Note: This is a non sequiter-ish follow up to my post “Giving in to holiday food indulgences.” I wrote the posts together, but I held off on publishing this one because it seemed too nonsensical to place after my neatly structured list. Now that I’m staring at a kitchen that’s slowly filling up with “holiday food,” this post matches perfectly with incoherent and food-filled madness of the weeks ahead.
When I was in grad school, one of my professors once said, “There are only three kinds of bagels in this world: plain, poppy seed, and sesame.” Well… two out of three ain’t bad. But my dislike of poppy seed bagels (too many damn seeds to get stuck in your teeth!) reaches nowhere near the height of my abhorrence for blueberry bagels. Oh, I’ve tried to quell my hatred – just the other week I purposefully added two blueberry bagels to my grocery store stash just to see if my opinion had softened. Nope. They were still yucky. I think it has to do with the fact that they don’t taste at all like blueberries. In fact, I really don’t care for any baked goods that contain blueberries – muffins, scones, cookies, cakes, pies, even pancakes. Not only is the blueberry flavor never all that pronounced in these items, but it seems that they end up extra sweet to make up for that lack of taste. Plus, when you cook blueberries, they tend to disintegrate into mush. When I want blueberries, I want that extra-fresh *pop* of flavor that only comes from them being fresh. I can handle fresh blueberries in salad or on top of cereal or oatmeal. But in a bagel? Never.
Although we’re still a couple weeks away from Thanksgiving, “that holiday feeling” is slowing but surely creeping in. Black Friday sales are already in the news. Christmas commercials have started popping up on TV. And Starbucks has rolled out their seasonal red cups. (If THAT isn’t a sign of the season nowadays, I don’t know what is!) I used to surge into the end-of-the-year holidays like a steamroller on red and green steroids, but my tsunami of cheer has lost much of its will, having been eroded away by time and commitments and life in general. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t look forward to a few holiday indulgences, especially when it comes to one of the biggest joys in life: food.
Episode 149: Eat, Pray, Die — The gang records their 300th food episode, with a look at Taco Bell’s strange choices in Headlines and all-you-can-eat options in Death Match. Also, Chris makes more work for himself, Dave tells a horror story about a buffet, Michelle tries to break a new segment, and Shaun takes a stand for poor, abused waiters.
Episode 145: Quick Grub — The gang examines some strange choices in the fast food arena, like the cancellation of healthier choices or the introduction of delivery service. Also, Chris questions fate, Dave takes on the ice bucket challenge, Michelle discloses her love of petty revenge, and Shaun talks about onion rings that tasted like urine.
I work in a very nice place with very nice people. The kind and courteous atmosphere is one of the biggest perks of my job. And this is only one of several nice places in which I’ve worked ove rthe course of my career. Call it good fortune or eerie coincidence, but I can honestly say that I’ve never worked in a place where I wouldn’t describe my co-workers as “nice.”
But therein lies a problem. A first world problem surely, but a problem nonetheless. The problem of being too nice. You know that saying about how you can please some of the people some of the time, but you can never please all the people all the time? Well, I have been in more than one work situation in which the parties involved try much too hard to please all of the people all of the time. Niceness often trumps sensibility (and to a certain degree, backbone), and it can make for some rather silly and frustrating scenarios that sometimes play out rather passive-aggressively. We all have to take the good with the bad in life, but that doesn’t mean plain old common sense should be cast aside to save face. Because let’s face it, there’s nice, and then there’s stupid. Here are a few examples of what I mean.
Episode 121: Much Hungry — The guys talk about food for the 395th time in the history of the show, including a supermarket game show and another look at fat Americans. Also, Chris has trouble with intimacy during his youth, Dave sentences his daughter to a fate worse than death, and Shaun throws every single family member under the bus.
While I don’t consider myself a “foodie,” I do geek out hard to food — new foods, food history, alternative cuisines, cooking shows, cookbooks, and the like. I’ve been known to spend the better part of any given weekend either in the kitchen or online watching cooking videos. This interest in cooking goes many years back when, as a trade off for getting to watch cartoons and monster movies on Saturday, we had to “put up with” art and cooking shows on Sundays. Though I really didn’t mind that at all because I loved watching cooking shows. I loved how someone, in a mere 30 minutes, could take raw food stuffs and turn them into something divine. Honestly, part of the draw might have been that my mom wasn’t a stellar cook (don’t worry, she’d be the first to tell you that), and that our regular meals weren’t quite as special as those I saw on the cooking shows. Even so, I readily absorbed how to make any number of meals from my mother, from the perfect hamburgers and potato salad to her much beloved sausage and peppers.