Pages

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Yes, Creatures Were Harmed in the Making of This Post

This post is not pretty. I'm so sorry to have to string together such unappetizing and gruesome words together for the first post in months, but honestly, it's about the first significant activity to occur in my kitchen in quite some time. For those who are easily offended, I suggest you close the browser window now. If there are young children in the room, perhaps more pleasant activities can be arranged, like seeing "My Bloody Valentine 3D" at the local theater or laying down some bets at the local cockfight.

Recently, I'd come to notice something rather unsavory lurking in my pantry. Its arrival, I've come to believe, was in the form of an edible Trojan horse that made its way into the pantry. The doors swung shut, the lights went out, and then "they" emerged and started to party.

Pantry moths!

I noticed one of the little buggers a short time ago. He was resting on the inside of my pantry and took flight when I swung open the door. Later, I noticed another. They seemed to travel alone, and sporadically, but I couldn't deny that they weren't just passing through.

I began researching the little bastards and discovered that getting rid of them would require some diligent cleaning and an unfortunate tossing of much of my pantry stock. To my relief, I learned that their presence doesn't necessarily indicate a dirty pantry or poor cleanliness. They usually arrive in packaged goods brought home from the grocery store. Angoumois moths, Mediterrian flour moths, and Indian meal moth eggs are often present in grain, seed, nut and flour products. Once hatched, they set up residence in your kitchen and begin play hop scotch across your future dinners with their numerous brothers and sisters.


THIS IS HOW THEY START...




...BUT IT LEADS TO THIS!





So to remedy, I removed every item from the pantry. The outdoor garbage bin quickly grew very heavy under the weight of pastas, rices, flour, cornmeal, breadcrumbs, nuts, dried fruit and cereals. I inspected each bag or box and believe I found a possible source of the infestation, a bag of wild rice. It's ziploc type seal was securly fastened, but I found small web-like threads and even one live moth, flapping excitedly inside it's plastic pouch prison. There were a few items that had only been place in the pantry within a few days, so those were securely zip-locked into plastic bags and placed in the freezer for a few days as a precaution.

Once the pantry was empty, I vaccuumed every shelf and surface with a religious fervor unmatched even by the insanely horrific reverend Fred Phelps. Next was a heavy dousing with some ammonia based cleaner, including the sides and ceiling of the pantry. A good rubbing of orange oil into the wood finished the job. I wiped down all my canned and bottled goods, placed them back into the pantry and crossed my fingers. Any new supplies of flour and such will be quarantined in the refrigerator until I am sure that I have slayed the last of these winged devils.

**Update**

A few weeks has passed since my cleaning and I do believe that I've eliminated the flying bastards. However, I've learned that it's best to keep small supplies of flours, grains and other products they like. From now on, I'll only purchase supplies that I'll use within a month or two. Any larger amounts will be stowed in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

SNEAKING OFF TO LONDON

We are heading to London for a few days of play. Who knows of the perfect restaurant for a lovely Valentine's Day dinner?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

If Anyone Objects to this Wedding, Speak Now...

"There are very few good judges of humor, and they do not agree."
--Josh Billings


Below is an open letter to "Anonymous" who left a comment regarding my post, "So You'd Like to Cater a Gay Wedding." You may read the original post here.


Anonymous said...

This was really offensive. I'm a member of the gay community and found this in poor taste. What the fuck is wrong with you?

2/04/2009 1:21 PM



Dear Anonymous:

If you found this entry offensive then you really haven't been paying attention to the rest of my blog. Seriously, I’m sad to learn you are missing the good stuff. Check out this post where I declare my habit of popping Everybody's Nuts into my mouth. It might be hard to summarily categorize the content on Acme Instant Food, but the one constant here is that I try to marinate even my most gristly cooking adventures in humor. I’ll let you decide which is harder to swallow, my humor or my sugar free/fat free brownies.


There is no doubt that words can hurt, can inflict pain, and harm. Warner Brothers corralled up eleven of their classic cartoons, which they deemed inappropriate due to their depiction of harmful stereotypes (mostly about blacks). These shows have been placed on permanent lockdown in the vault. I agree that children's programming is not an appropriate place for a cartoon entitled, "Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs."

