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Archive for June, 2012

The good kind of Spam

That’s right.  I’m talking about Spam in a can.  The much maligned meat that kept our GI’s going in WWII and helped feed countless people since.

We dine well here in Camelot / We eat ham and jam and Spam a lot

No, nutritionally it’s not the best for you, but it’s not really worse than a Big Mac and people have no problem scarfing those down.  The problem, as I see it, is all in the societal perception of it.  For example, Spam in Hawaii is not a big deal.  They are the largest consumers in the U.S. because fresh meat is expensive and Spam is a cheap alternative.  They even have a dish called Spam Musubi which is grilled Spam is paired with rice and nori to form a sushi variant.  In other words, haute cuisine.  Okay, maybe not in the strictest definition of the word, but definitely in that “cultured” direction.

You know you would try this if you didn’t know it was Spam.

But here in the Lower 48, it carries an image of being a poor person’s or an uncultured person’s food.  Which admittedly, does have a certain amount of truth to it.  But then what about venison or rabbit?  You pay a pretty penny for those in a fancy restaurant, but all these hillbillies and rednecks have been eating these critters for generations and they don’t have a bad rap.  (Trust me.  My family: we hick.)  Another problem is that people just not willing to try it based on its looks.  Again, I point to haute cuisine: oysters on the half shell.  Take a close look at one once.  They look disgusting.

Don’t lie. You hesitated the first time you had one of these. The only reason you went through with it was because of the sophistication associated with oysters.

So what I’m getting at is don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.  Then if you don’t like it because of smell, taste, texture, or whatever, that’s fine.  You can actually say that you’ve tried and don’t like it because of “blah-blah” instead of going “eww, gross” and possibly miss out on something wonderful.

 

p.s.  This post is the result of a conversation that I had with my boss over fried Spam sandwiches.  Seriously, try it, they’re good.

Not food related, again.

I know I’ve been doing a lot of non-foodie posts lately, but I promise you that I’ve got a bunch of them in the works.  Just gotta write them up.

I wanted to pass on a warning not to drop your drill off of a second-floor roof onto a drive way.  Doesn’t end well.

I was looking for an excuse to buy a new drill anyway . . .

Categories: misc Tags:

Another Visit to the Farm and a Hyper Dog

This is attempt number 5 to get Lucy to sit still long enough for a picture.

Categories: family, travel Tags:

Beers and Dogs

After a really crappy day on the job, the boss-man took us out for beers after work.  He’s nice like that.  We ended up going to Dean’s Tavern on Rice St.  They like to brag about their Cony Dogs, so I figured I would give one a whirl.  It wasn’t bad.  Not the best dog I’ve ever eaten, but like I said, it wasn’t bad. Just not sure how they got their rep.  The plus side is that they served some really good kettle chips with it.

Pairs really well with a Sam Adams

Guess what I saw today at work . . .

Good sized painted turtle.  Almost eating size.

Amazingly hard to get the turtle to sit still for 1/60th of a second.

Categories: misc Tags:

I love living in Minnesota

Hardcore fishermen.

Categories: humor, misc Tags: ,

Camping Weekend and Catching the Decorah Bug

Last weekend, Lindz, Dave (told you he’d be showing up), and I went down to Iowa for a camping weekend.  We went to our usual haunt on the Upper Iowa river next to Randy’s Bluffton Store in, well, Bluffton, IA.  Lindz and I have been camping here for quite a few years with different friends and occasionally even by ourselves.  This was Dave’s first trip to northeast Iowa.  He had heard quite a bit about life there from me, Lindz, and Martha (who also went to Luther College).  While he didn’t get to spend much time in Decorah proper, he did greatly enjoy camping north of town.  He said so himself.  And the way he described it was that he caught the “Decorah Bug.”

We did not do anything terribly exciting.  Sat around, watched the fire, BS’ed, and just generally relaxed.  My personal highlight was sitting next to the fire, having a bloody mary, smoking a cigar, and reading some back issues of Cook’s Illustrated.  Basically, it was an indulgence to all of my vices at once.

Here are some images just to make you jealous of the R&R the three of us desperately needed and fortunately got.

Our freaking massive tent that I can actually stand up in.

The bluffs and the Upper Iowa.

A good river to canoe/tube/kayak on if you don’t mind bottoming out regularly on the rocky bottom.

When we go camping we tend to keep the meals pretty simple because everything just seems to taste better cooked over a campfire.  We do a really basic breakfast of bacon and eggs.  Throughout the day we just tend to snack when we get hungry and then make Hobo Dinners for supper one night.  On half of a sheet of tin foil, put in some burger and veggies of your choice and whatever you would like for seasoning.  Fold it over and roll the edges to seal it up and then put on another layer of tin foil (less likely to puncture and have everything fall out).  Make as many packets as you have meat/veggies.  Put the packet on a grate or on some cooler coals to cook.  Ours always puffs up like Jiffy Pop from the steam inside.  That is how I know that it is hot enough.  If you put in potatoes, cut them fairly small because they are usually the last thing to fully cook.  This last batch that I made included hamburger, onions, carrots, potatoes, bell peppers, garlic salt, and some steak rub.  I ended up cooking each packet for about 8 minutes per side.  Obviously, pick and choose whatever you want to throw in here and season to your preferences.

Somehow I even managed to get grill marks inside this packet.

By no means you need to keep things this simplistic.  One time we camped next to a middle aged Marine who had an easy half dozen dutch ovens that he cooked in.  He didn’t make these while we were there but he said he did chicken cordon bleu and peach cobbler once.  He was kind enough to give Lindsay a plate of homemade biscuits and gravy one morning.  Completely made her weekend.  For that he has my respect (as if serving our country wasn’t enough) and to him I say: Semper Fidelis.