I wrote this blog post in March of 2006. Is that a sign of an out of control ego when you quote yourself? I will add a little something extra at the end too.
I was thinking back to my college days yesterday, and I couldn’t help but remember some culinary “Incidents.”
One summer I detasseled corn, horrible awful job. I was intending to make some bread rolls I could take out to the fields with me for lunch. I ran out of flour, but I noticed that my roommate had a box of Bisquik. I decided to use that for my bread. They ended up looking more or less like uncut hamburger buns. That was okay. I sliced them to use making sandwiches. Then I tasted one. It didn’t taste bad, but it definitely didn’t taste like bread either. It had the texture of bread and the flavor of saltines. What the hell, I put peanut butter on them and took them anyway. At lunch time, I was eating one, and one of the other detasselers asked me what I was eating. I told him peanut butter crackers. I said, “Here try a bite.” I tore off a chunk and gave it to him. He ate it, gave me a very odd look, then moved further away. It cracked me up then too.
Towards the end of my college career, I had a Malaysian roommate. He did most of the cooking, and I learned to love Malaysian food, especially their curries. After he moved out, I tried to cook Malaysian food. I went to the same store he went to. I bought the ingredients I had seen him buy. If I hadn’t been starving in those days, I don’t think I could’ve eaten it. I have since learned to cook a few Chinese dishes, with the help of cookbooks. But I also learned my lesson about trying to imitate ethnic cuisine without a good instructor or good instructions.
My last story was not my screw-up. It’s also one of my favorites. I still, twenty-seven years later, tease the guy who did this. He was another physics major and he liked me from the start. He invited me and two philosophy majors over for a spaghetti dinner. When I arrived, there were peas boiling, a skillet with browned hamburger in it, he was adding sauce from a jar to it. And there was the pot with the pasta in it. It was boiling. He tried to stir it without much success. I looked in the pot. I asked him how he had started it. He said he filled the pot 2/3 full with water, put in the spaghetti, turned on the heat. I asked him, “Was the water boiling when you added the pasta?” He replied, “No, should it have been?” I answered, “Well, unless you prefer your spaghetti this way, I would have waited for it to boil.”
The others arrived. We put the peas in a bowl and served them. We put the meat sauce in a bowl and served it. We drained the pasta, put it on a platter, I carried it in, put it on the table in all it’s glory. The 24 ounce package of spaghetti had fused into one large solid noodle. Heartless SOB that I was, I stated the title of this post.
I wrote that seven years ago and it still makes me chuckle. I’m still heartless too. Reading it now reminds me of a segment from Alton Brown’s show Good Eats, he’s talking about casseroles and he recommends using round pans because square ones will give you dry corners, and he adds “Unless you like dry corners.” That does bring up the subject of individual preferences. If you like it that way it’s not a mistake, or at worst it’s serendipity. I have that reaction to the Food Networks cooks that make dry coleslaw. I like the liquid at the bottom, I don’t want my coleslaw dry.
The Muppet Show has been syndicated in more countries than most other shows. It might actually hold the record. The reason? It’s incredibly easy to dub into different languages. The one character that gets slightly changed more than the others is the Swedish Chef. In Sweden he’s some other nationality.
And in other news Ikea found pork in it’s moose lasagna.