25 October 2014

Melona Ice Bar (Strawberry Flavour)

Do any of you remember how, approximately three months ago, I set myself the seemingly impossible task of trying all four Melona Ice Pop flavours (widely touted as the "Melona Ice Pop Challenge")? Well, I did. And then I never got around to trying the strawberry flavour and it just languished in my freezer. Until today.

I didn't make a .gif. Partly out of laziness and partly because
I forgot to take enough pictures to do it. I guess it was
ultimately just out of laziness.

 I started to write the strawberry post shortly after I posted the banana post, assuming that I would just fill in the blanks when I actually tried it. This is what I wrote:

"Lately social media has been a-buzz about the ice bucket challenge, but absolutely no one is talking about my recent Melona Ice Pop Challenge. Rather than dumping a bucket of ice water on my head, I managed to consume all four Melona flavours over the course of approximately one month, and in doing so, raised just under four dollars for Binggrae. Today I will be writing about the final flavour: strawberry."

Well, now it's nearly November (or perhaps it is November--I guess it depends when I will get around to posting this), and no one even remembers what the ALS ice-bucket challenge was. In a sense this means I beat ALS (in the sense that this Melona Ice Pop Challenge has dragged on way longer. I didn't cure ALS ... yet).

So let's wrap this up: the strawberry flavour was pretty good. I still don't love these things, but for what they are, yeah, I would say the strawberry flavour is a good flavour. I didn't love it. It didn't shock me in the same way that the melon and banana flavours did; it was more or less what I expected it to be. It's definitely the "safest" of the flavours, so I think that if I, for some reason, bought one of these things again (I really don't think I will), it would probably be the strawberry flavour. There were no surprises here, and that is how I like my food: predictable.

In conclusion, here are the awards I would give to each flavour if I was in the business of handing out awards to popsicle flavours:

  • Mango - Biggest Disappointment
  • Melon - Most Closely Resembles a Honeydew of the Four, or so I Assume. I Have Never Tried a Honeydew.
  • Banana - The Dark Horse
  • Strawberry - Safe & Predictable

I finally tried strawberry, and yeah, whatever.
I'm just glad this stupid challenge is over.

24 October 2014

"Indian Corn Snack"

I went into this snack not knowing what to expect. Would they be sweet? Would they be savoury? Would they taste racist? Who could know!

I scooped up a little handful of these weird corn flakes, popped one in my mouth, chewed it, swallowed it, said "no," and dumped the remaining "corn snacks" into the bag. They are gross. I do not like them. Midge is eating them as I type this and claims they are "okay," but admits she bought them for the packaging. These revolting little crisps leave a taste in your mouth far more disturbing  than racism.

Riddle me this, riddle me that -- 
Is there anything worse than a colonial, genocidal attack?
Maybe, just maybe, this "Indian Corn Snack" 

NB. I originally tagged this as "Slaughter on the Plains." It was in poor taste.

21 October 2014


It goes without saying that the views expressed here do not represent my own. Mustard is disgusting. I found out that I used to eat mustard-glazed hams, but now I don't do that anymore.

If living with Food Thoughtz has taught me anything it was that I can't do things my way. It has also taught me some things on the mysterious and sacred nature of tea- and other towels, but that is a subject that should be tackled on my own blog, where I discuss the wonders and mysteries of the created and the eternal world.

Point is that Food Thoughtz has been tugging at my ear until I just gave up resistance, sighed and sat down to my computer to compose an essay on the genera and species of mustards. I love mustard and hot sauce, and condiments in general, especially if you count yogurt as a condiment. (FYI: I do) Although my parents' came from fairly different backgrounds they have always agreed about one thing: dry food is for fools. When I was a kid, we used to eat deep-fried things (I don't anymore, and neither does my sister and my mum. My dad does, but maybe that is the reason why he divorced my mum and married someone who is fond of schnitzels.), but always combined with something juicy or creamy. If we had schnitzels, we had them with mashed potatoes, if we had croquettes, or fried potatoes there was always some kind of sauce or condiment to balance dryness and crunchiness. Later on, when my sister and I went through adolescence we have discovered that the addition of yogurt enhances the quality of EVERY SINGLE dish. It was also around this time that I have discovered mustard and horseradish, and ten years later I have completed my gastronomical education by embracing hot sauce. 

