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POP CULTURE/CELEBRITY DISHES 2010

Celebrity Dish Comments
Jay Leno Humble Pie cook in one kitchen, move to another, then move back to the first kitchen as if nothing happened
Conan O’Brien Cake not just to have, but eat, too
The Democrats Crow
Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie Anything as long as it’s served “family style”
Sarah Palin Half-baked Alaska if it burns, just blame the liberal media
Lindsay Lohan Fruit Cake just bake well
Bethenny Frankel & Jill Zarin Sour Grapes
Kim Kardashin Twinkie
Snooki Deep-fried Twinkie
David Hasselhoff Wendy’s Cheeseburger it may be three years old, but it’s still satisfying
Jesse James Cherry Pie with pretty much anything on the side
Barack Obama Pound Cake i.e. “just desserts”
Levi Johnston Leftovers
Twilight Jello which isn’t to say it’s not satisfying for those who like jello
The Tea Party White Bread
Justin Bieber Bubble Gum Ice Cream
Katy Perry Vanilla Tart
Lady Gaga it doesn’t matter because it’s all about the presentation
Wall Street Pigs in a blanket courtesy of the Fed’s $3.3 trillion in loans
Main Street Toast

FIVE THINGS THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN THE SENATE’S FOOD SAFETY BILL BUT WEREN’T

1. THE COSTCO AMENDMENT

What do you do with eight gallons of stewed tomatoes? A 4-pack of 120 oz. mustard jars? 50 lbs. of rice?

If you’re like most households, you stick them on a shelf in the back of the pantry and try to ignore the fact that the giddy joy you felt because you saved so much money can’t possibly last long enough to counteract the guilt you’ll feel when you end up throwing half of it out.

This amendment would have legally prohibited club stores from selling bulk items that:

(a) the average consumer can’t possibly consume before the expiration date
(b) the average consumer doesn’t need – i.e. cashew butter, creamed spinach, dried parsley, tapioca pudding, etc.
(c) or that taste so good when sampled in the store nobody can resist their multi-ounce siren call.

2. CRIMINAL PENALTIES FOR FOOD HYPOCRISY

This amendment would have made it illegal for anyone to cop a militant attitude about food – holier-than-thou vegans, organic-only food-nazis, food processing plant owners and/or executives who roll their eyes (and mobilize their lawyers) if anyone questions their quality or commitment to cleanliness, etc.

3. SPECIAL PROVISION FOR SPOKESPEOPLE AND OTHER PUBLIC RELATIONS EXECUTIVES

When it comes to outbreaks of salmonella, E. coli, listeria or other types of foodborne illnesses, it takes a special kind of flak to stand at a podium in front of a bunch of reporters and claim the company’s products are “perfectly safe” and that the media is making the situation out to be a lot worse than it really is, or that it’s not really company’s fault but the work of disgruntled employees and/or unscrupulous food activists, and that in either case, the company is “cooperating fully” with authorities to resolve the situation in a safe and timely fashion.

Since spokespeople can’t be sued for lying, this amendment would have made it mandatory for them all to attend a special private banquet where the only food they got would have been the very food they claimed everyone could “trust and continue to consume without any health and safety concerns.”

4. WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET – OR ELSE

Ever order anything online, or from the back of a magazine because the photos looked so good?

This amendment would have not only banned the use of Photoshop and other means of digital enhancement, but made it illegal for anyone selling direct-to-the-consumer food to hire a photo stylist to, for example, sort through 10,000 bushels of pears to find the one – and only one – in the lot that looked like you’d want to eat it.

It would also have made it illegal to embellish descriptions, meaning that if a wine-of-the-month club promised “world-class” bottles, they had better come from a part of the world that’s actually known for its vineyards and taste really, really good.

