20 February 2015

"Dear Food Thoughtz:" Night Snackin'

Dear Food Thoughtz

I need your help determining whether or not I have a problem. My boyfriend has started night eating. After we go to bed - and sometimes even after he has fallen asleep - he announces that he's hungry and asks what kind of meat I have in the fridge. He's very thoughtful, always asking me if I want a sandwich, or a drumstick, or a big slab of ham, but it's weird...right? I can't tell if it's problematic, mostly because his earnesty and determination are really funny. Yesterday I brought him a piece of dry-cured sausage and left it on the counter specifically for his night snack. Was that the right thing to do? The pro is that it made him really happy. The con was that he got back into bed smelling like Spanish chorizo. Should I enable this behaviour? Ignore it? Resist? I have a no-food-in-bed rule, but if he gets back into bed with a chunk of meat in his mouth does that count? Honestly, I'm at a loss.

Amused but confused


Ok seriously. I need an answer here. Last night when my boyfriend came over for dinner, he brought 3 baguettes and 2 sausages SOLELY for the purpose of being well-equipped to night-snack (we were having tacos for dinner, so there was no way to pretend that the bread had any other reason to be there).

Dear ABC,

I regret to inform you, but I'm not sure there's much I can do here. I think this is something that your boyfriend has to work through on his own. Honestly, the best thing he could do is chart his night snackin' in a journal. And then to scan that journal, and submit it to Food Thoughtz. A few titles that might suit the topic are:

  • From Sleep to Snacks: One Man's Journey
  • Somnambulant Snacker: One Man's Journey
  • Snacking While Sleeping: One Man's Journey
  • One Man's Journey: One Man's Journey
  • Midnight Journey to the Kitchen: One Man's Journey to the Kitchen
  • Awake and Dreaming ... And Snacking: One Man's Journey
It would probably be beneficial to stop snacking throughout the night because if he's not brushing his teeth afterwards, it might lead to cavities. I am basically the queen of cavities, so I should know.

18 February 2015

"Dear Food Thoughtz:" Too Close for Comfort

Dear Food Thoughtz

Today was my office Christmas potluck luncheon. It was primarily meat and cheese: meatballs, macaroni and cheese, two meat and cheese plates, and a quiche made with cheese and bacon. I brought homemade eatmore bars. They didn't have meat or cheese in them.

Mid-way through our festivities, my officemate got up for seconds, which included a single meatball, and an eatmore square. She put them on the plate together. Oh my god they were so close together. I've attached a picture of the plate, and her reaction as we all shamed her.

My question is: do you think I should request a new officemate?

Perturbed potlucker

PS she's from France. 

Dear PP,

First of all, apologies for my late response. The good news is that it's never too late to request a new officemate. The bad news is evident in the above photograph.

I must admit, I have a bit of a problem with what you identified as the primary issue here. The problem isn't really that she put the meatball and the eatmore bar on the same plate (and indeed they are treacherously close), but that the plate was already used before she put the eatmore bar on it, and that it was used to hold very messy foods (presumably from previous meatballs), and that those messy foods left a pool of, what appears to be, sweet-and-sour sauce. Or barbeque sauce. Frankly, I don't know the difference.

The weirdest thing here, for me, is that things like eatmore bars don't even need to go on a plate. Like, why risk it? Who likes to live on the edge like this? It's entirely acceptable to cup it in your hand, blanketed in a napkin. Or even without the napkin. It doesn't matter. It's a snack made to be eaten by hand! It just doesn't make sense! That she's French just further obscures things! I thought they were responsible and refined, if in nothing else, at least in food and dining etiquette.

But kudos to your for bringing homemade eatmore bars. I am so sick and tired of cheese plates. Not only will I not eat 99% of the cheese featured on them, the cheddar--which is obviously the only cheese I would eat--is always kind of sweaty. So gross.

Ultimately I think, no, you shouldn't request a new officemate. Seize this opportunity to enrich the life of another human being by continuously shaming her for being so disgusting. Sooner or later she'll learn.

17 February 2015

Guest Post: M&Ms

My cousin Matt wrote a guest post for Food Thoughtz. Even without having read the entire post, I already know it is the worst because M&Ms are not very good. They're not terrible, but they're not very good.

This is my first Food Thoughtz guest post, and I want to us to get something straight:  M&Ms are the best.

