Tag Archives: food

The Blueberry Muffin Situation

The situation with the blueberry muffins has become alarming. For six months now, when I wake up each morning, I feel compelled to eat a blueberry muffin.

I trace the origins of this compulsion back to an innocent vacation we took with my sister’s family to an isolated part of coastal Maine where we’d rented a large house on the water. We all brought food with us to backstop any grocery shopping we’d do. My sister and brother-in-law brought a large package of large blueberry muffins. I had them for breakfast a few times, and they seemed perfect.

Arriving back home, I sought out blueberry muffins. On my morning walks, I discovered that the local 7-Eleven had fresh blueberry muffins so I’d pick one up each morning and bring it home. As the winter got colder, I discovered that the local Safeway (the big Safeway, not the little one, which is more convenient) sold 9-pack of fresh blueberry muffins in the bakery. So I started buying those. Now, if I don’t have a blueberry muffin in the morning, it doesn’t feel like morning.

Eating a blueberry muffin is something of a technical challenge. Do you pick it up like an apple and bite in? Do you slice it in half to make it easier to handle? To add to this complexity, it turns out that the top part of blueberry muffins are the best part. I don’t know why this is, since I assumed the top contains the same ingredients as the rest. I am “save the best for last” when it comes to eating, which means, as you might imagine, I eat my blueberry muffin upside down. Since the only flat part of the muffin is the bottom, it means that when setting my muffin down on the plate, it always tips over onto its top. I try to eat my muffin in the privacy of my office so that no one else in the family makes fun of me for eating it upside down.

Occasionally, I will announce to everyone that I am going to “have a muffin.” This is a little disconcerting because when I hear myself say this, I hear my Dad saying the exact same thing. Maybe I am genetically disposed to eating blueberry muffins.

Sometimes, if I am hungry, I will have blueberry muffin just because it is there.

I have tried other muffins, but none are as good as the blueberry ones. It is always a sad day when, out of blueberry muffins, I head to the store to get more, and they are out too. “Why not try the chocolate muffins?” the baker at the Safeway asks me. I give them a look of horror at the thought.

Well, I have a full day of work ahead of me today. My big software system roll out is tomorrow, and I need to get started. So if you’ll excuse me, there is blueberry muffin calling my name. Really. I can hear it taunting me, “Eat me… Eat me…”

You Say Tomato, I Say Blah

I can no longer remember what a good tomato tastes like. Every tomato I’ve consumed over the last ten years or so has no discernible flavor. This came to a head on Thursday when I ordered my usual sandwich for lunch. I order the same thing for lunch every day. I do this because I like it, but also because I know exactly how many calories the sandwich has, and because it is one less decision I have to make. On Wednesday, the tomatoes on the sandwich were so tasteless that on Thursday, I ordered the sandwich without tomatoes.

I like tomatoes, and I recall a time when they were sweet and juicy. Now, it seems, all of the flavor has been engineered out of them. I’ve tried organic tomatoes from the grocery store: same result. And I’ve tried “farm fresh” tomatoes from the farmers market. No luck there either. It makes me skeptical about just how farm fresh those farmers market veggies really are.

The strange thing is that things made from tomatoes taste the same as they always have. Spaghetti sauce, ketchup, tomato soup: these haven’t changed. Perhaps there was never much tomato in them to begin with, or perhaps the other ingredients have a stronger taste than the tomatoes. I suspect that some tomatoes are grown specifically for these products, and these tomatoes still have their flavor. Those are the tomatoes that I want.

My dad used to drink tomato juice, and I’ve often wanted to like tomato juice, but it tastes just awful to me. I tried it recently, and it still tastes awful, but even that has more flavor than the bland slices on my sandwich, or in a salad.

Other vegetable still taste good to me. At least, they still have flavor. Tomatoes seem to be the big exception. That’s too bad because I love to make the occasional B.L.T. sandwich, and nothing makes the B.L.T. as much as the perfect tomato slice. That means gone are the good B.L.T.’s

There will be people out there, I’m sure, who will attribute the tomatoes loss of flavor to genetic modification. Tomatoes have been tinkered with to the point where they last forever, and the side-effect of this is the lack of flavor. Perhaps that’s so, but I have a different theory. I think the tomatoes just got fed up with us, and decided the best way they could avoid being eaten would be to lose the one thing that made them edible.

