Terrible Recipes

I haven’t laughed this hard in at least fifteen minutes. It’s definitely worth your time if you are trying to hone your mad cooking skills.

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Selections from my forthcoming terrible cookbook 

Pumpkin Surprise

7 handfuls of Cool Ranch Doritos

Roughly a gallon of caramel sauce

1 can of pumpkin puree

1 smoked turkey leg from the Fair

Combine the Doritos and the caramel inside a freshly carved Jack-o-Lantern. Watch as it oozes out the eyeholes. Pretty neat, huh? Next, drizzle on the pumpkin puree. Maybe see what that feels like rubbed on your face. Gross? You bet. Put the whole mess in the front seat of your car and just drive, man, just drive. When you reach the border of the closest state, eat that turkey leg. You’ve earned it, buddy.

Farmer’s Stew

1 goat

7 gallons melted fish

Most vegetables

No salt

An unacceptable amount of paprika

Mix the goat and the melted fish in a cauldron over a roaring fire. Make witchy faces and noises. Curse your neighbor’s crops. IMPORTANT: Make sure you…

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The Brownies I Can’t Forget

There was a time where I had an incredible memory. I knew everything there was to know, or so I thought. The most vivid memories revolved around food. For the past three years or so, I have documented my life with food pictures. Most of my pictures are of my kitchen creations, but there’s also a smattering of other memorable meals.

These past three years it seems that my life memories are disappearing. I’m forgetting even the context of food pictures. Who made it, how it tasted, where it was eaten seems to be slipping. I’ve decided that I need to capture the context before these food memories disappear altogether.

This house is missing the ground floor.

January 2012–I headed to Trussville, AL to volunteer with Mercy Chefs to feed hot meals to the tornado victims. When I arrived, it was determined that Mercy Chefs wasn’t needed as Samaritan’s Purse had the situation under control.

I just drove nine hours from Shreveport . I wasn’t going to turn back so I was allowed to volunteer in the kitchen as a Samaritan’s Purse volunteer.

We provided most meals but some meals were served by local organizations. Grace’s Kitchen served up some delicious meals a couple of times during the two weeks I was there.

This trip is beginning to get fuzzy already, but I don’t think I could ever forget the cappuccino brownies.

I remember them vividly. I was sitting at a long table with maybe thirty volunteers, most of whom I had never met. I sat across from this guy that moderately resembled Harrison Ford. He was telling me that he was an electrician and he traveled and volunteered his time.

Maybe he was a plumber, I can’t say I wasn’t really paying attention. Something about being a former alcoholic and whatever else he was saying about carpentry or Hungarian ice wrestling. I was too busy thinking about these brownies to pay him much mind. I’m surprised he didn’t mention my glazed eyes.

These cappuccino brownies floored me. I knew I had to have them again. Fortunately for me, they posted the recipe on their website. I don’t even have to suffer through a conversation with some Blade Runner wannabe.

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My friend, Josh, shot the picture of the brownies. I was able to pay him in brownies.

Busted

I don’t bake much, but when I do I love licking the beaters, spoons, bowl, whatever. If there is cake batter it needs to be licked.

I have three daughters, so I usually usually just let them have all the paraphenalia because sharing is the right thing to do.

Some time ago, I was working on a cake when all the girls were playing in their rooms. I got the cake in the oven and I went straight for the bowl. Have you ever eaten something where you just can’t stop?

I believe it was a peanut butter cake. Who can resist? In my weakness, I greedily wiped on the bowl’s interior with my whole hand. Batter covered my face like an infant eating strained peas. I’m certain I had batter in my eyebrows.

Then I was caught. All three girls bound for the kitchen and I attempt to gain composure. I couldn’t even make up a story as my face gave me away. I surrendered my cake batter cornucopia to those girls with the sunshiny faces. I’d be smiling too if I still had that bowl.

I learned a valuable lesson that day. Sadly, it wasn’t the virtue of sharing. I learned to bake while the kids are in school.

More Dead Trees

It seems I have a guy for everything. I have my plumber, I call Tommy when I need a mechanic, I even have my tree guy.

