Archive for buns

Meat George Jetson

Posted in food, health with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2008 by uglydudefood

This is not a post discussing the merits of designing a life-sized cartoon character out of animal flesh.

This is a post about my falling-out with vegetarianism.

When I was dieting, I cut meat out of my diet entirely. It wasn’t out of any particular sociopolitical agenda, nor was it by the design of some radical “eating animals is wrong” mindset. Eating animals isn’t, I don’t think, particularly wrong. We have the enzymes. We have the teeth for it. It’s naive for humans to think that, as animals, we are “above” the idea of eating another animal’s flesh. Food chain, blahblah, etc.

We kinda sorta treat our food like crap, but that’s another story for another day.

I stopped eating meat because I was trying to cut fat out of my diet entirely. It worked for the most part. There were days that the very few grams of fat I received came from a Boca Burger here or there, and nothing else.

In my attempts to begin a healthier lifestyle of late, I did some research. Fat is an important part of a balanced diet. We should be getting anywhere between twenty and thirty-five percent of our calories from fat. This aids in insulation, healthy cell-function maintenance, and muscle-building, among other helpful bodily functions.

Oops. No wonder I’m always cold. I’ll just try to avoid saturated fats and trans-fats, thank you.

With that stumbling block out of the way, it was really only matter of time until I returned to an omnivorous lifestyle. The eventual cracking point was at Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill.

I am a seasoned calorie-counter. Caloriecount is my Bible. When I saw that Applebee’s had a “Weight Watchers” menu that included specific caloric/fat information, I was ecstatic. I wouldn’t have to nurse a Diet Coke until it was time to go home and nuke up some veggies.

With the exception of cake and onion soup (I was on a date, so onion soup was out of the question, natch), all of the Weight Watchers options were full of meat. Glorious meat!

I decided to go with the Italian Chicken and Portabello Sandwich (pictured above in all of its grainy, dark, cell-phoney glory).  Applebee’s calls it “Grilled, marinated chicken breast topped with sliced portobello mushrooms, a slice of tomato and chunky marinara sauce. Served on a wheat bun along with fresh fruit.”   I did not receive the promised chunky marinara sauce, and the mushrooms were flavorless at best.  As for the first taste of meat I’d had in over three years?  What kind of culinary pleasure did I experience on my grand reentry into the world of the societal norm?

Eh.  Tasted like chicken.

I may eat meat a few times a week at most.  Look forward to more vegetarian recipes and whatnot, simply because they tend to be more flavorful and healthful, and therefore worth more of my time.

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Eating out: it’s not ONLY beneficial to your ladyfriend

Posted in food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2008 by uglydudefood

Just like every other aspect of eating, restaurant-dining and I have had a bit of a tenuous relationship over the past three or four years. Oftentimes, I would accompany my family and friends to restaurants, only to order “just a Diet Coke,” or “decaf coffee, black.” More often, though, I would just avoid the whole eating-out situation altogether.

I’ve been better lately–I’ve been eating veggie burgers and salads. Pintos and cheese is a new Taco Bell mainstay. Hell, I’ve even scarfed down a slice of pizza or two since I’ve started trying to fix myself.

A great source of inspiration–or at least a handy resource guide towards not being crazy at restaurants–can be found on Crack Fitness NYC. Melissa offers seven helpful hints for actually enjoying your dining experience, still remaining healthy, and avoiding the shame you would invariably bring your friends and accomplices over dinner. Here is an interesting excerpt, although I would strongly recommend reading this entire article:

Tip #2 *The ONE request rule. This is huge. This can transform your relationship with eating out if it makes you uncomfortable. You can only ask the waiter to make one substitution for the entire meal. So if you want your omelet with egg white only, don’t ask for it to be cooked without oil. If you want you salad dressing on the side, don’t drill the person about the way the cook your fish. If you want your fish cooked with olive oil not butter, make that your request. So let’s say your fish comes drenched a top a pool of teriyaki, just move it to a separate plate, so you have a reasonable amount of sauce.

