Category Archives: Food

Virtual Chicago

YA took a long weekend trip to Chicago the past three days.  I dropped her off early on Friday at the airport.   I was really looking forward to having a long weekend all to myself.  You all know that I adore YA but since I haven’t traveled for work since March of 2020, we haven’t really had a break from each other for quite a while now.

She didn’t ask me for any input on her trip, except for two questions, one about her Real ID and one about security at the airport.  When I asked her if she needed a packing list printed out (I have it on my pc), she said no.  (I did see that she had created and printed out her own packing list when I took a couple of things into her room yesterday!)  As the parent of a young adult, I was not expecting to hear from much if at all until her pick-up (noon today).

It was a nice surprise on Friday afternoon when I got a photo text of A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by George Seurat with a question about whether this was my favorite painting (I had mentioned my favorite painting was hanging in the Chicago Art Institute – this isn’t it). 

Later on Friday I got a quick text about an “ok impossible burger” but no photo to enshrine the meal.

Then on Saturday morning this photo came.

I didn’t realize right away that it was taxidermy – The Natural History Museum.   A bit later, a photo of Sue, the famous tyrannosaurus rex, showed up (header photo).  No texts about dinner.

Yesterday, there was a photo of a breakfast taco and smoothie and then, some real polar bears at the Chicago Zoo

This was followed by a picture of a lovely flower – the Botanical Gardens.  I didn’t even remember that this was on her schedule. 

No photo of the pizza dinner last night.  Her flight arrives at noon today so no more photos will be coming. But I definitely feel like I had a trip to Chicago even though I barely left the house over the weekend!

If you could get a virtual tour of someplace, where would that be?


A diagnostics company in Kentucky ran up a $450,000 bill for an employee birthday party.  It wasn’t over the top decorations or a gilded cake. 

Several days before his birthday, the employee asked his manager to not throw a party for fears it would trigger his anxiety disorder; he doesn’t do well being the center of attention and worried about having a panic attack. 

The glassbowl manager decided to throw a party anyway, planning the fete over lunch in the breakroom.  The birthday boy fled the building and ate his lunch in the car.  To add insult to injury, the next day the employee was scolded in a meeting and then fired. 

The lawsuit filed against the company alleged that they did not accommodate his anxiety disorder and caused him to suffer loss of income, benefits as well as causing him emotional distress and mental anxiety.  The jury on the case agreed and awarded him $450,000.

What kind of party would you throw for yourself with a $450K budget?


At Blevins Book Club on Sunday, tim and I were extolling the high quality of Ben’s eggs, having both gotten some the weekend that the straw bales were delivered.  Even the organic eggs that I get from my milk man pale by comparison.  I commented that I wished Ben lived a bit closer so I could justify driving down for eggs on a regular basis.

I should not have been surprised when I got a text from tim today saying maybe we could do some kind of driving swap/egg coop arrangements.  For the first five minutes after I got the text, I thought “tim is one crazy dude.”   Then the next five minutes I was emailing Ben with a few questions to even determine the feasibility of this. 

The third five minutes I was looking up directions between my house and Ben’s farm and thinking about how every few weeks I could get in almost 3 hours of books on tape when I was driving down and bacl.  And the fourth five minutes I was thinking about the spreadsheet I could design if this turns out to be do-able and more baboons than just tim and I can co-op (a lot of this does depend on Ben’s chickens after all).

I’m not sure what the next few five-minute increments will bring – but please don’t anybody tell my milk man!

How far will you go for your favorite products?


As vegetarians, YA and I have a kitchen stocked a little differently than most of the folks we know and certainly differently than mainstream America.  So I don’t get too worked up about food recalls because it never affects us.  Until last month when a news story about Skippy Peanut Butter jumped out at me.  The photo on all the articles I saw were of Skippy Reduced Fat and Skippy Super Chunk – Super Chunk is what YA and I have in our cupboard.  We’ve tried lots of peanuts butters over the years, including the much-better-for-us co-op brands, but we always come back to Skippy.  That said, I was a little panicked when I read about metal fragments and that 60,000 jars had been recalled and Minnesota was one of the states.

