Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Deranged Morons and Their Food



How nuts are people with their food?

They are just as deranged with their food as they are with their dogs.

Here's my anecdotal rundown.

My wife and I eat two separate meals, hers is of the uber healthy variety, crap like steamed vegetables and cous cous or bulgar. In contradistinction to her, I opt for anything and everything more flavorful than that (since I am normal). But this is a horrible ordeal – twice the pots and pans, twice the food prep, twice the cleanup, etc.

Now with our infant son, we now eat three different meals at each sitting.

But growing up, I realize now how deprived I was. There were no separate meals, we ate the same stuff all of the time: horrible concoctions of pot roast, beef stew, and chicken complemented by canned vegetables like lima beans and creamed corn. Does anyone actually still buy that canned crap?

My grandparents lived next door and would often cook for us. Their version of bland food was a notch above my parents', but let’s just say that my lovely grandmother is English. Brits can’t cook, and if you don’t believe me, go out and count the number of English restaurants in your neighborhood (or any other for that matter).

My grandfather eats meat and potatoes, EVERY SINGLE DAY. No pasta, Mexican, Indian food, and definitely no Chinese food.

On a side note, while down in Charlotte we noticed most people calling Chinese food, “oriental food”, which we found humorous. Not so funny however, was recently getting Chinese takeout here in Chestnut Hill, Mass and getting home and realizing that they didn’t give us any rice. It was no oversight; apparently here you have to order rice on the side. So I had to drive back and pay $4+ for two small orders of rice.

As a kid, I had no idea what a “filet mignon” was. No one in my family did. My cousin once said that she didn’t want to try filet mignon because she didn’t like seafood. McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish, was the only filet in her (and my) lexicon.

In fact I probably didn’t have a filet mignon until I was in my early twenties, probably at Bookbinder's in Philadelphia.

My son however, before he was even a year old, was eating porterhouse steaks, and this leads me to my food-obsessed mother-in-law.

First of all, the entire grandmother generation is pathological about food, but I will stack my mother-in-law against most others. Now aside from sending us a dozen porterhouses for my son’s first solid food meals, it is not just the grandkids, her kids, and son-in-laws that she feeds, but almost everyone.

She cooks for her neighbors. She cooks for her contractors (and their kids) and I also suspect she feeds her local garbage collectors. She has sneaked pancetta and prosciutto through customs on her way back from Italy (spraying the sniffing dogs with perfume to mask her smuggling). She has toted chicken soup as a carry-on halfway across the country to bring to her sick daughter. I maintain that she would feed Bin Laden if she showed up at her house hungry.

Every meal at her house is a grand procession that will surely include discussion about what was eaten last night, for breakfast, and of course what will be eaten for the next meal. I know she is by no means unique. Once she had a few friends over and they all took turns on-upping each other on personal crazed food stories. I have to switch to someone else even though I could fill up an entire post on my wonderful mother-in-law.

What about these people that can’t cook?

Once we were at a friend’s fancy pad on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, my wife opened the oven and found the broiler still latched to the oven rack. Our friend had been there a full year without once using the brand new oven. She simply does not cook. Her poor husband...poor kids...

This same domestic diva recently moved to the burbs and spent 200k on a new kitchen. I recently told her that I was expecting a five course meal from her state-of-the-art kitchen on my next visit. She unabashedly told me,

“...you are getting Easy Mac like everyone else.”

Devil's Advocate: Is she a... ?

No DA, she is not a JAP, you bigot.



A neighbor of ours in Brooklyn moved out after living there for two years. In her empty apartment, I noticed the pilot light on her stove was out. It apparently never bothered her because in two years, SHE NEVER ONCE USED THE STOVE.

I had a friend/roommate in college who took a hankering to cooking hot dogs in the toaster oven. The problem was, he ate them almost every single day for years. I saw him down in Florida recently and he proudly told me that a decade hence, he still eats hot dogs all of the time.

This genius friend of mine has a PhD and he personally explains much of my bias against degreed people. He is another guy that I could fill up a blog on but will resist the urge and offer just this one example. When applying to grad schools, my buddy actually filled out an application for a program at Bryn Mawr. For those of you that don’t know, Bryn Mawr is an all girls school. Months later, he wondered aloud why he never heard from them. Of course CaptiousNut had to fill in the large blank for him.

(Coincidentally, I had a high school friend (male) who also applied to Bryn Mawr.)

I have previously asserted that the purest definition of a Moron is one who continually acts against their own self-interest.

If someone doesn’t think they have a vested interest in what they put in their mouth, I flat out don’t know what to do with them. I mean learn to cook already – it is not rocket science and they’ll be sure to reap the benefits.

I have already gone after the organic food nuts to an extent. Yeah, food is the cheapest it has ever been (6% of income) and people have plenty of room to pay up for “certified organic” crap BUT that doesn’t mean it isn’t a stupid waste of money. A family of four could end up spending $700-$1,000 per year more just on organic milk. Then you have organic fruit, meat, laundry detergent ($16 for a small bottle), etc.

My wife just had a pair of pants dry cleaned at one of these "environmentally safe" cleaners. One pair of pants cost $7 to get cleaned. Where is the uproar over price gouging like this?

Every time I see a shopping carriage loaded up with organic food, I just want to tattoo IDIOT on someone’s forehead.

Some quasi-friend was shocked to find out that I don’t give my son organic milk. Humoring the retard I asked why and got the standard, “human growth hormones in cows” response. Unimpressed with that talking point (because that is what it is), I asked what is wrong with that.

I got no further elaboration unless you count a nasty face scowling at apparently my ignorance.

I hollered back,

My kid is in the lowest 10% height bracket, he needs the human growth hormone!!!

