Hello again, fellow diners!
Time to eat? Well, almost... Eating is something we all
have to do now and again, whether we really enjoy it or just
treat it as a necessary fuel stop. In this era of fast food,
health food, airline food, convenience food and junk food, it's
hard to know what to eat or what's really good for you. Every
day or two everything changes. One French study shows that
drinking wine prevents heart disease in lab rats. How do we know
that applies to what we eat or drink? Well, OK, that WOULD prove
it applies to politicians and certain of my friends ex-husbands,
but what about the rest of us?
As for me, I try to enjoy a little of everything with some
moderation. Well, maybe not quite enough moderation according to
my bathroom scale. But I didn't fight my way to the top of the
food chain to become a vegetarian. After all, if you're really
careful, eat only the proper and carefully measured diet, and
avoid all bad foods, you'll die anyway. During your lifetime,
you'll eat about 60,000 pounds of food total -- about the weight
of 6 elephants, but easier to get home from the store. Of that,
one study shows that the average American ate 22 pounds of salty
snacks in 1994, up from 17.5 pounds in 1988, when the nosey
researchers in the snack industry started checking. I guess it's
no secret why America also developed open heart surgery.
Thanks this week, and special dessert selections for: Peter
Adler, Paul Roser, Etsuko Hori, Timothy McChain, Bob Martens,
Jerry Taff, Lydia Cheong Chu-Ling, Don Ney and Frank Walker.
Also Hellos to: Suparna Shetty, Sylvia Libin He, Laura Hong Li,
Nancy Wohlge, Kiyomi Kanazawa and Akiko Inagaki. Your waiter
will be with you shortly. Bon Appetit!
Have a Great Week!
P.S. Special thanks to Bob Martens of NIU, who helps to keep
Funnies accurate. Bob caught that I'd messed up the metrics in
the story about how tall Bill Gates' money would be when stacked.
I said, "the stack of $1 bills would be over 3,100 MILES high
(almost 3800 km, for you metric folks)." He rightly pointed out
that it should have read 4991 km. Oops! I'll fix it on the web
version, but you folks with the Email version are on your own. I
guess I lose a couple of points off my grade for that one...
Well, maybe they didn't catch the missing word in "Everything You
Know Is Wrong" last March.
MENUES AROUND THE WORLD...
Dining out is often a leap of faith, in that restaurant food
is rarely prepared just the way mom used to make it. That's
especially true in restaurants in other countries. These items
were taken from menus around the world, where restaurants had
English menus for their foreign guests. Some are just
misunderstandings or mis-translations, but a number of them sound
- Rainbow Trout, Fillet Streak, Popotoes, Chocolate Mouse
- Pork with fresh garbage (Vietnam)
- Roasted duck let loose (Poland)
- French fried ships (Cairo)
- French Creeps (Los Angeles)
- Pepelea's Meat Balls (Romania)
- Cold shredded children and sea blubber in spicy sauce
- Boiled Frogfish (Europe)
- Sweat from the trolley (Europe)
- Fried friendship (Nepal)
- Dreaded veal cutlet with potatoes in cream (China)
- Strawberry crap (Japan)
- Beef rashers beaten up in the country peoples fashion
- Buttered saucepans and fried hormones (Japan)
- Garlic Coffee (Europe)
- Indonesian Nazi Goreng (Hong Kong)
- Muscles Of Marines / Lobster Thermos (Cairo)
- Sole Bonne Femme (Fish Landlady style) (Europe)
- Toes with butter and jam (Bali)
- Fried fishermen (Japan)
- Goose Barnacles (Spain)
- Teppan Yaki - Before Your Cooked Right Eyes (Japan)
The Three Stooges would have been proud. In what must have
seemed like a 1930's comedy movie come to life, two groups of
European visitors fought a pitched battle over a hotel buffet in
a quiet English town.
The incident began because of bad planning. The town of
Bridgewater, England invited 30 dignitaries from the English
town's German sister city, Homberg, on the same night a party of
Czechs from Bridgewater's OTHER sister city, Uherske Hradiste,
were visiting. By mistake, the caterers put the food for the
Czech group on the same table they were using for the German
function. When the food was divided, the Czech's claimed the
Germans had grabbed all of the best menu items, and the battle
"It appeared to me all they (the Czechs) were getting were
plates of soggy sandwiches," said Somerset County Councilman
Humphrey Temperley. "I walked into the adjoining room to get
them a plate of chicken legs and salami. I never made it back."
