Posts Tagged ‘Food’


I am not much of a soup person. Just one of those things that passed me by while growing up. “Mmmmmm mmmmm good”  was never good enough. Until the other day when I saw a plastic can of Campbell’s Tuscan-Style Chicken & White Bean Soup with Asiago Cheese, Thyme & Rosemary premium soup sitting on the top shelf of my grocery store’s soup section. It was the “Asiago Cheese, Thyme & Rosemary” that got me. All favorites of mine. Okay, maybe it was the nifty plastic can.

Several days later I was watching an absolutely terrible movie on the Sy-Fi Channel (I hate that name WAY more than any of the SY-Fi movies) — something about bogus sharks, skimpy bikinis, teeth, blood, skimpy bikinis, summer break, stOOpid kids, skimpy bikinis, and a town mayor who refused to close the beaches. You know the one, similar to all the other dozens of bogus shark, skimpy bikini, teeth, blood, summer break, stOOpid kids, with a town mayor who refuses to close the beach movies out there.

So, there I was, watching this boring movie when out of nowhere I decided to jump up from my La-Z-Boy and raid my soup pantry, where — by golly! — the plastic can of Campbell’s Tuscan-Style Chicken & White Bean Soup with Asiago Cheese, Thyme & Rosemary soup was staring me in the face. I added a pinch of fresh basil, red pepper, and some grated, sharp cheddar cheese, and into the microwave it went. “Mmmmmm mmmmm good” never tasted so — good.

The bogus sharks, skimpy bikinis, teeth, blood, summer break, stOOpid kids, and a town mayor who refused to close the beaches movie still sucked.

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It began many years ago when I realized taking pictures from a TV screen was easy if you had a digital camera. Just for fun, I began taking snapshots of outrageous television advertisements. Outrageous from the viewpoint of product reality: what they advertise vs. what we get.

I want one! Burger King Whopper TV ad screenie.

My first experience was a Burger King “Whopper” sandwich ad. I mean, have you EVER bought a “PERFECT WHOPPER” that looks like this one? Sesame seeds placed just so; exquisitely deposited dollops of ketchup and mayonnaise; thick onion slices to die for; perfectly arranged serrated pickles; Ginsu-sliced tomatoes and leafy lettuce straight from Martha Stewart’s garden?

Hell, I don’t want to EAT this burger — I want to frame it and hang it on my wall!

Which got me to thinking.

I printed the picture and carried it into my local BK. When my Whopper was delivered I opened the wrapper on the counter and asked for the manager. Yeah. I was a butt-head. I placed the ad picture I had taken next to the pathetic burger-thingy. “I want one that looks like THIS one!” I said, pointing to my picture.

Needless to say, I was not very popular with that particular BK establishment for a long time to come. Like — forever. Of course, I realized the burger-thingy’s shortcoming was not the manager’s fault, false advertising or not. And even though I received an extra burger or two, I went home to the internet and did a little “false advertising” research, where I discovered it is nearly impossible to get a “false advertising” conviction because of  little known legalese gobbledegook often referred to as “reasonable expectation”.

In the above link, the following excerpt pretty much sums it up: “An advertiser cannot be charged with liability with respect to every conceivable misconception, however outlandish, to which his representations might be subject among the foolish or feeble-minded.”

At least the bureaucrats who concocted the document did not exclude themselves from the folks they are trying to confuse.

Today’s FFT is not about the Whopper, however.  It is about “Mrs. Paul’s frozen, 100% WHOLE FILLETS — Beer Batter Fillets”. Man, does that picture on the box look terrific — or does it? When I got the package home, I noticed a tiny, unobtrusive bit of text on the bottom right corner of the box: “ENLARGED TO SHOW QUALITY”.

“Enlarged to Show Quality” Perception vs. Reality: the REAL fillet is to the right.

Do those advertising folks know how to gobbledegook us foolish and feeble minded folks or what?

BTW, the 4-inch long fillets tasted “okay”.

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What a Joke -- no, No, NO!

I was going to tell you about “Dockside Classics” Premium CRAB CAKES”, and how great a disappointment they were, and how their packaging was misleading with fantastic images that were not representational of what the product REALLY looked like, and how, instead of lumps of crabmeat like the packaging indicated, the texture was more like ground up cornmeal pudding, and how — although the package said “Made with Real Crabmeat” — the second mystery ingredient was something called “Crab Surimi (?) that turned out to be nothing more than ground up “Alaskan Pollock and/or Whiting”, and how MSG and a host of other unpronounceable and undesirable ingredients were hidden in there, and how terrible “Dockside Classics” Premium CRAB CAKES tasted, but I won’t bother. Stick with SeaPak Crab Cakes!