This post is solely about mustard and the different kinds of it, I might write a review on hot sauce in five years, when Food Thoughtz has accumulated a sufficient amount of CAD to buy me a variety of them.

Plain old mustard

I am the direct descendent of a man who ate baloney, bread, mustard and mayonnaise horseradish for dinner every day, for fifteen years, while watching this.

At first I thought my grandpa's choice of dinner was somewhat boring and not very nutritious, but after having lived with him for three years, I have accustomed to his diet, and I would eat baloney with horseradish and mustard any time! Or maybe the love for baloney, mustard and horseradish was already in my genes? Nature vs. nurture! I'll let you decide.

Anyway, my grandpa always bought plain old Univer mustard, which is an excellent choice. It's not cheap store-brand grade mustard, which has most probably been died yellow by sulphur-dioxide or something, but it isn't too expensive to eat with suspicious-looking baloney either. Univer as the name says is universal, and can be put in everything to improve its quality.

Hot recipe tip: Mix it with yogurt, salt and a pinch of sugar, and dip some carrots and apples in it. Also put it in your béchamel sauce, along with nutmeg. Use it to marinate beef. Eat it with boiled beef and vegetables. I could go on....

Dijon mustard

At home, we call Dijon mustard the variety with coarsely ground grains. But one thing the I have learned as a French major was that us Hungarians are fond of naming foods inaccurately.
Hungarians hold a grudge against France because of the treaty of Trianon, and they took their revenge by naming baloney "Parisian" and a gross mayonnaise-covered steamed vegetable medley "French salad" (known as macédoine by the French). Anyway, the coarsely ground mustard (moûtarde à l'ancienne) is not the Dijon mustard, actually it is called old-fashioned mustard by the French, and just one among the varieties of Dijon mustards, which are instead characterized by the addition of white wine. The more you know.*

Dijon mustard is actually my favourite. It is the perfect mixture of heat, saltiness and tartness. It's delicious, it complements pork, beef and cold cuts perfectly. It's so good that you should not use it as an ingredient but as a condiment unto itself, or just serve it as dessert. Desserts are a waste of time anyway.

Hot recipe tip: eat it with a spoon. Put it on everything.

*I have discovered the true nature of French mustard around the time I have discovered my unending love for it, upon devouring a whole jar of Wendy's Maille mustard. Thank you, Wendy for the time I got to spend in your house and your fridge + and for buying me an extra bottle of Maille before my arrival to Canada this year. I don't think I would ever buy it for myself, so really, this post could have never been written without your contribution.

Sweet mustard

Sweet mustards are quite disgusting. Mostly because they are sweet. Sweetness belongs with fruits, drinks and desserts, it has no business in bread, meat and vegetables or mustard.

The Bavarian sweet mustard is apparently based on the idea of substituting sugar for vinegar as a means of preservation. Well, why would you do that, when you could have just used vinegar, or wine? As far as I know vinegar is actually just sugary water in the final stage of rotting, so I assume it must also be cheaper than sugar. It makes no sense whatsoever, unless Bavarians were just too lazy to mix the sugar with water and then let it rot (which actually makes sense, because they are also too lazy to get up from the table to go pee).

I am not sure whether I had this mustard when I was staying in Germany, but if this was the one I had, then I guess it was OK. It looks like diarrhea, but it's fine with rye bread, tomato and (obviously) baloney.

This President's Choice mustard on the other hand was vile and disgusting, it tasted like a tub of sweet earwax, much like the barbecue sauce that was served at McDonalds in the nineties. I put it on the street, because I assume that people in need need nothing more than a tub of earwax. Something like that will greatly enhance the quality of the actual food they already have.

