Gentle Humor

Suzanne Olsen's Humor Blog – I don't offend some of the people most of the time

Category: Food Page 1 of 3

A Memory for Mother’s Day

Note: I wrote this when my daughter was around ten years old.  

It’s five in the afternoon, and I’m debating whether to sacrifice precious calories for a glass of wine, or save them for a piece of the ugliest cake on earth that my daughter, Kelly, made last night.  It’s really no contest. That cake! Oh, my! 

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No Wonder We’re Fat – We Eat Like Livestock

“Oink Oink!”

Ever been in a restaurant that serves fresh bread, and you eat it all and ask for more? When your belly starts pooching out, do you unbutton your pants, and when your food comes, are you still hungry enough to eat it all, and do you really really want to lick the plate? Do you unzip your pants all the way down and then feel in the mood for a little something sweet? When your dessert comes, do you hold your fork up to stab any hand that comes in for a sample before you eat every crumb all by yourself? Do you say, multiple times, “I’m stuffed” then, if there’s any bread left, reach for it saying, “I really shouldn’t eat this, but…” After you ask the waiter for more butter, do you finish off every piece of bread, even if it’s several slices? 

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Su-then Hospitality

Speaking of Tennessee and being Su-then – that is a whole ‘nother world down there in Dixie. The things they do are amusing at every turn. The Cracker Barrel is an example.

After my lengthy flight from Portland, OR to Knoxville, TN (the closest airport to Kingsport that I could use with my airline miles), and renting a car for the last leg of the trip, I was starving to death and didn’t want fast food – I wanted collard greens and fried okra and black eyed peas and corn bread and other such Su-then fare. I wanted Cracker Barrel. I called my family and my Uncle Martin gave me the names of three exits with Cracker Barrels between Knoxville and Kingsport, an hour and a half drive away.

I parked the rental, mouth watering, and stepped up on the long porch of this mecca of southern cuisine. I passed all those wooden rocking chairs and for a second I was tempted to sit a spell, but figured I’d better get my name in because it was Saturday evening and the place was packed.

After a small wait in which I browsed the country store and thought about how good it was to be back in the South, a sweet girl with a cherub face seated me at a little table in the middle of the action. Waiters and waitresses zipped from table to table and said things like, “Hello, darlin’. Can I git you something to drink, sugar?” It was like that through the whole meal. I couldn’t take two bites without someone asking if they could get me some more water, “honey,” and if I was enjoying my food, or “Sweetie, can I refill that tea for you?”

When I went to the cash register to pay, an ancient woman with more wrinkles than a wadded up linen shirt was behind the register. I mentally stereotyped her, no doubt slow and fumbling, as she handed the change to the couple in front of me. When I stepped up to pay she briskly took my money and started ringing me up. “Sweetheart, did you have a good supper?” she said. “Can I interest you in some of this hand lotion? It smells so sweet. Oh and you really ought to try these caramels – they just melt in your mouth!” Not only was she quick, she wasn’t taking “no” for an answer until she up-sold me something from the gift shop.

With the drive ahead of me, it was going to be late when I arrived at my Aunt Mary Ellen’s house, and it was already way past dark, but I eased down into one of the wooden rocking chairs on the front porch and felt myself rock back and forth like the pendulum in a grandfather clock, listening to the soothing sound of wood rolling over wood, remembering the taste of that good southern food, the smell of the fresh-baked cornbread, and the sounds of families exchanging stories all around me as they visited at the Cracker Barrel on a Saturday evening. I mentally willed myself to slow down to Tennessee time.

I’d come back “home” to take a little break from life and get centered – and as I sat there rocking, I knew it was going to be a perfect trip. A couple walked slowly out of the restaurant, holding hands. He grinned at me and said, “How y’all doin?” There are no strangers in Tennessee – but there are some strange people. I’ll tell you about one of them next time.

Hot Lips Nachos

I had nachos for dinner tonight and got way too liberal with the hot sauce and jalapeno peppers. Law have mercy! My lips were burning like someone was lighting them with a blow torch. And yet I could not stop eating. The flames barely had half a second to recede before I put some more fire in my mouth.

I suffered through a rather large plate of nachos, and it never got any easier. Each bite was as hot as the last, and just as painful, and yet it was not a deterrent for me to cease stuffing myself.

The weird thing is that it burned like hot tar on the equator on my lips and into my mouth, but once it headed to my throat, it didn’t burn anymore. All the way down the chute to my stomach, I didn’t feel a thing.

