fierynotes: Picture of Destruction, from the Sandman series, reading a book and slinging a guitar. (Default)
This is my front page. If you want me to add you, drop me a line here. Or, add me. Either way, I'll check you out. You can also drop me a line here if, for instance, you don't have my email address. All comments here are screened.

This post also includes every tag I have -- this is because my current LJ style doesn't include a tag index. (At least half of my participation on LJ is on my phone. I chose this style because, as bare-bones as it is, it loads quickly and it's still readable on a small screen.)

I'd tell you more about myself, but that's what my profile -- and the rest of my LJ -- is for.
fierynotes: Picture of a B diminished 7th chord (B, D, F, A flat) followed by an inversion, in flames. (Bdim7)
Dear Fleshgod Apocalypse,

It seems you have your own brand of pasta and wine now...

As much fun as it was to watch your video (and it was totally adorable that your drummer used a pad instead of a drum because he has a small child who was asleep)... couldn't you have started with your own brand of coffee, first?

[personal profile] fierynotes

PS: if you'd been selling the pasta when I saw you live, I would have probably bought it just because it seems like a fun thing to have. Not sure about the wine, though...
fierynotes: Picture of Jerry Springer surrounded by the flames of Hell, with the caption 'What the fucking fucking fuck?' (wft)
In the show Babylon 5, one of the characters (the chief of security) had a yearly ritual of making a dish called Bagna Cauda. For those of you unfamiliar (as I was, before I saw the show), it's a hot dipping sauce in the manner of fondue, but it's made with olive oil, butter, garlic, and anchovies, and one dips vegetables into it. The station doctor tried to forbid the security chief from making it because, well, it's a heart attack in a dipping bowl. (He relented when the station chief pointed out he only made it once a year, in honor of his father, and even tried it himself. He admitted that it was really damned tasty, but insisted that his arteries started to clog just from being in the same room with it.)

Epic Meal Time, for those of you unfamiliar, is a YouTube show that glories in unhealthy shit. As far as I know, they've never attempted Bagna Cauda... and you can already see where I'm gong with this, can't you?

"Wassup haters? Today, we're making Bagna Cauda. It's like fondue, but better, because it's made with butter instead of cheese. Normally, you dip veggies into it, but we don't eat veggies here at Epic Meal Time, because veggies are for pussies. We're gonna dip BACON in this shit!"

(I know that Epic Meal Time beeps f-bombs. I have no doubt that the host would use the words "shit" and "pussies," but I don't know if these words would be replaced by animal sounds in post.)
fierynotes: Picture of Discord. (discord)
"Hi, I'm Giada de Laurentiis! In a bid to improve my presence on the internet, I've decided to start having guests from popular YouTube shows. Today, my very first guest is the Annoying Orange! Now, where did I put my zester...?"

I'm joking, of course. Seriously. We all know Giada would NEVER misplace her zester -- she uses the damned thing at least three times per episode.

But seriously, I can't be the only one who'd like to see the Annoying Orange being flayed alive by Giada the Cruel, can I?

(Edted to add...)

"For my second episode, I tried to invite Onision, but he declined. I guess I'm much too old for him..."
fierynotes: Picture of Hotstreak, from the cartoon Static Shock.  He looks annoyed. (annoyed)
Odd Folks Home: The intro for this show, with the fly buzzing around the mansion, led me to half-expect a decayed host with a taste for awful puns. I only saw one episode of this, and was really impressed by the craftsmanship of the guy making robots... wait, are those censor bars? Then, I saw him buying 1/4" tubing at a hardware store, and explaining that he was going to attach it to a robot he'd made of a Ken doll to endow the robot with what Ken never had. The rest of the people on this show were similarly... off. On the other hand, their hobbies are completely harmless. And hey, fucking robots might be real in the future, though I think they'll look more AI than Metropolis.

Man vs. Food: A guy tours the United States, looking for places to gorge himself stupid. This show disgusts me, it repulses me... and yet, I can't look away. But then, I always get queasy about eating contests. There's a part of me that's amused by the fact that one of the most fearsome competitive eaters is a little guy with a six-pack, but watching him eat dozens of hot dogs in one sitting makes me just as sick.

Giada de Laurentiis: For fun, take one drink every time she says "yummy." You'll be buzzed by the end of the show.

Rachel Ray: For fun, take one drink every time she says "yummo," or any other invented word. You'll be smashed by the end of the show.