Instead, I’m going to tell you about a stupid simple Spanish Rice recipe I came up with that tastes like a million bucks:

  • 1, 16-oz can chicken broth,
  • 1, 8-oz can of “RO*TEL ZESTY Tomato & Green Chili” (mild)
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 4-5 pieces cooked crispy bacon, chopped
  • 1-1/2 (+ 1 clenched handful) cups non-sticky converted rice

Combine everything in a microwavable bowl, cover with commercial grade plastic wrap, and nuke at 60% for about 22 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. If you happen to have a small tomato handy, chop it up and throw it in there.

Doesn’t get any better that that.

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From time to time my body speaks to me. “Tim, don’t fall out of this tree; Tim, get off the top step on the ladder; Tim, turn the razor blade box cutter AWAY from you; Tim, eat some salad. Now.”

"Tim, eat some salad. Now."

So, I have been directed to pursue a salad binge, one that I am enjoying: give me a decent tomato, some leafy bits of salad greens, a sweet onion, virgin olive oil, Pompeian red wine vinegar, sweet basil, fresh oregano, a crumbled hard-boiled egg, maybe some exotic cheese, and I’m good to go.

I can eat salads all day long.

As a matter of fact, I just finished a large bowl of something similar to the salad mentioned above. Okay, forget the exotic cheese. (I’m all out of exotic cheeses.) Forget those little greenie thingies placed just so.  And, I ate my last hard-boiled egg yesterday.

Now, I’m going to enjoy a small bowl of Breyers Chocolate Crackle ice cream. Sometimes, the refrigerator speaks to me, too.

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Having lived in Maryland for more than a decade before moving to North Carolina, I have come to appreciate a decent crab cake. Of course, no crab cake can compare to one you make yourself using fresh, jumbo lump crab meat and a good Maryland recipe. (Never, ever, use “pasteurized” crab meat, which is tantamount — in my opinion — to using synthetic, FAKE “Krab” meat type products.)

What a surprise!

While grocery shopping the other day, I noticed SeaPak Maryland Style Crab Cakes sitting in the frozen fish freezers, on sale, “2 for 1”. Apparently, SeaPak Maryland Style Crab Cakes are normally priced in the 6-7$ range, and had they not been on sale for half-off, I would have passed them by like I have for years, because — after all — no crab cake can compare to one you make yourself using fresh, lump crab meat and a good Maryland recipe.

I decided to give them a try.

I prefer crab cakes fried over medium heat in 75% butter/ 25% olive oil until both sides are brown and crispy, served with a slice of lemon. (Some folks prefer theirs less crispy.) Directions were simple and straight forward.

What a surprise! Although I can make better, I plopped down in front of my TV and could ALMOST fool myself in believing I was back in a Maryland sports bar enjoying crab cakes with my friends.

To be fair, I have to point out that the SeaPak Maryland Style Crab Cake recipe uses a tad too much mayonnaise, but not enough to be a show stopper. In the future, from time to time, I will have no problem buying a box of SeaPak Maryland Style Crab Cakes at non-sales pricing.

Just for a treat.

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Tim says: I found this post in my earliest archives. It is Recipe du Jour’s very first “FRIDAY FOOD THING”. Probably circa, 1998. I laughed so hard when I rediscovered it, I just HAD to post it again.

I think you will agree, FRIDAY FOOD THING has come a LONG way since then…

+ + + + +

Husband: “The two best things I cook are meat loaf and roast chicken…”

Wife (peering at her dinner plate): “So, give me a hint — which one is this?”

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Feeling a lot more better now. Man, that flu or cold or whatever it was I caught a couple of weeks ago is a real terror. I think I may have gotten out and about a tad bit too early last week, though, when I managed a trip to South Hill to fetch a new set of tires. What was I thinking?

South Hill, Virginia

I gotta tell you, while I was waiting for my tires, I was introduced to the “Horseshoe Restaurant” by my Lake Gaston friend, Al Hartley. Turns out The Horseshoe Restaurant makes absolutely the best hamburger I’ve ever eaten. Evidently, most of the meat on their menu (as well as the vegetables!)  are locally-grown and — whenever possible — of the “free range” variety. Meaning, no chemicals and just about as organic as you can get. The out-of-season tomato slice topping my burger tasted like I had just plucked it from a summertime garden; same with the leafy lettuce.

Bison burgers and elk burgers are also available, a treat to look forward to during my next South Hill visit.

Maybe I’ll even take my camera along and snap some decent pictures so you can see a little bit more of that delicious burger!

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