Hot recipe tip
: Avoid it.

Flavoured mustard

Why do you want to improve something that is already perfect? You cannot. (cf. Republic 381b-c, this is why Christians later denied that God actually got mad at Adam and Eve or at the idolatrous and faithless israelites) What is even worse, while you cannot spoil God, you can spoil mustard with your foolish attempts. Just don't do it. (Maybe redcurrant mustard would be nice, though? Just a thought. Cooking is not theology there are no strict rules.)

I guess honey mustard flavouring is OK.

Hot recipe tip: Re-gift it to someone who likes arugula and dark chocolate with chilli.

15 October 2014

Apple Sauce

Everyone: fall has arrived. The reason I know is because I just made my first batch of apple sauce from discount apples—and it was a roaring success!

Apple sauce is one of those foods that I really love, but that I don’t eat nearly often enough. For some reason I always think that I am going to have to devote an entire week to making a few jars of apple sauce that I will likely just gobble up in a matter of hours. But this is never the case! Nothing could be easier than making apple sauce! It takes only as much time as it takes to cut up however many apples (usually five apples for me, because that’s the maximum number that can fit in my pot), and then you just put those apple cubes in the pot with a bit of water, and just go away and do something else. Usually I add cinnamon during the cooking process, and sometimes I also add a bit of brown sugar as well, but the sugar is rarely necessary.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am currently enrolled in a Master of Information program at the University of Toronto. But when I was first applying to schools, I also applied to McGill as a safety-school and got in because I am a rising star. To celebrate my success, a West Coast celebrity gifted me a jar of apple sauce that was made in a crockpot. And it was delicious. Until I found out that what made it so delicious was the addition of cloves. I associate cloves so strongly with hams that the apple sauce kind of lost some of its magic. But it was still really good apple sauce. I just wish I didn’t know about those cloves.

My mum used to always make and preserve apple sauce. It was usually that puréed apple sauce, which is good, but I think isn’t as good as the chunky apple sauce. She also used to whip up a dish of chunky apple sauce for breakfast sometimes, which was great because it tastes like apple pie without the cumbersome pastry. Recently she has started to bake the apple chunks, which is also really delicious, but then she made me two jars while she was visiting and put way too much butter in the baking dish so that when the apples were transferred to jars and then to the fridge, the butter re-solidified, and looked really gross and it was difficult to want to actually eat it.

One thing I am realizing as I desperately try to think of a single interesting thing to say about apple sauce and my experience with apple sauce is that it can be difficult to speak and think about certain foods in a  way that could be considered even remotely engaging. Usually it’s foods that I really like, but don’t necessarily love—a food that that is, and always have been, a part of my life, and which I expect to always enjoy and consume. I mean, what can I say about apple sauce? It’s really good. I like eating it. I like eating it cold and I like eating it hot. I like eating it plain and I like eating it with vanilla ice cream. I like the feeling of accomplishment that I get after making a batch of apple sauce. I like getting good deals on apples that are perhaps too bruised or soft to eat naturally. I like apple sauce.

The way that I mark the arrival of fall
Is with a discount-rotten-apple-haul.
Boil it, add cinnamon, and store it in a jar:
You’re all set for a fall-fruit consumption bazaar. 

14 October 2014

Self-Contained Shell Lasagnas

If I know anything about Robert Burns—beyond the fact that he inexplicably has his own day—it’s that he once wrote a poem with the line “best-laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley”, but as neither mouse nor man, my best laid schemes almost always stay on track. Except this one time when I tried to make self-contained lasagnas in large shell pasta. It was a disaster. A delicious, terrible, ugly disaster.

Okay, but let me just give you an overview of my thought process here: I love spaghetti bolognese, and I like lasagna fair enough, but how amazing would it be if everything that I loved about these two dishes was contained in a single, large shell (I mean, obviously not a single shell; of course I ate about ten of them). Right? Like, if I cooked a bunch of large shell pastas, and then lined the interior with cheese (probably cheddar, but parmesan or mozzarella would work fine as well), and then filled the rest of the shell with bolognese sauce, and then grated more cheese on top of all the shells and then baked them. Right?! Has anything ever sounded better to anyone?

