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Eric: Back from the desert -- er, that is, Arisia

It was an extraordinarily good time, of course. You expect that from a con like Arisia. We saw many good friends, and many friends we would like to become good friends, and many acquaintences we would like to become friends, and so on down the line.

There were many beautiful women, some of whom wore electrical tape in ways not recommended by the tape manufacturer. Also -- and this might shock you -- some people there wore corsets.

I was often quite drunk. I had my first real margarita experience. It's worth noting that by the first third of said margarita, I was drunk. So, you know, I'm a big ol' wuss.

Wednesday was fantastic, and looked fantastic. This was extremely cool.

The panels rocked. The one that was best attended was "The Best Webcomics You're Not Reading." But we had a decent turnout for all of them, and even the sparsest turnout -- for the late Saturday "Webcomics Criticism: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly" which was competing with both Firefly in 35 mm and the Masquerade -- was full of people engaged in the topic.

Weds and I left on Sunday, spending the night with a good friend who -- it's rumored -- might have actually highjacked this blog at some point. Actually, there were a good number of friends we saw that night, largely over Korean barbecue.

Webcomics were well represented, this year, and should be even moreso next year. Soon, we will dominate the entire planet. With dominance.

However, these are not the experience I am going to tell you about this morning. No no. I'm going to tell you about the Macaroni and Cheese from well after midnight, when we got home.

Understand, it was late. And we were between exhausted and wired. And the cat was going nuts, since she hadn't seen us for days (we had someone come in and keep her company, because I'm a total wuss when it comes to my cat). And we had a box of stovetop macaroni and cheese bought from Whole Foods in Cambridge. Yuppie Macaroni and Cheese. That was very proud it wasn't Kraft Dinner.

As a side note, Kraft Dinner -- or "Kraft Macaroni and Cheese" for the non-Canadians in the room -- is a Canadian mainstay. Much as Raman Noodles are a rite of passage for college aged folks in America, Kraft Dinner is one of those things everyone has every once in a while as kids and then lives on every now and again in their twenties. It's a frightening color and it's as processed as anything. And I'm a fan of it, by God. Wednesday swears by it, as well.

It's worth noting I also like the aforementioned Raman noodles, which Weds can't eat. Probably because they're barely considered food, but I digress.

Well. She wanted to try this box of 'healthy' or 'natural' or 'God knows what' Mac and Cheese last night. So she did. And carried the prepared bowl back to the couch, and got ready to eat it.

And couldn't even try it. "Oh God, the smell," she said.

I smelled. It didn't smell good.

But I am the boyfriend. So I tried it. That's what I do. And heck, it had to be better than the sugar free raspberry "energy drink" I got from the same store, right?

No. No it didn't have to be. Oh my God.

So we set it down. The cat walked up to it.

Now, understand something about my cat, Sarah K. Burns. She loves cheese. If it's even vaguely cheese related, she's all over it. She loves cheese sauces, and cheesey 'things.' She loves the cheese in an almost unhealthy way.

Sarah sniffed this macaroni and cheese. And reared back. She stared at it, angrily. And then ate one of the pieces of pasta. Specifically, one of the pieces that had absolutely no cheese on it.

We found a "macaroni and cheese" so bad my cat wouldn't lick it.

Weds made Kraft Dinner instead. I had a couple of bites. It was good. And then we watched the Drawn Together DVD for a while.

She's here until Friday, but I'm back to work this morning. You should see more of me this week, and then next week all things should be normal.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at January 17, 2006 8:39 AM

Comments

Comment from: LurkerWithout posted at January 17, 2006 8:46 AM

Ramen is NOT food. It is the stuff they package food in when its shipped. I went hungry for FOUR DAYS rather than eat that slop in college. And I am not someone who passes up food...

Comment from: Jeff Smith posted at January 17, 2006 9:11 AM

Kraft Mac and Cheese. Phenomenal.

Comment from: xbishop posted at January 17, 2006 9:13 AM

Just goes to show, just because something is 'all natural', doesn't make it good.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at January 17, 2006 9:25 AM

Wait, are we talking the instant ramen sold for pennies on the dollar, or the good stuff made in a similar manner to pasta? Because the latter is awesome.

Though truth be told, I prefer soba noodles.

Whole Foods is an adventure, though. You have a 50% chance of ending up with something much better than you'd get anywhere else. The other 50% of the time, however, it's only food by the strictest legal definition thereof.

Comment from: William_G posted at January 17, 2006 9:26 AM

The kids here in Korea eat ramen (ramyeon) uncooked. They just mash it up in the bag, dump the flavoring in, and shake it around.

Taking it from them in class is like taking a steak from a feral dog.

...

So, this panel... What was the consensus on criticism? Good, bad, or ugly?

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at January 17, 2006 9:29 AM

The Criticism panel was pretty much positive. There was some good chewy discussion, though. And batting about of biases and the like.

All in all, a good thing.

