Archive for Food

The Flavor of Ham.

Posted in Cooking, History, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2017 by urbannight

HamI once saw a program on how Ham is made. The flavor of ham is added to the cut of meat. Without it, ham just tastes like a pork pot roast.

This makes me wonder if people used to have recipes for whatever they would treat ham with before cooking it. You know, back in the days before it was commercially produced on a large-scale.

Did farm wives make their own, did people in town buy it with flavor added or did they make their own? Was it basted on or marinated? Now days it is injected.  Did they actually do that back in the day?

Now comes the ultimate question. Who decided which flavor to use when large-scale production started? Who decided what the ham flavor, that we now all know now, should taste like?


Someone did contact me to say that historically it would be soaked in a brine and smoked.  Which is how my dad makes jerky.  My dad’s jerky is thick cut so it is meaty once dried and not like a piece of leather.  My dad makes the best jerky.

Food this week….

Posted in Cooking, Food, Life, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2016 by urbannight

This week I’m making some interesting made up recipes.

Spinach and Clam Sauce Spaghetti with Sea Scallops.

Put 1T butter and a drained can of minced or chopped clams into a small sauce pan, season with salt and cayenne.  Chop a cup or large handful of spinach.  Add to sauce pan.  Add 6 T of spaghetti sauce and 2T of pesto sauce.  Let simmer on low while cooking up 1.5 servings of spaghetti noodles.  Drain and put into sauce, stir.  Cover on lowest heat to keep warm.  Sear 3 or 4 sea scallops in butter, drizzled with lemon, seasoned with salt and cayenne.  Cut into half, plate pasta with spinach and claim sauce, place scallops on top.  Serve.

Chicken and Avocado on Rice. (by far the easiest)

Buy chicken strips cut for stir-fry.  Dice up.  Season to taste.  Fry up.  While frying, put 2 packets of Uncle Ben’s Basmati Rice in microwave and cook per instructions.  Half and dice up one avocado.  Put rice into 2 – 4 bowls.  Season rice to taste.  I use Cayenne.  Divide fried chicken over the rice.  Top with diced avocado.  Serve.  (I tend to make larger portions because avocado needs to be eaten quickly and I cook for myself.  If you have a family, making this as four servings with a salad and a second veggie side would make for a more balanced meal.)

Sausage and Cabbage in Ro-Tel.  ( someone gave me this one)

Melt a stick of butter in a pan.  Saute a shredded small cabbage and diced onion for 5 minutes.  Cut up sausage or kielbasa.  Add kielbasa and a can of Ro-Tel.  Cover and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes.

Beef and Spinach with Ravioli Soup.

1 lb meat, (I’m using beef).  Fry up with some onion.  Add half pot of water.  Bullion or broth. Season to taste.  Bring to boil.  While this is going on, chop up several cups of spinach.  Have a package of whatever flavor of stuffed Ravioli or Tortellini trips your trigger.  Add the pasta. Cook until done.  Add spinach.  Simmer until spinach is wilted and serve.  I’ve made this with Kale as well and chicken and ground turkey and ground chicken.  The only way I hated was with the ground chicken.  I just think I hate ground chicken.



Chalky Chocolate Milk

Posted in Food, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2016 by urbannight


This is an older bottle design.  They have a much nicer bottle now.  But Kroger’s Chocolate 1% Lowfat Milk is not a chocolate milk I would NOT recommend.  I picked it up because I had heart burn and I was on the run.  It was the only small bottle of milk I could find.  While it helped the heart burn it was not that tasty.  I never had chocolate milk that tasted like chocolate flavored chalk before.  It is ‘ultra’ pasteurized.  I have to wonder what makes it ultra instead of regular.  Maybe that is part of what screwed up the taste.

Two Successful Marketing Campaigns

Posted in Advertising, Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2013 by urbannight

I read articles about various marketing methods that get people to spend more money.  I have to laugh at those articles because those marketing ploys don’t work on my.  I don’t follow the pattern they are saying consumers follow.  This could be because I happened to be one of the rare women who hate to shop.  I also just can’t believe that the masses are as completely gullible as that.

This image of the 99 cent menu is a little off as most of the items on the old 99 cents menu are now over a dollar but under two dollars.

This image of the 99 cent menu is a little off as most of the items on the old 99 cents menu are now over a dollar but under two dollars.

I also disagree with the marketing concept that even a bad ad is okay because people will remember the product and not the ad.  Years and years ago, Wendy’s had a marketing campaign that I hated.  The more I saw it the more negative I felt about Wendy’s.   I eventually forgot the series of ads that I thought were so bad, but every time I drove past a Wendy’s, I felt the same negative feelings and disgust.  I didn’t go to a Wendy’s restaurant in about a decade.   I think it was the spicy chicken sandwich that got me to go back. 

I’ve stopped going again.  The changes they made to make their food seem more like ‘real’ food were bad changes.  I haven’t had a good serving of fries there in two years and the quality of some of the other stuff has been going downhill during that same time. So I just stopped altogether.

