24 November 2014

"Dear Food Thoughtz": Failure to Thrive

Failing to thrive is a frequent experience for me. This edition of Dear Food Thoughtz will explore whether or not food is a useful tool to dig yourself out of a pit of misery.

Dear Food Thoughtz:

I have lost the will to live, do you have any food recommendations this?

Yours respectfully,

p.s. I have a potato, will that help?

Okay, well first of all, “a” potato is not helpful to anyone. One must have at least (at least) four potatoes on hand in order to be of any help. Like, even if it is an enormous potato, one is never enough. Don’t be ridiculous.

A basic flowchart will help us narrow down the scope of this question.

So it looks like we’re going to forge forth with “too lazy or apathetic to thrive.” Here are a list of food experiences I’ve had in the past relevant to your needs:

  • One time, after wrapping up a long semester, I bought myself a large pizza and went home with it. I tried to watch a movie, but was so exhausted that I fell asleep with the pizza in bed with me. When I woke up the next morning, I rolled over and stuffed some of that cold pizza in my mouth. I felt like I never needed to leave the bed again. I did, but only to get another pizza.
  • Sometimes, when I expect I won’t make it through the week, I buy a bag of frozen fries and eat nearly all of them in one go. After eating that many fries, I then feel like I physically cannot go on. Usually I do not. I pass out in a food-coma.
  • When I lived in Montreal for the first time, I barely ate anything at all. This was mostly a result of laziness and extreme frugality.  But every once in a while I would feel like I was on the verge of passing out. Instead of making myself something to eat, I would just go to the corner store and buy a box of Oreos or a big bag of Miss Vickie's jalapeno chips and eat the entire thing at once.

I will say, however, that if you want to turn your life around and start to thrive, one of the best things you can do is actually make something worth eating that won’t make you feel like you’re slowly (or rapidly) transforming into the garbage you’re eating. I mean, who knows! Sometimes all you want is to feel like garbage! In which case you should refer back to this beginning of this discussion. But if you want to turn yourself around, you should go out and get yourself some fruits or vegetables and then prepare them in some mildly time-consuming way that will not be too overwhelming but will make you feel like you’re actually doing something. It's important to note that you can do this in a bathrobe, or whatever your preferred uniform of failure may be. Buying some broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, cooking them, and grating a bit of cheese on them makes me feel like I am really doing something with my life—even if it takes more or less the same time as ordering a pizza or buying and baking a bag of frozen fries. I guarantee you that even if you take the five minutes required to make a serving of apple sauce, it will make you feel like like you are poised to take over the world (when you realize that you are not in fact poised to take over the world, you will falter, flounder, and sink back into a bag of frozen french fries. The beautiful cycle of life continues!)

Eating poorly generally makes you feel pretty terrible, and it makes it more and more difficult to pull yourself out of a failure-riddled slump. But sometimes that feeling of total failure and no longer caring about what your body looks or feels like is kind of satisfying. So if this is the stage that you're at right now, I would recommend stocking up on crappy frozen foods or several pizzas and curling up on the couch and watching so much tv that you feel like you're either merging with the couch itself or that your eyes are about to burn out of your skull. Ideally both. (Pro Tip: there are usually a lot of good Criminal Minds marathons on, especially during Christmas. They typically last for days.)

23 November 2014

A Bucket Full of Raw Animal Organs (Pre-Sausage Version)

Pig slaughter season continues in Hungary, and things are only going down hill following the previous post on the pig head in a bucket of its own waste. Note on the pig head: the Hungarians involved have provided some additional information about its preparation: "they smoke the head and eat the flesh from it and they also put head-flesh into kocsonya which is a very disgusting thing. Sally, trust me, you dont want us to go into details!" Kocsonya, which it turns out I really didn't want to know more about, is apparently some sort of disgusting jellied dish made from preparing a soup with a strong cartilage base so that it will jelly when cooled. It is also worth noting that the brain evidently is not eaten raw, as I initially assumed, but is fried and served on toast with onions and, although not explicitly mentioned, probably paprika because they are Hungarians. 

But what appears below can only be described as a horrific massacre. After chopping off the pig head, smoking it, and then tearing the cooked flesh off with your teeth (unconfirmed), the most disgusting organs are harvested and thrown into a large plastic tub. These include kidneys, liver, and lungs (lungs!). These organs are then ground up, stuffed into sausage casings (which for all we know are pig intestines, but might be synthetic, but let's face it, probably aren't), and then people willingly put them in their mouth even though they already saw the raw organs sitting in a heap in the tub. 