5. VEGETABLE JAIL

This amendment would have authorized the FDA to work with state and local law enforcement officials to create “vegetable jail,” so that instead of threatening kids who won’t eat their broccoli, carrots, green beans, etc. with no dessert or having to sit at the table until everything – “And I mean everything!” – is finished, parents could just say “Look… it’s either spinach or 18 months hard time.”

(Not that some kids wouldn’t choose jail over spinach, of course, but at least it would have helped.)

FAT CHANCE

WIFE: Where you going?
HUSBAND: I thought I’d run out and get some Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.
WIFE: What about our post-holiday diet?
HUSBAND: We finished it.
WIFE: Yeah — yesterday.
HUSBAND: Which means today I can finally eat what I want to.

LIVER VS. BRUSSELS SPROUTS

Why do we make kids eat stuff they don’t like?

On some level, it’s got to be an unconscious continuation of the cycle of abuse our own parents inflicted on us with their liver and onions, their Spam® meatloaf, their homemade creamed turnips – all the horrible foods we tried to shove in our pockets or slip under the table to the dog.

And yet knowing this doesn’t help — if you’re like me, you’ve actually uttered the phrase “If I had to finish my plate when I was a kid, so do you!” to your own kids without even realizing you were saying it.

But what if forced feeding isn’t really a bad thing?

Looked at from a historical perspective, isn’t it really just a way of paying homage to our family traditions and the ancestors who worked so hard to establish them? What better way to say “I remember my roots” than by, for example, making everyone at the table choke down a bowl of viscous, foul-smelling oyster stew every now and then?

Or by whipping out a few dollops of artery-clogging Crisco and turning the toughest cut of beef you can find into “great-grandma’s” chicken-fried steak?

There’s a practical reason for subjecting kids to food they don’t like, too, and that’s because it gives them first-hand experience with the human race’s most important survival skill, the one that enabled us to make it through the earliest days of our evolution: the ability to eat anything, no matter how unappetizing.

HUNTER-GATHERER #1: I’m hungry.
HUNTER-GATHERER #2: Me, too.
HUNTER-GATHERER #1: Maybe we should eat that gloopy, foul-smelling thing over there?
HUNTER-GATHERER #2: That?!?!?! We don’t even know what that is.
HUNTER-GATHERER #1: Yeah, but I’m hungry.
HUNTER-GATHERER #2: Me, too.
HUNTER-GATHERER #1: So what do we do?
HUNTER-GATHERER #2: I know, let’s get Hunter-gatherer Mikey to try it — Hey Mikey!

Besides when you compare what we give our kids to what our parents gave us, boy, are they getting off easy. “Tuna Surprise” anyone? At least the stuff we make our kids choke down is healthy, organic, minimally processed and preservative-free.

You know, good.

On the other hand, maybe our parents felt the same way about the stuff they served us? Maybe they were thrilled to be able to provide us with tin-canned vegetables, shelf-stable cheese and frozen TV dinners instead of what they had to force down when they were kids?

All of which means one thing: the cycle will surely continue, virtually guaranteeing that when our kids have kids who complain about what they’re being forced to eat, our kids will tell their kids they’re lucky because as bad as whatever it is mid-21st Century parents will serve, it’s nothing compared to tasteless, organic, whole-kernel flax waffles, tofu and vegetable stir fry, free-range, hormone-nitrate-antibiotic-free uncured turkey bacon*  and everything else Grandma and Grandpa made them eat.

Besides, they’ll say, “If I had to finish my plate when I was a kid, so do you!”

*Which will probably have been proven to be terrible by then.

