Anger Burger

2011 is Not Going Out Quietly

Posted by on Dec 31, 2011 at 7:18 pm

We decided to take it easy.  No parties, despite being invited to one that has a potential for illegal debauchery on a level that I still sort of can’t believe I’m turning down.  NEVERTHELESS.  Easy taking.

So, waffles are in order.  Except, the yeast decided to give me it’s yeasty middle finger.

It’s been two hours, and the batter should be doubled in size and fizzy-gloppy, but it remains smooth and thin and completely unperturbed by my attempts to rouse it.   I’ve resorted to a hot water bath.  If this doesn’t work we’re eating microwave popcorn for dinner.

So, happy New Year, friends.  May your yeast be active.

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1 Posted in Drama!

Christmas Deployment: Successful

Posted by on Dec 26, 2011 at 10:25 pm

I understand that for a lot of you these deer are magical forest ballerinas, but at my mom’s house they are thieving seed ninjas.  She even bought this tall feeder box to keep the deer out, but of course the second after I took this photo that deer stood up on it’s hind legs and started cramming it’s eathole full of seed.

My mom is used to this so she immediately went outside and started hollering at them, which did absolutely nothing and I was left clutching my cell phone wondering if I’d have to call a deer mauling into 911.

But they do this almost every day.  She walks out there and they casually saunter off, and five minutes later they wonder around the other side of the property and show back up at the bird feeder.  Merry Christmas, deer assholes!

My sister brought these and despite knowing we’d regret it we all ate one.

They tasted like you think.  Waxy chocolate.  Pure liquid sugar center that instantly chokes you.  Scented blueberry Mr. Sketch marker flavor.  Mmm, tastes like dreary drugstore Christmas.

It’s been six years since I’ve been in Olympia for more than a holiday visit, and the first time in six years that I could hotglue a bunch of shit to packages since I wasn’t shipping the presents in from another state.  God bless hotglue for reals.

Never dismiss the joys of hotgluing stuff to stuff.

This year we cooked absolutely nothing on Christmas day.  We made dips and sliced meats and cheeses and thawed shrimp all on Christmas Eve, and then merely decanted it all to plates for the festivities.  It was plenty of food and no one was trapped in the kitchen making food hot while everyone else enjoyed themselves drinking schnapps and tripping over dogs.

 It only took us nearly four decades as a family to get it sorted out, but we’re on track now.

Popularity Contests

Posted by on Dec 17, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I have a lot of sympathy for cookbook writers, if you can believe it.  It can’t be easy to compile a couple dozen recipes and have them all be interesting or reliable.  In the several years I’ve written Anger Burger I can maybe – maybe – construct a cookbook of recipes that aren’t outright stolen from other writers and bloggers.  And theme?  The Anger Burger cookbook would best be described as a tectonic collision of ethnic misuse.

But all that being said, there’s one cookbook  that has repeatedly made 2011’s Top Ten cookbook lists, and it’s a book so disappointing that I was angry that I wasted calories carrying it home from the library.

Pam Anderson’s Perfect One-Dish Dinners has great range.  We have:

  • Curiously banal Perfect Spinach-Artichoke Dip that is made “perfect” by the substitution of low-fat cream cheese and low-fat mayonnaise for the full-flavor versions.
  • Hilariously questionable Indian Six Layer Dip consisting of layered curried sour cream, cheddar cheese (?!), yogurt chutney, flaked sweetened coconut, peanuts and green onions.
  • Guaranteed super-flop Braised Salmon, which has you boil carrots, shallots and potatoes in unseasoned broth until tender, remove them to a platter kept in a warm oven, then simmer salmon fillets and asparagus in the same unseasoned broth until cooked all the way through, removed to the platter with the vegetables, and then watering down the broth and heating it in the microwave to pour over your totally fucking bland and overcooked fish and vegetables.  THIS IS PERFECT IF YOU’VE RECENTLY BEEN HOSPITALIZED FOR STOMACH SURGERY.
  • Roasted Almond and Cream Cheese-Stuffed Green Olives, which is a cocktail olive that you remove the pimento center from and replace with a little piece of cream cheese and an almond and then serve on a platter.  Which, you know.  Okay.  But It’s not like I’d ever put this into a cookbook, which is pretty much the same thing.

There are plenty of normal-sounding main dishes, but they are all just that: normal sounding.  They’re on the whole blander and plainer than I cook, though I appreciate having solid recipes to personalize.  But I don’t need to be told how to make enchiladas from store-bought enchilada sauce and pre-cooked chicken.  And I don’t think anyone in my family would eat a stew of cubed pork, sweet potatoes and prunes.  And I realize that I should back off and let the good recipes stand on their own, but I keep coming back to wondering how this made more than one Top Ten list.  But people love it.  They repeatedly describe it as “simple” and “doable,” which I can’t argue with.  And lord knows I respect a woman that refers to a pan of macaroni and cheese as a “complete dish”.  But I’m once again reminded of how entirely I am not the intended readership of the cookbook industry, and that makes me grumpy.

9 Posted in Drama!, Food Rant

Fudge Bog

Posted by on Dec 13, 2011 at 1:07 am

Olympic Fudge cooling on the stove. Still know of.