I'm sorry that I am making you all look at this in such a large format, but it really haunted
me when I had to see it for the first time, and there's really no reason why I should
have to suffer alone. At first I thought it was a bucket full of slightly unhealthy lobsters.

I'm sorry, but I just could not do this. I couldn't be involved with this. I don't know if this means that I shouldn't be eating meat in the first place, but this bucket of organs is not for me. I can't imagine being involved in this process start to finish. I have no idea how to pull organs out of an animal carcass. Do you wear gloves? Aren't they slippery? Are they surprisingly heavy? Do you drop them in the bucket with a thud, or lay them gently because bruising is a concern? Do you have to cut them into smaller pieces to stuff into the meat grinder? Do you hose them down first? I was told that these organs were being made into hurka sausage. Is it called hurka because you kind of naturally make that sound when you vomit? I don't know if I even want to know the answer to most of these questions. I feel like I already know far too much.

This post about raw organs
Took a lot longer to write because
Oh wait, hold on, I have to go puke again.

22 November 2014

A Skinned Pig Head Cut in Half and then Dumped into a Bucket

Someone I know just ventured out into the wilds of rural Hungary to slaughter a pig. Good for them! I've always kind of agreed that if you're going to eat meat, you should probably be okay with and able to perform the processes required to procure that meat. I say "kind of" because I'm actually not okay with the processes and would never be able to perform them. Case in point: this skinned pig head that has been cut in half, presumably to extract the brains, presumably to consume it:

Okay. So this is what it looks like if, after slaughtering a pig, you cut off
its head, skin the head, cut the head in half down the centre, and then
dump it all into a bucket full of its own fluid.

Umm, this is gross. This is GROSS. I hate this. This pig's brains have been extracted from its skull (probably; still waiting for confirmation*) so that one person or several people can put those brains in their mouth and swallow them. As FOOD. I wish there was a more extreme italics, but there's not.

This is one of the most gruesome things I've ever seen, and yet I cannot look away. Can you imagine touching it? Like, most of it is surely skull, but then there's sinewy muscle fibres laced over top? And it would probably be really slippery? So the only way you could hold onto it is by tightening your grip, and then you had to feel the hardness of the skull even more as it dug into your fleshy hand? You would probably grip it around the jaw because you could easily reach your hand around the bone, and perhaps it would bump against you, and you would feel its dead teeth push against the top of your hand. And maybe even still you would drop it, and it would land with a thud on the muddy ground, and you would pick it up, but it would be speckled with bits of grass and dirt, matted into the flesh that is still clinging to the skull? Or, like, can you imagine cutting a skull in half? I don't even know how you go about it. Personally I would just swing an axe down on it (although then imagine all the little pieces of flesh and bone that would fly back and hit you, and would maybe speckle your skin so that you have stringy little pieces of pig flesh hanging off your face), but I have a feeling you probably can't do that if your entire purpose is to pull the brain out still intact. And imagine pulling the brain out. Like, isn't it still attached to something? Even if the head has been cut off, surely that little brain stem is still attached to some neck vertebrae, and then, like, you have to tug on it and feel and hear it snap apart. And then you're just left holding a brain! And you have to look at it and know that you're about to eat it! And who knows if there's still some shell of skull plastered onto the top of the brain. Probably. I wouldn't have any idea. I've never done this before. I hope I will never have to do this.

Before I wrap things up and hopefully put this horrific image out of my mind forever, I want to stress that I obviously do not have a problem with killing pigs and eating them. Pig meat is probably the best kind of meat there is, and it's probably even more delicious in Hungary because the Hungarians have squirreled away a secret breed of pig that has taken on mythical proportions (and which also seems to be out of mythology because it looks like a bizarre pig-sheep hybrid that Ovid might have dreamed up). Rumours have it that this rare and elusive mangalica is more delicious than any other breed of pig. None of this really changes the fact that the above picture shows a pig skull cut in half with the brain pulled out though.

It has been said that slaughtering your own meat
Is so much more humane.
But in order to do so, you have to crack open the skull
And haul out the brain.
And throw into a bucket of slop 
The bloody and gruesome skull-and-muscle remains. 
And it is this act that separates a mere captain 
From the heroic kapitány.