Guy Fieri: For "fun," take one drink every time he says "flavortown," or any invented word. You'll be dead by the end of the show.

Robert Irvine: This one's amusing. Take a chef, and give him impossible challenges like "cook a meal for several hundred people with inadequate equipment," or "spend several hours in the same building as Guy Fieri without giving in to that overpowering urge to beat the crap out of him." (Do google image searches on Robert Irvine and Guy Fieri, and keep in mind that in addition to his obvious physical advantages, Robert Irvine is ex-Navy. No way would Guy Fieri win that one.) He usually succeeds. Lately, he's also trying to rescue desperate restaurants -- a little like Gordon Ramsey, but with much less swearing.

Ina Garten: Her cooking appears solid. No, better than that -- she appears to be very competent. (There are people on my list who are qualified to discuss her cooking, but she is far enough above me that I can't really judge.) However, that's only the first part of the show -- the second part involves what one of you here on my list referred to once as "Martha's Vineyard clownfucking foppery." When I saw this part at work, I was barely able to make sure there were no customers in the store before I yelled "Martha's Vineyard clownfucking foppery" at the screen. Now, I've got my coworkers doing it, because that phrase is just so FUN.
fierynotes: Picture of Daimon, from Marvel comics, without a shirt.  'Look at me, I have muscles!' (flirty)
A while back (here on LJ, here on DW), under the heading "Change is possible if you have the resources," I tried to point out how easy it is to "just live a healthy lifestyle" for some... and more to the point, how hard it is for others. Every paragraph under that heading lists privileges that some of us have and others do not, and my intention was to point out that no, some people do not have resources to "just live a healthy lifestyle."

If you read that post, keep in mind that for all my good intentions, I've still been an effortlessly skinny person for most of my life (until I started hitting the weight room regularly), and I have pretty much every privilege on that list... along with several others I didn't name. (I didn't think to mention food deserts, for instance, but they exist.) There are things that need to be said on that subject, and despite my best efforts, I am not qualified to say them.

On that note, I'd like to link to someone who is qualified to say them... and who says them very colorfully.

(As I said over in her post, I myself have spoken a lot of shit about certain corporate purveyors of crap food. I haven't called McShithole's by their legal name for years, for instance. That said, there's a line between attacking the corporations for putting out crap, and attacking the people who eat it. For all my privilege on this point, I'd like to hope that it's clear that I know which side of that line to stand on.)
fierynotes: Picture of Discord. (discord)
(The following song makes a lot more sense if you've heard this one.)

All you have to do is take a cup of flour!
Add it to the mix!
Now just take a little something sweet, not sour!
A bit of salt, just a pinch!

STD awareness is such a cinch!
Make icing look like gonorrhea!
Add a few warts, and you count by fours,
And let everypony see your...

Cupcakes! So sweet and tasty!
Cupcakes! Don't be too hasty!
Cupcakes, cupcakes, CUPCAKES! (NSFW, Not Safe For Lunch!)
fierynotes: Picture of Arsenal, from DC comics, who clearly sees something he likes. (leers)
Those of you familiar with the Star Trek Universe no doubt remember that whenever Klingons were exposed to human food, they always found it horribly bland. Meanwhile, whenever humans were exposed to Klingon food, the food always resembled the extreme end of macho pissing contests. (In particular, I remember an episode in which a Klingon tried to politely disparage a meal of delicately-flavored fish that Picard had prepared.)

Am I really the only one who wonders why some human somewhere never introduced Klingons to the habanero? I can't imagine Klingons having a neutral reaction to it -- they'd either hate it, or it would revolutionize Klingon cuisine!

Or, imagine if the first contact with Klingons had not been with someone like Captain Kirk, but with some hypothetical Captain Jagdip Bharadwaj, a kindly old man whose chicken vindaloo recipe would be considered a fire hazard in Hell? The Klingons would have a very different opinion of humans after an introduction like that!

...Someone should write that!
fierynotes: Picture of Daimon, from Marvel comics, without a shirt.  'Look at me, I have muscles!' (flirty)
The higher-ups of the breastaurant chain Hooters are a little dismayed that women, as a group, aren't willing to spend money at their establishments. This is a little understandable, if not necessarily great: every company around wants people to spend lots of money for what they offer (and indeed, many of them seem quite resentful that they have to offer something of value in exchange for said money). The less understandable part is that they are apparently clueless as to why women, as a group, seem disinclined to give them money.