The only other time I’ve been involved in a recall was about 12 years ago when a part on my Saturn was found to be defective.  That turned out to be quite an ordeal.  I called, took the car in and AFTER they took out the defective part, they realized that the new part they had in stock wasn’t for a car as old as mine.  Well, just put the old part back in until they can get a new part, right?.  Nope – the old part is designed so that once it comes out, it doesn’t go back in.   Then it turned out that since my car was older, they hadn’t actually started the production process for the needed part.  I was in a loaner (a very nice loaner) for close to 12 weeks.  But driving a loaner around didn’t trip any of my anxiety buttons like learning that my daughter and I might have ingested metal fragments along with our peanut butter.

Luckily I quickly discovered that the only Skippy products involved were the Reduced Fat versions and the creamy with plant protein added.  YA and I can’t stand the reduced fat (why bother even eating peanut butter) and I’ve never even SEEN the plant protein version.  (Isn’t a peanut a plant?  Isn’t all peanut butter plant-based protein?)

So I wasn’t in a panic very long but it was enough to get my heart going a bit.

Any good recall stories?

Cutting Edge

The breeder of our soon to be obtained puppy feeds his dogs a grain-free dry dog food that is good through the life span. No special varieties for puppies or senior pooches. It is only obtainable at Costco.

There is a Costco in Bismarck, 100 miles away from our town. It has only been there a couple of years. (Cutting edge progress is slow to arrive here.) I have not suggested we get a Costco membership until now. If the breeder thinks this is good food for his pups, who am I to argue. He has healthy, happy looking dogs who win prizes at shows.

I have resisted getting a Costco membership until now because I know our grocery buying habits, and worried that we would end up buying even more freezers for basement than the three we have now. I believe it was Bill who dubbed us opportunistic grocery shoppers. He is correct.

We stopped at the Bismarck Costco on Monday and got our membership. As we walked back to get the dog food, Husband asked me to hold his arm so he wouldn’t wander off and get lost amidst all the enticing food stuffs and gadgets and other wonderments we observed. We limited ourselves to dog food. When I told our children about it, Son said he and his wife had been contemplating their own membership. Daughter, of course, said she has had a membership for four years. Why didn’t we just ask her to order the dog food? Always on the cutting edge, that girl.

It is good the store is 100 miles away. We can’t just pop in for a look. Oh, I hope this works!

When have you been on the cutting edge? What do you like to buy at stores like Costco? What do you like to feed your pets?

In Your Honor

My best friend really loves coffee. She usually drinks it cold, but she has to have several cups a day. When I was visiting, I made a pot in the morning, had one cup, and poured the remainder in a quart jar for my friend to drink cold with cream for the rest of the day.

Friend used to live in south Minneapolis years ago, and frequented a coffee shop run by three, identical triplet sisters. They have expanded their menu and offerings, and seem to be quite successful. She still gets there on occasion on her days off. Friend told me that they named a coffee drink, The Gloria, after her. I forget exactly how this came about, but it seems my friend had an idea for a variation on a coffee drink, and it was popular.

I don’t know what I would want named after me . A therapeutic technique, a tomato variety, maybe a dessert or a soup? I would want it to be simple yet elegant, easy to accomplish, effective, sort of like Alfredo of fettuccini fame. Certainly not a hurricane or a typhoon.

What would you want named after you? How do you like your coffee or tea?

All Wet

Sometimes I think I’m living in the Twilight Zone.  A few nights back, as I was sitting my room, I got a text from YA.   Getting a text from YA isn’t all the bizarre, although getting a text from her when she is in the next room strikes me as a bit on the weird side.

However, this was the text:

“Will you get some kitty treats and put them under the bathroom door?”

If you want to get my attention, that’s the way to do it.

Turns out she had decided that Nimue needed a bath and it was the point in the process in which Nimue was indicating that her patience had been worn out. In addition to trying to open the bathroom door from the inside, she wasn’t cooperating with the blow drying part of the evening.

As you can see from the picture above, kitty treats weren’t her highest priority right then.  She was not a happy wet kitty.

And it got worse from there because then there needed to be brushing.  Nimue can tolerate brushing on her head and her face and even down her back but she draws the line (and occasionally blood) if you get near her back haunches.  Those are strictly her territory.  I didn’t hear any actual howling or hissing, but I did hear some grumbling and growling.  Luckily all her bad humor was for YA and as soon as she escaped the bathroom torture chamber, she was very glad to sit on my lap and get petted and cosseted.