So finally, when I was in Grand Forks for reading break last year, I did it. And … it didn’t really work out the way I thought it would. First of all, I forgot the interior cheese lining, which was a huge mistake because the end product didn’t have nearly enough cheese. But it was also a lot harder and a lot messier to stuff the shells than I thought it would be. And in the end it just looked terrible. It was so disgusting. It looked like a fake organ display in a low-budget haunted house. But I ate it anyway, and they were pretty good. Maybe they weren’t as good as I was anticipating, but still a pretty solid meal.

Right? Look at how terrible this looks. Who could ever
want to eat this? But eat it I did.
I made the same dish again this summer and ate so much of it that I couldn’t move for a full twenty-four hours. This time I remembered to line the shells with cheese. It was still really messy, and the dish didn’t come out of the oven looking particularly appetizing, but yeah, I would say it was a pretty good meal. I’m not sure if it’s necessarily worth the effort, because it’s certainly not significantly better than just regular pasta topped with cheese, and in fact I’m not sure if it’s better at all. But anyway, I still have half a box of large shell pasta which have virtually no other application, so I guess I am just going to have to make this again.

The best-laid schemes o' shells an meat
So oft are destroyed
An'lea'e us nought but grief an' defeat
For want of promis'd joy!

13 October 2014

Potato Water

That gross, milky water that's left over after cooking potatoes never would have occurred to me as being a food. But then I married someone who stores it and later drinks it. And it is disgusting. No one loves potatoes more than I do, but even I must draw the line somewhere. And frankly, that line is drawn long before potato water (it's drawn at scalloped potatoes).

As I found it.

It goes without saying that this is not a "food" I would ever consider eating. I thought I would write a post about it because M just saved herself a bowl after making mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner, and I just had to deal with it. So I dealt with it like this:

(Seriously, so gross)"

I mean, this actually isn't food -- it's food waste. And frankly, it's a waste of my time to even talk about it further. So. Gross.

Hello Muddah,
Hello Fadduh, 
All I got is
Potato Wadduh.

10 October 2014

Food Thoughtz Emergency

I am currently enrolled in a Master of Information program at the University of Toronto. I am studying to become an archivist. A requirement of the programme is to complete two "workshops," which I had initially assumed would be somehow relevant and practical in nature. I thought that we would work in groups to develop and execute an appraisal plan, or something along those lines. But, never failing to disappoint, the iSchool has upset my assumptions once again. These workshops are largely impractical and could focus on any number of topics--few of which have any direct connection to my area of study.

One such workshop, offered this winter, is entitled "Communicating Identities at the Table." Here is the course description:

This interdisciplinary workshop explores a very popular social and cultural practice, the dinner party, in order to engage students with contemporary discourses about cooking, eating and performing identities through food in both domestic and public spaces. In the past few decades, communication and information about food and culinary cultures intensified in everyday contexts, exposing contemporary communities, globally, to the poetics and politics of food production and consumption. For information students, this workshop will provide a new approach to thinking about the diverse ways in which we communicate and share information about food, foodways and food technologies.
This workshop zooms in on the dinner party, a practice with a rich cultural history, in order to highlight the different forms of communication which make up the current foodscapes. The course introduces students to the social and cultural history of the dinner party, highlighting some significant examples, such as Tupperware parties, underground supper clubs, dinner reenactments and Mad Men-inspired evenings. The focus of the workshop is on how such events are communicated through various media, from magazines and television to apps and blogs. Some examples analyzed in the class are popular television shows–“Dinner party wars” and “Come dine with me, Canada”, movies–“Babette’s feast” (1987), “Big Night” (1996) “Julie & Julia” (2009) and “The hundred-foot journey” (2014) and magazines–Food & Drink, Bon Appétit, Food Network Magazine, etc.