The fine folks over at Consumerist are much less clueless, and some of them are funny. Even the one clueless comment I saw over there illustrates perfectly the perception that Hooters is the food service equivalent of a man-cave, complete with a badly-penned "NO GIЯLZ ALLOWƐD" sign on the door, and seriously, how many women out there would pay to eat in a place like that? Apparently, not many.

(In all fairness, I should add that I've never been to a Hooters. For all I know, the food is okay, but my current regular eating habits exclude it (as they exclude most restaurants). As for my irregular eating habits... from what I've heard so far, the food at Hooters doesn't rate a Fuzzy Pink Law¹ exception for me to eat it even occasionally. Besides, I see plenty of tits already, and those tits belong to people who want to show them to me, as opposed to people who are probably not getting paid anywhere near enough to semi-display them for drooling idiots.)

    1. Fuzzy Pink's Law is named after Fuzzy Pink, Larry Niven's wife. It can be summed up as "don't waste calories." In a little more detail, for me at least, it's a concession that some food isn't really good for my boyish figure, and if I'm going to eat anything that's bad for my boyish figure, I'm going to damn well enjoy it. For instance, I'll have to do the same amount of extra cardio to burn off either a Hershey bar or a chunk of good chocolate, so if I eat chocolate at all, it's going to be the good stuff.

fierynotes: Picture of Tarvek, from Girl Genius, facepalming. (facepalm)
Adding a tenth-ounce of dried lavender to a 750 mL bottle of vodka was not as good an idea as I'd hoped. To its credit, it smells like perfume. Unfortunately, it also tastes like perfume. I inflicted this on several people at a party I attended recently, and straight, it was not a success. It wasn't a total loss, though: adding one part the aforementioned lavendery vodka to about five parts lemonade makes an absolutely kick-ass hard lemonade.

Conclusions: I will certainly attempt this again, but with much less lavender. I'm thinking some orange zest might help, too. And if I make Peach Melba again, I may use lavender instead of vanilla in the boiling syrup for the peaches.
fierynotes: Picture of Destruction, from the Sandman series, reading a book and slinging a guitar. (Default)
This is a really simple one. Gather the following:

1. ¼ cup sugar
2. ¼ cup water + OJ (half-and-half)
3. ½ lb cherries
4. ¼ cup brandy
5. 6 scoops vanilla ice cream

Slice each of the cherries in half, and remove the pits. Then, in a small saucepan, combine ingredients 1-2 and bring to a boil briefly, then add cherries. Allow to simmer for ten minutes, add brandy, and set on fire. Let the fire go out (I got ten seconds of flames out of this one), and pour over ice cream. Serves three.

fierynotes: Picture of Destruction, from the Sandman series, reading a book and slinging a guitar. (creative)
Go here. Follow the recipe to the letter, but when you realize that you don't have banana liqueur, double up on the dark rum. Eat greedily, and bask in praise. Then, if you're like me, go jogging afterward. But jog, content, because this dessert is absolutely worth it.

My dish looks kinda messy and my presentation isn't that great because I'm not an actual chef, so no doubt Chef Paul Blangé (the inventor of this dish) would turn up his nose at it. However, it tasted wonderful. I almost understand why people like Sandra Lee and Rachel Ray try to come up with new words like "sodalicious" and "yummo," even if their newly created words suck -- all the words that are currently in use to describe good food can seem inadequate. Later, I may attempt this with different spices. As fond as I am of cardamom, I'll no doubt try that one first.
fierynotes: Picture of Tarvek, from Girl Genius, facepalming. (facepalm)
This imaginary conversation between me and an overzealous marketing agent is the sort of thing I write when I finally snap from constant overexposure to whatever overhyped crap is trendy this month.

I am Sam, Sam I am! Please, sir, call me Sam I am!
I have something, yes, hot damn! It's better than green eggs and ham!
It's yogurt, but this stuff is Greek! The French would call it magnifique!
You would love it, don't deny it! All you have to do is try it!

The most delicious thing, by far! You should try it in a car!
It makes for wondrous curried goat! You should eat it on a boat!
With a mouse, or with a fox! You should eat it by the box!
You should eat it on a train! Its creaminess will fill your brain!

