Tag Archives: eating

Kiss the cook (It’s me! Kiss me!)

I recently acquired a new hobby. I take food items and mix, bake, grill, chill, slice and dice them, (all sans a Slap Chop, mind you) transforming them into delicious other food items. Eggs become omelets! Celery becomes ants on a log! Hamburger becomes…hamburgers! Food is always better plural.

Consider making ants on a log for that next fancy dinner party.

How the media hasn’t blown this fad outta portion yet, I don’t know. (Food jokes!)

I’ve decided to call this newfangled activity “cooking” (let me have this), and it’s great because it inevitably leads to om-nom-noming. Not to mention that the gorgeous glow I get upon devouring half a pound of turkey bacon in my favorite breakfast quiche is almost akin to exercising. Almost.

I’m not sure exactly what prompted my passion for the culinary arts except that whenever Clay and I have a free evening, it always seems to turn into an Iron Chef episode. Think more jammies and less narration. For awhile, we stopped going out on Fridays at all. That was scary. Then there was our last shopping trip to Wal-Mart:

Clayton (adamantly): “We need a spatula!”
Me (thrilled): “They come in different colors! I want purple! No, red! Green!”
Clayton (suddenly alarmed): “Ea-sy…”
Me (instantly out of control): “We also need a can opener! Tongs? An egg thing-a-ma-jig!? Spaghetti strainer!!”
Clayton (cautiously): “Ok, Cass. One at a time. Can openers appear to come in all different prices and sizes here. Look, this one has a grippy rubber handle.”
Me: Overwhelmed silence and reverence

I also can’t leave out all the Hy-Vee trips where a certain cart boy inevitably greets us with a demanding “Ladies first!” every time we approach the entrance. On cue, Clay and I rowdily push one another out of the way to get inside first, running off of love’s purest, truest and most gentle adrenaline (him – testosterone; me -feminism). This irritates the cart boy.

Once inside, we freeze instantly in our tracks, always stunned by the life-sized cardboard cutout of Ellen DeGeneres—whoops, that’s Curtis Stone.

It's uncanny! It's...not right...

Then, onto fruits and veggies. We don’t make it out of the produce section for a good 15 to 20 minutes, and trips that should take half an hour become twice as long as I explore new ingredients with the tenacity of a kid at an ice cream parlor. I stop investigating the mangoes, white asparagus and herbs only when I see Clay taking a trip of his own to frown town.

Our cart slowly becomes filled with random ingredients we’ll most likely hate – papaya and Korean pear – and of course, wine. You know, for the cooking. We exit the store past a now wordless cart boy, satisfied until the next time we get a food fetish.

One time we went to Hy-Vee four days out of the week.

Once back in the kitchen, I immediately take over as sous chef because I excel at vital tasks like  pouring wine, washing produce because men consider dirt just another seasoning, and of course, stirring. Nothing makes you feel more important than having yourself a good stir. It’s also a great way to look busy in an effort to avoid cutting onions. (For the love of God, someone teach me already)

The more we cook, the more we like to think our tastes become increasingly refined. Our meals consist of seafood more often than not, and it’s a must that red or white wine appear on the list of ingredients. And, although our dishes only call for a ½ cup of it or less, we feel obligated to finish the bottle because we hate waste. Life is so hard sometimes.At the height of sophistication...puns!
I keep with the evening’s theme of pure sophistication and class by setting the coffee table in front of the TV with paper towels, covering our water glasses with coasters to ensure Chloe doesn’t dunk her head into them. As I do, I can’t help but think how wonderful it is to have a hobby where I’m constantly learning and trying new things. It’s my special time alone with Clayton, where we bond over the entire process of creating and eating a meal we made ourselves — garlicky hands, burnt pancakes, “natural turkey casing” and all.