Are you a bath or shower person?  Or just a quick dunk under the hose?

Cookie Doldroms

Girl Scout Cookies came up in conversation yesterday.  I sold GS cookie as a kid and was the Cookie Mom for several years when YA was in scouting.  I am aware that as cookies go, they are extraordinarily expensive, but I’ve always thought of them as more of a charity than a fair purchase.  Any time I see Girl Scouts selling cookies, I buy a box or two.  The grocery store, the hardware store, at my office and from the grand-daughter of a friend of mine.

This year that habit netted us well over 12 boxes of cookies.  We tried all the new ones (none of them passed the “we’ll buy them again next year” test).  YA’s favorites are Thin Mints and PB Patties.  Mine are Samoas and Shortbreads.  But clearly neither of us are as enamored of the cookies this year as we have been in the past.  I still have 2 boxes of the Shortbread sitting on the counter and have googled what I could do with them (I did get a good idea for something to put in spring baskets this year – I’ll take a picture in April when it happens).  YA has a box of PB that has been opened but clearly not touched for at least a week and there is a half a package of the Lemonades in a ziplock that no one has touched for quite some time.  (Don’t get me started on the packaging for the Lemonades and the French Toast – it’s criminal!)  I’m pretty sure the Lemonades are going to get tossed.

It’s making me re-think my strategy where GS cookies are concerned.  Maybe if I run across Girl Scouts who are selling, I should just buy one box.  And buy fewer from my friend’s grand-daughter.  And maybe pass on signs I see up at the office.  Because even if I just think of them as a charity, it bugs me to throw out cookies or to finish a box just because we have too many of them.  At least I have a year to refine how I’m going to handle this next time.

Do you have too many of anything in your house because it’s a good cause?

Just a Splash

On an average day I drink one can of pop.  Every now and then two.  But caffeine makes me crazy and my stomach doesn’t like most of the white pops and, of course, I’m so used to the taste of diet pop that I don’t want the sugared ones.  That cuts down the field of possibilities quite a bit.

Unfortunately a pop that I really like is Cherry Diet Pepsi. A couple of years ago, I tried to wean myself off because of the caffeine and it was really hard.  Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi is OK but without that cherry, I just wasn’t won over.  Then I realized I could make my own CCFDP with just a little splash of grenadine.  Little bottle of grenadine in the cabinet, pop in boxes under the microwave and I’m set.

Then pandemic hit and those dreaded words “supply chain issues”.  Within a year, I was having to hunt around for my beloved CFDP.  Then I couldn’t find it at all, unless I wanted to pay five times the usual price online. No thanks.  I even emailed PepsiCo to get their take and, as I should have expected, they gave me a non-answer and a link that didn’t work.  SIGH.  I saw stories online about aluminum shortages and figured that CFDP was probably at the bottom of the pop totem pole when it came to handing out the aluminum. 

I kept one box of CFDP in the back corner (for emergencies?) and then I resorted to Caffeine Free Diet Coke.  It’s OK, but not quite what I like best.  For awhile every time I was in a grocery store (not as often as you would think, thanks to drive up delivery), I would wander down the pop aisle… nothing.  So imagine my surprise last week when I was actually in the Cub near my house and VOILA…. a little stock of CFDP.   I bought 4!  I don’t know if this will be the end of my pop woes, but this will keep me going for at least a month!

Tell me about a product that you miss.

The Donut Guy

At Cub last week, in the wee hours, I decided to go through the regular check-out instead of the self-serve.  I didn’t have a lot of items but I had several non-baggable items and those always make the self-checkout problematic.  As I was unloading the last of my stuff onto the conveyor belt, a guy started a line behind me.  He only had a couple of things including a big box of assorted donuts.  I smiled (although he probably couldn’t see it since I was masked) and said “Oh, you’re the donut guy this morning!”  He laughed and said yes.  Then he said “You know, I tried that Kato diet (that’s how he pronounced it) and I just can’t take it anymore.  I didn’t realize until now how much I love bread.”  I laughed too because when I tried keto, I didn’t make it long either for exactly the same reason.  I asked him if he wanted to go ahead of me since he just had two items and he answered no, since I already had all my items out of the cart.  We both left Cub at the same time and he said “have a great day.”  It was such a nice encounter in the pre-dawn hours.

Do you talk to strangers when you’re out and about?