I don’t know what’s up with me lately. Part of me is on a “retro-kick” with my food, going back to the dishes my parents used to enjoy. Another part of me is on a tropical kick, craving pineapples, mangoes, coconut and limes. Yet another part of me simply seems like a stoned teenager, eating just about anything that comes along. Here’s some examples:
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups with Banana Creme – I stopped by the convenience store last night to pick up some cigarettes. This store was staffed by two older people that didn’t seem to be in much of a hurry to do anything. Seriously… it was as if crossing the threshold of the store took me into some bizarre world where spacetime was completely slowed down. Anyway, while waiting (and waiting, and waiting) in line, I spotted these Reese’s cups… with banana creme! They were announced last year as a tribute to Elvis Presley (who, as you might know, loved fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches). They only started shipping this summer, however.
So – how are they? Pretty decent, albeit slightly disappointing. The “banana creme” isn’t very creamy, at least in the “runny” sense. It’s as dense as the peanut butter, so when you bite into it, stuff won’t go running everywhere. I should also point out that these are the big “king size” cups (get it? Elvis was THE king – the package even says “THE King Size”). Anyway, the banana creme actually tastes pretty good – like a fresh banana, which is probably due to the “banana flakes” listed on the ingredients label. Sadly, the banana taste is overwhelmed by the peanut butter and chocolate, so that you only get the occasional banana taste. I’d prefer more banana and less peanut butter, but that’s just me. As a limited time only thing, these cups are great though… I think I might go and buy some more a little later on this afternoon!
Ham Salad – Recently I committed the sin of going to the grocery store whilst hungry. My penalty for this – ham salad. My penance? Eating it. In case they don’t sell ham salad in your part of the world, ham salad is a sandwich or salad ingredient much like tuna or chicken salad… only made with ham. Perhaps I just bought an “off” brand or something, but this stuff just wasn’t any good. It wasn’t enough that the ham salad had sweet relish in it, the manufacturer put even more sugar in it. All you could really taste were pickles and sugar. If someone can recommend me a savory ham salad, I’d appreciate it.
Pimento Cheese – My mom loves pimento cheese. She usually makes it from scratch, but I have neither her recipe nor her patience, so I just bought a tub of the stuff from the dairy case. Actually, I bought two – a smaller tub one day that was quickly consumed, and another (better) one made with real cheese this time a few days later. The stuff’s great on sandwiches, but you know what’s even better? Pimento cheese on hot dogs! Seriously! I got the idea from a recent trip to The Penguin here in Charlotte. They have something called the Winky-Dinky dog on their menu, which is just one of their dogs with their homemade pimento cheese smothered on top. A few days later, we had hot dogs for dinner at home. Since I had some pimento cheese handy, I figured “why not?”. You might not think that pimento cheese sounds very good atop a garlicky Nathan’s hot dog… but you would be wrong, my friend. I’ve had 4 or 5 of my homemade Winky-Dinky dogs since… man, that stuff’s good!
Braunschweiger – Everyone has seen braunschweiger in the meat case next to the hot dogs. Many of you might even have picked it up, saw the words “liver sausage” on the wrapper… and immediately put it back down. I was at the grocery store one day and realized that every grocery store I’ve ever been in seems to carry this stuff, but no one I know eats it. Since I hadn’t eaten braunschweiger in years, I decided to give it a spin. And you know what? It’s pretty good! You know the canned Frito Lay Bean Dip that’s sold on the potato chip aisle? Braunschweiger has a very similar taste and texture, only with heavy smoke and onion overtones. I ate most of the braunschweiger in two days – which probably wasn’t a good thing, given how much vitamin A is in the stuff. But man… gimme a bunch of crackers, some braunschweiger and a knife and I’m all set!
Spam – A couple of weeks ago, many news outlets ran a story about how Burger King restaurants in Hawai’i are now offering breakfast. What made the story “newsworthy” was what the breakfast actually contained – Spam, scrambled eggs and rice. I guess Americans just can’t wrap their heads around the fact that Spam is amazingly popular in Hawai’i. I don’t have accurate figures available, but people in Hawai’i eat more Spam than any other U.S. state or territory, and people in Guam eat 16 cans a year… so people in Hawai’i therefore must eat more than 16 cans per year. Anyway, at the local grocery store (if you’ve read this far it must seem like we’re always in the grocery store; we’re not) the missus was looking for something in the aisle where the Spam is. While she walked off in search of whatever it was, I glanced around me… saw the Spam… thought about the story about Burger Kings in Hawai’i… and picked up a can. I also picked up a can of pineapple slices, and when I got home I sliced up both the pineapple and the Spam and fried them up in a pan. I threw in some onions and fresh peppers from my very own “Love Garden”… and let it do its thing. I added the liquid from the pineapples to the pan drippings, added some soy sauce and a couple of teaspoons of corn starch to make a sauce… and poured the whole thing over some rice that was cooking while all the rest was going on. It was pretty good, but not something I’d eat regularly, though.