This makes sense, when you think about it. Your lips and mouth are like two Buckingham Palace guards – they’re not going to let anything in that would do you any harm. If those guys can take the red-hot fire of spicy food, then they must figure that your cast iron stomach should do just fine.

I’ve popped things in my mouth and discovered that they were too freaking hot – like they’ve come out of an oven in Hades. When that happens I don’t spit it out, I simply make a big “O” with my mouth and say, “Hot! Hot! Hot!” and fan it a few times with my hand. And then I swallow the blistering lump so it quits burning – once it gets past a point, I can’t feel it anymore.

This is a wonder of biological engineering – a miracle of the human body.

On the other hand, some things go in your mouth all nice and easy-like, for instance the beans I had for lunch today, and then later they raise a ruckus in your digestive system like Tasmanian devils wrestling in the eye of a hurricane.

But I am not going to let this deteriorate into a discussion about flaming bottoms and lighting matches to see if they can ignite a blow torch when a person passes gas, and so forth.

Why can I NOT seem to get past bathroom humor?

When I went with my writer’s group to a retreat a few weeks ago, one of the members gave us each and “award.” Mine was for Humor. The one line summary she’d written about me on the award was, “Wait, wait – I have to go to the bathroom.” That pretty much sums me up – I don’t want to miss anything, hence the “wait, wait,” but the bathroom is always close by – either in my writing, in my talking, or when I’m rushing for it because of some extremely spicy food I had no business eating.

Okay, speaking of the toilet I have to tell a story, but it will need to wait until tomorrow because it’s too long for tonight when the bed is calling and my eyelids are as heavy as a full bladder. See, I just can’t get away from bodily functions……

Bad Wine and Spotted Dick

Funny day today. I went to church and the priest had some wine he was getting ready to bless for communion when he stopped cold and said, “There’s something wrong with the wine.” He turned to the choir director, “Can you give us some music while we get this taken care of?”

The pianist started playing a song and one of the altar guys took the wine and headed to the room behind the altar. The priest stood there looking over the congregation, and I wondered, “What could be wrong with the wine? Maybe it turned to vinegar and he took that little drink and nearly gagged. Or it had a fly doing the backstroke in there. Or green mold floating on top. Or maybe it had a tarantula in it. That last one was far fetched – there aren’t any tarantulas around here, but we had quite a bit of time to kill for me to get creative.

This is the same priest I wrote about last week – I won the raffle for him to come and bless my house.  I have not set that up yet because I still haven’t decided on the correct protocol – do I have him for lunch, or just have him do a slam, bam, thank you ma’am type of blessing and send him on his way. After today’s events I’m glad I’ve been indecisive, because now when he comes I can ask him what happened to the wine.

Another odd thing happened – I got behind the zebra car on the freeway. It’s a white car someone painted stripes on to look like a zebra. Then they glued a zebra tail to the trunk. My daughter and I have seen it parked in our area of the city, and we always say, “Look at that zebra car. Who would paint their car like a zebra?”

So today I went down the ramp and got on the freeway, and this zebra car was exactly in front of me. What are the chances of that? I watched that zebra tail – complete with a realistic black tuft at the end – for several miles, twitching in the wind. I got so excited I texted my daughter, “That zebra car is in front of me on the freeway!” She immediately texted back, “Are you texting while you’re driving?” I didn’t answer her.

This evening my cousin Nancy from Memphis called and started telling me a funny story about an older man she was visiting – the husband of a friend who passed away. Each time she visited him in the nursing home she’d ask him questions about his life. Eventually he’d ask, “Now why are you doing this?” He wondered why she was visiting. She always answered that he’d lived an interesting life and she wanted to record his story. On her recent visit he asked her again and she gave him the same answer. He looked at her for a couple of minutes and finally said, “You know, I’ve had an operation.”

Nancy and I both burst out laughing when she told me this. “He thought you were hitting on him,” I said, “and he wanted to make sure you knew he couldn’t make any little Nancy babies.”

“And then there was the time I was at the grocery store,” Nancy said. She was on a roll. “There was this attractive older woman walking down the aisle and I was behind her for a good ways. By coincidence I stopped at the same place she stopped. I was right beside her, and I reached for a can of Spotted Dick.”

“Spotted WHAT?” I said.

“Spotted Dick. I picked up the can and said to the woman, just to make conversation because she was right beside me, “Have you ever had any of this?

“The woman looked puzzled and said, ‘Why, I don’t believe I have.’ She turned away quickly and scurried down the aisle.”