FAMILY DINNER: THEN VS. NOW

  • Dinner was at the same time every night.
  • Nobody called (or texted).
  • If you were late, Mom would just stand on the back porch and call out your name.
  • If you were really, really late, Dad would stand on the back porch and call out your name, and then you were really in trouble.
  • Mom cooked.
  • And if she got home late from the the beauty parlor, post office or grocery store, she could always make a 20-minute casserole out of rice, leftover chicken and whatever can of Campbell’s Soup happened to be in the cupboard.
  • A well-equiped kitchen had a sink, an oven, a fridge, a KitchenAid mixer and sometimes a croc pot, but no dishwasher, pot-filler, microwave, Cuisinart, automatic espresso maker, bread maker, bagel toaster, juicer, George Foreman Grill, rice cooker, TV, second fridge, second dishwasher or computer.
  • The kitchen was only for cooking, too, not entertaining (unless you were a grandmother, second cousin, aunt or female relative helping cook a holiday meal).
  • The Four Food Groups were an important government-sponsored guide that encouraged people to eat meat & poultry, grains, fruits & vegetables and dairy products not because they were healthy or nutritious but because they were important American (or American-controlled) businesses.
  • If you said grace, it was something short, that rhymed, and even though you said it fast you had to be careful not to say it too fast because then your parents would say it “didn’t count” and make you do it over.
  • Kids drank milk then for the same reasons adults drink it now: it’s good for bones.
  • Margarine was superior to butter because margarine had less fat (as opposed to today where butter is superior to margarine because it has less trans-fat).
  • Kids had to eat everything on their plate before they could be done, even if that meant they had to sit at the table until their vegetables got cold and their fried chicken turned soggy.
  • It didn’t matter if kids weren’t hungry.
  • It didn’t matter if kids didn’t like something, either, especially liver and onions.
  • Tang, Minute-Rice and Cheez Whiz were preferable to orange juice, “old-fashioned” rice and real cheese because they were fast, easy and they never, ever spoiled.
  • Take-out pizza was a treat.
  • Organic food wasn’t “organic,” it was just “fresh.”
  • Nobody cared about BPA, which meant plastic cups were better than glass cups because they didn’t shatter when somebody knocked them on the ground.
  • Kids had to ask to be excused from the table.
  • Parents sometimes said “No.”

THE SCALE DOESN’T LIE, BUT IT SHOULD DO A BETTER JOB EXPLAINING ITSELF

ME: So… how much did I gain?
MY SCALE: You don’t want to know.
ME: C’mon, it can’t be that bad.
MY SCALE: Not if you’re sumo wrestler.
ME: What?!?!?
MY SCALE: Just think of yourself as being “fat but fit.”
ME: I think I’m gonna cry.
MY SCALE: Well… each ounce of tears weigh .0652 pounds, so that’s one way to lose weight.
ME: You make it sound like I’m obese.
MY SCALE: See that mirror?
ME: You mean the one I covered with a towel so I wouldn’t have to look at myself?
MY SCALE: If that’s not a cry for help, what is?
ME: You try losing weight at my age!
MY SCALE: Your age has nothing to do with it — besides the fact that whenever you think about it you get depressed and eat a gallon of Ben & Jerry’s.
ME: I do not.
MY SCALE: You think I’m lying?
ME: It wouldn’t be the first time.
MY SCALE: Please… Scales don’t lie.
ME: How else can you explain my weight?
MY SCALE: Uh… maybe the fact that you’ve been taking in more calories than you burn?
ME: I know for a fact that’s not true. Just look at what I eat? Fruit. Vegetables. Chicken. Fish. Whole grains.
MY SCALE: Plus ice cream and cookies when nobody is looking, half of whatever food you make for your kids but they don’t finish, a piece of cheese before bedtime, wine…
ME: Wine is good for you.
MY SCALE: A glass is good, not a bottle.
ME: Sometimes I just need something to help me relax at night.
MY SCALE: Or on weekends.
ME: That only happens every once in a while. And that doesn’t…
MY SCALE: You were gonna say “count,” weren’t you?
ME: No.
MY SCALE: I’m not judging. I get it. Sometimes you just need a double- chocolate brownie before you go to bed… Or a mocha frappuccino… Or some of that spinach dip from Whole Foods. My point is that all those calories count, even if you don’t count them.
ME: Says you.
MY SCALE: Do you really think that every time you step on the scale I’m secretly adding 20 pounds?
ME: No, not 20 pounds… more like 30 pounds.
MY SCALE: You’re hopeless.
ME: And you’re a liar. So you know what I’m going to do?
MY SCALE: Let me guess: stick me back in the closet until I learn to be more accurate.
ME: Exactly.
MY SCALE: That’s what you said last month.
ME: Right, and clearly you haven’t learned your lesson — because last month you were only off by 20 pounds.

