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    Galena, Illinois
  1. An ex-BF of mine had a couple of eating habits that made me cringe. First, he had to examine every speck of food he put in his mouth. To do this he would slide his very large glasses down his nose and stain to peer over the top of them holding the fork practically up to his forehead. He had to look at every morsel from every angle. I never figured out what he was looking for. The other thing was that he held his fork like people hold barbells or a shovel. This was to facilitate the thing he did by the end of the meal. He'd scrape and scrape and scrape the last of the meal to the edge of his plate so hard that it would make the ear splitting screeching sounds. And I genuinely loath going out to eat with my mother. She will only go to this small Chinese restaurant near her house. She's been going there for 20 years. At the end of the meal she'll put one stack of bills on top of the check and put the tip in another neat stack. Then when the waitress comes she points to the check and proceeds to tell the waitress very loudly (because we all know if you think someone doesn't understand English just speak English extremely loud and they'll suddenly understand you) "DISS FOE CHECK" then points to the tip and screams "DISS FOE YOOOOO". No matter how many times the waitress says "Why thank you so much. Have a nice evening." in perfect English, my mom still doesn't get it. I want to crawl in a hole every time.
  2. Whatever you want to say about Martha Stewart, (and I was no fan of hers at the time) her being sent to jail on a $240,000 trade on a tip from her broker's assistant was a complete travesty. The same SEC that sent her to jail ignored the warnings about Madoff (with the money) for years. I used to work on Wall Street and I saw more insider trading go on in an average day done by brokers that will never see the inside of a jail cell than Martha did in a lifetime. There are not too many people who can put their business life back together after jail time well enough to be invited to be a guest judge on a well watched show. She certainly earned my respect.
  3. Shrimp scampi would work. And how about parmesan crusted fish? Chicken marinated in lemon, garlic, pepper and oregano would also be an option. None of these things contain onions.
  4. Pebs

    Sexy food?

    Hamburgers (aka Beef Cakes) Hot Tamales Cream Puffs Honey Buns Anything with Cherries
  5. The Swiss Army Knife. Don't leave home without it (although you have to pack it in the luggage now, not in your hand carry). ←
  6. Forgive me if I'm stating the obvious, but if no one took any pictures of food or wrote about food, we wouldn't have any cookbooks. What would a world without cookbooks be. I'd have to get rid of my book shelves. And then there's the food magazines. My bathroom would be devoid of reading material. While I don't take pictures of food, due to lack of a camera, I do draw great inspiration from other people's penchant for doing so. I love the "Dinner" thread for that reason. And when I need a good laugh (or consolation) the "Dinner II, Gallery of Regretable Foods" thread does just the trick. And when I find my mind wandering about what Italy must be like in harvest season, a thing I'll likely never see, how wonderful it is that I can click on a thread here and get a glimpse. And on a note likely to draw fire from some, how wonderful is it that I'll never go to Alinea and spend $500 because after seeing all the photos of the food, I just can't see myself getting excited over a slice of bacon handing from a mini wire clothes line. It's just not me. And therefore, the photos saved me a lot of money. Snap away people. Keep it coming.
  7. I've noticed a distinct change in my area. I live in a rural community that has a unique economy as we are a tourism destination for largely two to three day weekend getaways. We have only 3,400 residents but about 38 restaurants for that reason. Locals generally eat out only during the week during the high season because everything is so crowded on weekends, so you can tell how well the local economy is doing by how busy our restaurants are mid week. I'd say they are about a third less full than other summers. Since we don't have a lot of fast food options, they must be cooking at home more. Also, because I'm the finance director for our city, I can attest to the fact that our weekend visitor levels have remained about the same by looking at our hotel/motel tax collections. Restaurants have seen a town turn according to tax receipts. For us, gas prices are making an impact on who visits here, but it hasn't affected locals all that much since most people have about a 5 to 10 minute commute each day. It's more about the screeching halt to new construction and, in our case, historic restoration because of the housing market and credit crisis. A huge amount of our local population works in construction and remodeling trades. The area farmers markets are definately busier and a lot more of our local farms are selling produce directly from their farms. I sincerely believe that is because they are seeing an increase in demand from local residents, as most visitors aren't going to keep fresh food in their cars or B&B rooms till they go home on Sunday or Monday. Cindy
  8. Have you considered making pureed soups that use heavy cream? It will kick up the calorie content. When I had my tonsils taken out at age 27, my sister showed up and made about 6 varieties of soup. It kept me from being bored.
  9. Good luck. My poor 85 year old active dad watched a gopher start to pull one of his healthy tomato plants down into its burrow about 2 weeks ago. Course he ran to get a bomb, but by the time he got back the plant had been completely pulled under! My entire summer food experience hinges on his wonderful tomatoes. I am on the dge of my seat! ← You need the Rodenator! I swear I'm not making this up. I saw a youtube advertisment for it. It's long wand with a tank at the top. You stick the wand in a gofer or mole hole and it injects a calibrated mix of propane and oxygen. Then you press the button and BAM! It sets off a concussion throught the tunnels wiping out the little buggers. It doesn't explode your lawn or anything. The explosion stays underground. It just sends up dust in the pattern of the tunnels underground. The farmers and gardeners using this thing were having way too much fun. But I guess if you've had enough stuff dissappear you get a certain glee out of mass murdering the varmints. I saw the ad on a blog called Garden Rant.
  10. Someone else brought up the mint shakes from McDonalds around St. Patricks day. They were called Shamrock Shakes. I loved them.