With tempers flaring, the food started flying and large
numbers of people were hit by the ballistic buffet. Police were
called, with officers suffering minor injuries after being hit by
flying plates of food.
"I was hit by a shower of flying chicken legs as I went to
investigate the rumpus," said police constable Phil Smeed.
Many people who have eaten in England found it ironic that
anyone would come to blows over English food. (REUTERS)
[ So, can we look forward to pie fights at
the future EU meetings? ]
MORE ON ENGLISH DINING...
"Euro-skeptic" Members of Parliment in England haven't had
much to cheer about over the past few years, mostly fighting a
rear guard action with their country moving closer to Europe as
the EU becomes a reality. But they won one battle -- the
Parliamentary dining room will drop all "exotic" dishes and
return to traditional English cooking.
The leader of the culinary counter-revolution was
Conservative MP Sir Teddy Taylor, who has been boycotting the
dining room by bringing his own corned beef and cheese
sandwiches. The catering committee chairman, Labour MP Dennis
Turner, said, "Sir Teddy wrote to me and said he would like to
see a more British menu and one which is more simple."
Turner agreed and dropped the pasta and croissants for more
roasts and suety puddings, along with fish and chips and other
traditional British foods.
This delighted Taylor. "The place had become like a French
or Italian restaurant, and that is not a very good advertisement
for Parliament," he said. (Reuters)
[ And bangers and mash or jellied eel are? ]
IN A RELATED DEVELOPMENT... The Tropicana juice company surveyed
British tastebuds and discovered that:
- 70 percent of Britons can't identify the flavor of mashed
- 40 percent can't tell the flavor of mashed apples
- 32 percent couldn't tell cooked pears
- 20 percent can't identify a mashed potato
"The blindfold tests show that consumers have real
difficulty in defining taste and become confused in identifying
food types when they cannot see what they are eating or
drinking," a Tropicana spokesperson said. (Reuter)
ANT SOUP, JUST LIKE THE OLD DAYS...
Nostalgia restaurants are big all over the world. A large
number of places here in the US try to catch the spirit of a
1950's diner, for example. But one place in Beijing is a little
different, aiming for the true spirit of the cadres by serving
famous dishes of the Cultural Revolution. "Fang Li's Compare
Past Misery With Present Happiness" restaurant serves mainly
simple peasant foods -- notably ant soup and fried cricket -- but
the trip down memory lane doesn't please everyone. One woman
customer tried the corn cakes, then pushed it away. "It tastes
the same, not any better than what I remember," she said.
NO FREE LUNCH?
Police in Kobe, Japan last summer captured the man believed
to be the notorious "bento bandit" -- a "bento" being a
Hiromichi Katsuki was indicted on charges that he had stolen
at least 80 lunches from all over the city of Kobe. Katsuki
confessed to police after he was caught lifting a lunch from a
The fifty-year-old unemployed construction worker said that
he only stole box lunches that looked homemade "because I'm fussy
about flavor. ... No love goes into the making of convenience
store boxed lunches."
Knowing that many of his fellow construction workers didn't
lock their cars while working, Katsuki raided vehicles every
morning since losing his construction job. (Reuter)
SECRET RECIPE? BUT OF COURSE!
We've all heard of secret recipes. Maybe we even have some
ourselves. The recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken is a secret,
and so is the method for making White Castle Hamburgers. But a
new cookbook detailing such exotic dishes as sweet onion rings in
beer batter and cobra soup REALLY features secret recipes. Top
Secret Recipes. Most of the 130 contributors to "Spies, Black
Ties & Mango Pies," published by Community Communications of
Montgomery, Alabama, are current and former CIA agents. These
spies who came in from the coleslaw will share their recipes, but
they still remain secret agents -- and undercover cooks. Few of
the spy chefs shared their names along with their kitchen
secrets. The 224-page book also features stories about exotic
foods and stories about some of the cooking and non-cooking
adventures of the secret chefs, making the book part James Beard
and part James Bond. There didn't seem to be any fear enemy
agents use the information to copy American swordfish marinade
with plum sauce.
[ The secret of a perfect quiche Lorraine? I could
tell you, but then I'd have to kill you. ]
FOOD: BEGINNING TO END
A guy went into a restaurant and asked, "What's the special
"Beef tongue," the waitress replied.
"Yuck! I could never eat anything that was in a cow's
mouth. I'll just have a couple of eggs."
© 1998 by Bill Becwar. All Rights Reserved.