Category Archives: Food

Why would anyone ever eat Good Friends?

51QKZ0Y0ZVL__SL500_AA300_ special buddies

Kashi Good Friends Cereal

Rob & Big’s Special Buddies Cereal

In 2007, I bought a box of Kashi Good Friends cereal thinking that it would be “healthy,” and it was one of the most awful experiences of my life. It didn’t taste like anything, and it was really crunchy and weird. I felt like I was being punished for something. The question I’d like to investigate in this blog post is: why would anyone subject themselves to that? And is there something better they can do? Let’s take a look at the nutrition facts!

nutritionfacts_goodfriends

I pulled the nutrition facts from Kashi’s website. A serving has ~160 calories, 5g of protein, and 42g of carbs (12 of which are from fiber). This means that if you’re eating Kashi, you’re probably doing it for one (or a combination of) the following reasons:

  1. You’re looking for a good source of fiber.
  2. You’re looking for a source of carbs (and you didn’t know that you could get this practically anywhere).
  3. You’re looking for a source of protein (and you just happened to choose a pretty crappy one).
  4. You don’t know anything about nutrition and you just kinda thought that anything Kashi makes is healthy.
  5. You’re a masochist.

If you fall in groups 4 or 5, then it sounds like your execution plan aligns well with your goals, so keep fighting the good fight.

If you fall under groups 1 or 3, I feel like there are things you can do that are less unpleasant than eating Good Friends. For example:

Quest Protein Bars

I’ve personally never tried them, but my roommate has, and he describes them as probably having crack in them because they’re so addicting. They also apparently have ridiculous macros.

nutrition_questbar

If you fall under group 2 and are just looking for carbs, everything’s got carbs and is less disgusting than Good Friends. For example:

  • Bread
  • Rice
  • Cake
  • Other cereal that isn’t as awful as Good Friends
  • Twinlab Ultrafuel – I used this when I was carb loading. It tastes like a chalky fruit punch, which I eventually learned to like, but even before that, it was significantly less foul than Good Friends.

So there you have it. No one has any reasons for eating Good Friends anymore.

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Chemistry inspired sandwiches

From the genius that brought you Al’s Light Meals (you remember, the sandwiches cooked in photocopiers?) comes a new quantum leap in sandwich shops:

bohrshead

Bohr’s Head Sandwiches come with pretty mediocre meat, but they’re known for our signature ingredients:

  • Rydberg Bread – A Rye bread, baked fresh, almost constantly
  • Atomic hot sauceguaranteed to give you the runs for your money!
  • Vidalia anion sauce – a sweet and tangy onion sauce that will positively get you charged (disclaimer: it’ll actually likely negatively charge you)
  •  

    Or, ask for your sandwich EXTRA BOHRING and we’ll not put any sauce on it at all. It’ll just be meat and bread.

    Each sandwich comes with our Paschenfruit smoothie. It’s so good, you’d have to see it to believe (and you’d have to wear infrared goggles to see it)!

    So next time you’re at a deli, demand Bohr’s Head Sandwiches!

    (For those of you who completely don’t get the joke, uh… here)

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    Al’s Light Meals

    Are you sick of eating greasy food? Are you done with going to restaurants that pollute the environment?

    Fact: Global warming’s main causes are cooking smoke from greasy restaurants and human flatulence that result from eating greasy meals from said restaurants.

    smokestack

    The picture above is of an ACTUAL RESTAURANT*.

    *No it’s not.

    Well do I have a solution for you:

    AL’S LIGHT MEALS

    Rather than conventional cooking techniques that kill puppies, Al’s Light Meal restaurants cook your food in photocopiers:

    photocopier

    “But how can this possibly work?” you may ask. The answer is simple: science!

    Photons from the photocopier collide with the raw food molecules, cooking them.

    photon

    The result: a delicious, quick, healthy meal!

    • No preservatives!
    • No trans fats!

    So next time you want a meal, come to Al’s for a LIGHT MEAL!

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    A letter to the seedless green grape

    Seedless green grape,

    I think you’re great. I know that at your best, you’re cheaper than seedless red grapes and just as sweet. Sometimes, you’re sweeter! I like that often, you are also plumper than seedless red grapes, which I think get away with being deformed more than they should.

