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Archive for the 'Food' Category


Sunday, June 29th, 2008

You have to get your vitamin c somewhere, why not via tasty snacks shaped like Hello Kitty, her friends, and accessories?

I should be better about taking my daily vitamins. Or should we all just ingest more candy—I mean “fruit flavored snacks”—and soda?

Buckled Up & Deflated

Saturday, April 19th, 2008

A sweet friend of mine picked up this faux Hello Kitty belt buckle for me at a street fair in Brooklyn. It’s cute, but just a bit off in several ways that make her look possibly on the evil side. What do you think?

Meanwhile, I killed the gingerbread. I was attempting to bake above sweet friend and her boyfriend my grandmother’s famed gingerbread with lemon sauce. I perhaps need to rethink my opinion that I have any talent at this.

Should I fill the hole with ice cream?

I’m going to power on and make the sauce, hopefully some of it is salvageable. It’s just, um, not my best work as a baker. I suspect I overbeat it and/or put in too much of some liquid or another. Though it can’t be all my fault. My oven heats at random. I should get an oven thermometer. Or a new kitchen…

Luckily, there is still the possibility that it will taste yummy.

Better Drinking Through Technology

Friday, November 16th, 2007

The design is awful, but I love the concept at (If the person who runs this happens to read this, why don’t you hire me?) I used it with some friends after a party left them with several odd leftover liquors, and we had a grand time with some interesting cocktails.

Using Webtender’s “In My Bar” app, you click off everything you have, and it tells you what you can create. I just picked out a few random ingredients, and got results such as Doug’s Modified Cement Mixer, Dr. Raspberry, and the Green Widow.

Dr. Raspberry is Chambord with Dr. Pepper over ice. As I tend to pour Chambord into lots of things–ice cream, champagne, bad white wine–and am a big DP fan, I’m pretty likely to try this one.

The below is not on that website, but I think it appropriate to share here:

Hello Kitty Martini

3 oz strawberry vodka
1/2 oz gin
1 1/2 oz peach schnapps

Shake, pour into a martini glass, and garnish with a strawberry.

Adventures in Cake Decoration

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

I often cooked sweets with my grandmothers as a child—pull taffy, baked custard, fudge, cakes, cookies—but I wouldn’t call myself any kind of expert on baking or cake decoration. So when I was tasked with making cakes for two birthday parties this weekend, I was not sure what would result.

I do usually bake cupcakes for July 4th every year. They’re always chocolate with vanilla icing, decorated with red and blue sprinkles or candies. Pretty simple… Slap a little icing on each one, sprinkle liberally with something like mini M&Ms in patriotic colors.

Cake #1

My friend’s girlfriend planned a loosely themed Formula 1 party for his 40th birthday. We were to dine at a French restaurant called Pit Stop, then to a bar for drinks and cake. And guess who got to make that cake?

A race track cake seemed the way to go, a car seemed way too complicated. I looked at some track pictures, found some cakes online, and eventually decided the easiest thing to do was a curve of track with some cars on it.

I got everything together and baked the cake itself the night before, then started decorating it a few hours before the party.

First I wanted black icing, so I tried to create it from my chocolate. I added tons of blue food coloring, a little red, and stirred, added more, stirred… I came out with an icky shade of grayish brownish something that ended up still looking like chocolate. I remembered this would be served in a dimly lit bar and decided it would do.

I drew a guide on the pan and cake and iced my track.


Several minutes of shaking with green food coloring in a ziplock turned my coconut into nice, green grass.


I used Strawberry Creme Savers to line the track, rather than ice teeny red and white stripes.


It was a little difficult to find appropriate cars to use. Nothing I saw were exactly like Formula 1 cars, but Hot Wheels had a couple to fit my needs (the “Preying Menace” and the “Tire Fryer”).



The birthday boy seemed to like it!


Cake #2

The second cake had a rather different theme. This one was for a birthday/surgery. My friend is having knee surgery soon to repair or remove the medial meniscus in his right knee. He requested a “Farewell Meniscus” cake, and I got the job.

I baked the cake in an angel food pan, then cut it in half and pieced together to mimic the disk of cartilage it was meant to represent.


A little emergency reconstruction was involved in the center, but icing can fix anything. (Too bad that won’t work on the real thing!)


I’d picked up a toy syringe and reflex hammer when I got the cars, and those worked nicely into the meniscus. He’d wanted surgical tools, but I did what I could.


