Getting Chummy

Some lunchtime news chums, garned from the usual skimming:

  • From the “More Things Going Away” Department: Yesterday, I wrote about some things that are going away, like Bakers Squares and the old Pepsi logo. Today’s news brought another thing that is disappearing: Viewmaster Scenic Reels. Hell, I’m surprised that Viewmasters are still around.

    ETA: In other restaurant news: Jack In The Box unveils a new logo, to be announced by a reenergized and recovered Jack Box, fresh from his recent accident.

  • From the “Making Lemonaide from Lemons” Department: Even wonder what happened to the folks who made bad loans at Countrywide? Surprise, surprise (as Jim Nabors would say): they are back in the loan business. Specifically, they have started a new company, PennyMac that is purchasing the bad loans and attempting to turn them good. I say: “More power to them”. If they can figure out a way to turn these bad loans into perfomring loans, take them off the balance sheets of the worried banks, that’s inginuity at work.
  • From the “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” Department: Guess who wants an iPhone, but can’t get it? Hint: It’s not the price that’s stopping the purchase, it’s the manufacturer. Yup, Melinda Gates. Seems the household has a no-Apple policy. Raise your hand if you think Apple should send her one, gratis.
  • From the “Get to Work” Department: Want a job? It appears that some folks are still in demand. No, I’m not talking about folks who repossess things. I’m talking about folks with security clearances. According to the Orange County Register, the Los Angeles area (including OC) was one of the top 10 areas for folks with clearances.
  • From the “I’m Cooking with Gas” Department: I’ve had a few food related articles collecting space in the to-post list, so I thought I would share them. The first explores how much water does pasta really need? What’s interesting is the answer: not as much as the package says. The second explores a humble cooking tool that one can acquire at Home Depot: kitchen twine. Sometimes, it is the littlest items that are the secret to a great bacon wrapped roast :-)… but just make sure you don’t use that plastic coated stuff. The last is an article on a retro-favorite: cube steak. I’m actually a fan of this stuff, especially Southern-style Chicken Fried Steak. Yum. Oh, that reminds me, I need to finish my lunch….

A Question of Taste

The New York Times has an interesting article today on the flavor enhancer MSG. I’m sure we’ve all tried to avoid the substance, eating at oriental restuarants that are MSG-free, presumably due to bad reactions such as headaches. However, the article makes it clear that whether or not they add MSG directly, many food products contain it naturally, and it is hidden behind such phrases as “hydrolyzed soy protein”, “autolyzed yeast”. It shows up in canned chicken broth, packs of onion soup mix, cheese Goldfish crackers, and low-fat yogurts. It is the taste of Marmite in the United Kingdom, of Golden Mountain sauce in Thailand, of Goya Sazón on the Latin islands of the Caribbean, of Salsa Lizano in Costa Rica and of Kewpie mayonnaise in Japan. And yet, we all still seem to avoid MSG, thinking it gives us headaches (even though that has never been proven).


It is probably something similar to the placebo effect. This brings to mind the recent report that more expensive placebos bring better relief than cheap placebos. In the reported survey, 85% of those using the expensive pills reported significant pain relief, compared with 61% on the cheaper pills. I’m sure this extends to our view of politics, where candidates are often just different priced placebos.

Anyway, back to MSG. It (glutimate) is evidently a distinct taste from salty, sweet, etc., and evidently rounds out the taste of food (and evidently covers us weaknesses of poor quality food). Perhaps this is why No-MSG restaurants are better: not because of the lack of MSG, but because they use better quality food that means they don’t need the MSG in the first place.

So what’s your relationship with MSG?


Usenet Cookbook

Now I know I’m out of it: I don’t even have energy to review stuff I brought home. So far, all I’ve done is watch movies… so far, Kentucky Fried Movie and Rat Race.

Who out there remembers the Usenet Cookbook? The Usenet Cookbook was an attempt by Brian Reid of DEC to collect lots of recipes, and mail them out in troff(1). The newsgroup died many years ago (I think Brian drove off in a Huffmobile), but we still have a copy, together with loads of receipes we submitted.

Why do I mention this? Because tonight we’re making one of them, slightly modified: leg-of-lamb-1. Yes, if you look at the address, you’ll see a real old address for me: {akgua allegra ihnp4 hplabs sdcsvax trwrb cbosgd}!sdcrdcf!faigin. That alone should tell you how old the receipe is. We’re using it on a leg of lamb we’re cooking on the rotisserie. Karen says she will also be making choc-pancakes.

Should be good. Now to have some soup for lunch…


Busy in the Kitchen

This afternoon, we’ve been busy. In the last two hours, I made:

  • A batch of four dozen gluten-free chocolate chip pecan cookies (plus three regular old frozen dough ones for me)
  • A pot of rice
  • My famous honey-mustard chicken.

While doing this, the Guruilla made a loaf of gluten-free banana bread. Still to go is a bunch of steamed broccoli (I’ll make) and some gluten-free chocolate banana brownies (she’ll make). We’ve also got three gigantic bowls of fresh fruit.

Too bad I won’t be here this week to eat the leftovers 🙁


Erev RH Menu

Everyone else has been busy posting all their fancy menus for tonight. I just got off the phone with gf_guruilla. We’re going to be much more last minute, especially as it is just the three of us for dinner. So, here’s our menu:

* Honey-Mustard Chicken (I’ll make when I get home)
* Kugel of some sort, either rice noodle or rice
* Ginger Carrots
* Challah
* Apples and Honey.
[Updated 1:38 PM]
* Honey Cake
* Tagelach (at least that’s what is sounded like)
[End Update]

Simple and sufficient, and we should be done in time to make our 8:45 PM services. This will be our first time at this synagogue, so it should be interesting. I have no idea how bad parking will be.