Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Leftovers

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Every so often, usually when we know things are going to get real busy, my wife and I will cook up a lot of food all at once. Several kinds of food and in large amounts. This gets packaged as individual meals and frozen for use later. Invariably when I tell people about this someone says “I could never do that because I hate leftovers.” What? These are not leftovers but precooked meals. So the first thing I don’t get is why people see this as “leftovers.” Lots of people prepare foods in advance. My wife started cooking yesterday, we made a huge amount of stuffing for example, for Thanksgiving today. Are those foods leftovers? Of course not. How is that different from what we do? The freezing?

And what is the problem with leftovers anyway? Most things reheat very well. And a great many things just plain taste better the next day. Anything with a sauce for example will usually taste better because the flavors have gotten deeper into the food. Sure some things dry out or otherwise as not as good but we don’t cook those things for later use. Rather we pick things that store well, reheat well, and taste as good or better when eaten later. Am I to believe that just because they were not cooked that day they are no good? Bah! What’s with those people?

Well I’m going to grab some left over Chinese food and enjoy myself. Later.

The Best Part of Summer

Friday, July 31st, 2009

While I am not foodie or gourmand I do like to eat. Summer is great for that. We’ve been picking up a lot of fresh food, fruit and vegetables, from farm stands and farmers markets as we generally do in the summer. There is something special about food fresh from the farm. Now some foods are really good all year round if bought frozen. Many of them are prepared and frozen within hours or even minutes of being harvested. But not everything is and not everything freezes well.

Some kinds of peas, green beans, and berries are different if frozen rather than fresh. And somehow having to shuck the corn ones self adds to the experience for me. We picked some strawberries and some asparagus from our own garden this year. It doesn’t get much better than that. Plus we have been growing some tomatoes (though not as many as usual because I am resting the garden plot this summer).

I’ve had farm stand corn on the cob four times this week which is probably more times than I ate frozen corn on the cob all last winter. Like I said – it’s different somehow. Logically? Perhaps not but emotionally? Oh yes. I am staying south of New Hampshire this week and the corn is a lot further along than it is up north. I look forward to farm fresh corn at homes soon.

I hope to pick up some fresh Long Island potatoes later this season as well. Which is the other thing. In the summer it is easier to get truly local food from small farmers. Sure you can buy potatoes all year long but they all come from a few large states out west. Potatoes are different in different areas. Maine is different from Idaho and different from Long Island and different from other regional potatoes. One gets tired of the same old industrially produced food that is always the same. Well I do anyway.

So what do you like about summer food? Or summer in general?

The Joy of Milk

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

When I was growing up just about all I drank was milk. At least that was the only thing we ever seemed to have in the house to drink. That was far from a problem as I loved milk. As I got older and my allergies became more of a problem I stopped drinking milk because it made my nose more stuffy. And I missed it.

Since that time I have had years of allergy shots that reduced that problem. I have had nasal surgery (just recently actually) that has opened my nose up. And they have lactose-free milk which seem to help. So I have started drinking it again.

Oh is is good. I am drinking 2% to cut down a little on fat (1% or less does not taste like real milk) and I am not drinking as much as I might like. But I sure am enjoying it. Might be the best tasting beverage ever.

Caffeine

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

I don’t get this “caffeine keeps you awake” stuff I keep hearing. I just finished a nice warm cup of hot tea (Dunkin Donuts LARGE) which should be enough caffeine to keep one awake right? And yet all I want to do is take a nap. The same thing happened to me the other day.

I don’t drink coffee (yuck!!) but I drink cold beverages with caffeine and they never keep me awake either. Is this a myth or is my system just different?

Growing Your Own In Winter

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

One of my favorite Christmas presents this year was an AeroGarden. It’s basically a small hydroponics set up for growing plants indoors. There is a special light and a pump that pushes water and nutrients into the mini-planters. Right now I have lettuce planted. Sprouts showed up in about 2 days or so. They should be harvistable in about 3 weeks and last for another three months or so. I’m getting a kick out of watching them grow so far. I hope it works out.

One of the other things they offer is a special try for starting seedlings for outdoors. I am thinking that I would like to try that as well. It holds 70 plants and that would be plenty for me. I could start all the tomatoes, cucumbers and pepper plants I want. I might also try some corn and sunflowers as well. I’ve tried starting plants inside before but for some reason it never seems to work out. Perhaps with this system it will.

The other thing I am thinking about is getting a second device to keep in my office. I would grow something different there. Perhaps flowers. So far plant I have tried in my office has died. But honestly I think that has been a combination of not getting watered enough and not enough light. I travel a good bit and I need a good healthy light on a timer as well as a system that can go without me adding water every day. This should do that.

And it is a gadget too! What more could a geek want but a gadget that grows things.

We Need Robot Restaurants

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

As I found yet another take-out order gone wrong this week I started thinking about the problem of fast food restaurants and take-out windows. Part of the problem is the people who work these windows. You need someone smart enough to get the order right but not so smart that they get bored and quit right away. It seems like a lot of places skimp on the "smart enough to get the order right" part when they hire people.

So I was thinking that this is an area ripe for robots and computer controlled ordering. Voice recognition systems are getting better and seem like they might be as good as some people who work at these drive-through windows. The last time I was in a fast food restaurant where the people seemed really smart and spoke really good English I was in Norway. Lately in US places people seem to be having almost as much trouble understanding me as I do them.

Anyway. I could see a robot operation that took orders using either voice recognition or some sort of interactive display. The food could be cooked and assembled and presented to a person to hand through the window. I’m not sure we’re ready for a robot to hand out the food and collect the money yet. It might work with credit cards though.

I see two major problems. One is that we may need smarter customers to manage computer ordering. There is no way to make it completely idiot proof. There are some amazing idiots out there. The second is that there are already a shortage of jobs for the types of people who tend to take these jobs. High school students, mothers and seniors looking to fill time and pick up a few extra bucks, and people without more marketable skills. So that is a social issue.

We’d still need people to feed the equipment and handle screw ups. Hopefully there would be fewer screw ups in the preparation of the order but remember that a lot of people would be likely to mess up in what they order. But if you could get my with one or two people at times that now require three to five there would be some savings in payroll.

There is one other potential problem. Sometimes companies modify the product to fit production at the cost of quality of the product. I can’t see that being an issue at some fast food restaurants where quality is not so impressive as it is.  Plus I think that a lot of semi-automation adjustment has already taken place. How much worse could it get?

Apples

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

I have a new favorite apple. For a long time I ate mostly Red Delicious apples. I liked the flavor. They are soft though and I didn’t like that. So I would regularly eat other types like Macs (no not the computer) that are more crisp. Well recently we visited an apple orchard and not surprisingly they had a large selection of apples. Most of them we’d seen in stores before but one was new to us. The friendly people at the orchard had one sliced for tasting and we tried it.

This type is called Honey Crisp and it’s fairly new but gaining popularity. It’s nice and sweet like the Red Delicious but crispy like the Macs. It lasts a couple of weeks in the refrigerator but we’ve been eating them all long before they go bad. I haven’t seen them in local stores yet so I am worried about getting them through the winter.

BTW while reading up on apples today I found out that they have a lot of real health benifits. Since they taste so much better then a lot of things that are not as healthy I think I’m going to be eating more of them. A little knife/cutting device that cores and slices apples makes that process so quick and easy I’m kicking myself that we didn’t buy one years ago. The seeds are mildly poisonous BTW so there is actually a good reason not to eat the core. It would take a lot of the seeds to really do damage but since they don’t taste good I’d just as soon avoid them. The skin on the other hand is good for you and adds fiber (which is apparently a good thing.) I always did like the skin.