This kids tried it, ate a lot, and died, contented, on the spot!
This guy tried it -- what a shock! It gave him such a massive cock!
This girl tried it -- revelations! She solved T.O.E. equations!
These monks tried it -- who'd've thought it? Instant bliss as Buddha taught it!

You should try it, it's not scary! Look who's joined us: Ben and Jerry!
It is yummy, most delicious! Also it is quite nutritious!
You should have an open mind! To fail to try it is unkind!
Try this stuff, says Sam I am! I could be worse! I could send spam!

      "I see it here! I see it there!
      I see it fucking everywhere!
      These damned persisitent salesman freaks!
      Their fucking yogurt made by Greeks!
      And though it might tempt you to brag,
      I'm offering a small white flag:
      If I try this viscous crap,
      will you please shut your fucking yap?"

We will not stop until we drop, and even then we'll never stop!
For when it comes to pushing shit, we simply don't know when to quit!

      "I will not try it, Sam I am!
      I'd rather eat green eggs and ham!
      Your marketing is overdone!
      So how much will I eat, sir? NONE!
      You've gone and truly gravely hurt us!
      Made me hate Ms. Jamie Curtis!
      Sir, your ads are dull and crass!
      Shove your yogurt up your ass!"
fierynotes: Picture of Hotstreak, from the cartoon Static Shock.  He looks annoyed. (annoyed)
Do you ever get the impression that a lot of people who have opinions on a given subject are totally talking out their asses?

I ask because I've been reading up on nutrition, and the results are a little depressing. It seems that a lot of people out there -- people with influence -- think that there's this horrible horrible obesity epidemic, and that it exists because those poor pitiable fat people lack either the willpower to eat "correctly," or the knowledge of what eating "correctly" is. Therefore, all you have to do is teach those people that fat is bad, that knowledge of proper nutrition is good, and we'll all be lean and svelte and pretty and live to be two hundred.

It's a nice idea. Warm and comforting, like a hot bath with lots of bubbles. Imagine, if you will, me standing over that bathtub unbuttoning my pants after having had a dozen beers. (I don't normally drink beer, except for metaphors like this. I don't like the flavor, and if I want to get drunk, there are much more efficient ways to achieve that.)

There's a lot wrong with this idea, in that it ignores the role of genetics, the fact that "willpower" is not exactly a useful concept when it comes to avoiding food that's explicitly designed to appeal to millions of years of instincts, the greater expense of healthy food as we currently know it, the greater time and energy investment of preparing healthy food, the presence of large areas where there's no shortage of convenience stores and McShitholes but no grocery stores, and many other things that would make this run-on sentence even more ridiculous than it already is if I tried to name them all. Seriously, I want to stop and catch my breath just reading that.

But let's ignore all that. Let's pretend that this is purely a problem of education, and that by teaching people how to eat, we can solve this problem.

Let's start small. White bread or whole wheat? Easy one, ain't it? Well... not really. The powers that be have flip-flopped on this one a bit, and notice how whichever kind of bread is worse, it's always those other people who are making it or eating it. You should eat white whole wheat bread. You don't want to be like them, do you?

High Fructose Corn Syrup? Awful, awful stuff. But it's no worse than table sugar, is it? Just as the corn lobby... or any political figure who owes the corn lobby favors.

Fast food will kill you, right? Of course it will -- you've seen Super Size Me, haven't you? Well, you might want to watch Fat Head, too -- there are problems with Spurlock's little experiment. There are problems with both movies, actually. Super Size Me is clearly a hatchet job against the fast food industry, and its motivations are probably social issues, some of them having little to do with health. (Not that social issues aren't worthy in and of themselves -- they are -- but not all social issues are health-related.) Fat Head is clearly resentful of people claiming to know what's best for us, and insists that "free will" is a useful concept when we're all surrounded by billions of dollars in marketing. (Seriously, do you think McShitholes would spend so much money on advertising if it didn't work?)

Is it more important to cut calories altogether, cut carbs, or cut fats? You'll find "experts" who make each of these claims. Butter or margarine? Saturated or unsaturated? We've flip-flopped on that, too. The four food groups, then the food pyramid, and now the current model? There were certainly good reasons to ditch the pyramid (the proportions on it were remarkably like the proportions used by farmers to fatten livestock), but for those of us who remember the way things were, this is easy to mistake for yet more flip-flopping. And let's keep in mind that all of these guides for healthy eating come from the government, which means that there are political factors influencing them. (The dairy lobby would have fought against the exclusion of milk in that new model. Meanwhile, vegetarians objected to its inclusion. Again, social issues as distinct from health issues.)