The lines of where it's acceptable to bundle stereotypes with humor, and where it is not, are hard to define. Saturday Night Live has weathered 33 seasons, through skewering just about every public person, ethnic group, or religion available with a few strokes of their writer's pens. SNL is a comedy show. It's a place where people turn to laugh, frequently at themselves. And Jewish comedian Jerry Seinfeld made it okay to laugh at Jews during prime time. Do all retired Jews move to Coco Beach and drive their Cadillacs to dinner at 4:30?

Also very hard to define is just how certain African-American people can refer to themselves by a term that would be, and should be, unspeakable to anyone who isn't of such decent. But in fact, some of them do, and without any good explanation, is it quite acceptable to them.

Some of the most confident, self-assured people I've ever met have an incredible ability to laugh at themselves. It never comes across as self-deprecating, rather it shows an enviable ability to never take oneself too seriously. Our far too sensitive, political correctness has veered off the path it was intended to travel. In our quest to be universally sensitive we've lost sight of our humanness. I believe that in the examples above, people have chosen to laugh at stereotypes not because they lend credibility to them, but because they recognize the absurdity of the idea that they represent an entire populace, race, or religion.

I wished the world laughed more. I wish we could laugh at ourselves more. Acme Instant Food is a place where people can come to read about my cooking, knowing that my recipes come with a side dish of my irreverent writings. I feel Acme is a perfectly appropriate place for such humor as my obvious parody about catering tips for gay weddings. Although I have trouble finding much time to do so, I hope to continue posting here, including the occasional spoof, without apology. My regular readers (all 3 of them that are left after my absence) expect it.

I myself am a gay man. I’m also a gay man who happens to be engaged and is very excited for the day the sunshine state wakes up and overturns this ridiculous Proposition 8. There will be numerous wedding details to be planned. And I can safely project that none of the details in my “So You’d Like to Cater a Gay Wedding” post will be included (except for the bar—hunky bartenders not required but never purposely omitted). It’s just not the wedding style that my fiancée and I would want for our day. However, anyone who might be planning a wedding where phone numbers are exchanged at the bar and guys check their shirts before dancing to Debby Holiday on the dance floor, please contact me through this blog. I’d be delighted to celebrate your big day with you, with or without my shirt! And I’d be proud and honored to eat lasagna and numerous slices of wedding cake with any happy lesbian couple. Just shoot me an invite as I want to come and dance with you on your gloriously gay day.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

WELCOME TO 2009!

You must remember this
A kiss is still a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by


And boy, has time gone by fast! 2008 was quite a year. It honestly wasn't a year that I'll remember very fondly. It was a busy and chaotic year and I found very little energy to devote to this site. However, there were some very exciting and positive chapters including a new job venture on a television show and my engagement! But now as I've finally ushered the last of our drunken holiday party guests out the door and swept up the New Year's Eve confetti I'm happy to begin a new year.

I plan to find time to throw up a post or two here on Acme Instant Food. I should, however, try to remember not to use the words "throw up" on my food blog. I've missed my kitchen explorations. I've also missed the cool and creative people I've met here online and in person. I wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2009. Now let's get cookin'!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

SO, YOU'D LIKE TO CATER A GAY WEDDING?

Click to enlarge

Congratulations! I applaud you for embracing diversity and equality. You should also derive great pleasure from your contribution to the special day of a happy gay couple who have until recently, only dreamed of being given the opportunity to wed. This is not only a significant step towards acceptance of gay men and women in our society, but is a fantastic opportunity for you to make money as a caterer.


I’d like to share some tips with you for a successful event. You should be aware that many gay weddings will be composed of the same elements as those of straight couples. But, there are some inherent differences in the celebratory habits of gays and lesbians and knowing this in advance will help you to make the event a hit, and contribute to your bottom line as a food professional.