  11. Actually, I'm one of those fortunate people who can walk to work, which I try to do most times, unless the weather is bad. When it was really bad this winter the Police Chief picked me up and drove me to work at City Hall. The ultimate in public transportation. I walk to most places I'm invited to. I can walk to 38 restaurants. Imagine that, in the country even. I drive to the grocery store, because the way back is uphill about a mile and a quarter and I'm 50. I'm thrifty but not stupid. And yes, I do buy non local foods too. Especially out of season and the obvious citrus not available locally in the midwest. But I really enjoy the local stuff, including the locally raised venison, and the cage free eggs I get from the city hall cleaning lady put on my desk once a week for $1 a dozen. We don't have cabs. And my house isn't all that large. I don't even have air conditioning. It was well built for natural ventilation in the 1840s. It was all they had back then. I feel very blessed to have this life style. I didn't move here out of some yuppy gone hippy fit of environmental rage. I got a good job here and it's a beautiful place to live. I lived in New York City for years and can tell you that I'm probably using less energy now than I did living in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn in a 60 unit building taking the elevator up and down and taking the subway to work. Then going up to the 102nd floor of Two World Trade Center, three times a day and spending 9 to 12 hours a day in a 24/7 airconditioned or heated building 107 stories high. And cabbing it everywhere else. If you're in a cab, it's just someone elses car isn't it? I'm certainly not saying that everyone who lives in a major city is inefficient. Not at all. I wish more cities were like NY in that there are small grocery stores in each neighborhood and you can walk to many things. But neither should you assume that anyone living in a single family dwelling in a small town has 5 acres of land, lives in a McMansion and drives an SUV 150,000 miles a year to go to dinner and work. I put about 10,000 miles a year on my old Ford Taurus. I know I'm not going to change the world with my vegetable garden. I'm just changing my world.
  12. There was a recent article in I believe Newsweek, that gave some interesting information on how seriously the Locavore Movement is becoming. It sited among other things that Wal-Mart, Target and several other large retail grocery providers were seeking ways to buy food produced closer to the stores it's destine for. They are actually starting to change their distribution models. I have to believe it's based on cost, not some new sense of morality about the environment. According to the article it has to do with the cost of fuel. I think it's safe to argue that regarless of the fact that it's totally monitarily based for these companies, the less fuel we burn, the smaller the carbon foot print. They are going green in some ways in spite of themselves. They are clearly looking at ways to reduce food miles. On another note, I live in a normal home on a standard lot in a small city of 3,600 people. In my backyard I grow three kinds of potatoes 8 types of tomatoes, 6 different lettuce varieties, fennel, spinach, 3 varieties of beets, 4 varieties of beans, snap peas, rubarb, asparagus, raspberries, 3 varieties of eggplant, and about 6 varieties of peppers. And lots of herbs. Because I mulch and compost, I don't really need to water all that much. I grow most things from seed. I do buy some plant starts, but this year I made most of my purchases from a farmers market. As to how efficient it is, I think you have to put that in perspective in part based on how valuable what you grow is to you. I agree with the arguments that not everything is efficient to grow in every region. But another aspect of it for me is that I would have to trave 165 miles one way to a major city ( Chicago ) to purchase the variety of things I am growing in my own yard. In some cases, I couldn't get some of it even there. So how valuable is that to someone who enjoys the richness of variety that mother nature affords us? Very valuable. It doesn't make me a yuppy. Far from it. I can or freeze what I can't eat immediately which allows me to eat great stuff I'd have to pay as much as $11 a jar for in a gourmet shop. I'd venture to say it makes me cheap in a rich sort of way.
  13. I, on the other hand, am a first-gen American. So I got 11 out of 20, with most being educated guesses. All those ice cream implements! ←
  14. I'm with you. It WAS about the food, not just personalities. Dale let his personality compromise the food. He could have been a jerk, and still, if his team had kicked culinary butt, he'd have been a safe jerk. But he not only let Lisa sink herself, he one upped her with a horrible dish as well. Running a restaurant is a team sport. If you can't be on a team, I don't see how you can be a top chef.
  15. I wrote a letter of complaint to a restaurant once. It was a very high end restaurant that we went to for our annual "treat ourselves on Christmas Eve" tradition. We had reservations and were seated rather promptly. It took 20 minutes for someone to bring our menus. At that time we ordered a bottle of wine. The wine came in 10 minutes. The glasses 20 minutes later. It was after that when some finally took our orders. When I asked for sour cream with my baked potato, I watched a junior waiter take a used dish of it out of a bus pan and bring it over to our table. When we got the check, we had been charged for our wine plus the wine for the table across the room. This meal cost us over $400 for three adults and one 10 year old. The next day I wrote the manager of this very exclusive hotel that the renouned restaurant was in about our experience. I layed it out as honestly and factually as possible including times and dates, and made it clear that the purpose of the letter was not to get anyone fired, get any money or cause them any problem. I was in the hospitality industry at the time and told him that if a customer had that kind of experience in an establishment that I managed, I would want to know so as to correct the problem. I received a call in a couple of days later from the manager thanking me for my letter. He had in fact checked the dates and times and pulled the actual tickets and verified when our reservation was, when orders were placed and when the food actually arrived. He noted the errors in charges as well. He let me know that he had read my letter out loud at the staff meeting and assured me that our waiter had been dealt with. He not only reversed the charges for the entire bill, but insisted that the four of us return at our convenience for another meal entirely at their expense which I tried to decline but he would have none of it. We did in fact do that and had an absolutely fantastic experience. I think there are people on the take that just complain to get freebees. I made sure the tone of my letter made it clear that I wasn't one of those people and I think that is why we got the response we did.
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