A shout-out for Christopher’s Confections

For Valentine’s Day, Kelly got us a box of chocolates to share. She got the chocolate’s from Christopher’s Confections as part of a fund-raising shindig for one of the Little Man’s Gymboree teacher’s who died unexpectedly a few months ago. We were actually so busy on Valentine’s Day evening that we never got a chance to try the chocolates, but for the last two nights, we’ve had two of these chocolate bonbons each and they have to rank among the finest chocolates I’ve ever tasted.

What makes them unique is their flavors. Kelly got us a box of 12, which contained 6 flavors (2 candies of each). Among the flavors are:

  • Champagne
  • Peanut Butter Caramel
  • Chambord
  • Extra Old Cognac
  • Butter and Scotch
  • Noisette

They are all just so outstandingly good. So far I think my favorite is the Extra Old Cognac and the Champagne. Sadly, tonight will be our last night. There are four candies left and we’ll each have two after dinner.

The candies are pricey, but (a) it was for a very good cause and (b) they are well worth the price. They are works of art themselves and you almost don’t want to eat them because each one looks so beautiful.

If you are in the market for some outstanding chocolates, both Kelly and I highly recommend Christopher’s Confections.

Crickets, please!

My sister and brother-in-law came through town this weekend on their way home from a beach vacation. And they came bearing gifts. Among those gifts was this item, picked out especially for me:


Yes, that’s right people. Bacon & Cheese flavored crickets. And here is the back of this box which describes the various parts:


And just in case you doubt the main ingredient of this little delight, check out the ingredients list:


No, I haven’t given them a try yet. I suspect they don’t taste like chicken. My guess is that they taste like crunchy bacon and cheese. Don’t I have the most thoughtful siblings? 🙂

Do you like food?

I mean, really, who doesn’t right?  What about cooking?  And funny?  Do you like funny?  Well then, forget Julie and Julia and take short link hop over to the Mouse House Kitchen where gives you food and funny all in one heaping helping.  Think of it as George Carlin meets Rachel Ray:  you know, like the seven words you can’t say while spreading your EVOO once around the pan.  But don’t blame me if you come away hungry.  Or with soap in your mouth…

Oh what a night

I definitely need to chill out a bit when I got home from work this evening. So I spent the last couple of hours in front of the TV. I’m about to get into bed but I figured I’d share my evening with you.

For the first time since moving to the D.C. area, I made myself a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner. I used my own secret recipe and it proved two things: (1) it was a fantastically delicious sandwich; (2) the stomach cramps I now have illustrate why I’m dangerous in the kitchen. Still, grilled cheese and a caffeine-free Coke was just the anodyne I needed from my day.

I sat in front of the TV and watched two shows that Tivo diligently recorded for me. First, Inside the Actors Studio (Tom Hanks), followed by the season premier of Heroes. Both were good.

Spoke to Doug and he110_sunshine on the phone this evening.

I got the latest issue of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN in the mail today and it looks like a fascinating issue dedicated to the future of space exploration. I can’t wait to pick my way through it.

And now, I’m off to bed and bid you all a good night!

Lobsters while leaving Athens

Written at about 8:52 PM July 9

We all met up for dinner in our main dining room at 6:15 PM. We were told that tonight, lobster would be on the menu, and sure enough it was. Even though I had lobster last night, when lobster is on the menu, I simply can’t pass it up. But I was not as gluttonous as I was over the last several meals. I ordered the lobster tails (which were delicious, and which were served with rice, cauliflower, and broccoli), and also ordered a plate of hummus to share with the table. It was a very pleasant dinner. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned before but our table is on starboard side of the ship, right next to a window, which gave us a great view of our departure from Athens. We’re heading to Mykonos tomorrow. For dessert, I had a brownie and, of course, the chocolate mousse.

Since then, I’ve been here in the Wheelhouse lounge writing up the last two blog entries (which total more than 2,000 words!) We are having some satellite reception problems, so I’m not sure when they will get posted, but I will post them as soon as I can.