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen posted at January 17, 2006 10:01 AM

I had ramen for the first time in a few years last night (I had this coupon for ten free bricks, I figured what the heck). Ehn. Maybe mixing the shrimp and beef flavoring packets was a bad idea. Even when I do have ramen, it's rarely as a meal, generally as a late night snack. Ming-I is a pretty good brand as the deep fried noodle rafts go, but you have to hit oriental groceries for it.

I had Kraft Spirals & Cheese a LOT in grad school and during my first postdoc, but I've finally reached the point where I can't stand it and must let it go fallow for a few more years.

Comment from: Escushion posted at January 17, 2006 10:13 AM

See more of you than last week, you mean? I can't imagine too many big editorials with Wednesday there. I mean, let's be realistic! :p

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at January 17, 2006 10:18 AM

Hey, you two go ahead and enjoy your time this week. We all got our own websites to run, y'know.

My mother served us mac&cheese as a main dish, with tuna mixed in. Ehhh. I served my kids mac&cheese with hamburger mixed in.

Comment from: Abby L. posted at January 17, 2006 10:41 AM

Oh no did anyone mention me? I depend on you for my vanity and suchlike, as I can't google search people's words. Until ohnorobot spreads and starts to update dynamically, I can't vanity-google people's words. It's a sad state.

AAAAANYWAYYYY! What brand of natural mac n cheese was it? Because if you're looking for a new brand, Wednesday, the one with the rabbit on it is pretty good. Although it might be local....

Comment from: Abby L. posted at January 17, 2006 10:55 AM

Oh dear, I didn't mean to repeat myself like that. I'm going to bed. :/

Comment from: Darrin_Bright posted at January 17, 2006 11:05 AM

Whenever I see something or someone professing the benefits of being "All Natural", I generally point out that hemlock, arsenic, and carbon monoxide are also completely "All Natural". Nature red in tooth and claw, and all that.

Comment from: GregC posted at January 17, 2006 11:10 AM

As I get older my tastes have gravitated to Kraft Shells and Cheese. I love squeezing the "cheese sauce" out of the packet. It's like performance art... that you eat!

Comment from: GregC posted at January 17, 2006 11:12 AM

Damn, I hate to double post but Annies is the brand with the bunny on it. Their mac and cheese is pretty good. Unless you get the parmesan. Did you get the parmesan? I had to bury it in the back yard.

Comment from: larksilver posted at January 17, 2006 11:16 AM

I grew up on Kraft Mac & Cheese. Heck, it's so beloved here in Texas that you can buy a shaker bottle of the powdery-cheesey stuff and put it on other things. I've tried it on popcorn... yuuuuuum. I'm not sure what else I would put it on, though. Granted, I can't eat popcorn in peace in my house except on the rare occasion that my significant other isn't home. He has a raging corn allergy, but yearns for popcorn; apparently, in his pre-allergy days, he was a junkie.

Ramen noodles are a staple in my life, I'm afraid. I keep some in my desk at work, and on the occasion that I don't break for lunch (at least once a week), and/or I forget to bring a lunch, ramen gets me through the day. Same thing at home; there are days when the mere thought of cooking something for myself exhausts me after a stressful day at work - it's either cereal or soup, and often the ramen wins because it's warm.

I'm very choosy about flavors, however: lime shrimp is my favorite flavor, but I made the mistake of buying the kind in the cup the other day, and it has these nasty little round ... things.. in it, they call them shrimp, but they're so so gross (oh the horror! I can still remember what they taste like). Other favorites include picante chicken, and hot chili.

My sweety once bought shrimp flavor for me, and I ended up tossing the flavor packets and mixing in my own seasonings. That stuff was nasty, and I love real shrimp - not that flavor packets even vaguely resemble the "real" thing, of course.

Comment from: Kristofer Straub posted at January 17, 2006 11:19 AM

I love that it's called "Kraft Dinner." What are we having tonight? Dinner. I know, but what is it? It's dinner. That could be anything.

Comment from: Howard Tayler posted at January 17, 2006 11:20 AM

It would appear that I need to post my recipe for "mall-fried ramen" over at chupaqueso.com for you people. Once you've fried ramen, you'll never go back to just having soup.

Comment from: larksilver posted at January 17, 2006 11:27 AM

Kraft actually also makes a spaghetti dinner in a box that my mother loves. We were raised on it, and I never thought twice.

That is, until the day that I learned how to make my own sauce, or for goodness' sake, how to doctor the sauce outta the jar at least. yeesh. Unless it's Newman's own. mmmmmm sockarooni...

Howard: what is it with you and fried foods? Are you obsessed? Granted, I am now dying for the recipe, of course, out of rabid curiosity... but I'm beginning to wonder if this is some sort of variant on the addiction some men have to their backyard grill.

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen posted at January 17, 2006 12:08 PM

Wal-Mart carries Annie's around here. I had their deluxe shells and cheese sauce version for a few months before starting to tire of it. It's better than the Kraft version.

Comment from: PerfessorEvil posted at January 17, 2006 12:16 PM

Hey Eric,
I know Baycon is your "fun" convention, but are you going to be on any panels this year?