“She thought you were hitting on her, too! My gosh, Nancy, do you just stalk old folks so you can hit on them – it doesn’t matter if they’re male or female? Can you imagine that poor old woman, you’d been following her down the aisles. She finally stops thinking the stalker will pass, and instead you try to make a pass at her with a can of Spotted Dick?”

We laughed until we couldn’t breathe.

“What the heck is Spotted Dick anyway?” I asked, wiping the tears from my eyes.

“It’s sponge cake in a can,” Nancy said, and we laughed all over again at the absurdity of that.

“Who puts sponge cake in a can? And then names it Spotted Dick? Oh my gosh!”

Anyway, as you can see, this has been a most interesting day. And I was fretting because I didn’t know what to write about….

My Dog’s Frito Feet

My little dog’s feet smell like Fritos. She’s lying beside me as I type on my laptop on the sofa, and she just changed positions. The smell of Fritos wafted into the air like incense.

My family thinks the dog’s feet smell pleasant. Fritos is a pleasant odor. On the other hand, our personal human feet are disgusting, especially when they’ve been in sweaty shoes. Perhaps that’s the problem. If we did not wear footwear for hours on end, would we also have pleasant smelling feet?

This is for future pondering because we want to focus on the dog’s feet right now and ask the question, how on earth did a dog’s feet come to smell like a packaged corn chip?

A corn chip is made of corn and salt all smashed together, baked until it has that perfect crunch, and sealed in a bag that is impossible for humans to penetrate without a sharp object or very, very strong teeth. It used to be that you’d get a guy to open a lid for you, but now you have to find a guy to get into a bag of chips. Sometimes, if there’s no guy handy, I’ve had to tear at these bags with my teeth like a savage jackal, over and over, getting a small bit of bag each time, spitting it out and tearing some more until I gnaw a hole big enough to plunge my fist through.

So the grains and salts and other things that go into a corn chip – the chemical composition as it were – and the baking, which alters or at least dehydrates the chemicals – and the packaging which protects the baked chip until the year 4010 because air doesn’t have the teeth to penetrate the seal – how in the universe can THAT smell like my dog’s feet?

My dog’s feet always smell like Fritos except just after a bath. Within a day, the Frito feet are back – all four of them. The rest of the dog may be foul from rolling in dead rodent to try to get the clean shampoo smell off, but those feet are pleasant.

It’s a mystery someone needs to solve, because there is something very, very sick about smelling a dog’s feet and immediately craving Fritos and cream cheese.

If you’ve never tried it, take a normal Frito – not the big ones – and scrape it through a container of Philadelphia cream cheese. It’s quite tasty. Don’t go in too deep or the Frito will break off. BEWARE – you will go through a whole container of cream cheese pretty quick and become a big fat lard because you won’t have the willpower to stop eating them, they’re that good.

Back to the subject, which is, why does my dog have Frito feet? If you know the answer, please don’t hesitate to send it to me via a package containing Fritos. I’m running low.

Subway Heat

My daughter and I got Subway sandwiches tonight. Both of us ordered every vegetable, including those blazing jalapeño peppers.

I love those things, but as soon as I eat one I start coughing violently. The peppers burn my throat so much I can’t even stop coughing long enough to drink cold water.

“Mom, you always do this,” my daughter said with disgust. “You always eat that hot stuff and gag for ten minutes.”

“But I love it so,” I said a few minutes later when I could gasp out an answer.

I ordered the entire assortment of vegetables, oil and vinegar, salt and pepper, mustard, cheese – everything you could think of, and all I could taste were those jalapeños.

“I don’t know why I get all this stuff, all I can taste is the jalapeños,” I said. “And they’re burning my mouth so much it hurts.”

“Why do you do it?” she asked with the interest of a teenager bored with her mother’s foolish habits but trained to be polite.

“I love them,” I said, like some junkie justifying my habit.

The bad thing about getting ALL the vegetables is that there is no physical way they can fit between two buns. The guy finishes loading the sandwich and flips the top bun over and it just sticks straight up in the air – it makes an “L” shape. He has to bear down with both hands – hard – to get the top to go halfway over the sandwich. Then he wraps it really quickly and stuffs it into a plastic sleeve to further insure its stability.

