An Orgy of Tomato Goodness as the Garden Comes a Cropper

August 13, 2008

Fresh tomatoes in abundance adorn my daily table. This is my best crop ever. Fresh salsa and tomato-laden entrees are nightly dinner fare. After the backbreaking initial work and the tenacious nurturing the rewards of growing one’s own are many. I’ve been making sandwiches and tortilla wraps with Boca spicy organic chicken patties and combos of my own garden tomatoes, peppers and store-bought lettuce, ranch dressing and cheese. My fresh salsa recipe is simple: cut up a medium-sized tomato and supplement with a couple of grape tomatoes to add a tinge of sweetness, cut up a little onion (I only had some dried onion lately, as the pix attest, but they will do), cut up some of my home-grown jalapeno peppers, add a little black pepper and some cilantro (dried will do)—and that’s it. This is pretty basic, but the freshness can’t be beat, and the chunkiness and texture differ from the slimy store-bought stuff. Note that I had to use a champagne flute for my Sauvignon blanc because I finally broke the last of my wine glass set. Anyway here are some pix from some healthy, low-fat meals of the past few days. -EG

I Ate Spunk o’ the Otis … But Don’t Misunderstand

July 30, 2008

OK, so I know this is juvenile, but hey, I’m reading Howard Stern’s Private Parts right now so I’m in that mood. Normally I’m a fairly clean-living fellow so eating a processed industrial transfatty type thing like an Otis Spunkmeyer chocolate muffin would not happen. But a co-worker down the hall sells this junk for 50 cents, which is half the price of the friggin’ vending machine, and as I had an unrequited sugar/choco craving it had to be done. The quick and dirty food review: Otis Spunkmeyer chocolate muffins are not bad as plastic-wrapped industrial muffins go. They’re dry, but the list of ingredients is not as heinous as a lot of snack-cake type foods, the chocolate chips lend an extra richness, the portion size is ample and the taste is not overly chemical-like. This seems like damning with faint praise, but I ended up buying another one the next day. When I do things like this, I alter my diet the rest of the day and cut out further sugar or carb portions to help balance things out.

Heh, heh, heh, heh. Hey Beavis, he said ‘spunk,’ eh heh heh heh.


Does Evian Give You the Runs? Verdict Inconclusive

May 23, 2007

100_0565-13.jpgI’ve had lots of bottled waters but have to admit that I’d never tried the much-vaunted French H2O, Evian, until this weekend. Walgreen’s has it on sale this week for $1 for a large 1-liter bottle, which makes this usually pricey item affordable to me, and thus worth a try. I have to say, it’s pretty good, not as soft as I might have expected, but nicely neutral with no hint of plastic that I can detect; the product comes in what seems to be a pretty good grade of hard PET plastic. By chance, I was store hopping on my bike on Sunday and crossed paths with my next door neighbors. I mentioned to them that I had just bought this Evian for the first time and the good lady informed me that she had tried it once and got such a severe case of the runs that she was laid up for a day. “That’s ’cause it’s mineral water,” she explained. Sounded kinda unpersuasive to me. Although Evian does have a lot of dissolved minerals, I don’t think they’d cause diarrhea. As it turns out, though, I’ve been a little excessively “regular” ever since I started drinking this stuff a few days ago, but that’s probably because I concurrently developed a craving for raisins that I have satisfied to excess by downing handfuls of the sweet shriveled grapes. I think it can be reasonably assumed that my regularity-in-overdrive can be attributed to this, not the water.

Anyway, there is another question that comes up in regard to Evian that I can’t seem to find a good, conclusive answer for (at least in searching the discussion boards via google)—and that is: Why is there a tiny “do not refill” command on the label?

The various posited internet speculations include things such as:

** “Evian knows that if consumers are so stupid to buy bottled water in the first place they will blindly follow any command on the bottle and continue to spend more money on new bottles instead of refilling them.”

** “The plastic in the bottles begins breaking down immediately, putting excess chemicals into the water.”

** “Unscrupulous entrepreneurs and bartenders have refilled empty Evian bottles with tap water and sold them as new.”

All, some or none of these may be true, or not.

Since the 1-800-633-3363 Evian consumer number is printed right next to the warning, I decided to go ahead and give them a call and ask.

A rep by the name of Sofien politely explained: “Evian is bottled under strict sanitary conditions,” which are not replicated when consumers refill and reseal the bottles.

So Evian considers it a customer safety issue. I find it hard to argue with that reasoning. Whether it’s entirely true or not is up to you.


Titanic Struggle With Kroger Cheese

February 22, 2007



I know what you’re thinking, either, “He’s got too much time on his hands,” or “There are wars and hunger and people with real problems in the world, and look what his comfortable ass is complaining about.” Obviously, I thought of these things before I posted. So, maybe this is frivolous. But haven’t you on many occasions wished you could get a picture of one of the many nagging, frustrating everyday problems that pop up (but shouldn’t) and share it with the world? I decided to act on that wish.

The deal is that after a day of dealing with problems, when you get home at night you want things that are supposed to go smoothly to, well, go smoothly. Easy-open food products should not become yet another fire you have to put out. Take the Kroger “easy” open and seal 16 oz. shredded cheddar cheese bag depicted herein. It’s touted as being convenient: just pull the top strip off and voila, you’re in cheese heaven. Except whoever shoddily manufactured the bag didn’t want to cooperate. I tear off the strip and, you guessed it, the strip perforation is higher than it’s supposed to be—so I’m not closer to having any cheese than when I tore the top off. Like the good old days, I have to seek and find scissors to complete this act of “convenience.” Prior to that, though, it was a titantic struggle and a test of manhood to see if I could deflower the remaining quarter of an inch of unbroken cheese-bag hymen by sheer force of hand pulling. I couldn’t, or more precisely, I wouldn’t. Why? Because manys the time I’ve applied the greatest pull-apart force on bags of chips, cereal, bagged salad and so on only to have the bag rip and explode with a resulting high-percentage loss of product.

When I was in high school in the 70s, we used to have a buzz-cut burly ex-marine, assistant gym teacher who taught social studies. His geopolitical views could be summed up as, “The commies are bad and out to get us.” Among his many horror stories of the Soviet system was that non-capitalist-made book pages and Red toilet paper was full of oversized wood chips.

When I encounter something like the ill-made Kroger cheese bag, it makes me remember that story.