Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Not Prophecy So Much as Observation

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Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

73 years ago, George Orwell wrote:

“All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes — a fact which is recognized in the extra ration issued to old-age pensioners.”

Today I realized how true that is.

My tea cup of choice is a tall, 12-ounce cup from Starbucks. For the past 2 years, I’ve been brewing my tea with either 2 tea bags (PG Tips) or 2 teaspoons of loose tea leaves.

Such was my first cup this morning.

But it wasn’t so satisfying as it was yesterday morning. It didn’t seem strong enough for some reason. Two teaspoons of leaves didn’t quite satisfy me.

Each type of tea has an optimal steeping time, depending on its type and the drinker’s preference. For me, with my strong black Assam tea, it’s 4 and a half minutes.

For a stronger brew, one adds more tea, rather than increasing the steeping time, which only makes the tea more bitter.

For my second cup, I used 3 teaspoons of leaves. The result? Too strong. Finally, the third cup, with 2–1/2 teaspoons of leaves, was perfect.

George was right.

Now my only problem is trying to figure out how to brew a cup of tea with 2–1/2 tea bags. A hopeless task? Perhaps.

But as Arthur Wing Pinero so wisely said, “Where’s there’s tea, there’s hope.”

Come Down From Your Ivory Towers and Give Us Things We Actually Need

Photo by Immo Wegmann on Unsplash

News flash: scientists in Brazil think it’s time to bioengineer spicy tomatoes. You can read about it right here.

Yes, I’ve read all the arguments in favor of the benefits, and I agree with them: spicy tomatoes would indeed have many benefits.

And yet…

(There’s that nasty little phrase again.) Sure, I’d like spicy tomatoes, just to eat them. They’d be great in Tex-Mex dishes, and would even add a welcome zing to Italian sauces.

But I have two words: Ro-Tel Tomatoes.

So I myself don’t really need a spicy tomato. But you know what we could really get behind? And by “we,” I mean the vast number of consumers who buy beautiful tomatoes at the grocery store, take them home and end up disappointed?

If you can bioengineer a spicy tomato, why not instead create something with a ready-made market?

Why not create a tomato that actually tastes like a tomato?

You’d make millions of vegans, vegetarians, and people like me — who enjoy a nice BLT — extremely happy.

And not that it matters, but you’d be on the fast track for a Nobel prize.

What’s For Breakfast?

Posted: 5 March, 2018 in Diet, Food

Long before Bill Cosby recorded his skit about giving his kids chocolate cake for breakfast, I had already wondered why it was okay to have a donut for breakfast, but not a piece of cake? And why were sugary cereals preferable to donuts?

I even asked my mother about this once, but like so many childhood inquiries, my questions were unable to generate any useful answers.

Lately I’ve been wondering. Why do breakfasts often feature hash brown, but not mashed, potatoes? Why do we serve rench fries with hamburgers and hot dogs, rather than. mashed or boiled? Well, okay–boiled potatoes in a potato salad.

I can’t stand to even be near to someone who puts ketchup (a tomato-based sauce) on their eggs, and yet I was quite put out this morning when I realized I had no Frank’s RedHot sauce (another tomato-based sauce) to put on my omelette.

(As an aside,growing up, one of my brothers hated tomatoes but loved tomato juice, while the other one loved tomatoes but hated tomato juice. And don’t even get me started on my German great-grandfather who insisted on spreading good German mustard on his pancakes.)

And the greatest mystery of all: Does anybody drink milk with their pizza? If not, why not? My mother always served us milk with just about every other Italian dish, so why not pizza? It was the same ingredients just arranged differently.

I believe that beer is the perfect accompaniment to Chinese or Mexican food. But for Indian or Thai? Thai iced tea or Masala Chai.

I’m pretty sure most of us prefer American versions of Chinese cuisine to the real thing. I mean really? Baby octopus?

Then again, I prefer TexMex to Mexican food. I had a couple of friends who spent a spring break in Mexico, and complained that there wasn’t a single Taco Bell in the whole country! They had to eat REAL MEXICAN food! Oh, the humanity!

And even this blog, which is ostensibly about food, is more about culture and my own personal philosophies of life. It’s just that most of my insights occur over breakfast or dinner, or as is more often the case, a nice cup of tea.

What about you, dear reader? Do you have any hard and fast breakfast rules? Or do you believe as I do that when it comes to food, rules are meant to be broken?