The BMI? Sure, it's useless (I've been "overweight" for a few years now, and I had to get my doctor to tell my insurance company I don't need to lose twenty pounds), but there are lots of people in medicine who take it seriously, and some who swear it need to be adjusted downward. I like that idea -- it'll mean that I'm four points overweight instead of just two.

Some of these changes are due to the fact that our knowledge of nutrition was never really complete, and as our body of knowledge grows, we need to update our education materials. Still, the fact that it changes allows doubt to creep in, and the fact that it's still not complete and will therefore continue to be changed every now and then doesn't help.

Changing the subject for a bit... when I was in school, I learned that drugs were bad. If you so much as smoked one joint, you'd end up on a rollercoaster to Hell that would end with you homeless in a gutter sucking tar heroin off a dead man's unmentionables, with ten horribly deformed children you can't afford to feed, and they'll all suffer, and you'll suffer, and it'll be all your fault because you smoked a joint. Don't smoke joints. When I discovered that this was all bullshit, I tried pot. Then PCP. Then, years later, meth. It's possible that I would have tried drugs anyway if I'd been surrounded by actual education instead of propaganda, but the propaganda didn't help -- I was in fact emboldened by the knowledge that the propaganda was bullshit. And let's not forget that alcohol and tobacco are both in on the War on (Some) Drugs.

Surrounded by a bunch of information, some of it bullshit, and nearly all of it produced with motives that go beyond simple nutrition, we're all in that same position. We're all surrounded by noise. And if you're fat, you hear more noise than if you're not. And even if you try to get good information out there, it's still going to contribute to the overall impression of being surrounded by noise.

My solution is a simple one in theory -- get all the people who don't know what they're talking about, or who do know and are still spouting bullshit, to shut the fuck up. In related news, who wants to put the bell on that cat?
fierynotes: Picture of Hotstreak, from the cartoon Static Shock.  He looks annoyed. (annoyed)
I have some pretty strong opinions on Food Network. For the most part, they used to be about actually showing people how to cook, but they turned to shit the same way that MTV did when they stopped showing music videos. These days, there may still be a few people on Food Network who are fit to do Julia Child's kitchen prep, but most of the people there aren't fit to do Julia Child's laundry.

(From what I've seen of it, the Cooking Channel actually has all the good cooking on it. This reminds me of how MTV created MTV2, and how MTV2 had all the music videos where MTV had all the dumb-ass Reality TV shows. Of course, this didn't last -- MTV2 hasn't shown music in years, either. Having seen this shit happen before, I can't help wondering when the drek that ruined Food Network is going to flood Cooking Channel as well.)

So, when I first heard of the website Food Network Humor, I had high hopes. Then I read a bunch of it, and those hopes got dashed. With all the awful shit on Food Network, FNH could be one of those sites that makes me laugh so hard I can't breathe... and yet, it's too godsdamned fucking stupid for words. Let me list the reasons. I don't know if I can get up to ninety-five of them, and I'm posting them here rather than nailing them to their door, but I'll see what I can do.

There may well be lots of good reasons to pick on Ina Garten, though I can't think of any offhand -- from what I've seen of her show (very damned little, admittedly), she appears to actually know how to cook. However, the fact that she wears shents¹, with the not-so-stealthy implication that she wears them to cover up the fact that she's a fatty fat fatster who's fat? Not a good reason. Not that it matters if she wears shents, because if she wore something else, the FNH assholes would likely still pick on her for daring to think she could pull that non-shenty outfit off. Her real crime here, aside from having gay friends, isn't bad fashion -- it's Existing While Fat.

(I really hope this is obvious, but just in case it isn't... I am pointing out contempt against people who are fat. I am not engaging in it.)

There are certainly lots of good reasons to pick on Guy Fieri. By various accounts, he's a douche-noun. he turns into Beavis and Butthead whenever a woman says "cream" in his earshot. He has panic attacks at the thought of going into restaurants with gay owners. On a radio show once, he persistently offered alcohol to someone even after being told that they had a twenty-year sobriety chip. He invented the word "flavortown." All good reasons. The fact that he's a fatty fat fatster who's fat? Not a good reason.