There are two marketing campaigns that have worked on me. 

  Coca Cola ad

One came out when I was very young, so it didn’t affect my shopping habits but it probably explains why I was a Coke fan over Pepsi.  Today, I go between both equally.  But anytime they do a retro ad campaign (I know they did it sometime in the 1990’s as well as more recently), this one gets to me and I want Coke.  It was the “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony” advertisements.

Pepsi copied this add campaign with a song that sounded very much like it.  I thought they used the fund raising song, “We are the World”, but upon looking that up, it turns out that some people objected to “We are the World” because they thought it sounded too much like a Pepsi jingle.  I guess the jingle came first and the song came later.

I was sure Jeremy Piven had done a remake of this commercial in the 1990's but I can't find a reference of it anywhere.

I was sure Jeremy Piven had done a remake of this commercial in the 1990’s but I can’t find a reference of it anywhere.

But the best marketing campaign ever is also from the 70’s.  They wrote a jingle and hired an actor who could sing and dance to perform in the commercial, An American Werewolf in London’s David Naughton.  This good looking, young actor danced around signing a song that still gets stuck in my head several decades later.  “Wouldn’t you like to be a pepper too, Dr. Pepper, drink Dr. Pepper.”  I will admit that I usually see a later version of this commercial with a shorter, more muscled, actor with short hair.  I thought it was Jeremy Piven, before he did the 1998 TV show, Cupid. My research seems to indicate I am wrong. 

  To this day, when I see the red cans w/ the Dr. Pepper logo, that song starts to filter through my brain and I start to crave a Dr. Pepper.  A few days back, I saw a Facebook post for Dr. Pepper asking, “When was the last time you drank one?”  The song started to play in my brain as I thought to myself that I didn’t know when.  The past three mornings, I’ve gone straight to the machines at work and started my day with a bottle of Dr. Pepper.

Clearly, I’m a sucker for a really well written jingle.

The Strange World of Garlic Usage

Posted in Cooking, Food, Health, History, Life, Science, Tea with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2013 by urbannight

Once upon a time, when I was feeling poorly, a friend told me to rub garlic on the bottoms of my feet. My big question was how this was supposed to help my cold. It made no sense. Since then, I’ve looks up uses for garlic. There are some really strange ones out there.

To start with, garlic seems to have some antibiotic properties. This means it can kill some bacteria and fungus. It is supposedly good against viruses but I’m not sure about that. Viruses usually just need to run their course. It may help prevent mold. Throughout history, it has been used for many medical purposes so I would have to guess some of them were helpful enough for people to keep using it.

Garlic is supposed to help reduce acne. But that is strange to me. Acne is not a bacterial issue. It a build up of oil, dirt, dead skin flakes, lotions, and make-up. It’s a build-up of anything that can block the pores. It’s been proven that eating chips and pizza will not cause acne. It is partly a skin care issue and partly an issue of some people being more prone to it than others. Some health conditions may make it worse. But I always thought that was because the condition was influencing the health of the skin by causing some kind of imbalance. Your skin is actually an organ. So I would think running garlic over the skin would just add garlic oil to the mix of stuff clogging up the pores.

While we are on skin, a cut garlic rubbed into cold sores is supposed to help them heal faster. Now this makes a little more sense than using it to treat acne. The antibiotic nature of the garlic has something other that dirt and oil to kill and lead to healing.

Another skin condition it is supposed to help is Athlete’s foot. Garlic is an antifungal. Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection. You crush or smash some garlic and put it in a footbath of warm water. That gets the oils out of the garlic and spreads the oils over the feet as you soak in hot water. This sounds logical, more logical than running garlic over your feet for a cough.

Making a paste of minced garlic, olive oil, facial cleanser, and sugar, massage into the skin, and rinse, is supposed to tighten and exfoliate the skin while drying out acne. I suppose it might dry and tighten depending on the facial cleanser being used. The paste with sugar as a defoliant probably does work.

It’s supposed to help clear up psoriasis. Now they have identified an acid contained in garlic that is working on a certain omega fatty acid in the skin so this may have some truth to it.

This is a strange one, as putting garlic oil on a mole, several times a day, and coving with a bandage, is supposed to remove a mole. Sounds like duct tape, which has some chemical or compound in the adhesive that is supposed to do the same thing.

Now for some non-skin related uses.

It supposedly can be minced and put in mineral oil for a full day, and then the infused oil is mixed with a bit of liquid soap and some water and put in a spray bottle. Spray on plants as a natural pesticide. Liquid soap isn’t natural. Can it still be called a natural pesticide? I guess bugs don’t like garlic. This reminds me that they used to say eating a lot of garlic would keep mosquitoes away. That has been disproven. Some say infusing it in the mineral oil and then mixing that with water and lemon juice and using it as a spray on may work. Much like the homemade pesticide.