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“T” stands for testosterone in “T. rex”

The world recently got the skinny on new tyrannosaurus rex findings, enough to now know that the dinosaur was anything but! Not only did T. rex grow more than twice as fast between the ages of 10 and 15, but at more than 9 tons, it also weighed 30 percent more than initially thought, Reuters stated Wednesday. The article went on to say that “the fearsome predator would have been a ravenous teenager.”

"I'm sensitive about my small...hands, not about being overweight!"

Yowza. Sexy Rexy, indeed! To me, “ravenous teenager” implies that of the male persuasion because there’s nothing teenage girls hate more than eating or (gasp!) announcing their weight in public. And maybe it’s my nonsensical reasoning, but with their big, sharp claws and ferocious, masochistic hype (Thank you, Jurassic Park), I always just assume that all T. rex are male anyway.

Procreation, shmocreation.

Therefore, I’m sticking to it. Cuz this is MY story. (Any Collin Raye fans out there who got that reference? No? No lovers of 90s country, either ironically or sincerely? I’ll even accept shoddy hipster appreciation. Any takers at all?

Bummer. And don’t judge – that’s just my Nebraska heritage waving its proud(ish) flag. Could be worse – at least I’m not from Iowa. The angry, Old Testament God no doubt had a hand in creating that “state.”)

Getting back to the story, though. The research was based off five species of T. rex, including the Chicago Field Museum’s skeleton of “Sue,” the largest of the bunch. Atta boy. Way to earn “A Boy Named Sue” some mad r-e-s-p-e-c-t.

Thank (the forgiving, New Testament) God we were able to account for that joke in this story, right? I think Johnny Cash would agree – rational thought be damned. Just like the dinosaurs.

"Dude. Low blow."

Anywho, “at their fastest, in their teenage years, they were putting on 11 pounds a day,” John Hutchinson of the Royal Veterinary College in London told Reuters. “Just think how much meat that is. That’s a hell of a lot of cheeseburgers … it’s a whole lot of duck-billed dinosaurs they needed to be chowing down on.”

Cheeseburgers. And I was worried about my common sense.

Their rapid teenage growth spurt also suggests they must have had a high metabolic rate, fueling the idea they were warm-blooded, researchers said.

I’m almost 85 percent sure that mathematically, rapid growth + high metabolic rate = warm-blooded = hot-headed = male. It’s the transitive property or something.

It reminds me of those Totino’s pizza roll commercials. Even though dinner always seems to be ten minutes from completion, it’s never enough. The scene usually goes something like this:

Teenage males (for the sake of this story, we’ll say ages 10-15 and ravenous) run into the kitchen from playing flag football all afternoon. Mom looks up like a duck-billed dinosaur in headlights from washing dishes.

Teenage male #1 (grunting in low, menacing voice, not unlike an undistinguishable growl): “Snacks! Now!”

Mom (chuckling nervously, wiping hands shakily on apron): “Dinner’s just on the table in a few minutes, boys.”

Teenage male #2 (circling kitchen island slowly): “We’re hungry NOW.”

Mom (backing away slowing toward oven): “But if you just wait ten more…”

Teenage males #3, #5 and #7 (closing in for the kill): “Grawr.” (Multiplied, of course, in intensity by number of males in room)

Mom (miraculously pulling Tortino’s pizza rolls out of thin air and tossing them quickly on counter, where they arrange perfectly on a festive, football-themed party platter, still somehow looking like absolute crap): “Snacks!”

Put them in the microwave too long and dinosaurs won't be the only mammals afraid of hot lava.

Tortino’s is perfectly marketed for male teenagers with insatiable appetites and the moms who fear them. Their slogan should be “Lest your hand and face be bitten off….Totino’s!”

I guess I think we’re still saying “lest” in this day and age.

A mind-blowing analogy it is not. Moms are the duck-billed dinosaurs of our time. Teenage boys are carnivorous T. rex. The world keeps a-spinnin.

In the end, it makes me wonder. What would those catty, snotty, self-absorbed, texting girls ages 10-15 be?

Screaming banshees probably.