There are certainly lots of good reasons to pick on Paula Deen. Allegations of sexual harassment and racism aside (because the idiots at FNH apparently haven't heard any of that), she's like a demonic street-preacher turned big-time televangelist whose sermons are all about fat, salt, and carbs: the three food groups. Again, though, the fact that she's fat is not a good reason.

There are good reasons to pick on Bobby Flay. He's a douchebag. He stood on a cutting board that one time, and no, he will never live that down. He's a rude git. (Seriously, if I ran a restaurant and he came in and challenged me to a cook-off so that he could pick the brains of the world's foremost authorities on my style of cooking and try to humiliate me on TV, I'd throw him the hell out.) The fact that he's a "firecrotch²?" Not a good reason.

There are... dear gods above and below, there are lots of reasons to pick on Sandra Lee. She's bloody incompetent. She's totally half-assed. She makes no effort to become competent in any area other than mixology, and half the time she can't even manage that. (Check out this love-letter to alcohol and tell me that you wouldn't spend the next three months picking bits of sticky coconut out of your rug if you served those drinks at your party.) She has all the cultural sensitivity of Randal Graves from the movie Clerks. The fact that she's skinny³? Not a good reason.

Honestly, FNH does occasionally link to other people who are actually funny when they can't manage funny themselves. (This is where I discovered that dude who made the Kwanzaa cake and Hannukah cake, and of course, they love 80gumdrops.) Also, there was that one Damn-You-Autocorrect... okay, I admit I howled when I saw that.

Still, I think I've read enough of that shit for a lifetime.

    1. "Shent" -- a portmanteau of shirt and tent. Isn't that clever? Isn't that Lenny fucking Bruce? </sarcasm>

    2. "Firecrotch?" Seriously? Are you fucking twelve?

    3. It could be argued that skinny people don't take anywhere near as much shit from out culture as fat people do. I don't consider that relevant. The important point is the pervasive idea that there's only one correct body size, and that all people -- especially women -- who fail to conform exactly to it need to be shamed for it.

fierynotes: Picture of Gilgamesh Wulfenbach, from Girl Genius.  He looks tired. (tired)
So, I've been watching a lot of Paula Deen's video's lately... and you have a good idea where this is going already, don't you? Well, maybe.

Before I proceed, I want to make it absolutely clear that I am discussing food, not body shape. If Paula Deen's food is bad for you, it's bad for you -- period. It does not suddenly become healthy if the person eating it has a six-pack instead of a keg, and the decision to eat it is not any healthier if the person making the decision to eat it has a six-pack instead of a keg. I haven't used this journal to attack anyone for being fat up to this point, and I'm not going to start now. (Unless Chris Shugart (here on LJ, here on DW) suddenly gets fat, in which case I will mock him mercilessly... but since Shugart is an orthorexic asshole who treats fat people with contempt on his website so that they'll feel pressured to buy high-priced supplements, I'll hope that my motives for ragging on him clearly go beyond just him being fat.)

We, as humans, all have these three little lights in our brains that go off when we eat certain foods, labeled "fat," "salt," and "carbs." Way back in human history, these lights kept us alive. Now, we have to use "willpower" to keep them from slowly killing us. I put "willpower" in quotes because those three lights represent instincts that have driven us for millions of years, and the idea that we now need to resist those lights is a fairly new one by evolutionary standards. "Willpower" is not necessarily a useful concept here, any more than it's necessarily useful to expect teenagers to resist trying to trigger that other big light in our brains labeled "orgasms." Sure, you can "expect" it. You can "expect" the sun to glow bright green on Saint Patrick's Day, too. In either case, the real world doesn't give a shit about your expectations.

The amount of power these lights have over us vary by person. For instance, the friend who explained these lights to me in pretty sure that my fat light is defective, or at least miswired -- I'm mostly immune to the charms of bacon and butter. (When I made Crepe Suzette a while back, I used more butter in that one dish than I normally consume in a month.) It's possible my "salt" light is miswired as well. In other words, I'm a mutant.

A million years ago, my indifference (and frequent revulsion) to fats would have meant I'd likely starve to death. These days, my particular mutations are not only not a death sentence, but confer social advantages... but this represents a sea change in our culture and our society, not in our brains. Our brains haven't really changed much. (Just don't tell the Evo-Psych crowd I'm agreeing with their initial premise. I don't want those assholes thinking I agree with the rest of their bullshit.)