You are supposed to be able to mend hairline cracks in glass by putting crushed garlic over it to fill the crack. Not sure that I would want to do that. Wouldn’t you still see a line? Even more so than the hairline crack?

Apparently fish like garlic. Some fishermen swear by it to bait their hooks.

It may work as a road de-icer. As the story goes, a spice maker had a batch of bad garlic salt and donated it to a town to put on the roads on winter. I’m not sure the garlic had as much to do with it as the salt.

Massaging the scalp with garlic or garlic oil is supposed to stimulate hair growth.

Here is one of the stranger ones again, cut a sliver of garlic and tie a string around it and put it in your ear to combat an ear infection. Not something I would want to do. The other version of this is to crush some garlic, place it in hot olive oil for 5 minutes. Then you strain and cool the oil. Use it as ear drops. You may be able to find ear drops made of garlic oil in home natural heath food store or someplace like Whole Foods.

Similarly, it can be peeled but not cut, put into a strip of cheesecloth, and inserted using a tampon applicator in order to treat a yeast infection. Like athletes foot, it is a fungal infection. Only in this case, it is caused by the body’s natural bacteria getting out of balance allowing for the growth of this. The ‘good’ bacteria normally eats this naturally occurring ‘fungus’. When something kills the good bacteria then you produce too much of this and get an infection.

One item I found on one site was using thin slices of garlic over a splinter and the splinter will work itself out. I’m not sure how that is supposed to happen. Is garlic a wood magnet?

Internally, some people find regular consumption of garlic eases gas. For other people it causes gas. Make minced garlic into a tea for sore throats and as a cough syrup. It is supposed to reduce the duration of a cold as well and regular consumption of it is supposed to help prevent colds. Researches believe that it is a component called allicin that does this.

Compounds in garlic are supposed to send signals to the brain that you are full. So a dish with a lot of garlic in it may make you feel fuller faster. Thus you eat less of it. And it is supposed to rev up the metabolism so you burn more calories. So it may have minor weight loss properties.

Speaking of ‘wood’, it’s been used as an aphrodisiac for just about forever. It is suspected that it is because garlic aids in blood circulation, so blood is pumped to the extremities more efficiently. So it ‘may’ increase a man’s endurance.

Using it with some a rather strange list of food ingredients may clear out intestinal parasites. Icky.

Zombie Worms

Posted in Education, Science with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2013 by urbannight

Reading an article on a whale skeleton found in Antarctica, it mentioned ‘zombie worms’. The name is great but how does a worm without a mouth eat? I had to look it up.

Its actual name is Osedax and they seem to be a bright pink with feathery feels all around them, kind of like millipede legs.

Now to the question of the feeding, the drill into the bones. But they don’t have any drilling organs. They excrete acid. How is a good question since they appear not to have organs for that either.

Apparently, those feelers are the ‘drills’ that penetrate the bone and those feeler create and excrete an enzyme that dissolves the bone. The worms have some kind of bacteria that then absorbs the fats and other materials in the bones.

This is a very female dominated creature. Only adult females are found on the rare occasions that they find whale bones. The males don’t leave the larval stage and live inside a ‘gelatinous tube covering part of the female’. The only purpose for the male is to fertilize the eggs the female lays. It is interesting that the male actually can fertilize anything since they never make it to the adult stage. The female can house hundreds of these males.

Apparently, once a worm settles into a bone she starts producing eggs continually. (They eat, they reproduce, why am I suddenly thinking about Tribbles) The article that is supposed to explain how they reproduce doesn’t actually say anything else. Since the males live on the female, are the eggs fertilized as they are excreted or the males leave the female to go to the egg deposits and then return. Is it another enzyme excretion?

The worm can swim up to 10 days to find a source of bones to feed on. Found on whale bones, experiments have discovered that the worms will also feed on cow bones and other animals. So they are not as picky as pandas.

This article also shows worms that look very different from the feeding article. There are 5 known varieties so maybe they look a lot different from one another. Anoter article states they are very diverse.

Most of the articles I can find are just direct reprints of the two articles I’ve used here. Google it and you will find the same. I don’t have my books on correct notation forms with me.

Ghost Chili

Posted in Cooking, Food, Hobby with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2013 by urbannight

Ghost Chili

Maybe it is because I’ve just been so dang cold. But I’m slightly obsessed with peppers today. It may be a bit too much, but here is a third, if short, post about yet another chili pepper.

This is the hottest pepper in the world. Another pepper was declared to be hotter until letter testing showed that sometimes Ghost Chilies were hotter. So now they are both the hottest chili known on the planet.

I LOVE the flavor of these insanely hot chilies. They are a little hotter than I can handle. But I love them so much that I torture myself in order to enjoy the deliciousness of them.

I have occasionally found things made with them that I can eat, just slowly, or in small amounts. I love salsa made from them on bread and even on a baked potato.

If you can tolerate peppers at all and enjoy a delicious hot pepper, and you have not yet tried these fiery little angels, you really must experience them for yourself.