15 Weird things in the Wal-Mart dairy section

9 09 2007

Daddyforever had this great meme, called “15 weird things about me.” It quickly turned from “weird things” to “his wife will stab him 15 times with a kitchen knife for this.” Hopefully the wounds won’t be fatal and the police won’t find his body washed ashore on the Pacific coast somewhere.

So instead of airing my laundry I decided to stay on the Wal-Mart theme I started on Friday. When you’re shopping you kind of have blinders on, and if something’s not on your list you don’t really see it. Well I didn’t have that luxury while stocking the shelves, and let me tell you the dairy section has some of the nastiest products in the store. So here they are, in ascending order of nasty, fifteen weird things in the dairy section of Wal-Mart.

Before you ask, yes, the refrigerated juices count as the dairy section. Don’t ask me, I’m a mindless drone. Start the countdown!

15. Goat’s milk – Not really weird, but we never had it in stock. The day before I left we got a shipment of one carton. A customer was very happy that day.

14. Pineapple Orange Banana juice

13. Frigo Cheese heads mozzarella/cheddar swirled cheese sticks

12. Soy chocolate milk

And now, something from the yogurt wall…
(that’s right, it’s the wall where the yogurt is.)

11. Thick & Creamy Light key lime pie flavored yogurt – “Thick & Creamy” and “Light” don’t go together.

10. Boston Cream Pie flavored yogurt

9. Pina Colada flavored yogurt

8. Vanilla yogurt with mini Reese’s Pieces to stir in it

7. Coffee flavored yogurt

6. Flan – This isn’t really weird, it’s just not something I’d buy from a box at Wal-Mart.

5. Gallons of Great Valu orange juice – didn’t resemble juice at all, so naturally we couldn’t stock it fast enough.

4. Yoohoo! – does anybody really know what’s in that stuff?

3. Soy yogurt

2. Cottage cheese with pineapple jam for you to mix in with it

1. Salmon flavored cream cheese

and the winner is…

There was also an extensive selection of items in the pre-made dough section, but that’s another post.

Mark ruins August

6 09 2007

Benchmarks are always good. It’s good to know “Ick, I ruined dinner, but it wasn’t as bad as last week’s Jerk chicken.” or “This pizza isn’t very good but it’s not the shape of Wisconsin.” Our family (and by that I mean Mark) has a new benchmark for success, or more specifically, failure.

In life we all make mistakes. We all make bad decisions, errors in judgment. And in these mistakes there are varying degrees of disaster associated with them. And in our house we now know that there are bad ideas, horrible ideas, and then there’s Wal-Mart.

Do I ever have any good ideas?

It seemed like a good idea at the time. If I’m still home to watch the boys during the day I can work two or three nights a week third shift, right? Right? Perhaps not. Had I been working just weekends I still would have failed, but it certainly didn’t help that I was on four nights a week – in a row. By the morning following night #4, the boys were on their own, playing video games all day in their pajamas and eating candy for lunch. And it would take three days off for me to start feeling normal again. Well, as normal as I can be.

I’d been working nights for two weeks when I gave my notice. I told them I’d work the existing schedule and then be done. Problem was, there was three weeks of schedule already done, and two of them were jammed together – four days on, one day off, four days on. Ugh.

It’s amazing just how neurotic you become with sleep deprivation. Do you know how confusing it is to start your shift on Monday and finish it Tuesday? Halfway through the night today turns into yesterday and tomorrow turns into today. And somewhere along the line (I’m not sure the exact time) tonight turns into this morning. People start talking about “tonight” and they really mean “tomorrow.” Then I get to go home and sleep all day watch the kids. Is it any wonder that my love affair with coffee became an addiction? After working those eight nights during a nine day period I actually said to the boys “If you don’t eat your dinner tonight I’m selling the Wii on ebay!”

I once had a college professor who told me “You can’t fail if you never try.” This is something you never want to hear from a college professor. He was trying to make me feel better, knowing that at least I’d had the courage to pluck up and do something stupid. And I suppose it’s true. Adding something to the list of my stupid ideas is better than sitting around wondering what would’ve happened if I’d tried this or that. And boy, I set my sights really high on this one, didn’t I?