Please note that students will require no specialist knowledge of either food studies or media studies in order to take this workshop, although some background in communication/media theory and/or cultural studies will be helpful. Students will be expected to consume food media relevant to the content of the course and should be aware before enrolling that some food tastings will take place during class time.
[my emphasis]

I repeat: this is a real thing. This is a course I could actually take and get credit for in the coming semester.

What I need to know from you, dear readers, is what course of action I should take in response to this ludicrous class. Should I submit a strongly worded letter about how the iSchool is excluding a small subset of society that may or may not suffer from an undiagnosed and unrecognized--but still conceivably possible and real--eating disorder ("selective eating disorder")? Should I challenge myself and enrol in the course? Should I forget that I ever read this course description? Please advise.

05 October 2014

Individual Yogurt Cups

You guys. Something has changed. I’ve started bringing individual yogurt cups for my lunch, and I don’t know how to feel about it. I used to have them when I was in elementary school and loved them. They were a perfect amount of yogurt for me, but they were also these Dairyland yogurts with the fruit on the bottom (peach was, obviously, the best one, but strawberry wasn’t bad either) and those ones are no longer available. But now I’m not sure what role these yogurts could continue to play in my life. I’m bringing two yogurt cups for lunch because one is no longer enough for me. They’re really tedious to eat, and I am afraid that I tend to throw out a lot of the yogurt just because it’s difficult to access to it in all the nooks and crannies of that small container. Would it not be better to buy a large tub of yogurt and redistribute it to other containers that better suit my needs? Well, probably, yes. And that is what I had done throughout the summer. But then there are all these individual cups of yogurts that were 50% off at Loblaws, so I just went for it.

This yogurt expired two weeks ago.
Still eating it.

I guess I don’t regret it. I don’t hate eating yogurt out of a tiny cup designed for a baby. But I don’t love it either. I guess one good part is that I bought one pack of 16 yogurts and got 8 different flavours. I would probably buy the individual cups again if they were 50% off again, otherwise I think I will just get a big tub. Or who knows? Maybe I’ll take a break from yogurt for a while. There are a lot of directions this could go. Well, there are three. There are three different directions this could go.

Anyway, whatever. I’m sorry for this post. It’s truly terrible. School is starting to ramp up and I don’t really have time to Food Thoughtz anymore.

Is it reasonable as an adult to sup
On fruit-flavoured yogurt from a tiny little cup?
Or can it only be considered as far too juvenile
To gel with my new professional style?

04 October 2014

Armadillo Potatoes

This afternoon I read an article that someone posted on facebook about how you're eating food wrong. There was a picture of this delicious potato that looked like an armadillo. I was intrigued and needed to try it. I went out and bought potatoes. I tried it. And you know what? I'm not doing it wrong. I have been eating potatoes correctly my entire life. These armadillo potatoes weren't that great.

They ended up looking pretty good though, right?

Basically I just sliced them up as best I could while ensuring that each slice was still connected to the body of the potato at the bottom. Then I brushed them with olive oil because I got a free pastry brush on the street about a month ago. Then I sprinkled kosher salt on them (admittedly too much). And then I popped them into the oven for what felt like eternity, but was realistically more like an hour and a half, which is still way too much time to spend preparing a potato.

I think one of the reasons I didn't really like these potatoes (but don't get me wrong, I obviously still did really like them; they just weren't as good as pan-fried potatoes) is because I'm not all that crazy about olive oil. These potatoes might have been much better if I painted them with butter instead. I don't know. In the end they kind of just tasted like exactly what they are: potatoes painted with olive oil.

They also seriously took way too long.

Tonight I fashioned my potatoes like armadillos
Nothing relevant rhymes with "armadillos."

NB: I have labeled these potatoes as "Food I Have Tried But Would Not Try Again." Obviously I have so many more potatoes ahead of me in this life time. They just probably won't be these armadillo potatoes.