GAY MEN'S WEDDINGS

1. THE BAR

Let’s begin with stocking the bar. This is going to be the most important element of this wedding. Gay men judge the success of an event not by the buzz exchanged between the guests after the party, but rather by the buzz the party gives them. This means that you must stock top shelf liquors. Do not try to be cheap because the client will know immediately. Gay men demand quality cocktails and will inspect the seals on your bottles to ensure they have not been watered down. Allow ample space at the venue for your bar set-up, and recruit handsome servers. As for mixers, you won’t need to go overboard. I suggest stocking only lots of cranberry juice. You’ll need more cosmos at your gay wedding than you’d get by wringing out Carrie Bradshaw over a bathtub. Don't overlook sliced limes, oranges, berries and mint leaves needed for proper garnishes.


2. THE CAKE

A wedding cake at a gay man’s wedding is a lot like Reichen Lehmkuhl, fantastically gorgeous but without any real purpose. If it's a big wedding, a large wedding cake is symbolic if nothing else and should not be overlooked. However, you should understand that gay men don't eat wedding cake, especially before hitting a dance floor. Plan on allowing only enough cake to serve to the parents of the grooms, children, and any token straight couples. Anything more is a waste. You may wish to rent a realistic styrofoam cake to display, and for picture opportunities. Later you can wheel the cake into the prep area where you will slice up a real sheet cake for serving.


3. THE DINNER

The fact that dinner will largely be ignored is a good thing (see reasons above for not eating wedding cake). Be sure to charge your clients the full premium for each guest and realize that food is the cash cow of any gay men's wedding. You need to only plan about one-fifth of the usual food allotment when serving a crowd of gay men. Don't worry about the small number of men who won't be dancing. Those not on the dance floor will be busy flirting with the bartenders. Food and flirting do not mix.


4. THE SHIRT CHECK

No, I did not mean to say, “coat check.” Gay men will likely wish to check their shirts and hang them properly before hitting the dance floor. Provide racks and wooden hangers for this purpose. Charge a minimum of $4 per item checked.


5. BATHROOM ATTENDANTS

Gay weddings require bathroom attendants to offer hand towels to guests as they leave. This is also another opportunity to make a good deal of cash by stocking the sink areas with lots of menthol cigarettes, gum, breath mints, and pads of paper and pencils for exchanging phone numbers.


LESBIAN WEDDINGS

If you are to make your lesbian event a success you need to understand a few basic differences. You will need to focus less on the bar. Stock the bar heavily with white wine and mojitos and don't skimp on pretzels and peanuts to snack on. As for food, you cannot serve the same menu you might offer for a male crowd; lesbians will likely be disappointed with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Instead, you should plan on large pans of spinach lasagna and garlic bread. Your female parties will also appreciate artichoke dips, hummus, and chicken livers. The same goes for the wedding cake—make it spectacular and plentiful! But we aware that lesbians favor environmentally friendly events. You must make sure that the cake’s height does not become a problem when transported in a Prius. Also, be sure to designate an outdoor relief area for the many dogs and cats that will be in attendance.


You are now ready to dive into the burgeoning world of gay weddings! Gays are a loyal group of people. Once you have demonstrated your ability to razzle dazzle, you will have clients for life. Be sure to distribute professional looking business cards to your clients and to their friends. Before long your calendar will be booked full with weddings, showers for babies (and their donors), and gay divorce parties.


*ON A SERIOUS AND JOYFUL NOTE!*

While writing this post, I was completely thrilled to learn that CONGRATULATIONS go out to Matt & Adam for officially tying the knot today! Many of you may know Matt from Mattbites. Ed and I have shared a few meals with Matt and Adam, and there is no denying their infectiously warm, engaging, and amiable personalities. I can't help but smile to realize that our government now recognizes their love for each other as being no more, or no less valid, than the love exchanged between any other two people in a committed, loving relationship. This day is so very long overdue! I am so happy for Matt and Adam. I wish you both continued love, health, and happiness in your married life together!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

PEANUT BUTTER PANCAKES



Today, I'd like to talk to you about kids, childhood, and the power that our memories have to affect our lives today. Ahhh, memories! I'm sure you can recall many moments of your childhood that are as vivid and clear as if they happened this morning. That's because kids are observant little devils and their minds soak up details like a Brawny towel. Trust me, this is an important fact that should never be overlooked. Also remember that you shouldn't bother to bribe a child who's witnessed you doing something you shouldn't have because it won't work. Not only will your bribe money be wasted, but also little Emily will in fact tell her parents that it was in fact the bumper of your car that knocked over the mailbox last Thursday.