Organics is another example of untrammeled groupthink. Do your own little bit of research and you will see the organic crowd not only shops in concert, they all read newspapers, aren’t religious, and probably have “global warming” nightmares. They likely watch a lot of CNN too.

Are organics healthier and therefore worth the premium?

Well first, one must ignore the organic industry’s marketing crap.

Life expectancies have been constantly rising. I have three 90 year old grandparents who ate bacon and eggs every other day of their lives. They have likely never eaten anything organic and if they did I am sure they drowned it in butter. The notion that food today is categorically unhealthier than 20, 40, or 60 years ago simply defies logic.

Right now, thousands of my organic consuming blog readers are shaking their head, saying that it is better to be “safe than sorry” or “Why take the risk of eating human growth hormone enhanced food?”.

Go ahead waste your money on that crap, but believe me, you are being sold a bill of goods that’s exploiting your own irrational fears and ignorance. You are wasting money on a theory that defies empiricism.

Another canard is the notion that organics are grown and harvested in ways friendlier to the “environment”.

To address this talking point I will first take a step back.

At the core of environmentalism is at the misbegotten belief that farmers, foresters, et al are indifferent to the contamination and ruination of their own land. But think about that for a second.

Lumber companies do not chop beautiful forests down to barren wasteland and then flee the scene. On the contrary, they reforest the land and scrupulously guard its viability. How can you be assured of this?

Because it is their land, their asset. 99% of asset owners generally choose not to devastate their property. But this empirical reality is completely ignored by evangelical environmentalism. Instead they choose to assume that man generally plunders his own land, in stark opposition to all logic.

Devil’s Advocate: What about the farmers that contaminate the waterways and other land adjacent to their property?

They get sued by other landowners so they don't often do it. You idiot.

Enough on the enviro-Idiots – they are just ignorant of history. Private property is the best friend of Mother Earth. The worst pollution is in places like the Soviet Union and China, where the enlightened and noble government owns the forests, waterways, and land.

Back to food whackos.

I have a nephew who has convinced his mother that he is allergic to an extensive litany of foodstuffs that he simply doesn’t like, e.g. many green vegetables. The list is so long that before sending him to camp one summer, his mother mailed in a list of foods that he was allegedly allergic too. The camp responded with,

“I am sorry, we can’t accommodate your son here.”

Now this was in stark contrast to how I was raised. Remember, I had to eat those canned lima beans and whatnot. Once we had squash and I wouldn’t eat it because it literally made me gag. My mother demanded that I eat it, to which I tearfully proclaimed,

“If I eat it I will throw up!!!”

Evil Mom: If you throw up, I will make you eat your throw up too!!!



I have an Indian friend who I have many times asked to make me some authentic Indian food (or at least have his mother make me some). Leaving his place one day, he handed me a jar of curry. I reflexively said thanks and took it home.

But subsequently I noticed that this commercially packaged curry was available at my local supermarket. In fact I think every store I have been too since has had it in stock. So I called my friend to complain and I told him,

“Next time you are at my house for dinner, I will have my Italian wife serve you Spaghetti-O’s.”

It almost reminded me of that Seinfeld episode where Jerry went up to a mailman and asked him the whereabouts of a nearby Chinese restaurant. The mailman, who happened to be Asian (a detail presently unbeknownst to Jerry), turned around and fired back,

MAILMAN: Why must I know? Because I'm Chinese? You think I know where all the Chinese restaurants are? (adopts hackneyed Chinese accent) Oh, ask honolable Chinaman for rocation of lestaulant.

JERRY: I asked because you were the mailman, you would know the neighborhood.

MAILMAN: Oh, hello American Joe. Which way to hamburger, hotdog stand? (storms away)




Now let’s play “Who am I?” Who says,

I’ll have a porterhouse steak, well-done…..crispy. Burn it.

If you guessed, “old to semi-old guy”, you are right.

I went to Myrtle Beach on a golf trip with a bunch of “old guys”. The sixteen of us went to a nice steakhouse and collectively ordered 15 “burnt” steaks, and 1 filet, medium rare (mine).

My unscientific theory is that 30-50 years ago, meat was generally of poorer quality and people cooked it well-done for health reasons, i.e. to kill it. The older set just wants steaks cooked how they grew up on them.



I have an aunt who, by virtue of her central location and larger house, graciously hosts just about every family function at her place. One problem however is that she serves the same lasagna at every single occasion. This is no small streak, I am talking Cal Ripken-esque. My family has been eating her lasagna at every birthday, Easter, Christmas, anniversary, etc. for at least 25 years.

It is not that bad, but holy sh*t already, make something else once in a while. Turkey on Thanksgiving doesn’t really count.

Last one before I get on a plane to Florida.

Nassau County, Long Island may be the richest county in America. It is definitely near the top. Anyway I went to my nephew's First Communion down there a couple of years ago. Again, it is a very affluent area with many homemakers more likely to use a phone preparing dinner rather than a spatula.

During the homily, the priest walked down the aisle and engaged all of the young kids, asking them questions and whatnot.

Priest: So why do we love our parents?

Brat-1: Because they take care of us.

Priest: Good. How so?

Brat-2: They teach us stuff.

Brat-3: They cook for us.

Priest: Good. Who does the cooking in your family? Mom or Dad?

Brat-3: The restaurant does.

At this point, the Mass took at 30 second break while the entire church laughed its collective ass off.

3 comments:

TimL said...

Dan,

I'm disappointed that none of my kitchen exploits merited a mention. And you should at least have worked in a mention of our Uncle Joe, whose cooking is excellent. Remember we didn't know what "pasta" was until we had dinner at his places when we were kids...Your brother

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe that you actually called me evil and recounted that horrid tale...love your mother

Anonymous said...

And what did you serve at your child's first birthday party? Answer: Lasagna!
Delish,too!