October 2009

National Peanut Butter Lovers Month

Lovers of sticky mouth roofs and jelly, unite! November is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month.

Peanut butter has always been one of my favorite “comfort foods.” My grandmother used to keep a jar by her bed—she was a total peanut butter fiend—and she would eat a tablespoon every evening while she watched television or did a crossword puzzle. I would always sneak up the stairs—we lived in the downstairs apartment—and crawl in bed with her, rustling the newspaper as I stole a nibble of peanut butter, too.

Peanut butter is also a decent health food, as long as it’s not indulged in too often or too much. Two tablespoons have nearly two hundred calories, making it pretty heavy in the energy department; that said, it’s also full of protein and contains fiber, which can also make you feel full, saving you from eating a ton of calories later.

5 Weird Ways To Cook Food

Sure, you could be boring and cook your dinner in an OVEN or over a GRILL.  But where's the fun in that?  Check out these other clever ideas for cookery!

1.    Trout A La Compost Heap

Well, blogger Tim Doherty calls it a "compost heap" but I think most of us would call it a "manure pile."  When I think "compost heap" I think "vegetable trimmings and coffee grounds," you know?

At any rate, he provides very detailed instructions for cooking Trout de Compost.  This involves getting the combustion inside the compost heap cranking to between 140 and 160 degrees, and cooking the trout for 18 hours. 

Food Memories

Food, at its best, is not just sustenance or indulgence. It is a social unifier and a powerful focus for our memories. When we talk about loved ones from our pasts, we often mention the dishes for which they were known or the funny stories of their presence at the dinner table. Today, I would like to share my memories of my grandmother by visiting a few of the foods she so lovingly prepared.

October is National Chili Month

I think my favorite quote about chili is by George Carlin: “You aint’ cool, you’re f***** chili.” Okay, so it’s not appetizing or particularly profound, but it makes me laugh, and that’s what’s important.

When it comes to chili, though, what’s important seems to differ depending on who you ask. Some people like their chili loaded with meat; others, like me, prefer it to be vegetarian if possible. Some like to sweeten it with jelly; others spice it up with peppers of any and every variety. However you like it, there’s no doubt that October is really a perfect time for a good pot of chili with good friends.

How do you eat your chili? Here are a few ways you might want to try.

October is National Pasta Month

Mmm… pasta. Who doesn’t love a good noodle? 77% of Americans say that they eat pasta at least once a week, and it’s no wonder: there’s pretty much a pasta flavor or texture for everyone.

 We all have our days where we go Garfield, scouring for the nearest Macaroni Grill, Olive Garden, or even Fazolis for a pasta fix. The beauty of pasta, of course, is that while it’s delicious, it’s also super cheap; by adding in some vegetables and whole grain noodles, it can easily become a daily staple for your family’s meals.

If you’re already a pasta fiend and widely known for your family’s spaghetti night, try some new ways to show your love of the noodle this month:

Pioneer Woman Calories: When Does Food Porn Go Too Far?

You know, I'm really torn on this issue.  On the one hand, I recently re-watched "Supersize Me," and I am overcome with the urge to never eat again.  On the other hand, I just spent an hour browsing the recipes on Pioneer Woman's blog.

Then… oh, you won't like what happened then.

Then I thought, "I wonder how many calories are in these recipes?"  And I found a tool at About.com which lets you paste in a recipe, and get the calorie information.  And now... now I don't feel so good.

To answer the first question, Pioneer Woman's quiche - assuming that it is cut into twelve slices - has 750 calories, 46 grams of fat, 20 grams of carbs, and 23 grams of protein.  Which is to say, about the same as a McDonald's DOUBLE quarter pounder WITH CHEESE.

But… have you seen the pictures?  Go look at the pictures.  Tell me you can look at every single picture without feeling that tingle in your salivary glands.  I dare you.

Pairing and Why It Matters

There are a few hallmarks of culinary snobbery that are near universal. For instance, the baffling number of forks at a full table setting. While it actually is pretty absurd to dedicate an entire fork to, say, shrimp, other dining particulars aren't so baseless. One I'm particularly interested in defending is the careful pairing of drinks to certain kinds of food. By no means do I believe that these are hard and fast rules, but they are good suggestions that, at best, are intended to make the dining experience more pleasant.