First and second dinners

Posted at about 5:30 PM local time, on July 9

Tonight, we had dinner reservations at one of the two specialty restaurants on the ship, Sabatini’s. These restaurants charge a cover charge, but otherwise, the food is included as part of the cruise. I made the reservations for 9:30 PM because I thought that it would be nice to have a late dinner.

Having done that, and having completed the vow renewal ceremony for Mom and Dad, I decided that I wanted to go to our regular seating at dinner as well, which is at 6:15 PM. At first I don’t think anyone else was planning on going, but everyone ended up going after I decided to do it. I stuck to three courses for First dinner, which turned out to be a good thing. For my appetizer, I had a mushroom torte with truffle oil. For dinner, I had a salmon steak. And for dessert, of course, I had the chocolate mousse.

When I finished dinner it was just after 7 PM and I decided I needed to relax. I grabbed my laptop, went to the Wheelhouse lounge, and played Solitaire for an hour or two, listening to the live music, which I thought was very good. Then it was time to get ready for dinner at Sabatini’s.

We arrived on scheduled and were seated and they explained to us how it works. We pick our main courses, and then they basically bring us everything else on the menu to try. In essence, it is a 10 or 11 course meal. I know some of you enjoy the descriptions of the food here. If you don’t, you’ll want to skip to the bottom. Here is what I had and keep in mind this is just 3 hours after eating first dinner. I was at my most gluttonous.

Read all about the gluttony

Cheap lunch

I had a really cheap, but excellent lunch today, and I discovered the bargain courtesy of my friends Todd and Karl. Harris Teeter, a local grocery store here in the Virginia area, has a weekday special on their deli-made subs. These are fresh subs, made to order, just like at Subway, only they are about 10 times better than Subway. And ten times cheaper.

I got the special today (a turkey sub, on wheat with all the fixin’s), along with a half liter bottle of spring water for a grand total of $3.42 and that includes Virginia’s outrageous 11.5% sales taxes.

That is a bargain no matter how you slice it. It also avoids the crowds and outrageous prices of the mall.

Oh, and the sandwich was delicious!


Somehow, I’ve gotten a reputation for being a somewhat disciplined person and I’m not exactly sure how the myth started. Sure, I get up early. Sure, I’ve been sticking to a pretty good workout schedule. But if I were truly disciplined, I would be able to come home from work and make myself sit in front of my computer and write instead of dumping myself in front of the television for several hours, wasting away the evening. (It is for this reason more than any other that I am going to give up TV for a while later this spring.)

I may have some discipline, but it is way out of proportion with the perception, judging by my reputation. To make my case, here is what I had for dinner when I got home tonight:

Healthy Choice Chicken Parmesan (so far so good)
2 white chocolate macadamia cookies (a rare indulgence, but I crave something sweet now and again)
8 (eight) Reeses Peanut Butter cups (which kruppenheimer will point out adds up to something like 1,000 calories)

I’m supposed to be laying off the carbs at night. The chicken is breaded. The cookies have plenty of carbs, and the peanut butter cups? Well, at least there is some protein in there somewhere. If I were as disciplined as people thought I was, I would be able to resist temptations like these. But I’m just as weak as the next fellow.


I’ll probably celebrate my big news Friday after work with some friends. But tonight, I am having a mini-celebration. I am forgoing my “no carbs at dinner” rule, and ordering a pizza and some cheese bread from Pizza Hut (Norm will be happy). I’m not a big pizza fan, and only like having it once in a rare while, but what the heck, throw caution to the wind! (Also, I don’t feel like going out and getting chicken from Boston Market.) I am going to relax and watch TiVo’d episodes of Heroes, Studio 60, and Battlestar Galactica.

When I got home from work, I found in my mail the April 2007 issue of ANALOG, which contains mabfan‘s story (co-written with Robert Greenberger) “Things That Aren’t”. So I know what I will be reading in the next day or two. The rest of the mail was junk.

What happened to lunch?

It looks as though the person I was meeting for lunch is running late. It could be after 2 PM when they get here. I’ve been working through lunch but now I come to a dilemma: I’m hungry. I normally eat every 3 hours or so, and it’s already an hour past my regularly scheduled meal. I have another meal at 3 PM, for which I brought a sandwich. So what do I do? The right thing to do is to wait patiently, without complaint and just suck it up, and that’s probably what I’ll do. But man am I hungry!