National Fudge Day

It’s that time of the year again! National Fudge Day! What? You’ve never heard of it? I hadn’t heard of most of the food days until I started in on Twitter and started following other “foodies” and food bloggers. There are National Food Days and Food Months for every day and every month! Most are dessert related, but some are about healthier foods. For example, tomorrow is Eat All Of Your Veggies Day. But, that’s tomorrow, and this is today. Then again, today is yesterday’s tomorrow. Wait, what? Anyway, let’s talk about fudge. I am not really a big fan of fudge, it being so rich and all. I do remember one bus ride back to school from a field trip, (I think it was fifth grade, to Sturbridge Village, in Massachusetts, where they have people dressed up in Colonial times wearing clothes from that time and acting like they were in that time period still.) with a box of fudge, somewhat melted from the hot day, while everyone else on the bus was sucking on their rock candy. Really. They had rock candy from the Colonial times. Weird, I know. I remember being impressed by how the fudge was made right there in the “Ye Olde Candy Shop” (that may be just a made up name for the candy shop that was there-my memory of the trip is a bit fuzzy.) It was good, but not so good that I needed much of it but I did try to make some myself. And failed. This attempt was before culinary school. After culinary school, I was more careful, and the fudge turned out okay. It was smooth-ish. There were some grainy bits, but at least it was still edible. And that’s my story about fudge. Remember to eat your veggies tomorrow!

What food are you really not a fan of?

I used to not like as many fruits as I do now. I used to only like green grapes and watermelon. Now I like strawberries and blueberries and apples and pears and bananas. A much-needed improvement to my diet! I also liked hot dogs and scrambled eggs as a kid, but now I am not really a fan of either. I guess the ins and outs of culinary school really opened up the doors of new foods and flavors for me. Also, just growing up in general made me change my ways. When I was younger, I was much more of a picky eater than I am today. Now I have some foods I do not like, but I am more willing to try just about anything once. I would not eat sushi when I was younger and now I do. I know some adults who are so picky that they will not eat chicken on the bone. I never was and stay to be not that much of a picky eater. Anyway, this is about the food I am not really a fan of. I do not like very spicy food that overpowers your mouth to the point of not being able to taste the food. That being said, I do not like Indian or Thai food but am mostly okay with Mexican food.¬† I am not a fan of beans and not a fan of food with a mushy texture, except for bananas, and things that are supposed to be mushy such as mashed potatoes. I am not a fan of pickles or of snap peas or of Cole slaw or potato salad or chicken salad or egg salad. While I do like my veggies, I am not much for salads in general, and usually do not eat many sandwiches that include something other than tuna. Weird. I know. Maybe I haven’t tried that many new things to say that I do not like them, as I have grown to like most other food. Or maybe my brain is just scrambled now because I just finished writing a 15 page, 6,000 word paper. Hmmm…that could be it. Maybe if you comment what you do not like on your plate, I can think of more things, but for now, that’s about it.

Which band have you traveled the farthest or paid the most to see play live?

I have been to the Treasure Island Music Festival, but I didn’t pay for my ticket, someone else bought it for me. However, it would’ve been the most I spent on a concert, and I would’ve gone again and I would be going to the Outside Lands this year, but I do not want to spend that amount of money now on a concert. I have not traveled too far to get to a concert, but thought about going somewhere just for a concert. I think the farthest I’ve gone is from San Francisco to Oakland. And that’s not that far. So I would if I could, but now, I can’t go and can’t spend that money. I love going to concerts and love supporting my favorite bands and musical artists by going to a live concert, and usually you get to hear special songs that are not available on CD or available online and it usually is better than when you are listening at home. So, if anyone want to be my concert buddy, someone who will dance with me and have fun at concerts with me, let me know in the comments! :)

What do you do while waiting in line?

This prompt is from the April archive, but I liked it, and wanted to write about it. Most people have smart-phones (iPhones in particular) and can navigate the web, play games, and even use Twitter or Facebook, or some other social media site while in line. This seems like a reasonable thing to do while in line for say, an ATM or at the grocery store. For me, and other people without these abilities, I usually think about what else I have to get done that day. I sometimes people watch-this is fun to do while waiting for that self-check-out at the grocery store. Sometimes I think that they have enough employees to open another register and that I should not have to stand in line. If it’s a line to go through security at the airport, I am already taking my shoes off and getting ready to get everything in to those bins and trying to get through the fastest line. I might peek at someone’s shoes or little bag of shampoo samples or laptop, but mostly I consume myself in what I am doing and making sure I keep track of my stuff, especially my ID and boarding pass. I think the things I do while in line are pretty normal (but you can give to that fact by commenting). I think it depends on the length of the line and how long it’s taken to get through the line. The more these factors increase, the more friendly you become to the people you are behind or who are behind you. Have you ever had to watch someone’s stuff and their place in line? What if it becomes their/your turn before they return? How about getting to the end of the line just to find out that you don’t want anything you were standing in line for or that you can’t get what you were in line for because it’s sold out? That’s the worst. I guess I am always thinking about that while in line. Do you remember hearing (or being a part of) conversations of the use or “in line” versus “on line”? I think this only happened when the Internet became more popular. Of course, now you can be online while in line. And now we’ve come full circle.