Which brings me to why I'm watching Paula Deen make things like Macaroni in a Lake of Cheese, Deep-Fried Cheesecake, and Donut Egg and Bacon Burgers, and why I'm reading her Deep-Fried Butter Balls recipe. I suspect Paula Deen is, like me, a mutant... but in the other direction. Where most people have light bulbs in their brains, and I have one light bulb and a couple of tiny LEDs, Paula Deen has enough neon tubing in her brain to light a street in Las Vegas.

This only explains her cooking -- not the fact that she has a show. It's easy to make fun of Paula Deen's cooking for how it hammers the fuck out of all three of those lights -- it's not so much shooting fish in a barrel as dropping a nuke on a goldfish bowl. Hell, the only show I can think of that's worse is Epic Meal Time, and their whole point of that show is excess for its own sake. But she's far from alone. Most fast food places consider salt, fat, and carbs to be the Three Food Groups. In many restaurants, you could make a drinking game of how many times the words "bacon" or "cheese" can be found on the menu, but you'd have to have a death wish to actually play it. In the frozen and convenient food sections of any grocery store, you'll see the same thing. This food sells, because we humans have those little lights in our heads. Companies make this food because it sells, and if they can make food sell better by hammering those lights harder, they will. If we become unhealthy, and some of us die, as a result of all this? As far as they're concerned, that's our problem, and their problem is only that the handful of people making these decisions, despite being stinking rich, aren't rich enough.

We, as human beings, really need to learn how our brains work. Right now, that knowledge is in the hands of a small percentage of us, who usually use it to exploit the rest of us. If we all understood how these strings pulled at us, we might have a faint hope of resisting them. Not that we'll ever be truly free of these strings, since every good cook alive pulls on them as well, but we can try. (And if you hadn't guessed, I'm no longer talking just about food marketing.)

Unfortunately, it's not really in the interests of anyone with the resources to educate us all about these strings to actually do so. So, we have to do it ourselves... despite the fact that most of us lack the tools.

Ugh. That's depressing. I'm going to watch Powerpuff Girls or My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic for a bit to try to cheer up.
fierynotes: Picture of Discord. (discord)
So, you want to make Crêpe Suzette? Hey, go for it! I'm no great chef, and I managed it -- so can you! Along with some vegetable oil, some paper towels, and something to safely start a fire with (and a fire extinguisher), gather the following:

1. 1 cup flour
2. 4 eggs
3. 1¼ cup milk
4. 1 pinch salt
5. 4 tbsp butter
6. 6 more tbsp butter
7. 4 tbsp sugar
8. 1 large orange, juiced
9. ½ cup Grand Marnier

Combine ingredients 1-4 in a blender, but stop the moment it's smooth. Melt ingredient 5, add, and stir until you have something that looks vaguely like watery pancake batter. Then, put it in the fridge for an hour. Do not skip this step -- you don't want bubbles in your crepes!

Take out your batter, and look at it crosseyed. Are you really supposed to make anything resembling a pancake with this? For gods' sake, it looks like a soggy runny milkshake! Oh, well. That's what the internet said, and who are you to argue with the internet? Grab a small pot of water, boil it, and when it's boiling, turn off the heat and put the whole bottle of Grand Marnier in. No, don't pour the Grand Marnier in -- put the bottle itself into the hot water.

Then, lightly oil a flat pan by rubbing an oiled paper towel on the surface, heat to medium, and pour about ¼ cup of batter onto the pan and swirl until it's covered the bottom of the pan. Wait sixty seconds, then flip, then wait thirty seconds, then take off the heat and put it on a plate or something. Repeat this several times, and be glad you made lots of batter because you've messed up quite a few of these! Eventually, you should have a plate of super-thin pancakes.

Now here's the part where you risk burning down the house. In a much bigger pan, you'll be combining ingredients 6-8. Melt the butter until it foams, dissolve the sugar in it, then add the juice, and bring to a simmer.

Now, very quickly, fold a crepe in half, drop it in the sauce, fold in half again. Fold another crepe in half, drop it in the sauce, fold it in half again. Faster, you fool! Hurry up, because each second you delay, the crepes you've already added are sucking up sauce and you don't want that last crepe you add to be cheated of its fair share!

Now, very quickly measure out your half-a-cup of now-quite-warm orangy syrupy boozy goodness (it should be steaming) and pour it over the crepes. Then, set fire to it... oh, wait, never mind, it caught fire all by itself! Awesome! Fire! FIRE! Huh-huh! Fire! Ha ha, fire... wait, was that it? Three fucking seconds of flames? I bought a brand-new hand-held kitchen fire extinguisher for that!? BOOOOOOO!