One of these tips is to look at a menu and see if there is something you will actually eat on there beforehand. It saves you a whole lot of hassle. You don’t want to get seated at Denny’s (the epitome of fine dining, of course) and find yourself torn between the Grand Slam Breakfast, the Grand Grand Slam Breakfast, and the Fatboy Special–eight pieces of deep-fried french toast spread thick with lardo.

There are a number of items and sites that facilitate my particular brand of obsessive-compulsive, mildly-disordered crazyeating, which probably goes completely against the intentions of Melissa’s article but dag-nabbit it’s progress.

Red Robin’s website is my favorite. They have a burger customizer, which allows you to get accurate (but limited) nutritional information of all of their food, including the condiments you want and the side dishes you shouldn’t be eating. By the way. a lonely, bunless Gardenburger sitting on a cold plate is a mere 100 calories, which is a small price to pay for being the laughing-stock of your table.

Of course, everyone is familiar with those cheap paper menus they make available at the fast food joints now. Taco Bell, McDonald’s, and Subway (which is, by no means, a healthy weight-loss regime, by the bye) have had the most easily-available nutritional information in my opinion, but these days they all have some sort of guide or calculator on their website. Even Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken have gotten in on the game, although I think that’s simply to rub their fiendish coronary-murder-plot in your face before you croak.

Anyway, I guess this post was my successful attempt to crazy up a perfectly good and valid link. If you want real advice from somebody who is not a crazy crazy that is crazy, see the post at Crack Fitness NYC.

“And it was the best thing I ever done!”

Posted in food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2008 by uglydudefood

I was perusing my non-food blogroll, I stumbled across Hump Day Stories, which had a wonderful, food-relevant post this morning in regards to the late, apparently-great Williams Smoke House ribs.

I swear to God, [the rib] was so good that I dropped it and stared at it. My eyes were wide. I was looking at the rib like I just watched it punch my mother in the face, like I was angry at it for what it had done to me. In a sense, I was, but only because I equate pleasure with anger due to my damaged childhood. The bite of meat was already starting to melt in my mouth, the sauce mixing with fat and salt. Simply put, it was the most perfect bite of food I’ve ever taken.

I read this and just knew. Back in my younger, fatter, meat-eating days, I had one goal in life: to recreate my first Tony Luke’s experience.

I must have been in middle school. We were just settling down to a warm winter’s intolerable Philadelphia 76ers basketball game (intolerable not because of the fact that the Sixers were playing poorly, but because watching organized sports makes my eyeballs want to bleed).

With not much time before we had to hit the nosebleeds, we stopped by what looked like a rinky-dink shack under a bridge–Tony Luke’s. My father and brother grabbed Philly cheesesteaks (or as “Philly cheesesteak” as my family gets, which is to say that they were simply beef and American cheese, topped with far more ketchup than any one bun can hold), and I opted for the Roast Pork with Sharp Provolone.

I’m not sure what did it for me. Was it my first-ever taste of sharp provolone cheese? Fresh, tender pork? A big old white bun full of fat? I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure I had my first-ever orgasm then and there. From that moment on, it was my goal to recreate that heavenly experience in my own kitchen.

Problem number one: I was thirteen years old, and without a source of income or outside food. Problem number two: we never had pork just plain-ol’ lying around. I was stuck with Steakumms. The cheese situation was slightly–but barely–better. We usually had a block of extra-sharp cheddar cheese sitting in the refrigerator. It was close, but clearly not the same, I chopped up four-to-five Steakumms and melted upwards of a quarter pound of fatty, delicious cheese. They fried in their own fats and juices until the whole thing was one congealed patty of cheese and low-grade cowmeat.

Needless to say, I had no success in recreating that first Tony Luke’s moment. In fact, the only success I had was in the weight-gain department. These experimental cheesesteaks brought me from a plump 260 pounds to a morbid 300, which in turn caused me to take control of my life and become an obsessive-compulsive, anorexic, vegetarian freak.

Thanks a lot, Tony Luke’s.

So I would like to ask the readership (which is, at this point, nonexistent): what is the absolute best meal you’ve ever had? Did you have a transcendent experience like Geth over at Hump Day Stories? Do you find yourself “chasing the dragon” to relive a certain food-type experience that will never come?