I remember when I was younger, and waiting in line, I would play hand games (like Miss Mary Mack) or I would think of things I could do in 10 minutes or in 5 minutes. I remember my dad always looking for the fastest line. Always in a hurry to get to the front of the line.

What’s the worst/longest line you’ve been in? Was it the typical DMV line that never seems to move? How about those mazes of rope to go through while in line? I remember winding through those at the airport, waiting to check-in and check our bags. I feel like those lines have gotten smaller because of online check-ins and boarding passes on phones and things like that. More convenience this way? What if you can’t get the page to load? Fewer lines; but more worry about getting your boarding pass. What other technology is there that reduced lines? I think a lot of things that you can do on your computer and therefore people do not go to places and stand in line anymore. I guess this post is going nowhere? Much like the line you are in reading this?! :)

What I’m Reading

I read mostly other food blogs. I also read my Twitter feed and then read the articles that people link to and I read my Facebook news feed (mostly about people getting married and having babies). All of these combined are interesting, but one of them alone (especially Facebook) can be quite boring. So, I also read “real” things including Bon Appetit Magazine and Food and Wine Magazine. I enjoy reading about food and travel, but sometimes need a break from that for a little while so I read books that have nothing to do with food or travel. Mostly. I did read Eat, Pray, Love and other food-related books, but I also read books, that, if they were movies, would fall into the Romantic Comedy category. The type of book that one might call a “beach read”. The last two books I read, such as, The New Yorkers, about New Yorkers who live about a block or so away from each other who come together via their dogs; and How Did You Get This Number?, a book of essays-snippets of the author’s life. Based on this list (and I think there’s an old list somewhere on Facebook that mentions which other books I’ve read) You can tell I do not read a variety of topics. I also tried listening to audio books, but found that wasn’t as enjoyable as the real book. It would be more enjoyable if it were like when I was younger, and learning how to read, and the books on tape read along with the real book I held in my hands. It would be cool if they had that now though I know I can go buy the book and follow along-but it would be nice not having to pay for the book twice. If anyone has any recommendations, I would greatly appreciate it (and want to write about it in the comments)!

What is the difference between a FAN and a FANATIC?

A fan is someone who likes something because it amuses them and makes them happy. Being a fanatic means that you are a fan to the point that you are obsessed with the thing you are a fan of and you might even try to hurt someone who is not a fan or is a fan of a rival. Or, as the comic above says, is ready for an argument. Take baseball teams, for example. There is a big rivalry between The N.Y. Yankees and The Boston Red Sox as well as between The SF Giants and The L.A. Dodgers. We’ve heard/read the news stories about the “fans” gone wild in the stands and literally hurting someone who was a fan of the other team. I think this is a prime example of someone who has crossed the line from “fan” to “fanatic”. Of course, this is taking it to the extreme. There are also fans of certain musical artists, such as The Beatles, or Justin Bieber. There was the idea that someone was a “Beatlemaniac” and this was someone who loved The Beatles so much they too might be considered a fanatic. I think it might be dependent on what you are a fan of. I am a fan of chocolate, and I know that there are “chocoholics” out there, and I may or may not have claimed to be one, but I would not consider myself a fanatic of chocolate. I might call, say, someone like Willy Wonka a chocolate fanatic. If such a person truly existed. (I am a fan of the original, Gene Wilder version, by the way) I think you get the point I am trying to make here. A fan is someone who likes something. A fanatic is someone who likes something a little too much.

 

Be Creative! (part deux)

Last time I talked about being creative while using ingredients and tools and materials you have on hand. This time I want to mention how to “spice up” a recipe that you’ve made a bunch of times and now want something slightly different.

For example, I might sub in butterscotch chips for chocolate chips or just add them to the recipe or add nuts or something simple like that.

However, there are other things you can alter in a recipe to make something good, better. Or at least different. Here are some more examples:

  • Brown butter. Melt butter in a pot and let it brown and get a rich nutty aroma. Freeze or refrigerate until solid again. Be sure to scrape all the brown milk solids on the bottom of the pot-this is where the flavor is. This can be used in cakes or cookies or any other quick bread or even streaming through ice cream. Use it like you would butter, except you might need slightly more than what the original recipe calls for.
  • Brown sugar. Adds more flavor to cookies and cake but you have to be careful when substituting this because white sugar and brown sugar is measured differently, try to go by weight and not volume.
  • Using different sweeteners (especially in place of corn syrup). You can easily use honey, agave, molasses, or any combination to sweeten a product to help add a different flavor, but again, I would measure using weight instead of volume to be sure you add the right amount.
  • Using different liquids. Just because a recipe on the back of the cake mix box calls for water doesn’t mean you can’t use orange juice instead to make that “yellow” cake into a citrus-y cake. :)

That should help you get started on being more creative with the cakes and other desserts you’ve gotten bored with over the years. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to alter a recipe just the slightest bit. Remember, it is about the ratio of the ingredients, not everything has to be exactly the same as the original recipe!