For just an instant, consider consoling your poor deprived inner pyromaniac, who's been horribly cheated by this pathetic display, by pouring yourself a shot of warm Grand Marnier. After all, it's 40% alcohol; you should be able to get a buzz off it, and since it's so warm, the alcohol will go to your brain like lightning. Oh, wait. No one actually drinks Grand Marnier, because it feels like Glycos, the Greek God of all sugary things, punching you in the throat and kicking you in the groin. Besides, if you drink enough to get drunk, you'll also end up with a wicked sugar high, which will be no end of entertaining for your test subjects to watch, but dear gods, the hangover you'll have the next day...!

(Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything.)

Make a mental note to have a shot of rum or something later. Or next time, use Cointreau instead. For now, your dessert is done! Serve it onto plates, dust with powdered sugar or orange bits for decoration if you like, and watch it get wolfed down. Try to eat it slowly, to savor it... and untimately give up and just inhale the damned thing. And wash the sauce pan promptly, because when you set the sauce on fire, some of the sugar turned to caramel, and caramel is a pain in the ass to remove once it dries.

(Sadly, there is currently no photograph of the completed dish. I meant to include one, as I did with Peach Melba, but I suffered a serious technical difficulty -- the dessert leapt up into people's faces and down their gullets before it could be photographed.)
fierynotes: Picture of Destruction, from the Sandman series, reading a book and slinging a guitar. (creative)
I started with six big lumps of dough, five made according to last year's recipe, the sixth a new experimental variation: 8 grams of instant coffee powder, 1 tablespoon of rum extract, ten drops of red food coloring, and twenty drops of black food coloring in the wet ingredients; and ¼ cup of cocoa powder added to the dry ingredients.

Wanna see the dough? )

Then, I made cookies. Lots of them. This picture shows about two thirds of the cookies I ended up making -- I just had to take a break at this point.

Wanna see the cookies? )

Then, I divided them up into snack bags, and will be giving them (and some very good chocolate) as gifts when I see friends later in the week.

Wanna see the gifts? )

Then, my experiment took another turn, and sorry, but this image is not going behind a cut.

This is an oreo, all grown up and cultured. The cookies are the aforementioned rum and mocha flavor, and the filling is whipped cream, mascarpone, and sugar. It's a small cookie, a little over an inch square, and you kinda have to eat it all in one bite or you'll end up with filling squirting out all over the place. That said, if they decided to make oreos in Tiramisu flavor, they'd be a lot like this.
fierynotes: Picture of Destruction, from the Sandman series, reading a book and slinging a guitar. (Default)
So, I've been gathering all of these ingredients for cookies (here on LJ, here on DW). I've also added a few ingredients: instant coffee, cocoa powder, black food coloring, and rum extract. Depending on how well those cookies turn out, I way also end up picking up whipped cream and mascarpone cheese. Yes, I'm going there. The tiramisu sandwich cookie I spoke of possibly trying last year may well see the light of day! We'll see. I absolutely intend to try to make it -- whether I post it will depend on if the results are any good.

I'm also planning Crêpe Suzette for a small group of test subjects. As with Peach Melba two months ago (here on LJ, here on DW), this will be the first time I've attempted it. My inner sugar-lover and my inner pyromaniac, both of which I usually keep on very short leashes, are shivering with antici...pation. I already have a post typed up -- I'll no doubt edit the hell out of it, and as with the tiramisu sandwich cookie experiment, if my efforts are good enough to be worth repeating, I'll post it.

In addition, I plan a visit to this location to pick up holiday gifts.

(I also plan to spend a ridiculous amount of time in the gym, because I'll have a fuckload of sugar to burn off. There are reasons I bake so rarely!)
fierynotes: Picture of Arsenal, from DC comics, who clearly sees something he likes. (leers)

From the "Bitchin Kitchen" holiday special. The music is kinda meh, but it's FUN! Including cameos from Epic Meal Time and Vegan Black Metal Chef. Too bad Hannah Hart (of My Drunk Kitchen) couldn't make it...

Also, Hans is actually wearing clothes... and I'm pretty sure this is a first.


fierynotes: Picture of Destruction, from the Sandman series, reading a book and slinging a guitar. (Default)


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