YOU BETTER WATCH OUT

It’s easy to forget that kids have to be taught pretty much everything, and that just because something seems as if it would be self-evident to even the littlest of minds, it probably isn’t.

While this is true at all times of the year, it seems especially important to keep in mind over the holidays.

  1. Even though Play-doh is a lot like cookie dough, and can easily be cut into holiday shapes that look exactly like the sugar cookies Grandma makes, you can’t bake it. And if you do, it smells really, really bad for days.
  2. Magic Marker shouldn’t be used to decorate Christmas cookies. Or mommy’s new Christmas dress.
  3. Taking a bite of raw dough is probably not going to make you sick, but eating all the raw dough in the bowl probably will. (Although probably not until 3 am.)
  4. Santa is not fat because he’s so completely stressed out at the thought of losing his job he’s eating too much. (Though he will be cutting back a little this year, so you might not get absolutely everything you put on your list.)
  5. Just because you like egg nog doesn’t mean you can have as much as you want. This also goes for the dog.

    POLL: GOBBLE VS. GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE

    How much did you overeat on Thanksgiving?

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    HOW TO NOT OVEREAT ON THANKSGIVING

    With a single Thanksgiving meal packing a full day-and-half’s worth of calories, it’s easy to see why so many of us find ourselves slumped on the sofa in front of the TV after everyone has gone home, groaning, bloated, unable to move and wondering why we feel so bad.

    Fortunately, there is a simple way to prevent this kind of excess on Thanksgiving: go vegan.

    While many can’t imagine Thanksgiving without turkey, gravy and sausage-based stuffing, that’s the whole point: if you fill your table with stuff you don’t like and normally wouldn’t ever eat, you can’t possibly eat too much.

    True, nut roll, tempeh and all-the-vegetables-you-can-eat might not sound very appealing to some, but keep in mind that you can still booze it up.

    (And while that, too, may leave you slumped on the sofa in front of the TV after everyone has gone home, you won’t be groaning, bloated, unable to move and wondering why you feel so bad, you’ll just be passed out).

    Gobble. Gobble. Gobble.

    Editor’s note: What if you’re already vegan? Do just the opposite: go un-vegan. Not only will the shock of all that animal flesh make you instantly sick — and therefore unable to overeat — throwing up at the table will also help your friends and family because the sight, sound and smell of your vomit will likely cause them to vomit, too, and then nobody will be able to eat, let alone overeat.

    CNN HATES HALLOWEEN

    Halloween is supposed to be the one night of the year you can let your kids eat too much candy without feeling guilty about it, which makes an in-depth article like this one on CNN.com not only depressing, but irresponsible, mean-spirited and wholly inappropriate.

    Boo-hiss, CNN.

    Next time have the courtesy to run this after Halloween is over.

    Calories

    POLL: TIPPING FOR PUKE

    If your kid throws up in a restaurant, how much extra should you tip?

    View Results

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    PEANUT! PEANUT! WHO’S GOT THE PEANUT?