It’s easy to call your guy when there’s money in the bank, but when funds are low, I pull out my Hayne’s manual to repair my own car, and this is why I didn’t call my tree guy. I’m broke.

I had no idea I had a dead pine tree in my front yard. Seriously, who looks up if the stars aren’t out? I don’t.

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It was impressive watching this drop.

Last summer, my neighbor told me I had a dead pine tree in my backyard. I had no idea. I can’t see if the trees are dead when I’m trying to see the stars through this massive leaf cover. As soon as the neighbor pointed out my dead tree, I called my guy.

These guys at All Pro Tree Service do a phenomenal job and they are priced reasonably. This time, a different neighbor knocked on my door. He said, “Hey fella, that dead tree could fall on your house. By the way, I had worked for Asplundh for thirty years. My son, who is a professional tree cutter-er guy, can help me get that tree on the ground. Cheap.”

I could only understand every fourth word he uttered because he is from the South. I have always had trouble understanding Southerners.

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Tree guys are nuts.

I was born in Minnesota. My dad talks like a Yankee. I forgot to mention that I was raised in the South. As a matter of fact, I’ve spent 33 of my 38 years living in the South. I still have trouble understanding this language. It is much like trying to understand that British nanny on tv. They don’t speak English down here. They speak Southern.

So after determining that he wanted to cut some trees down and he wasn’t a Jehovah’s Witness trying to sell me a set of encyclopedias, we agreed on a price and he came today.

It went smoothly today, so I decided to share this triumph on Facebook. Just like I share every meal I eat, the latest news on back boils, and everything else my friends don’t want to hear.

My guy, remember my tree guy? He read it and admonished me for hiring someone who isn’t insured. I really felt bad that I took my business to Mr. Shadetree tree guy, but I’m on beans and rice for the rest of the month. I figured I couldn’t afford my guy at this time.

He is right. My guy is just looking out for my best interests even when I tried out the new guy. From now on, I’ll be sure to use my guy. If you live in the Shreveport-Bossier area, maybe you could make him your guy.

The Real Pickle–Shreveport, LA

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They bring a small bowl of these guys to you as you look over the menu.

Since Dave Ramsey took over our home two and a half years ago, we haven’t had many opportunities to go enjoy a meal.  Today was different because I was only with my fourteen year old daughter, Alli, so it wasn’t too hard on my pocketbook.

I try to frequent local places because franchises sometimes seem really stale, unless of course you are talking about Five Guys.  I just love those fries.  This afternoon was no exception and we decided to visit The Real Pickle.

It’s been here as long as I can remember.  I’ve only been here a couple of times prior, but those gastronomic experiences were definitely memorable.  I usually get the shrimp poboy with remoulade sauce because it has always been excellent.  Today, it was very good but it was too salty for my taste.  We were the first customers of the day.  Maybe the chef got too excited and oversalted the shrimp.  Maybe I cut him off in traffic one day and he finally had his chance to get back at me.  Nonetheless, I go light on the salt in my own cooking and I frequently have had meals at restaurants that were too salty for me.  Perhaps I’m just a salt wuss.

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These fries are nothing like Five Guys.

On the plus side, the prawns were breaded nice and happy and were a fried jubilee.  The spice level was excellent.  I love firey hot food, and typically if I can detect ANY heat, it’s too much for many people I know, but I was surprised with a nice, warm burn.  The remoulade was remoulade.  I don’t care where you get it.  Remoulade tastes great.  It tastes good on everything.  The bread was so light and crusty and had a hint of buttery delight.  The fries?  Well, they weren’t Five Guys.

Alli had a ham and something on a croissant.  It wasn’t mine, so I didn’t pay much attention to it.  She liked it and that is what’s important.

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Alli really enjoyed her ham and something sandwich.

In fine, (I’ve always wanted the opportunity to say “in fine” as I remember it from the poem “Richard Cory“).  In fine, the most important aspect was that I had an opportunity to spend some quality time with Alli.  I need to take her to another Texas BBQ joint soon, but that’s another story.

