Some people are easy to please. Not me. I could never figure out the motives someone who was able to go to the movies and feel satisfied with a small popcorn, sans salt, butter, or smuggled cheese sauce, never mind passing up the litany of candies and Slurpees along the way. I can’t go to a barbecue that lacks thirty flavors of mustard and ten different artisanal sausages, and I rarely order a pizza that isn’t buried under a glut of toppings.
Wheat Thins, not gonna lie, you’re coming at me a little strong. You know I’m not a huge fan of healthy snacks, so why are you bombarding me with flavors and hand-written notes and breaking into my house with your seasonal charm? You’re starting to resemble Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. I’ve resisted your charms in the past, though. I ignored your Crunch Stix and smiled wanly at your Smoky Barbecue wiles, but this time, you’ve made a Michael Douglas out of me with the sweet seduction of your Sweet Cinnamon. You’ve got me. It’s bonafide Stockholm Syndrome, addict-worthy, head-over-heels craziness. I absolutely love these. Also, I’m officially calling Sweet Cin as my imaginary Second Life avatar name right now.
For most Americans, the next two months are going to be chock-full of activity and preparation. Not simply for holiday meals and travel plans, but mental, ninja-like preparation for steeling themselves against the onslaught of annual family members whom literally nobody enjoys.
For me, chicken parmesan and fried spring rolls are second-tier foods. I don’t dislike them, but I’m only going to order them when there is literally nothing else on a menu that I even vaguely like the sound of. Basically, with the exception of non-Jewish weddings, I never order chicken parmesan or spring rolls. The wild assumption that not everything needs to be deep fried in an wonton wrapper has apparently not reached the HQ at Davio’s. We’ve reviewed the Northern Italian Philly Cheesesteak spring rolls and studiously avoided the shrimp cojita. Now it’s time to sample my edible consolation prize, the Chicken Parm spring rolls from Davio’s.
Hypocrisy! I believe we’ve met. Specifically, the time when I backhandedly insulted cake balls for being little more than a trendy fad. What I didn’t count on was loving them. And needing to make them. I still don’t see a point in baking cakes for the sole purpose of rehydrating them in ball form, but you tell me what to do with two-thirds of a leftover pan of cornbread, a log of goat cheese, and a three inch-tall bit of salsa left in the jar. Sigh. It’s like Chopped for sad bachelors.
Euphe-what? I went there. To whomever neglected to inform me of the wonders and joys of Big Lots. You are a saint. I now have yet another funnel of cake and destruction to fuel my hard-earned paychecks into. This store is a mecca of weird-assed junk of the weirdest and assiest variety. I spent $12.50 on beautiful things and a lifetime supply of Propel in the ever-popular Lemon Pledge variety. Today’s selection, however, is not for the faint of heart. It is an item that exists on no websites, with proceeds that go toward prolonging a dubious catchphrase, and is advertised by a celebrity virtually nobody enjoys.
You’ll notice that I neglected to sample the vast majority of the entire Cable Guy family recipe roster, including the Triple Cheese Cheeseburger Skillet Kit and Lasagna Casserole. This is because I do not fetishize e. coli and stomach pumping. Those of you who do have come to the right place. The first thing worth noting about this is its complete lack of presence on the Almights Lord our Internet. The only trace of this I found, aside from the downright creepy Git ‘R Done Association, whose charitable payouts undoubtedly include Big Mouth Billy Bass dolls for all, was the apparently brilliant pyramid scheme of selling these on eCrater for a mere $9.99 apiece. And to think I almost balked at parting with a dollar for the humiliation of having Larry’s face grace my kitchen. Eh, I’ve done worse.
Perhaps the most upsetting thing about this package are Larry’s witticisms and advice, scarily intended for an audience to which he is superior. Larry warns me on the back to “taste ’em before you add more hot sauce” and enthusiastically points out that I’ve “gotta try this.” What the fuck, Larry? No offense, I’m sure you’re a great guy, but I don’t come to you for advice on FDA safety regulations and Frank Bruni-esque recommendations. But I bought this cornbread because I was delirious with glee and also, hungry. For a dollar, it’s not terrible. Emphasis on the “not” and the “terrible” part. By that, I mean that it is edible, but only to a certain degree. My friend Larry might compare this to roadkill or one of his second cousins, but it’s no better than soul food and no worse than cornbread made from huitlacoche. I’m done. I’m sitting alone in my kitchen eating cornbread branded by a man with all the finesse of a drunk Guy Fieri.
For all its poor advertising, though, the cornbread is a decent value. What it lacks in visual appeal it surely makes up for in taste, with a surprisingly spicy, non-medicinal burn and a tender crumble with a moist center. Too bad it’s colored in Home Depot’s bestselling “decoy orange” shade. I served it with a roasted jalapeno compound butte- ahahaha, I did no such thing. I ate it out of the pan. In the great, wide world of TV tropes, it’s the quickbread with a heart of gold. If you chance upon these, folks, I might say to give them a try. For a dollar they’re no worse than Hamburger Helper, but for the love of God, if you must gamble with your life and try the Cheeseburger Dinner, git ‘er done- git ‘er well done and don’t send me your hospital bills.
Two very important things are going on right now. For one, we have a new kitten. Her name is Foodling on this blog, to protect her identity and criminal record. She’s a baby Bengal kitten, and she makes things exactly 8,975% more difficult to photograph. Fun facts! Seriously, this cat has the attention span and vapid eyeballs of a non-limpid Zooey Deschanel. And for another, I’m sick. Yes, two days of no heat made my immune system tantamount to that of a homeless person’s. I feel like a wimp. So I’m sitting here eating trail mix, the irony of which is not lost on me. I don’t hike. I try to avoid trails as often as I can. I eat this on long car rides, generally ones that are above fifteen minutes long because I have the attention span of an infant.
Halloween, you were fun, but now you’re merely a thing of the past. For the record, I didn’t dress up. I sat at home taking the practice LSAT for the second time. Spooky, right? Oh well. One can’t do everything, namely, ingest Slippery Nipples in a sexy pediatrician’s costume and get hit on by poorly made up Jokers. I did, however, leave Halloween in the past and focus on the latest and greatest upcoming holiday, Guy Fawkes Day. Because it’s strictly against my zoning laws to blow stuff up, I made gunpowder-inspired cookie truffles instead- smoky, spicy, snappy.