* It has been confirmed. This is what happened.

13 November 2014

SallyBot Speaks the Truth

Courtesy of SallyBot.

"What Would I Say" is one of my favourite things on the internet. Except for maybe this picture of me as Aladdin on a magic carpet made of buttered bread.
Saladdin. ("Prince Sali" is probably more appropriate at this point.)

NB: This bread picture came from a "recipe" for cinnamon toast. I didn't bother to read the recipe, but surely it only consisted of "put cinnamon-sugar on buttered bread." There is nothing else to that "recipe." But also, don't you melt the butter on the bread, not just spread it? Maybe I should consult that recipe...

09 November 2014

"Dear Food Thoughtz": Binging to Deal with Sexual Malevolence

This installation of Dear Food Thoughtz deals with Jian Ghomeshi, but not really. It's pretty directionless.
Dear Food Thoughtz

With the nation reeling from the intimate details of Jian Ghomeshi's wild and crazy sex life, no doubt people are turning to food in order to cope with having to wait for the full story to break in the press about what really happened. What foods are you relying on to sublimate your anticipation about what really happened? I need some inspiration here, because all I have is a giant jar of fermented corn, and I don't know how long I'm going to have to wait for this news to be released.

Someone who thought for way too long about how to make a sign-off name that was an acronym of BDSM
Just when you thought sauerkraut couldn't get any worse.

Dear person who aspires to be known by the acronym BDSM,

Might I first of all suggest "'Bout to Dig-in to SauerMaize" as a future sign-off name that would translate to an acronym to BDSM? I haven't put much thought into it yet, but this is what came to me first. Also, I have no idea what "sauer" actually means, unless it just means sour. Which it might.

The good news is that you have your choice of any food to eat while watching how this whole thing shakes out, unlike all of those other idiots who initially rushed to his defence (I'M LOOKING AT YOUR TORRAH JANG) who now have to scarf down a bunch of crow baked into a humble pie.

Something about Jian Ghomeshi's facebook post
being a ferment-crock of shit.

Personally, I guess I would have to say that I've been eating a lot of potatoes. Not because I think they're well designed for scandal-binging (although ... they are. They are well designed for any kind of binging; they are delicious) but because they keep showing up in my oven when I get home. So, I don't know. I've never really considered that certain foods are better than others when waiting for a horrific story about violent assault against women to unravel before your very eyes. You know what? I'm going to go with potatoes. I think a lot of people would say popcorn, but popcorn is too light. This is the kind of story that only gets worse and worse as more information is revealed (but also more and more satisfying), so you should match that with a food that makes you feel heavier and heavier the more you eat of it, but leaves a taste of satisfaction in your mouth. Eventually you will get to the point where you feel so sluggish and worn out from all those potatoes and all of the terrible, skeezy revelations about Jian Ghomeshi that you can't be bothered to pick yourself up off the floor again. But at least you'll also have the sweet, sweet taste of potatoes and justice lingering on your taste buds.

Something-something, Jian Ghomeshi is as revolting as this sauerkraut.

I certainly would not recommend eating fermented corn, no matter what the scenario. I mean, unless you wanted to prove to everyone how disgusted you are by Jian Ghomeshi. I guess you could induce vomiting by eating that corn. I guess that is something that you can do with fermented corn. If you're going for BDSM food-bingo, the fermented corn would definitely cover the masochist aspect. For me, potatoes definitely cover the B, D, and S: I am bound to them through love, they dominate my diet, and the ferocity with which I devour them could probably be described as being sadistic (toward the potato).

05 November 2014

The Parsnip

I don't know what a parsnip is, but it looks like the offspring of a carrot and a turnip that should have been aborted.

I have no idea why or how people eat these things, but I know they're not for me. I guess maybe some people put them in a soup or a stew, but I would not.

What do you get when you mix a carrot and a turnip?
Something even worse,* and we call it a parsnip.

*There is no reliable data on whether or not a parsnip is in fact worse than a turnip. They're probably equally bad.

01 November 2014

Ode to the Apricot

Remember a couple of weeks (months) ago when I posted a poll asking whether or not my dad should write a post about apricots? The results are in, and it's a resounding yes. He put it off for quite a while, but it has finally arrived and I am sharing it with you today. It seems that there will never be an accompanying post about apricots, but sometimes you have to take what you can get.