Posts Tagged ‘food’

Boring and Loving It

February 13, 2007

Aaron travels a lot for his job. While I could explain to you what he actually does to earn a living, for the purpose of this story it’s easier for me just to say that he talks on the phone a lot and yells at people who work under him. Most weeks that means a two hour commute to and from his corporate headquarters in Burbank, but lately it involves visiting bizarre and seemingly random places. One week it was Chicago, another Reno, and this week he’s in Toledo, Ohio. Due to his incredibly busy schedule these trips are very draining, and most nights he can’t get much more than a few hours sleep. Despite the fact that my schedule is far from busy and far from stressful, I find that I’m getting even less sleep than he is.

I’m trying very hard to stay productive, whether it be cleaning the apartment, visiting friends, or teaching myself to cook (it’s not working,) Unfortunately I find it nearly impossible to do these things during daylight hours. Every night at the stroke of twelve I magically transform from a sloth into Alice from ‘The Brady Bunch.’ Doing laundry, reading about recipes online: anything worth doing gets done when everyone else I know is sleeping.

Hamburger helper

I find this terribly relaxing, and even fun. Without Aaron around to distract me I can really get to work, living my late-night dreams of scrubbing bathroom tile and baking blueberry muffins. Even when I was a single man-whore I never stayed up so late; at least then I had a job to wake up to in the morning. Quitting Macaroni Grill a month ago was one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done — so much so that I can’t find a good reason to go back to work.

Oddly enough, when my internship ended I was having the exact opposite reaction. Without steady income I was moody, erratic and all of the terrible things that I normally am (only moreso!) A job, even a lame one like serving pasta to the masses, coulld not have come too soon. Ironically it was Aaron who was unhappy about me finding work, fearing that it would cut into our weekend getaways and spontaneous trips. He was right, and our little adventures are now few and far between. Now I’m getting weekends off for the first time in a year, and all he has the energy to do is watch me cook him tacos for dinner.

In all liklihood boredom is going to be what pushes me over the edge and back into the job market, it’s only a matter of time. Sure my savings will dry up eventually, but I find that I’m saving all kinds of money by cooking for myself. Hamburger Helper is the new love of my life. In fact, I think I have prepared it for dinner at least four times in the past week. Who can possibly resist such a delicious product, especially when it has a friendly, anthropomorphic kitchen glove on the box?

Eating a pound of ground beef by myself is getting tiresom, and if I have to live like this much longer I don’t know what I will do. Until I figure that out the next step in my life, though, chances are the highlight of my day is still going to be my midnight supply runs to Wal-Mart.

Ecto Cooler

January 3, 2007

If you’ve seen any pictures of me you can probably guess that I’m not a ‘food person.’ Despite the fact that I work very closely with the stuff, my appetite and interest in food as a whole is very limited. In fact, if I didn’t have to eat the stuff to live, I doubt I’d be putting much in my mouth besides salt water taffy and Ecto Cooler.

In case you weren’t familar with the product, Ecto Cooler was a nectar of the gods produced by Hi-C from the late 1980’s to the early 1990’s. As the name suggests, this was a tie-in product of the successful Ghostbusters feature films. Anyone who has ever experienced the orange/tangarine glory of Ecto Cooler agrees that it is the most delicious thing ever (as evidenced here.)

Ecto Cooler

Growing up I ate school lunches, so Hi-C was kind of a treat for me. I only ever drank it on field trips, and, sometimes, when my family went out for a day at the beach. Most of the time I despised going out in the sun and getting burnt, but Ecto Cooler helped dull my pain as much as a green juice drink could.

Unfortunately Ecto Cooler is no longer available in its’ current form, and has since been repackaged to keep up with the times. Finding the modern equivalent is nearly impossible in my area, but I’ll always hold a special place in my heart this Hi-C flavor featuring a dated pop-culture icon.

For some reason I still hate Slimer, though. Go figure.

What’s Wrong With Wendy

September 8, 2006

I’m truly blessed to live in an age with fast food restaurants.

I recently discovered that human beings were once forced to gather, hunt, and prepare all of their own meals! Aside from kings and plantation owners, there were few who did not know to do these very basic things. I, despite my most recent attempts, am forced to add this to my list of things I have in common with kings and plantation owners. If all of the fast food restaurants on Earth were to suddenly close, it’s entirely likely that I would either A) Be forced to move back home where my family could feed me properly, or B) Die.

Unfortunately, the more time I spend away from home the more I rely on these terrible establishments for my nutrition. After only a few months we have already developed a junkie/dealer relationship: my tastes have gotten more refined to satisfy my hunger (I only eat Taco Supremes now,) but in the process things are much more expensive. Whether it be Carl’s Jr., Arby’s, or Hardee’s, there isn’t a single drive-thru in the tri-country area where I can’t list off my favorite combo meals by rote.

Milk

In the past few years a massive push to make fast food healthier has resulted in the removal of Super-Sized combo meals, and especially fattening items from the menus of restaurants everywhere. Wendy’s, and a handful of others have taken great steps in adding more health-conscious choices, going so far as to let customers substitute their french fries and soda pop for milk, juice, orange slices or celery stalks (yum!)

