Ooh. I just cooked up a happy, little, simple dinner.

A two egg omelette with small chunks of mushroom, green pepper, and sweet onion, and plenty of cheese. Topped with a little Italian seasoning (mixture of marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, sage, oregeno, and basil) and a dollop of sour cream.

And three slices of bacon, done to a crisp.

And a tall glass of ice cold water.


My first pasta dinner

At the grocery store, I use a red handbasket, no cart.

I look at the cans: SPT GRLC/ONIN TM and SP TOMATO PASTE.
Too big, I think. They will have to do.

Amidst the vegetables, an old woman and I reach for the mushrooms.
"You, please," she grants me first pick,
and I bag one 0.10 lb @ 3.99 /lb BULK MUSHROOMS.
She looks askance at me:
"You need more than that tiny one! Take more, they are good."
Sheepishly, "It is only me. I'm trying for no leftovers."
She mutters away with her bag, swollen with succulent mushrooms.

In the freezer section, I choose a small bag of ITALIAN MTBALLS.

The tomato already has diced GRLC/ONIN, but it needs spicing.
So, I add MC ITALIAN SEAS to the red basket.

In goes ANGEL HAIR PASTA, which she likes and is now my habit.
And, a miniature cylinder of PARMESAN CHEESE.

Near the checkout, I consider the bottles of red wine.

I talk myself out of them all:
You do not have a wine glass.
They are too much money. Make grape juice.
You do not have a corkscrew.

In my heart, I am afraid:
I've only had wine with her.
I might finish the bottle before the pasta is al dente.

"Have a great night," cashier Joel says.

I can eat crunchy peanut butter now.

I was at the grocery store and realized that I can buy crunchy peanut butter. So, I’m eating a PB&J with crunchy peanut butter now. Oh man, this is living.

I still need to have creamy peanut butter when the girls come over. The last weekend that I had the girls, Lila tried a crunchy peanut butter sandwich and handed it back to me after a few bites. It hurts my teeth, she said.

Davin Lila and Eva

Stories and kiddie-coffee

I had the girls this weekend, and before I brought them back this evening, we went for kiddie-coffee at a Beaners. Or, the B as Lila calls it. Kiddie-coffee is, of course, a vanilla steamer, not too hot.

So, we sat around the table, sharing a lemon scone, the girls dipping their fingers into the foam on top of the steamers, and telling stories. I finished the Wash-ching-geka story about the ant-monster—Lila filled in some parts—and Eva, my two year old, hopped onto my lap and began her story.

“Once upon a time, a monster!” She growled and arched her fingers up in the air. “And a girl monster! Arrrrr!” she said, louder. Her nose wrinkled and she made a scary face at Lila. Lila looked at me in mock-shock. “And then…” she began to babble for a minute and she and Lila began to giggle.

“I thirsty,” said she, and reached for her steamer. Spoken like a true story-teller. Wore her throat right out.


If I owned a Mexican restaurant…

I was eating at Panchero’s a few days ago and I heard someone ordering a burrito. When the employee asked the customer if he wanted hot sauce on it, the guy said, “Have any super-hot sauce? Something under the counter?”

That would be awesome. If I ran a Mexican restaurant like that, I’d keep some Dave’s Insanity sauce or something like it under the counter. I might pour the sauce into a small, dented, tin canteen, just for the effect.

That’d stir up some word-of-mouth marketing.


I’m corn intolerant

Isn’t that a crazy thing to say?

Anyway, I’ve had this reaction to some foods for years, and I’ve been trying to figure it out. Lots of different pizzas would cause problems for me, some pasta sauces and salsas. Other foods with some sort of sauce as well. So, I was thinking it might be tomato or some sort of spice or additive or something.

Anyway, the more likely candidate now is corn. Which makes sense when you think about it. Salsas I would pretty much always eat on corn chips. Pizzas often have corn meal in the crust or corn syrup in the pizza sauce. And it turns out that many different kinds of sauces have corn syrup. As does most pop.

The key for me was last weekend I had some corn-on-the-cob at the balloon festival in Mason, MI. That evening I noticed that my mouth was feeling a little raw. The next morning it had gotten so bad that when I brushed my teeth, my gums began to bleed. And, not the between the teeth sort of bleeding. This was like layers of skin (think about eating corn on the cob and how the corn really gets all over the front of your mouth) had been eaten away. Almost like someone splashed acid on my gums.

Anyway, it was not so much fun.

So, because the effect was so localized, I made that connection with the corn-on-the-cob.

Chey looked up corn allergies and found out that many of the symptoms that I get after eating pizza (Little Caeser’s is particularly bad. As is Jack’s frozen pizza. Which stinks, because I love Jack’s pizza. Loved, anyway.) are associated with this type of corn intolerance or allergy. Specifically, the day after ingestion I get pretty ridiculously bad headaches and my mouth gets raw and sometimes bleeds. I think it also affects my nasal passages, because they seem to swell up.

So, there it is. Now I know what to watch out for. Corn, high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, and apparently MSG was listed as well.

It’s rice cakes and fresh-brewed coffee for me, from now on.


What not to do in northern Michigan towns

Last summer a friend and I walked into a bar in Gaylord, Michigan. We wanted to get some lunch, and because it was raining and we were walking, we weren’t took picky. Besides, there was a menu in the window that showed burgers, fries, fish, and some pasta, I think.

We had not been to the place before, and while I hoped it might be better than your average bar


Cinammon stick rant

Those who have been around East Lansing, Michigan for more than a few years may remember Bilbo’s Restaurant/Bar. I think a place called La Trattoria, or something like that, is in its space now. It’s right next to El Azteco. You know the place.

Anyway, back then, Bilbo’s had the best cinnamon sticks anywhere. In fact, as far as I know, the were the only place that had cinammon sticks. They were way ahead of the game on that one. The night I heard that Bilbo’s was shutting down, I lay in bed, my eyes tearing up with the thought of the rare jewel of Bilbo’s cinnamon sticks being gone forever.

So these days it seems like every pizza place offers some version of cinammon sticks. Pizza Hut has them. Domino’s has them. And, this evening I had some from Cottage Inn Pizza.

While Cottage Inn does great pizza, their cinammon sticks just don’t cut it. And, frankly, I haven’t had any cinammon sticks since Bilbo’s that are worth the money you pay for them.

Here’s the problem: these pizza shops are cheaping out. They have some leftover pizza crust, throw some cinammon & sugar on them, add a little tube of prepackaged icing and call it desert.

The solution? Well, the wise pizza place will custom make dough specifically for some tasty, soft cinammon sticks. They should rise more than pizza crust, they should be a little fluffier, a little more moist, and the dough should be a little sweeter.

And they shouldn’t be served with icing. It’s honey, baby. Honey.

If any pizza place in town starts to offer well-crafted cinammon sticks, they will capture my devotion and the devotion of so many other people who find out about the desert.

The really smart place will track down an old employee of Bilbo’s and find the original recipe.