    Seedless green grape, it makes me sad that people often think that you’re not sweet because you’ve on occasion been not-too-sweet. I bet it’s also partly because you’re green so people associate you with being sour. I wish more people would give you a chance (without raising demand and thus raising your market price).

    In conclusion, I know you’re out there fighting the good fight, and I appreciate it.

    Sincerely,

    Al

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    White people refrigerate soy sauce

    200px-Soy_sause_display But Asian people do not. To us, the thought of refrigerating soy sauce sounds silly.

    Additionally, we don’t put soy sauce on white rice. That’s silly too.

    Al Observes Things – Dutch Pasta

    300px-Dutch-ovens

    In the Netherlands, locals boil pasta in “the oven.”

    Is it Gross? – Buddha’s Delight

    260px-delightful.jpgIt’s time for another round of “Is it gross?” Ed has returned as our special guest once again. Here’s today’s description:

    Take two pig ears stewed in soy sauce. Chop these up into little pieces. Mix the pig ears with gelatinized pig blood and chicken kidneys. Place ingredients in a food processor. Add soy sauce. Process! Take the resulting mixture and bring to a boil. Add snow peas, onions, carrots, bamboo shoots, tofu, and Chinese napa. Serve this to vegetarians as “Buddha’s Delight.”

    Ed’s response:

    haha sounds Asian, not gross.

    So despite my attempt to concoct the most foul mixture of meat products and serve it in a completely unethical manner, Ed has decided that my description is not gross but rather “Asian.”

    Fortunately, for those of you who disagreed with Ed’s response and did find the mixture gross, you can rest assured that most Chinese restaurants do not taint their Buddha’s Delight with meat products. Vegetarians that cannot find anything better in Chinese menus will continue to find refuge in the sanctuary of Buddha’s Delight.

    Looking back at my adventures in Chinese restaurants, Buddha’s Delight has always fascinated me as it seems to be ubiquitous in Chinese restaurants in the US. According to Wikipedia, Buddha’s Delight is an authentic Chinese dish enjoyed by monks (presumably of the Benedictine order — the article does not specify). The article also states that Buddha’s Delight is traditionally served during the first days of the Chinese New Year, which is a tradition that stems from the Buddhist practice of not eating meat for the first five days of the New Year as a form of “self-purification.”

    News-flash: First, I’ve never met a Buddhist monk that ate meat during the other ~360 days of the lunar year either. And I’ve met about 5, which makes my anecdotal evidence compelling. Second, anything served “traditionally” in China needs to be available for hundreds of millions of poor people. Buddha’s Delight is essentially a bunch of vegetables thrown in water with salt and soy sauce added. Think about this next time you consider paying $15 for it.

    Thanks for joining me in wondering if it’s gross. Next time: something REALLY possibly gross or not.

    Is it gross? The thousand-year egg edition

    pi-danOnce again, we ask the question, “is it gross?” We’ve brought back our contestant Ed. Here’s today’s “thing”:

    Take a duck egg. Soak it in a brine of salt and industrial strength cleaning product for 10 days. Then, wrap it in plastic and age it for several weeks. Expedite the process by adding a lead oxide. Later, crack the egg open and serve with soy sauce.

    Ed’s response:

    what, gross!

    Yes folks, it is indeed gross. But interestingly enough, what pushed today’s “thing” over Ed’s gross-threshold was the fact that it was served with soy sauce and not the industrial strength cleaning product in which it was prepared.

    Today’s “thing” is in fact what the Chinese call pi-dan (pee-done). In English, it is often called “preserved eggs,” “century eggs,” or “thousand year eggs.” Back in the day (about a week ago), the Chinese compensated for their lack of a reliable food source with an abundance of preservatives.

    Traditionally, pi-dan has been all about preserving eggs. The procedure for making pi-dan was packing duck eggs in a mixture of water and clay with a high pH level. The clay would turn the yolk translucent blackish-brown and the yolk blackish-gray. Pi-dan would then be served with xi-fan or rice porridge. In my (gross) case, just cut it up and serve it with soy sauce.