Seriously, M&Ms are the perfect chocolatey candy, and I could eat them by the bucket.  Did you know that Amazon.com sells a 1.6 kilogram (that's 56oz or 3.5lbs if you think base 10 measurement systems are voodoo) bag of M&Ms.  I'd only need to buy 54 bags and I could eat my body weight in M&Ms.  I'm seriously considering it.

It's not just that the M&M is voiced by Billy West.  That's a selling point, sure.  I'll eat any candy that's voiced by Billy West.  If Billy West starts voicing candy corn and licorice, I will start eating candy corn and licorice.

Billy West: Candy Salesman

After 70 years of fine food engineering, the Mars corporation has managed to strike a perfect balance between candy and chocolate.  The thin candy shell of the M&M gives it an initial sweetness when you put it in your mouth that gives way to the savoury deliciousness of its chocolate innards when your resistance gives and you finally bite down.  The chocolate inside an M&M is of unusually high quality for inexpensive, mass-produced sweets.  It tastes like real chocolate, not like the waxy brown substance one sometimes encounters in inferior mass-market chocolate bars.

Compare the perfect balance of the M&M to its closest confectionary relative, the Smartie (sidebar:  M&Ms started as a Smarties clone.  Forrest Mars Sr. Witnessed soldiers in the Spanish Civil War eating Smarties, and after returning to America, began producing his own candy-covered chocolates in 1941).  Smarties are a fine treat, don't get me wrong.  They'll do in a pinch.  But their candy-chocolate ratio is all wrong.  They're too wide, too thin, their chocolate core too insubstantial.  Like Who Wants To Be A  Millionaire, Christopher Hitchens, and democracy, the Americans imported something from Britain and  perfected it.

There are two chocolates in a candy shell,
So always be ready to tell,
M&M from the imposter,
Manufactured in Gloucester, 

Don't be deceived by the Swiss Candy Cartel

I haven't even touched on all the variations:  There's Dark Chocolate M&Ms (sublime), Peanut M&Ms (perfection), Peanut Butter M&Ms (heaven), Pretzel M&Ms (I don't even know, I've never eaten them), and plenty of region-specific variations to boot.  Sometimes, when I'm feeling cheeky, I go to the bulk foods section of my local grocery store, completely disregard the sign warning “DO NOT MIX BULK FOOD ITEMS” and fill a single bag with as many M&Ms variations as I can find.  A bag full of these colourful little gems is as close as I've found in this world to the physical incarnation of joy.


Food Thoughtz Brain Thoughtz

Okay, now I have read the whole thing, and I can say with even more certainty that it is the worst, principally because it calls out Smarties as being inferior chocolate-candy sweets. Umm, no. They're not. Or at least they weren't. When Smarties were still made with artificial colours, they were untouchable. Matt talks about the ratio and shape being off, but it is (was) so perfectly on point. In fact, I've always had the same complaint about M&Ms: there's too much chocolate, they're too round, and the shell is too thick. And the shell doesn't even taste good. I also always thought it was really stupid that their slogan was "melts in your mouth not in your hand." Excuse me, of course they actually do melt in your hand. They're made of chocolate. If they didn't melt in your hand, why would you want them to melt in your mouth? I guess that the point of the slogan was that they're so delicious that you can't keep them in your hand long enough for them to melt. But you can, and I did. Whatever. I'm tagging this as "Food I Have Tried But Would Not Try Again" (although, truth be told, I do really like Peanut M&Ms). - FT

16 February 2015

Dr. Oetker Microwave Mug Cakes Baked in the Oven

Over Christmas my sister gave me two Dr. Oetker Mug Cakes to be made in the microwave that I don't own. Since then, they  have been sitting on my shelf, taunting me. It's really frustrating to be so close to a mug cake, and yet so far. I thought about taking them to work and using the microwave there, but it seemed so embarrassing. What if someone asked me what I was doing? I would have to say that I was making a mug cake in the microwave. I couldn't go through with it. Tonight I finally broke and decided to try them in the oven.