    Husband: What’s with all the trash bags?
    Wife: We need to throw out everything in the cabinets that has peanuts in it.
    Husband: First contaminated Chinese imports, now this – aren’t these signs of the apocalypse?
    Wife: Just reach up there and grab that box of pancake mix from the top shelf, will ya?
    Husband: Pancake mix?!?!?
    Wife: And those potato chips, too.
    Husband: Uh… last time I checked neither had peanuts in it.
    Wife: Check again.
    Husband: Wow – “Allergen warning: may contain peanuts.” Are there peanuts in everything?
    Wife: That’s why people are so freaked out.
    Husband: I better grab these two 96 oz. jars of Skippy we got at Costco while I’m up here, too.
    Wife: No, they’re fine: peanut butter isn’t part of the recall.
    Husband: What?
    Wife: Doesn’t make sense, does it?
    Husband: How can “peanut butter” not be part of a peanut recall?
    Wife: Beats me.
    Husband: You know what’s gonna happen, don’t you? In a few months the government’s gonna say they were wrong and that peanuts are okay and that the media just over-reacted.
    Wife: Maybe.
    Husband: So I say we forget this nonsense.
    Wife: You want us to ignore the warning and go have a couple Snickers and a bag of Poppycock?
    Husband: No – we’re still on our post-Christmas diet. But I don’t think we really need to throw anything out.
    Wife: And you’re sure about that?
    Husband: Sure enough.
    Wife: Fine, but if anybody throws up in their bed… on the carpet in the living room… in the back seat of your car… you get to clean it up.
    Husband: Me?
    Wife: Yes.
    Husband: All of it?
    Wife: Yes.
    Husband: On second thought, why take chances!

    PEANUT BUTTER & KARMA SANDWICH

    For all of us who have become suspicious of anything imported from China and (perhaps) even went as far as to question how inferior, out-dated and inadequate their standards could be to have allowed consumers to be exposed to so many dangers comes the news that our very own peanut butter industry is no better.

    On the other hand, at least if we’re eating crow we probably won’t get salmonella.

    TAKE-OUT

    KID: Are we having take-out again tonight?
    MOM: No.
    KID: Why not?
    MOM: Because I’m making dinner.
    KID: But you made dinner last night and we got take-out?
    MOM: That was different.
    KID: How?
    MOM: Last night I accidentally burned dinner.
    KID: What about the night before that?
    MOM: Um… er… uh… I guess I accidentally burned dinner that night, too.
    KID: And the night before that… And the night before that… And the night before that…
    MOM: Stop exaggerating.
    KID: I’m not.
    MOM: I don’t burn dinner every night!
    KID: Only ’cause Dad usually cooks.
    MOM: Well… even if I do burn dinner, it’s not really my fault.
    KID: Because you’re a bad cook?
    MOM: No — because I’m a parent.
    KID: How does being a parent mean you’re a bad cook?
    MOM: Being a parent doesn’t mean you’re a bad cook, being a parent means you’re distracted — so distracted you sometimes start cooking dinner and then forget all about it because you get caught up in something else.
    KID: Like a conversation?
    MOM: Yes.
    KID: Like right now?
    MOM: Yes, like… NOT AGAIN! — While I take the roast out to the trash, will you get out the take-out menus?
    KID: Already did.

    HOW ORGANIC GROCERIES CAN SAVE THE PLANET IN 12 EASY STEPS

    1. Go to your local organic supermarket.
    2. Fill as much of your shopping list as you can (and hope your kids just won’t notice that organic hot dogs, organic fish sticks, organic “Froot Loops” and organic Kraft Mac ‘n’ Cheese  taste nothing like their non-organic counterparts).
    3. Go to the check-stand and apologize for not bringing your own bags.
    4. GASP! when you see how much money you just spent.
    5. Realize that organic groceries cost between  28 to 64 percent more than non-organic groceries.
    6. Feel conflicted.
    7. Ultimately decide you’re doing the right thing going organic.
    8. Repeat this process each week until you’ve spent so much money on groceries you can’t afford to pay your other bills.
    9. Get kicked out of your house.
    10. Instead of getting depressed, congratulate yourself because according to recent research, you’ll generate 57.5% fewer greenhouse gases being homeless.
    11. Multiply this across the entire country.
    12. Listen carefully for the sound of Al Gore giving his last “An Inconvenient Truth” lecture.