursting point with synthetic materials that are designed to taste a little like a cut-rate carbonated beverage. Well SORRY FOR NOT BEING GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU FRESH-MARKET-FREQUENTING SHOE-HATERS, with your homegrown vegetables and biodegradable carts and ability to walk a half-mile without stopping to suffer a few moments of legally defined death. Here’s some frogurt that’ll pair nicely with your contemptuous judging, Horse Spirit.

For the rest of us true-blue, red-blooded and other-color-referencing Real Americans, allow me to celebrate the fact that in this time of great unease, conflict and tension, a fragile peace has been forged between two of the greatest forces in all of North Carolina: Your friends at Krispy Kreme and your enemies at Cheerwine, which is a bargain beverage, though not the kind sprayed indiscriminately at Insane Clown Posse concerts (shout-out to my homes for the Juggalo-fact check, y’all are some straight-up marketing-identification ninjas).

And it has provided, in short, a food in which Cheerwine soda — whose name includes at least two inaccuracies — is injected into a donut and topped with chocolate and sprinkles. USA! USA!

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http://bit.ly/cC50De

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White Castle candles: Like a delightful bouquet of abandoned onions and my grandparents’ kitchen

Do not eat the candle, as much as you're going to want to.

GateHouse — A few years ago, upmarket luxury merchant Burger King launched its very own personal men’s fragrance, one designed to approximate the iconic BK odor, which is to say a char-broiled hork of theoretical meat patty which was flash-frozen in a Beijing agricultural facility in 1997 and brought via oil tanker or donkey or whatever to thousands of Burger Kings all over the South’s interstate highway exits. (Just kidding, Burger King,  you know I heart you and your Croissan’wiches. Let’s never fight again.)

Anyway, the BK cologne thing was called Flame, and we all laughed at it, because it turns out that Americans will put up with a lot of things, including Jay Leno, but attempting to purposefully smell like a restaurant you visit only mostly it’s across from the gas station is not chief among them. This country is being torn to pieces by jeez, I can’t even remember, taxes, President Kenya, immigration and the Planet, which is pretty much emptying its playbook of highly metaphoric natural disasters, but all ages and demographics found BK Flame to be a most displeasing proposition, especially since you could buy a double-cheeseburger for 99 cents and rub it all of your flesh for essentially the same olfactory effect.

But when it came right down to it, Burger King’s pioneering entry into the fragrance market failed for one clear reason: Burger King is no White Castle.

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http://bit.ly/b4Qo08

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