Every time I pull into a Wendy’s restaurant I make a point of taking advantage of this luxury; not only because I would prefer milk to soda with my meal but also because I know that a lack of customer support will kill off movements like these. By ordering milk and orange slices I feel progressive and trendy; for a brief moment I’m one of those people who drive around in their hybrid vehicles with the windows rolled down so that the world can see them behind the wheel.

Last night the unthinkable happened. I was at Wendy’s fighting for America’s youth when the lady behind the counter refused to give me my milk and orange slices(!) She claimed it “wasn’t an option” with the combination meal I had ordered, and that I would have to choose between a chili bowl, or french fries. The milk and orange slices, as I was told, were only available with the kid’s meal, and were not available for individual sale. In the past other Wendy’s employees had made exceptions for me. but apparently the policy had changed. I found myself no longer able to treat myself to the healthy, god-awful orange slices I grew so fond of over the months.

It was at this point I snapped, and felt overwhelmed by an ethical dilemma generally reserved for solders at war or women about to shoot their abusive husbands. Did I dare make a scene of this, and if I did, how far could I take it? No doubt I would get my orange slices after shouting at someone in a position of authority, but would that satisfy me? Perhaps this was my calling. Much like the documentary filmmakers who kick-started this “fast-health” campaign, it was up to handsome people such as myself to keep it going.

After a few moments of awkward silence, the cashier, who I eventually came to know as ‘Bitch,’ tried forcing me into choosing french fries as I ran the various scenarios through my head. It became increasingly obvious that she was hoping to pressure me into a choice, but I’m from Disneyland, and I’ve learned the fine art of being an obnoxious-jerk through thousands of hours of interacting with real-life obnoxious jerks.

I’M CHANGING THE WORLD, DAMMIT, AND I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU AND YOUR OPPRESSIVE FAST FOOD OLIGARCHY HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THAT!

That’s what I wanted to say, but I instead suggested a compromise. I would order a kid’s combo, and “upgrade” my food to something that would satisfy my adult-sized hunger. Not only was this more complicated to order, but I imagine it was incredibly annoying to ring up as a cashier. Now instead of my usual order:

I WANT A NUMBER NINE WITH WHITE MILK AND MANDARIN ORANGE SLICES PLEASE!

I had to order it like this:

I NEED A KID’S CHICKEN NUGGET COMBO WITH WHITE MILK AND MANDARIN ORANGE SLICES. I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO UPGRADE THE CHICKEN NUGGETS TO ADULT-SIZED, WITH 12 PIECES PLEASE!

This may not sound like much of an inconvenience, but in my personal experience I have found that despite glamorous stereotypes reinforced by popular media, the intellectual quality of fast-food cashiers leaves much to be desired. As a result, making even the most simple changes to a food order can end in disaster. Now not only was I gambling with my meal even suggesting to make an unusual order, but I was doing something that required a moderate amount of skill and precision on the part of the entire Wendy’s restaurant staff.

On the off-chance that Bitch had entered my request correctly into the computer, it would then be up to her co-worker, the cook, to make it righ. Remember, these are people who for one reason or another, were deemed unqualified to deal with other human beings directly at a fast-food restaurant.

Dave-thomas

For want of whole milk and frozen oranges, I was putting my life on the line.

Bitch stared intently into the computer screen, scratching her brow as she tried to figure out what to do. She punched in several seemingly random buttons on the screen, and within a instant had disappeared deep into the restaurant’s walk-in freezer, only to return moments later with a bottle of whole milk and a cup of oranges in her hands. She looked at me nervously. I smiled, and nodded with approval as she stuffed them into a paper sack containing the rest of my dinner.

After several long minutes my adventure was over, and I felt proud of all that I had accomplished. If Dave Thomas were still alive, I imagine this is the type of joy and satisfaction he would have wanted all Wendy’s customers to have felt when leaving his successful chain of eateries.

I placed my bag into the seat of the car next to me, and sat there for a moment to reflect on all that had just happened. Before starting up the vehicle my curiosity finally took over, and I opened it.

Stuffed just below my milk and oranges was a jumbo container of french fries.

Smurf Magic Berries!

August 26, 2006

Are there any snacks, food or candy that are no longer made that you desperately miss?

Smurfs_Cereal_Magic_Berries_Magic_Trick

At one point I was addicted to Smurf Magic Berries, which was a lot like the various Lucky Charms rip-offs one could find at grocery stores throughout my childhood. The grain portion was like KIX, and the marshmallow-to-grain ratio was much higher than Lucky Charms. Also, those marshmallows tasted like sweet ambrosia.

Sadly, the cereal was discontinued in the early 1990’s, and I’ve been searching for a similar marshmallow-based cereal ever since. Most of the knockoff brands of Lucky Charms have considerably scaled back the amount of sugar and marshmallows they contain, so as far as I can tell there is nothing on the market even close to glory of what Smurf Magic Berries was.