Oh, and a guy made a pass at me while working the cheese wall at 2:00am on a Saturday night. Or was it a Sunday morning?

PSA #1: Pork Cooking Temperatures

24 06 2007

I tried being funny about it, but apparently there are a lot of people out there who want to know about eating pork medium rare or rare. So here’s my first official public service announcement about food safety. You wanna know if you can eat pork medium rare, here’s where to go:

USDA Cooking Temperature Fact Sheet

Yes, there are approved cooking temperatures for medium and well-done pork. If that wasn’t enough, the Food Network has (I hope) done some research and come up with their own recommendations, including one for medium rare pork. We in our house think they’re crazy, but I suppose there are certain prejudices that you grow up with and you can never get rid of.

Food Network’s take on USDA Cooking Temperatures

I hope this takes care of everyone’s needs, thank you for visiting my blog.

Attack of the zombie Iron Chef judges

10 05 2007

I would like to dedicate this post to my good friend Daddyforever, who has nominated me for the inaugural Thinking Booger Award, which is celebrating blogs that make you think of boogers. The other distinguished recipient even designed a graphic:


On with the nasty:

There are certain shows I watch to get ideas for ruining dinner my menu for next week. Iron Chef is not one of them. Iron Chef is the show that I sit back and watch, in reverence and awe, chefs who know what they’re doing. It was my friend Mario Batali against challenger Chris Cosentino in Battle Garlic. Chef Cosentino started things off by butchering a sqab. What is a squab? I’m glad you asked, and I am here to enlighten you with my superior knowledge. I’ll put it in SAT terms. Veal is to lamb as squab is to…pigeon.

He took the head and the legs (feet still attached) and fried them in olive oil before then roasting them in the oven. For plating he put a roasted clove of garlic in the talon of the squab (I thought that was cool) and split the heads in half. When presenting to the judges he instructed them to grasp the squab by the back of the head and suck the brains out.

Pause. Let that sink in. NO! Wait! I said pause. Let that sink in.

He actually said the words “suck the brains out.” Twice. Ted Allen did a double take and asked for clarification but no, he heard it right the first time. All three judges did as instructed and Ted Allen even mentioned how the brains had a “wonderful flavor.”

Now I am a small town boy. I didn’t grow up in the big city or in the country, so I’ve never even thought about eating brains. I was never privy to fine dining, nor did I ever eat roadkill. Call me a Philistine if you want to, I will accept the label. I suppose I’m not a true “foodie,” although I like to pretend to be one. But there are certain things I just won’t eat. One is rabbit kidneys & livers, and another is pigeon brains.

Chef Cosentino is very proud of his performance in Iron Chef (even though Mario won) and is even offering his entire Iron Chef menu at his restaurant. Personally I think he was robbed. The judges gave him almost no points for plating and that squab dish alone would’ve given him a perfect score in my book. Even if I think that eating brains is gross, the presentation was genius. And you could tell he really enjoyed the shock value of his dish on the judges, and apparently, America. Bravo, Chef!

He had me until he added the rabbit kidneys

4 02 2007

Gordon Ramsay has had about 20 TV shows, and I must admit I’m kind of addicted to him. My favorite has always been his Kitchen Nightmares show because it’s more than cooking, it’s about running a business. And Gordon’s blind taste tests kill me. Rule #1: If you’re blindfolded and Gordon Ramsay asks “Is this sirloin or porterhouse?” he has most likely fed you lamb or pork.

I’ve made at least one meal from Gordon’s F-Word show, and it was a resounding success, and I think the sauce lends itself to more applications than just chicken breast. My favorite part about F-Word is when he actually demonstrates how to prepare the entree. I’m the kind of cook that, especially with sauces, needs to see it done first or I will ruin it. In my opinion the most important words in any cooking show (or cookbook for that matter) are “You’ll know when it’s done when…”

Rabbit fricassée with tagliatelle

This recipe looks really good, and he had me until the end when he finished off with the rabbit’s liver and kidneys, served pink in the middle. I don’t care if they’re supposed to be pink, I wouldn’t eat it. So the dish as a whole looks very good, and I’m considering it cooked with a whole chicken instead. Karen agreed. She likes the look of it, but holy cow Gordon those organs do not look appetizing.