Some “blood” rounded it out. I tried to make it a little gross without being too icky.


“Bye Meniscus!” all lit up…


Happy Birthday!


Plus… What?

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

Mm, Diet Coke! I often drink it for caffeine and the fact it is calorie-free. I realize it is probably rotting my teeth, the lining of my stomach, or gods know what else.

It might make sense if calcium were added to caffeinated beverages. Caffeine increase calcium loss, or so I hear. It’s a good reason to take your coffee with milk (cow or fortified soy). Our healthy friend spinach has calcium issues, too - it decreases its absorption - but luckily it has built in calcium, so maybe it evens out. Ok, so why not add vitamins and minerals to things like soda?

Enter Diet Coke Plus… It became available in the U.S. in April, and I first encountered it last week in a drugstore. I was tired and dehydrated and had forgotten to take my daily vitamin. I thought, “Why not?” and bought a bottle. It tasted like normal Diet Coke - empty sweetness - with an extra chemical punch that almost reminded me of vodka for a second.

Diet Coke Plus

So what’s in this stuff? According to, Diet Coke Plus is “everything you love about Diet Coke, plus several essential nutrients.” It includes B6, B12, niacin, zinc, and magnesium. No calcium, sorry. Take your supplements. (It’s only about 15% RDI of the above anyway.)

I’m not going to go so far as to say it’s good for me - in fact I’m pretty sure it is not - but if I’m drinking this stuff anyway, why not get the one with some vitamins?

Pepsi has one called Diet Pepsi Max, but it’s got ginseng and EXTRA caffeine instead. Wow. (I’ve not tried it.)

Maybe I’ll stick to, um, water.

I’m actually drinking less soda than I used to, generally opting for something juice-based with lunch. I go for some flavor of Vitamin Water (by Glaceau) almost daily. It’s probably a big scam, but it feels better than drinking the brown bubbly stuff.

Fast Food

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

I’m not a fan of fast food chains. I stopped eating red meat well over a decade ago and try to eat somewhat healthy (stop laughing, I said TRY!), but that’s not all of it.

I’ve disliked McDonald’s from childhood, when a fry overindulgence made me sick. I’d never eat the hamburgers, opting instead for the Filet O’ Fish and whatever it was over at Burger King (the chicken sandwiches had yet to be introduced, at least where I lived). The thought of it makes me feel a bit queasy now, but that’s the way it was. I was given the parental warning not to relate my vomit story when friends’ parents would take us there for a “treat.” Ironically, it’s the fries I’ll still eat. (I go for the ones at Burger King given a choice.)

The only time I have willing gone to McD’s in the past 10 years was when they were putting Sanrio goodies in the Happy Meals. I should have known better, they had run out and I ended up with non-Sanrio junk, questionable chicken parts, and soggy fries.

When I’m forced to it (road trips), I look for a Taco Bell. The E. coli and rat stories* do tend to turn the tummy, but I’ll still take the exit when I see the friendly bell on the sign.

See, I don’t totally abstain. I think my cousin and I pretty much survived on Taco Bell bean burritos and Burger King fries on a cross-country trek once. Boy were we excited when we found that salad bar in Iowa, though!

When it comes down to it on a normal day, it’s just generally not worth it in my book. Fast food products may look yummy on tv, you get this vision of indulging in a guilty pleasure, you cave, go buy some, open it up…and are disappointed. (See this website for advertising images vs. the reality of that juicy burger you think you crave.)

I do realize I’m lucky that I live in NYC where the options are just too numerous to have to resort to fast food chains. I understand that most people do not have multiple fast-but-quality takeout restaurants in their neighborhoods. I totally get not wanting to cook every meal or spend a bundle on it. And many of the big fast food companies do seem to be trying somewhat to make things healthier and such. But I’m still probably not going to eat it, unless I am on the road and running on empty!

So that’s my opinion. I’m not going to tell anyone else to not eat at McD’s or its counterparts or try to shut them down or anything. I get that the Big Mac makes many people very happy. I’d just rather eat somewhere else, please.

* On cleanliness of restaurants and worrying about it: You are never really going to know what’s going on in the kitchen or what ends up in your food whether you are at a top restaurant or a KFC. You eat out, you accept that. (If you are in a third world country, worry a bit more.) The horror stories aren’t what turn me off about fast food chains.