True, embellished and fictional stories for your amusertainment

Posts tagged ‘Food’

New Restaurant Experience

Before checking out a new eatery, I went onto Yelp to see what other customers had to say. Although the restaurant was self-serve, every order was made from scratch so it took 20-30 minutes to receive your food. That being said, we decided to call ahead so our meals would be ready when we got there. After four failed attempts resulting in a message that said “no one is available to take your call”, we decided the place must be busy and thus worth the wait.

When we walked in, we were surprised to find ourselves the only customers in the establishment. Stepping up to the counter, we placed our order with two bored-looking young women who graciously took our money. As we waited for our food, we sat a small table sipping ice water. During that half-hour, their phone rang several times but not urgently enough to interrupt the banter of the workers who greeted us.

Duty called, however, when two meals were presented behind the counter. Like a trumpet announcing royalty over the din of a crowd, one of the clerks loudly repeated the contents of our order. Marching the four steps from our table to the counter, we went to claim our prize. Protectively, the clerk asked to see a copy of our receipt before she would hand over our food. Stephen fumbled around trying to find it and said he wasn’t sure he’d received one. Using her “outside voice”, she incredulously asked “you don’t have a receipt?” Certain that we wouldn’t get our food without it, I looked around the cafe to confirm we were still the only customers. I almost asked if she remembered ringing us up not 30 minutes prior but before I could be so bold, Stephen produced our ticket.

I’m glad to say the food was okay but not so good that I need to go back. I can only imagine the chaos that ensues when they have more than one customer at a time. Imagine when they figure out how to answer the phone!

May the farce be with you!

Your IFF,


We were standing next to the trumpet

We were standing next to the trumpet

Don’t Play With Your Food

Carol was stunned to learn her mother was right - you really shouldn't play with your food

Carol was stunned to learn her mother was right – you really shouldn’t play with your food

Don’t Feed The Animals

During the last night of a Florida vacation, Stephen and I had dinner outside by the pool of our hotel – our last chance to experience a warm evening outdoors.

When our food arrived, we were surprised to find we had dinner guests. Three little ducks came by our table begging for food.

I don’t often get the chance to feed wild animals, so I jumped at it. I would take a few bites and then give one of my buddies a bite.

I continued for 15 minutes when Stephen noticed a sign on our table:

“Do Not Feed The Wildlife. Feeding Wildlife changes their natural behavior and may be harmful to their health.”

Upon seeing the sign, Stephen suggested that I comply. Initially, I did but then had second thoughts.

These ducks had just gotten out of a swimming pool. They were shaking chlorinated water off their little bodies as they trotted over to beg for food. They had tiny beach towels and had no doubt been in the sun earlier in the day. Their drinks had umbrellas and one duck was wearing sun glasses.

I concluded that their natural behavior had already changed and went back to feeding them.

My thought was if the hotel didn’t want me to feed the ducks, they needed to stop feeding me in the duck’s new natural habitat.

Changing natural behavior isn’t always harmful. On the way back to our room, we watched one of the ducks waddle into the health club.

May the farce be with you!

Your IFF,


Peeking duck

Peeking duck


5 Second Rule+

Have you ever dropped a piece of food and wondered if it’s safe to eat? Now you can find out.

Researchers have tested the 5 second rule and provided scientific information about contamination levels of dropped food and more importantly, whether said food is safe to eat. According to the report, two foods – pasta and dried fruit shouldn’t be eaten once they hit the floor – even if they’re picked up within 3 seconds. Other foods such as sliced ham and cookies are safe to eat. Toast is okay if it’s brushed off first.

I believe this report is too simplistic. In combination with the 5 second rule, following are five additional factors that determine dropped food’s suitability for eating.

1. The presence of witnesses

Many people operate under the premise that if someone sees them eat contaminated food, the food should probably not be eaten. If dropped food can be eaten undetected, there are generally no ill effects – even if contact exceeded 5 seconds. You know the saying: If food drops in the forest and there’s no one to see me eat it, is it still contaminated?

2. Your desire level

If you dropped the last brownie and really, really wanted that brownie, bacteria doesn’t stick as easily so it’s usually safe to eat even if the 5 second rule is exceeded. This is especially true if there are no witnesses. This is a metaphysical property in which your emotions repel bacteria.