    Now, pi-dan is all about making a whacky tasting egg. Serving with soy sauce is definitely the preferred method for grossing out your non-Chinese friends. Once tasted, the palate cannot cannot be cleansed. Other foods consumed within hours of preserved egg will just taste bizarre. Only time will get the taste out of one’s mouth.

    Modern methods have reduced the fermentation period to mere weeks (yay modern methods!), making them easy to mass produce and distribute. But, when buying preserved eggs, be sure to find the ones without lead. Heavy metal poisoning messes you up good.

    Bon Appétit – Stop the whole grain insurgency

    wonder breadDo you remember an altogether simpler time? When bread was Wonder and white, and rice implied “white”? And when someone would mention “whole grains,” the response would be, “whole grains? What are you, a hippy from SAN FRANCISCO?”

    Those times have been replaced by the dismal present when “health” is a reason to give up taste. The following are whole grains that I cannot accept:

    1. Whole grain cereal. You’re healthy, and you provide an altogether “moving” experience. I get it. What happened to taste? Are the extra years that this will bring me going to be worth it if I have to spend them eating whole grain cereal?
    2. Whole grain bread. You dominate my sandwich. All I want to taste is my turkey, avocado, and cheese, but thanks to you, I have to taste cardboard as well. Thanks.
    3. Brown rice. The only way to make you palatable is by drenching you with sauces. Sauces that generally are high in sodium and/or simple sugars. Oh, I’m back where I’m started then, aren’t I?

    Do you have a recipe that involves whole grains that doesn’t suck? Please do share. If it’s good enough, I will post it. Otherwise, I’m going to have to call an end to this madness.

    ’til next time, Bon Appetit.

    Bon Appétit – Dumplings and your local Chinese restaurant

    a wontonIf there’s one thing your local Chinese restaurants is full of, it’s secrets. Secrets are what keep it in business. No, I’m not talking about PF Chang’s or Ruby Foo’s, which likely only have sterile and boring secrets.

    I’m talking about the ones where the wait staff are entirely Chinese (and all in the same family). The ones where things look generally unclean, but when you look closely, you can’t find anything that’s actually dirty. The ones that all seem to have the same menu and same prices but completely coincidentally (or is it???). It would take days really to go over all of their secrets, so let’s take a look at them one at a time. Today: dumplings.

    What are dumplings? What are wontons? What’s the difference between gyoza and pot stickers? Where do babies come from? What’s a hypotenuse?

    Wontons, wads of meat in a wrap made of flour, are a Chinese member of dumpling family. Your standard meat wad consists of ground pork, ginger, and onions, but you’ll find variations with shrimp.

    Gyoza is the Japanese word for pot sticker. The Chinese translation is “Jiaozi.” These are similar to wontons, but the wrap is generally thicker and rounded whereas wonton skins are thinner and square.

    Wontons and Jiaozi can be prepared by frying (gross), steaming, or boiling (winner!)

    What’s the best way to enjoy wontons or jiaozi? Have one of your concubines prepare a sauce for you consisting of soy sauce, vinegar, and hot chili sauce. (Hot chili sauce is a the whacky-sounding literal translation of a ubiquitous Chinese hot sauce). Dip your dumplings in the sauce while they are still hot. Use chop sticks for added kitsch.

    Where’s the best place to enjoy wontons or jiaozi? The real answer to this question is the Forbidden Palace, but if you’re in Beijing, you should really be ordering the Peking duck.

    Just below the Forbidden Palace on the list is the dumpling house. These are Chinese restaurants known for their dumplings. The best way to order at one of these places is to just order a whole lot of dumplings. Sure, they have other food. Order as your heart desires. But load up on the dumplings first. Also, ask them if they have any “shao-long tung bao” (soup dumplings!) Don’t worry about pronouncing it improperly. They’ll only spit in your food if you pronounce it poorly and you’re Chinese.

    Personally, I like the dumpling house but only if they have soup dumplings. If their speciality is just boiled or steamed dumplings, I’ll generally try it out, but I always end up concluding that I can make better dumplings myself.

    Next time on Bon Appétit: How to make jiaozi. There’s the right way… and there’s the Hwang way. ’til then, Bon Appétit!