I guess it ultimately went fine. I'm not sure what I expected from these mug cakes. They definitely weren't the best cakes I've ever had, and as far as easy-bake cakes go, I would have preferred a Betty Crocker or Sarah Lee cake in a big pan because those cakes are actually delicious. The best parts are the burnt corners. The mug cakes definitely took a lot longer to bake than they would have if I had made them in the microwave: they're advertised as taking only 1.05minutes in the microwave, but took over 25minutes in the oven. My sister suggested I use the oven for another purpose at the same time, but I didn't. I just put two tiny little Pyrex dishes, each with half of one mug cake in them, in the oven for over 25minutes.

I have nothing else to say about this experiment. I was expecting something to go terribly wrong, like that the little glass dishes would break. But nothing went wrong. The cakes came out tasting, presumably, as they are supposed to taste (which is subpar). Here are some photos of the process:

Everything you need to make your very own 1 minute mug cake,
minus the microwave and plus 25 minutes.

Here are these little cakes, ready to go into the oven. I kind of wish I had
stopped here and just drank the batter because it actually tasted better
than the finished cakes.

I wanted to take a picture of how, after 20 minutes, the cake was still liquid,
but I really struggle with holding the camera steady. The end result
might be ... art?

This doesn't look very appetizing, but it looks just as appetizing as the
finished product ultimately was.

Anyway, there you have it. Would I make this again? Yes, because I still have one more box to get through. I'm going to make it tomorrow. I am going to try it as a single cake baked in a slightly larger Pryex container. We'll see how it goes.

12 February 2015

Food Thoughtz Zine

Attention everyone. The semester I enrolled in a De/Construction of the Book workshop, and every part of it was amazing. The final project was to create our own book and present it to the class. It goes without saying that I made a zine of Food Thoughtz poems.

Here's the cover. I made it with letter stamps, and now I need my very own
set of letter stamps.

From the outside looking in. In hindsight, maybe having "Auschwitz"
appear on the very first page was a bit of a mistake.
I really struggled with not making the zine look really bland. So Matthew
Zambri, an up-and-coming graphic designer from Toronto,
drew this grapefruit cross-section for me.
But I did these little burgs myself.
And also these tomatoes.
Here is the colophon.

It goes without saying that this zine is amazing, and you wouldn't know it to look at it, but a surprising amount of work went into this. I typed all of the poems up on the typewriter in the Archives, then I cut out nearly every individual line and pasted it onto a template. The template was also surprisingly difficult to design in order to ensure that everything would follow in its proper order and would be the right way up. What I learned throughout this process is that zine making is not entirely unlike Gutenberg-era printing (for those of you who do not know, Gutenberg invented the printing press).

If anyone would like to get their hands on this zine, tough luck because the original template sheets will be on display in Robarts Library throughout the summer and it is unlikely that I will ever see them again.

01 February 2015


If you're anything like me, then it's only last week that you found out that couscous is technically a pasta. And if you had asked me last week what couscous was, I would have said with utmost confidence that it was quinoa and would have gestured vaguely towards the Middle East or Northern Africa. I would have been as confident about this fact as I was when I called someone out for claiming that "Bern" is a capital city (I then went on to furiously argue that Geneva is the capital of Switzerland and that everyone knows that. It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life).

If it's true that couscous is a pasta, then that's disgusting. I hate really small pasta. I'm planning to write a post about orzo later on (I really hate orzo). Like, what is the point of eating such small pasta? Why not just eat regular size pasta? I guess couscous is never eaten in the way that what I consider to be "regular pasta" is eaten, but still. The way it is eaten seems really disgusting to me. Isn't it usually mixed like a salad? I'm not sure if couscous dishes are classified as salads or what, but I think it would be really gross. I have this idea in my head that couscous is eaten cold, and if it is mixed up like a salad, then... I don't know. Isn't it kind of spongy and gross? Based on the way couscous looks, I don't think the texture would appeal to me at all.

But now I have asked google whether couscous is a pasta, and the internet seems confused. The New York Times is telling me that it is not a pasta, but only closely related to pasta. A "question-of-the-day" blurb that popped up as the top hit for my search claims that it actually is a type of pasta. At the end of the day, do any of us really care? Couscous is not a food for me. It looks like those beads of silica gel that you get with clothes sometimes. I don't know what purpose either serve nor which one is less appetizing.

Grain? Pasta? What is couscous?
No one on the internet has been able to deduce,
But ingesting it seems like it's probably abuse.
Enveloped garment accoutrements is its only use.