1 Posted in Food Rant

This is Everyone’s Happy Place

Posted by on Dec 12, 2011 at 1:08 am

About once every two or three years my friends Yuko and Sol invite a group over for family-style sushi dinner, and I basically didn’t even let Mike get off the phone when Sol invited us before I was backing out of the driveway and headed for Seattle.  If more people were prescribed sushi parties instead of Xanax the world would be a better place.

Perhaps the best part is that they encourage making hand rolls so that all of that frustrating sushi-rolling can be abandoned in favor of mashing food into your food-hole.  Honestly, it’s very clever: just fold sheets of seaweed into quarters and they break apart into perfect squares.  Smear some sushi rice on each square.  Fold/roll/taco into any shape you want and then eat.  They’re good for two or three bites, so by the time they start falling apart you’re already done and ready for the next one.

Also, each time Yuko’s dinnerware just slays me.  Everyone’s plates had different little Totoro images on them.

Eel.  Stop avoiding it.  It’s delicious and soft and not fishy.  And if you order it at a Japanese restaurant the chances are that it will be covered in a teriyaki-like sauce, which makes everything edible.

Sol’s famous spicy tuna is still a mystery to me, even though he’s told me how to make it half a dozen times.  Every time I make it, it just does not turn out the fucking same.  He’s lying to me, I’m sure of it.  The famous anecdote about the spicy tuna is that many years ago Mike the Viking and Sol ate an entire cereal bowl of this stuff with spoons because Sol “accidentally” made too much.  They just ate it like ice cream.

You poor bastards.  You wish you were at this table with us.

We discovered that everyone, including the two people who actually were raised in Japan, held their chopsticks a little differently.  I thought I held mine totally wrong for years, but it turned out that I was closer that some.

AND THIS STUFF.  I hesitate to tell you the ingredients because I fear you won’t believe me when I say: it was infuriatingly good.  So simple: coconut milk, soy milk, a little sugar, some soft baby tapioca pearls and some tiny cubes of soft sweet potato.  I KNOW HOW IT SOUNDS.  But it was like… something fairy royalty is served when they are in bed in their jim-jams and just want a little something sweet and comforting to eat.  It made me feel six years old and safe and happy.


8 Posted in Food Rant, Obsessed

A Matter of Grave Importance

Posted by on Dec 8, 2011 at 12:12 am

It’s ribbon candy.

I’m serious, this is important.  Because for some reason ribbon candy is this impossible, mythological item, something that Baba Yaga gifts to the wayward traveler who has won her good graces.  And I know in my mind it should be thin and opalescent like glass, and each color should be a different flavor.  However, what I’d been finding in real life was thick, clumsy candy covered in flaws and breaks.  THIS DOES NOT FIT IN WITH MY SLAVIC FANTASY CHRISTMAS.

So, I was skipping through the frosty deep winter forest when I came across a box of Russell Stover ribbon candy for something like $2.  I clapped my hands and gnomes danced around me and little snowbirds burst across the sky like a whorl of ice crystals.

The best part is when you try to break a piece off it explodes into a thousand tiny shards, some of which fall to the floor and later stick to your socks.

They’re beautiful like edible Christmas ornaments and I keep looking at them with satisfaction, but I’m not poki online poker sure there is anything practical about them at all.  I mean, that’s a dumb thing to say.  There’s clearly nothing practical about candy spun into fancifully antagonistic shapes, but what I mean is that I can’t think of a scenario where you won’t be picking slivers of sticky, half-melted candy out of the carpet, your clothes and the dog’s fur.  The upside is that they are tasty, and the white ribbon was vanilla flavored, which briefly broke my brain.

Hey, as long as you’re here, I want you to see something.  See, I knit.  I don’t talk about it here because then it’ll be a cooking and knitting website, and that path leads to kitten videos and talking about feelings and I think we’d all rather just drink an irresponsible amount of peppermint schnapps and argue about House Hunters.

But look at these ladies:

Her sweater says “Hello” but her eyes say “I’m going to land a hatchet between your fucking eyes, peasant.”

Hay now!  Some of us are happy to be wearing a mint green acrylic sweater!

24 Posted in Food Rant, Obsessed

Excuses; Pita Apologies

Posted by on Dec 6, 2011 at 12:11 am

So, I didn’t get my camera back from Seattle, primarily because my mom was hospitalized for a small case of pneumonia she’d been hiding from us and thus the trip back to Seattle was postponed.  I realize I’m blaming my recalcitrance on my mom, but there’s nothing unusual about that.  Sorry mom.  I love you!

In the meantime, I’d like to issue my parents a formal apology for requesting pita sandwiches in my lunches as a child.

I’m trying to cut back on the bread in my lunches, so last week I bought a sack of whole wheat pita breads.  And then struggled and cursed myself and those stupid goddamn dry little pockets of terror for the next five days.  Each and every time, no matter how carefully I tried to smear a bit of mustard or peanut butter or whatever onto one interior side of the pita, at least one side if not both of the entire thing would blow out.  It took me right up until the last one to commit to it no longer being a pita pocket, but a pita sandwich.  As in, it’s not a contained unit of food, it’s a half-moon shaped sandwich with two very thin slices of bread on either side.  Which works okay for the peanut butter and jelly days, but less successfully for the ham and lettuce days.

So mom, dad: I’m sorry.  I’m sorry I made you assemble those nefarious fuckers for my sack lunches.

3 Posted in Food Rant