Dr. Kevorkian may not be performing assisted suicides any longer, but rest assured you can still turn to Ronald McDonald for help. As the McRib sandwich returns once again (now after its third “Farewell Tour”), it’s a strange reminder that pork, bun, tangy “BBQ” sauce, pickles, and onions can go dangerously wrong. Sure you can develop hypertension, diabetes, or any other slow killer from just about any fast food chain, but McDonald’s wants to set the record straight – guns don’t kill people, McRibs kill people.
Using no doubt the cheapest finest cuts of what may have been considered pork in another life or in some perverse dimension, McDonald’s pulverizes this “meat” into an appetizing convalescent home texture, mixing in a secret blend of water, salt, dextrose, BHA and BHT, propyl gallate and citric acid to optimize shelf life flavor and to ensure that you, the consumer, enjoy a slow, painful death sometime thereafter. To rub figurative salt into the wounds (not to mention the 980mg of actual sodium), some culinary cacodemon thought pressing the porcine pulp into some form vaguely resembling ribs would add to its charm and instill some sort of subconscious association with true barbecue.
Never missing a beat, The Simpsons famously parodied the McRib with Krusty Burger releasing its own “Ribwich”:
Krusty: Listen, about the Ribwich. We won’t be making them anymore. The animal we made them from is now extinct.
Homer: The pig?
Otto: The cow?
Krusty: You’re way off. Think smaller…think more legs.
After my recent postings about Beer Nog and Belgian Christmas beers, I’ve been stuck thinking about drinking throughout this holiday season. Oh, you too? Well, I don’t feel so bad then. But with as chilly as the weather has been, even here in sunny SoCal, I’m not exactly reaching for a cold one for comfort this time of year.
While I’ve certainly had my share of mulled wine and mulled cider, I wondered if mulled beer might be just what I need to help get me through this holiday season. My thought certainly wasn’t any new sort of imbibing innovation — in fact, heated, spiced beer was more or less de rigeuer for centuries. Prior to the advent of refrigeration and modern bottling, beer was quick to spoil, and as such, adding a touch of heat plus some sugar and spice helped make everything nice.
mull, v. — to heat, sweeten, and flavor with spices for drinking, as ale or wine. Origin: 1610–20; orig. uncert.
The beauty of making such an easy drink is that you can really suit it to your tastes. And given the huge variety of craft beers on the market, it would almost be irresponsible to post one “set in stone” recipe. With that said, here are some proposed guidelines, from which you should absolutely feel free to deviate:
How does anyone stomach storebought eggnog? It’s like the yuletide equivalent of candy corn — despite its gag-inducing flavor and unnatural texture, it sells like hot cakes. Certainly eggnog wasn’t always this offensive, right? I mean, if it were made fresh, it had to be exponentially better, didn’t it? Because honestly — cream, eggs, sugar, spices, and booze? How could it go wrong? (Though the craptacular cartons have already demonstrated that it very easily can.)
Years ago, I churned out my first swing at homemade eggnog, and I’ve never looked back. Sensually thick and creamy, delightfully frothy and packed with so much incredible flavor, one sip could make even Osama Bin Laden want to deck the halls with boughs of holly.
This year, however, I wanted to change it up a bit. Inspired by an old bit I’d seen on SCTV, I was determined to make a batch of Beer Nog to see if it would be as delicious as I had imagined. Armed with a bevy of eggs, a gallon or two of dairy, and a bottle of Port Brewing Old Viscosity, I set out to make a Christmas drink for the ages. I whipped up a glass and took my first sip. A skeptical friend watched on, wincing slightly having already decided that Beer Nog couldn’t possibly work. “Well? How is it?” he asked.
I extended my hand to offer a taste. “You’re welcome,” I replied. My lips parted to a smile, creasing and cracking the thickest milk mustache the world may have ever known.
Don’t get me wrong — I love butternut squash soup, and soup weather is certainly upon us. But the fact is, butternut squash remains an extremely versatile and greatly typecast gourd. Relatively simple recipes can be just as good as more elaborate preparations, but no matter the difficulty, the slightly sugary and nutty flavor of the squash (not to mention silky texture) lends itself equally well to both savory and sweet experiments.
Butternut squash can be steamed or boiled, but its flavor is best expressed if roasted. Simply split the squash, remove the seeds (don’t toss them! see below*), drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and bake, flesh side down, at 425°F on a baking sheet lined with foil for 35-45 minutes, or until fork tender.
Once the squash is cooked, the possibilities are endless. Creamy Butternut Squash Risotto is an absolute favorite, as is Maple Mashed Butternut Squash. Donalyn Ketchum makes a simply stunning Butternut Squash Gratin, a new recipe I gave a whirl and instantly fell in love with. If your cravings are leaning towards the sweet side of the spectrum, impress your taste buds with a bowl of Ginger Butternut Squash Ice Cream if it’s too cold out for a frozen dessert, perhaps Butternut Squash Panna Cotta could somehow satiate your carnal cravings.
Whatever you end up making, don’t throw away the seeds!
According to research from Dole Fresh Vegetables, there are 21 “Top Salad Cities” in the United States. Drawn from 18 months of internal research, Dole found that residents in the cities on their list may actually eat more salad per person compared to the national average, or they may be more willing to experiment with new salad blends or serve salad as a main course.
See the full list of “Top Salad Cities” below.