Food Idiosyncrasies…I Don’t Like White Food

I know it sounds silly. It’s a fact I haven’t shared much in the past. I haven’t even told my wife until about a month ago, though I’m sure she already suspected it.

There are some innocuous white foods like eggs, potatoes and rice, but I sincerely abhor mayonnaise, cream cheese, white milk (or milk in general)…you get the picture. There are exceptions to the rule, like when you need to use mayonnaise for tuna salad or cream cheese for a velvety peanut butter pie, but when I cook with these ingredients I have my cleansing ritual. There’s nothing worse than leaving a milk ring on the counter with the milk cap.

I’m sure my white food aversion stems from my dad’s efforts to cajole me into drinking white milk. I don’t know what his obsession was because I loved chocolate milk, but I guess at six or seven, I was his experiment in Nazi parenting.

Cajole is too soft a word. My dad was the White Milk Enforcer. Numerous times, he would wrestle me in the kitchen to pour that evil beverage down my throat. He would literally pour it down my throat after he pried my mouth open. My hatred for that ivory abomination ran so deeply that he usually ended up pouring two glasses onto my face only for it to soak us. After the fight was wrestled out of me I would finally submit so that I could brush my teeth and take a shower.

So I have an aversion to white food. It’s definitely not a hard and fast rule because to make delicious treats I frequently have to make exceptions, but I still have to scrub down like I’m about to perform an appendectomy after their use, though.

A Pain in the #%$!

My adventure began about four and a half years ago.  My wife and I just had our third daughter three months prior, and we decided that it was time for a vasectomy.

When I was around ten years old, I was diagnosed with a varicocele.  I had it repaired when I was seventeen and gave it little thought until I told the urologist about my history when I was 34.  The good doctor advised me that there should be no issue when I had the procedure.

Sparing the details, I knew there was something wrong when I still had searing pain three days later.  I was supposed to be well enough for life by now.  The urologist thought I was malingering, so it was time for a new urologist.

This new doctor was tasked with undoing whatever harm may have been done by the previous doctor.  His best advice was to get an epididyectomy.  I was in so much pain, I underwent this procedure with little thought.  Recovery was elusive as I spent weeks in bed loaded on narcotics.

I was in bed a couple of months when we determined I may be stuck with the sensation that I caught a golf club with my groin.  Naturally, it was time for pain management specialists to figure out how to cure me or to feed me enough OxyContin that I could eat them like skittles.  The obvious choice for the specialist was to feed me a drug cocktail that would practically induce coma for the average person, but it barely took the edge off.

During this time I also made several trips to Lubbock, TX to receive experimental RF (radio frequency) treatments to burn my ilioinguinal nerve.  The very first treatment was promising.  The team of doctors said that if the treatment was successful, I could expect to be pain free up to six months before I would need another treatment.

I was wheeled away to the operating room and was stabbed in my lower abdomen with a long needle that felt like a railroad spike.  Once the needle was in contact with the angry nerve, it was time to burn it with RF pulses.  This procedure was agonizing, but in recovery I could see that it worked!  I was pain free and it was time to celebrate.  About an hour later though, I could feel the pain creeping back in.  I underwent three or four more of these hopeless procedures over the next few months and during this time I was either missing work or laying in bed every moment outside of work.

My pastor knew what I was dealing with and advised me to go to a specialist in Temple, TX.  This new urologist has treated people with similar problems and said an orchiectomy is the best course of action.  He also said he would sever the ilioinguinal nerve while he was operating.  He was certain I would not feel anything when I woke up from surgery.  I awoke with severe pain, but it was still considerably better than usual.

By this time I was unable to work and spent my days resting and praying.  Over the course of about a year I could feel that my condition had improved and my daily life is now bearable.

I still have pain everyday.  It gets worse with physical activity and a flare up can last several days.  I also have other chronic pain issues that probably stem from this trauma.  I have an appointment with a rheumatologist next month to explore my new conditions.  What’s important is that I have some semblance of life again.  I know my relationships suffer and I’ll probably never have a normal full time job again, but I’m no longer chained to the bed or opiates.

My advice for all men:  Never, never get a vasectomy.

I'm just a hack who likes to eat.

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