As kids, we develop many routines that are carried on into adulthood. Childhood offers a wealth of habit-forming opportunities including simple manners, hygiene, and the ability to suppress gas at the library or during funerals. Arguably, some of the most important and deeply ingrained habits we form as kids are dietary.

Comfort food. What does it mean to you? Most likely, the term doesn't conjure up images of steamed asparagus or a bulgar wheat salad with yogurt dressing. If these are the images that do come to mind, you probably had a mother who was arrested during the sixties for smoking pot and aspired to sing backup for Joan Baez. For many of us, comfort foods equate homey, rich and satisfying foods quite often plucked from our childhood memories. Some of mine include my mother's meatloaf, complete with caramelized crispy bits that I'd pry from the cast iron pan when it was removed from the oven. Macaroni and cheese ranks high on the list, along with butterscotch pudding,

Comfort foods have a definite place in my life. Whenever I lose a game of strip poker, I try to erase the shame with a big slice of German chocolate cake. And whenever I'm banned from a new Sizzler location for testing the limits of their "bottomless" order of fried shrimp, well, actually Peptol Bismol and sleep shades tend to work best for that.

I am not a member of the food police. I firmly believe that food should be relished, savored and appreciated for what it is (just ask that rude night manager at Sizzler). But I also understand that balance and moderation are easily skewed in our modern age of convenience food. We tend to forget that our bodies need "real" and unprocessed food in order to be healthy. Our stress levels, cunningly masquerading as time restraints, have pushed good nutrition and healthy portions into some nether region of our daily lives.

As a result, we have a generation of kids who:

1. Don't know how to cook anything that doesn't need to have its protective plastic pouch pierced with a fork prior to being microwaved.

2. Invite the teenager who takes their money at the first window to the prom.

3. Announce their girlfriend's teen pregnancy to you by bemoaning their friend's advice to use Twinkie wrappers as makeshift condoms.


The point I'm trying to make is not to deprive your kids (or your grandkids, or neighbors kids, or lesbian lover's kids) of anything remotely unhealthy. The trick is to also instill an appreciation for the flavor of wholesome, healthy foods that they will also embrace. These don't have to be such drastic changes. Some simple shifts in your thinking and what you line your pantry shelves with, can bring about positive eating habits.

Take pancakes for example. I love them. They are a very common comfort food from childhood. And like most comfort foods, they aren't necessarily the most nutritious. They are tasty disks of bleached white flour and oil, topped with butter and sugary syrup. Mmmmmmmm! But you don't need to excommunicate them from your breakfast table if you are trying to eat healthier. You just need to get creative.




Here is a pancake recipe that you could even sneak on the plate of an unsuspecting kid. They masquerade as lunchbox fare, but are even suitable for a more sophisticated breakfast table. These Peanut Butter Pancakes are made from whole-wheat flour, applesauce, and a small amount of olive oil. Peanut butter lends a welcome homey flavor. I topped them with fruit preserves and the result is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich served up breakfast style. Share some with a kid today (just please don't share them Emily unless you get my $20 back first.)


PEANUT BUTTER PANCAKES

1 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
2 TBS sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup natural peanut butter (I used old-fashioned chunky*)
2 TBS olive oil
1/4 cup applesauce

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in mixing bowl. Mix remaining ingredients together separately until well combined. Pour mixture into dry ingredients and mix just until evenly moistened. Cook pancakes on lightly greased griddle in 1/4 cup measures. Cook until golden browned on both sides.

* Read your peanut butter labels carefully before purchasing. Various brands incorporate surprising amounts of sugar, corn syrup, and unhealthy tropical oils. I'm a fan of "old-fashioned" type peanut butter that usually contains nothing more than peanuts and salt.