At home, when I try to open the wrap, lettuce springs out like confetti from one of those little pop bottle things you aim at people on New Year’s Eve. Chunks of green pepper and onions cascade to my lap in a veggie waterfall. The liquid ooze of all that vinegar and oil and mustard and smushed tomatoes drips out the bottom. If I don’t put a plate under there, and I usually don’t because I’m sitting in front of the TV, my lap looks like somebody tossed a salad on it.

Another thing. Subway needs to quit carrying those salt and vinegar potato chips. Those things are too good. While the guy was making my sandwiches, I grabbed a bag and scarfed down all 230 calories before he was done. Jared would be so ashamed of me. Man oh man are those things addictive. My mouth was puckered from the salt and acid from the vinegar, but it was worth it.

I believe I had better hit the hay early because I’m probably going to have the WORST nightmares after consuming all of those things so late at night. My my my, the little culinary delights in life make the days bright and the nights a fright, but that’s all right. Ahhh, goodnight.

A Look at Brain Food

First, please share with me the celebration of my 300th blog! Whoo-hoo! My goal was to write a post a day for one year, and I’m almost there. Break out the champagne!

This seems a good occasion to write about brain food. Why? Because without a brain I couldn’t think up 300 blogs, much less type them up. Granted, some people are able to do many, many things seemingly without a brain, but I’m not that gifted. Therefore I must take care of mine.

Let us first start out by discussing what brain food is. According to some astrophysicist surgeon on OPB (Oregon Public Broadcasting), it’s “food that feeds the brain.”

One such food is walnuts. The major “brains” in the world say that this is a brain food because it LOOKS like a brain. You observe any average walnut and the first thing that comes to your mind is, “that thing looks just like a brain.” This is why it’s the number one brain food in my book.

Another stellar brain food is the blueberry. Why? Because blood is blue, and you need blue blood to go up to the brain and check things out, see how all the memories are holding together and so forth, then go back to the heart and tell all the valves to keep pumping, and then back to the brain. Busy, busy busy.

The reason blood is blue is because it doesn’t have any oxygen or something – some doctor tried to explain it to me and I couldn’t get it. I think he was pulling my leg. Which he was. I had a swollen ankle. He insisted that the blood is blue in the veins – which you can see for yourself, go ahead, look at a vein – I’ll wait. See, it’s blue. The doc claimed that the blood turns red the second it comes in contact with oxygen, that’s why it always looks red when we get a paper cut.

This is why blueberries are brain food – because they keep that blue blood blue as nature intended. This makes the brain happy.

Another brain food is coffee beans, in the form of espresso. You will notice that people who drink a lot of espresso are bouncing around, full of energy, and have to go to the bathroom frequently. Because of this, they get a lot of exercise. Exercise is very good for the brain. Nobody wants to be a “fat head.” Drinking caffeine helps prevent this condition. Actually, it’s not the caffeine that makes this a brain food, it’s the exercise. Or something like that – I didn’t finish reading because it got too technical with antioxidants and ribo-thing-a-ma-jigs, and I got bored.

There are many, many more foods that the brain likes – such as broccoli. It likes flowers and broccoli is made up of flowerettes, or maybe that’s cauflower. Either way, the brain is a sensitive organ that likes to be surrounded by lovely things, such as flowers, and since the brain has no eyes, it can’t tell that flowerettes, when it comes to broccoli, is just a green nub on a stalk.

I notice that I’ve used the words “brain food” a million times already, so this is a good time to end our discussion of these wonderful, natural additions to our diets that can help that area above our eyeballs function better (I’m trying not to say those words anymore).

Now if you’ll excuse me, the bubbles are escaping from my champagne!

I Scream for Chocolate

I took a notion for a chocolate dipped ice cream cone tonight, so I went by the Dairy Queen. I told the clerk I wanted just a little one. Last time I was there I think the clerk got distracted when she was filling the cone with soft ice cream. It came out looking like the leaning tower of Pisa. It was so tall, the top of it smeared the roof of my car.

When I ordered a little cone with not much ice cream, she didn’t understand. I could have explained to her that I really just wanted the chocolate shell around the ice cream, but it seemed more trouble than it was worth so I just repeated I only wanted a little cone.

“We have a child’s cone,” she said.

So I ordered that and when it got there, it was still too big. It was a normal adult sized, sensible cone. I forced myself to eat it all rather than litter up my car with sticky drippings.

Speaking of drippings, I love the way the ice cream melts under the chocolate shell and runs like little rivers out from underneath. On a hot day you’ll spend the whole time trying to dam up those flows with your tongue, turning the cone round and round to try and catch them all.