3. The contaminated surface

Food dropped on private surfaces is generally safer than food dropped in public. For example, your freshly cleaned kitchen floor can hold edible food longer than the dirty floor in a movie theater. Interestingly, this is one factor that’s especially susceptible to numbers 1 & 2 above. If the food is highly desirable and there are no witnesses, food may be eaten even if the surface is notably contaminated. Must be that metaphysical thing at play again.

4. The condition of the food

Regardless of numbers 1-3 above, there’s a universal tendency to abandon food that’s been destroyed in a fall. Point of clarification, people tend to forgo the food. Animals are not so discriminating, they’ll eat anything that falls on the floor regardless of its condition. When this happens it’s a win-win because as they eat the food they also clean the floor (see #3 above).

5. Prior knowledge

Contamination rules apply only if you know the food was dropped. Seems like a no brainer, but here’s an example that I personally experienced. I was at a party and an elderly woman took a piece of candy from an open bowl. She thought it would be chewy. Discovering it was hard, she took it out of her mouth and placed it back in the dish. If I hadn’t seen her put the candy back, I might have eaten it. However, I witnessed the transgression and as a result didn’t eat any candy at the party or much else after that. Prior knowledge – an important factor.

Think about your own behavior surrounding the 5 second rule. If you come up with other considerations, please share!

May the farce be with you!

Your IFF,


Some droppings should never be eaten

Down To Earth

I’m doing my part for Earth Day. Last week, I put mulch in my yard. Our local Park District placed a pile of free mulch at the end of our street and industrious users simply had to supply their own muscles and receptacle.

Stephen and I got creative – we took our huge wheeled recycle bin, filled it with wet mulch and rolled it home. We used our recycle bin because this was the ultimate in recycling (and we didn’t have another container). I never realized how heavy mulch is until I walked uphill pulling 40 gallons of it. (When I’m older it will have been four miles, barefoot, in the snow, in below zero temperatures wearing only a light sweater.)

We had planned to place mulch around the trees and bushes in our entire backyard but quit half-way through after the second load. It was an excellent reminder why I hate this type of yard work.

A few days later, a supply was still available and I could move my arms again so we finished our task.

It was nice of the Park District to provide this service because mulch can be expensive. When I saw its composition, I understood why they were giving it away.

Normally mulch is comprised of wood chips sometimes including mature compost called humus. However, this mulch was made of wood chips and mashed chickpeas or hummus. I almost brought out some vegetables to dip but frankly, it didn’t look that appetizing.

Earth Day is on April 22. Celebrate by doing something nice for the planet.

May the farce be with you!

Your IFF,


Special Culinary Mulch With Hummus

Fractured Cliché #21

Fractured Cliché: Preaching to the congregation

Correct Cliché: Preaching to the choir

Fractured Cliché: Rome was built in a day

Correct Cliché: Rome wasn’t built in a day

Today’s Fractured Clichés pay tribute to Easter and highlight two traditions I had never experienced before coming to Chicago.

On Fat Tuesday, Chicago celebrates Pączki Day. A Pączki is a deep fried Polish pastry with a sweet filling. It’s such a big deal that people line up outside bakeries early in the morning to purchase them before they’re sold out. The traditional reason for making them was to use up the lard, sugar, eggs and fruit in the house because Catholics couldn’t eat them during Lent.

The second Chicago tradition is the pepper and egg sandwich. In case you haven’t heard of it, the pepper is green – not black. If you practice dietary restrictions during Lent, it’s a great alternative to fish.

If you celebrate Easter, have a good one. If you don’t, I hope you’ve been eating whatever you want. I tried a Pączki stuffed with pepper and egg.

May the farce be with you!

Your IFF,


What's in your Easter basket?

Fractured Cliché #16

Fractured Cliché:  The food is not prepared to my likeness

Correct Cliché:   The food is not prepared to my liking

Because I am severely domestically challenged, I rarely tell Stephen (the cook) that food is not prepared to my liking.  It’s quite simple – he makes it (whatever it is) and I eat it. I’m always appreciative of whatever he makes because without Stephen’s wonderful culinary skills, I would be eating frozen dinners and microwave popcorn. If I was the primary cook, in the vernacular of my fractured clichés, my situation would be “let them eat dirt”.

Although he has never prepared food to my likeness, Stephen does prepare fun shaped food on occasion as shown below. With Stephen preparing the meals, my situation is “let them eat cake” (pancakes, that is).

Heart-shaped pancake is proof that Stephen loves to cook for me

May the farce be with you!

Your IFF,


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