Tag Archives: hy-vee

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Steve to humans: “I’m not just a piece of meat!”

My name is Steve. This is a diary account of the last four hours of my life.
Like Madonna or Cher, I don’t have a last name. I don’t need one. It’s not that I’m self-absorbed. I’m just your average North American lobster (who happens to be in the best physical shape of my life). I’m talking top quartile. I recently won the 2011 Strongclaw contest. I’ve seen things you couldn’t even fathom. A battle to the death between a 50 pound octopus and one very predatory sea anemone who lives on the rough side of the mid-ocean ridge. The sinking of Titantic. Yeah. Boom.

Most see me as a cold-blooded king of the sea, not so unlike Triton. But if you knew me, you’d know one of my favorite things to do on a Friday night is simply kick back with a tub of buttery phytoplankton and watch Hillbilly Handfishin’. Man, that Skipper Bivins is a livewire.

Some would say I’m disgruntled. Others, a little “off.” Truth be told, I’m like any one of you. We’ve all seen the movie, The Little Mermaid (Yes, she’s even hotter in real life, and yes, that Sebastian guy is a huge douche). At one time or another, we’ve wished to be something we never thought we could, whether it be a human, a star baseball player or even an amazing superhero like Aquaman.

I kid, I kid.

But if you were to ask me years ago what I’d be on this day of all days, I never would have thought it’d be a meal. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Shall we begin the picture slideshow? It sure does take me back to simpler times. Back to when life wasn’t so confusing. When I had my innocence. My manhood. My body fully attached. But first things first.

I thought I was going places when I was netted in the deep Canadian inlets of the Atlantic Ocean. Instead, I wound up in Nebraska. Yeah. Cuz when I think fresh seafood, I think Nebraska. It was a kick to the family jewels until Cassie and Clayton came along…

Thursday, Sept. 8

12:15 p.m. This is me with my new friends! They rescued me from my watery jail cell at Hy-Vee. The one on the left there wanted to take Bill, one of the two other lobsters in the tank. She thought he was lively. Rambunctious. Free spirited. Little does she know he’s got ADD and thinks that his own reflection is his girlfriend. “That doesn’t even make sense,” you say? Exactly. This is what I’m dealing with.

Anyway, the one on the right told her that I wouldn’t struggle as much and had accepted my fate (something called “death”?), which was good because it’s about to come early. I don’t know what exactly they’re talking about, but anyway, then they told me they were taking me on a vacation! I mustn’t forget to pack my bowtie in case we go somewhere fancy for dinner. I heard something about seafood!

12:18 p.m. Look at me, like a kid posing on his first day of school. Dressed to impress, and with matching yellow rubber bands, no less! Well, Hy-Vee actually put those on me. I tend to pinch when I get nervous. Get a bit crabby, you know. Heh heh. Just a little crustacean humor for you. 

12:19 p.m. We took a detour through Hy-Vee to look for some sushi. What’s sushi? Also, do they realize I can’t breathe out of water? I’m beginning to think my new “friends” are “special.” They talked about putting me on ice. I’m not stupid, I’ve seen Happy Feet. If they want me to dance, they’re going to have to pay for it!

12:24 p.m. I’m being purchased. From the sounds of it, not too many of us get bought from Hy-Vee. Cassie and Clayton told the cashier that they have BIG plans for me when we get home. I hope it’s presents for me!!!

12:45 p.m. Losing consciousness. The ice is numbing my entire body and making it hard to think. I groggily recall being placed in a plastic sack in the back seat. I get my own back seat floor. Yeah, baby – riding in style! Try not to be too jealous…zzzz……

2:26 a.m. I awoke to some sort of fuzzy creature sniffing my claws. Exxcuuuse me, privacy much? Cassie called it a cat. Not to be confused with a catfish? Must be one of those land cats.

2:28 a.m. Cassie and Clayton are whispering about something in secret. They keep placing me in various sizes of pots. I must be getting my very own, form-fitting container to lounge comfortably in. Yup, just living the life. This is me doing the superman. Stud muffin, right? I know. You don’t hafta say it. Everybody knows.

2:30 a.m. Cassie switched her camera setting to something called “Party Mode.” I didn’t know they were throwing me a fiesta! My hosts are generous and kind. I just wish they would take a break from hosting to eat a snack or something. I keep hearing their stomachs growl.

2:35 a.m. The secrets out! They’re rubbing me down with all sorts of bath salts in preparation for my very own day at the spa. The hot tub is being prepared, Clayton said. He told me I should try to fit in some sightseeing before the festivities began. To tell you the truth, I kind of always DID want to see what being a human was like for a day.

2:37 a.m. Hillbilly Handfishin’ is on, Hillbilly Handfishin’ in on!!! Oh, this is the one where they catch a huge, 60-pound catfish. The land cat does not appear to be impressed.

2:40 a.m. Just getting my iron on, no big. Thursdays are biceps and delts. Well, jeez – don’t stare too hard at the pipes; you might hurt something.

2:45 a.m. I don’t know how this exercise ball is supposed to work, but I feel quite confident that I’m completely owning this workout.

2:47 a.m. Guess who just discovered the Oral B Advantage? This guy. Check ya later, gingivitis!

2:50 a.m. Cassie compared me to being a lap dog. Who cares, I find this purse comfy and secure. Bonus: OMG!!!! Who knew purple was my color!?

2:55 a.m. If you think I look good now, check back with me 20 minutes from now after my exfoliating sea salt scrub and spa day!

3 a.m. Wait. Guys? GUYS?!?! It’s too hot! It’s too hot!


3:25 a.m. You guys are jerks.

3:30 a.m. Why are you doing this to me!? And for the love of God, what smells so delicious??

3:36 a.m. Well, maybe just a bite.