When I was a kid my brother talked the neighborhood kids into helping him distribute free samples of Palmolive liquid soap and a couple of other products by offering to treat us to anything we wanted at Dairy Queen. He got a whole bunch of us together, which ended up being me, my friend Christine, my friend Carol and her five brothers and sisters, plus his friend, Clark Reese.

The samples had to be stuffed into a bag, so he got us in assembly lines, each person stuffing one item and passing the bag to the next person. It was pretty ingenious. We loaded up boxes of these things, and then he drove us around delivering them. I grabbed a handful of bags and ran up one side of the street, and Clark covered the other side.

When it was all done, all the helpers walked down to the Dairy Queen and got anything we wanted. Of course most of us ordered banana splits because those were luxury, deluxe, expensive treats that none of us ever got. I don’t know how much my brother made on the deal, but we were all pretty happy with our pay.

I wish I knew how they made those chocolate dipped cones, though. McDonald’s makes them too, and once I asked the person there for only a little ice cream. She said, “What?” as if to say, “Are you crazy? You gonna pay full price and not get a full cone?” I told her I just wanted the chocolate.

“Then I’ll give you your money’s worth,” she said. She dipped the cone several times until it had a real thick coating on it. It was so thick it stayed warm and was creamy and smooth in my mouth. What a feast. Nobody else has ever done it like that for me since.

Makes me think of that rhyme,

I scream

You scream

We all scream

For ice cream

‘Specially when they dip

Chocolate coating all over it.

Sleepless Nights? Try Tater Tots and Beer

I went to the Willamette Writer’s meeting tonight after having dinner with four members of my writing group. We drank beer – a big mistake for me since it makes me very sleepy. I worry I’ll fall asleep and knock teeth out on the beer mug.

The speaker talked about writing mysteries. My group likes to sit in the front row, which meant that I was forced to keep my eyes open and not doze off. Unfortunately, I was not up to the challenge. I had also eaten a whole basket of tater tots, which are often used in primitive jungle cultures as a sleep aid. Fight as I might, my eyes were shut tight.

That’s right. Luckily others around me were taking notes so they couldn’t see my head bobbing, but I know the speaker saw me. She was not blind, after all. The sad thing is that she was quite interesting. Her name was April Henry, in case you want to get her books.

I think I missed out on quite a bit, but here’s the part I heard. If you want to make sure readers will stay glued to your mystery plot, you need to apply a special contact cement to the cover (available at fine publishing houses everywhere). That way they CAN’T put the book down.

If you’re not able to do this for moral or ethical reasons, then you’d better write an interesting story, which is easier than you think. All you have to do is pick out one of your characters and make him your protagonist (the good guy), and then make everyone else act suspicious, and then have an antagonist (bad guy) or two. The bad guys have to do mean things to the good guy in order for the story to be interesting. And one mean thing is not nearly enough – they have to spatter the good guy with so many mean things it would be like getting shot with a shotgun and every little shot would be a bad thing, if you know what I mean.

The presentation was very well done and progressed nicely. In fact, it whizzed by but that could have been due to the tots. Forty-five minutes later, the speaker asked if anyone had questions. This is the part I hate. The auditorium was full, which meant there were quite a few people who needed to demonstrate their writing acumen by asking questions they probably already knew the answer to, just to show off their writing jargon.

For example, one woman said, “In your genre, when do you decide who is going to be the antagonist? Is that during your opening scenes or do you wait until the dénouement?”

The WHAT? The speaker was pretty cool. She wasn’t about to be sucked into such foolishness. “I’m not sure what you mean.”

Unfortunately, this was exactly what the woman wanted to hear, because she elaborated in such contrived babble that I took another ten-minute snooze. When I woke up, she was still spewing jargon like a shaken up Coke.

“I don’t approach my writing that way,” said the speaker, finally. “So I really don’t know how to answer your question. Anyone else have a question?”

I loved it! These long-winded misanthropes waste everyone’s time, and most speakers end up being too embarrassed or compassionate to cut them off. Although I’ll say one thing about them, their sophisticated mumbo jumbo is great background white noise for sleeping.

I have barely been able to keep my eyes open this whole evening. Tots and beer will do this to you, so the moral of this story is – shovel all the crap you can in front of your protagonist and sit back and take a nap while s/he figures out what to do about it. And if you want a best seller, be sure to weave tater tots into the plot. That could put the protagonist to sleep while the antagonist ties little knots in her hair. The possibilities are endless.

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Copyright © 2020 by Suzanne Olsen