Comment from: Pooga posted at January 17, 2006 12:16 PM

My mother served us mac&cheese as a main dish, with tuna mixed in. Ehhh. I served my kids mac&cheese with hamburger mixed in.
Believe it or not, Mac&Cheese tuna caserole is the *only* way I've ever experienced Kraft Dinner. That was how my mom made it growing up. Which probably explains my complete lack of interest in ever having Mac & Cheese again, despite loving cheese and cheese products in just about every other form. Well that and the fact that the only other M&C I got growing up was school cafeteria M&C.

On the other hand, it may just be my deep-seated psychological imbalance that says pasta must have a tomato-based sauce to be edible. Pizza is the same way. I'm working on overcoming both situations (my brother's creamy pesto helped me make great strides in the former), but I've yet to either order Mac & Cheese at a restaurant or fix myself a box of the stuff at home.

Comment from: Mario posted at January 17, 2006 12:40 PM

Italian parents = No mac & cheese for me. I'm unclear as to whether or not this is a good thing. :)

OTOH, I did spend a few years eating pasta only with a little butter and parmesan cheese. I was a bit of a brat....

Comment from: Archon Divinus posted at January 17, 2006 12:40 PM

I used to eat Kraft Dinner a lot as a kid, but I can't stand to eat it more than once every couple of months. I prefer Ramen. I love ramen.

Comment from: Tangent posted at January 17, 2006 12:53 PM

I cheat. I absolutely hate the cardboard pasta they have in the Kraft Dinners. So I started dumping the pasta, using some real pasta, and using the cheese mix, but that's a tad expensive (well, more expensive than just eating the Kraft Dinners).

I even tried making real mac and cheese but it never quite turned out very good. Or looking good at least. Until finally someone told me about Velveta, the pretend-cheese. ;)

Now I gleefully use Barilla pasta (more often than not), add in four slices of Velveta, and have a fairly cheap but decent pasta-and-cheese dinner. Usually for breakfast. Because, you know, I'm insane. ;)

So... podcasts of the Arisia panels? :D

Rob H., who couldn't go what with a car that stalls out at stoplights and then stalls out again when you restart it and then shift from park to drive...

Comment from: dreamshade posted at January 17, 2006 2:04 PM

You should have put some fancy ketchup on it. Y'know, dijon ketchup. I wonder if Canadians are tired of hearing references to that song by now.

Comment from: DarkStar posted at January 17, 2006 2:07 PM

It's not just the Kraft Dinner though. It is , as often as not, what you put in the KD to make it just that much more. For starters, add some medium-old cheddar. This makes it thicker and richer and better.

Then go nuts with your favourite sauce. I've tried just about everything in KD, and liked a lot of it. My wife likes putting a bit of Dijon Mustard in hers. The staple at my place growing up was Ketchup. But I've gone as far as BBQ sauce, HP Sauce, and a variety of chilli sauces (I like mine spicier). My staple, right now is a good salsa. Just makes it yum.

And for the record, tuna casserole is bad. But hamburger casserole is excellent (and easy to make, for those with Xtreem Bachelor Chef Skillz!). KD is chemically preserved and corporately sold comfort food.

Comment from: Kail Panille posted at January 17, 2006 2:45 PM

Kraft Dinner: Oh God yes. I grew up in Kansas, by the way, but we still called it Kraft Dinner (Mom's from PA, maybe that's it). There's this big green bowl that we always used for Mac and Cheese when I was growing up. I've carried it with me wherever I've gone, and I won't fix Kraft Dinner without it.

Ramen: I'm with Mr. Tayler on this one (fried ramen >> ramen soup). I'll have to look to see what his version is like, but here's mine:

Sautee stir fry stuff (chopped onion, crushed garlic, whatever meat was cheap this week, mushrooms, sprouts, kittens, whatever). Add cooked and drained ramen. Stir in an egg and some teriyaki sauce. Fry until safe to eat. Eat.

Eating on the cheap can be tasty.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at January 17, 2006 2:46 PM

To me, Kraft dinner just tastes like plastic. And pasta is just a medium for gallons upon gallons of tomato sauce. The thick stuff, the kind you have to chew but slides down the throat in an explosion of tomato-y goodness.

And I miss having popcorn. I really ought to get a hot-air popper, which makes infinitely better popcorn than any other variety.

Comment from: quiller posted at January 17, 2006 2:46 PM

Cayenne pepper works well on Kraft Mac and Cheese to, umm, kick it up a notch.

I've been having the Trader Joes brand lately, as I do most of my grocery shopping there. The flavor of it is fine, but it doesn't stick to the noodles really well. Like most of my bachelor meals, I tend to cut up a precooked sausage and throw it in for extra protein and flavor.

Annie Chun's Udon noodle bowl is my new Ramen. Not as cheap, but still pretty much water, flavoring and starch, though Annie's throws in some dehydrated vegetables. My MSG tolerance is not what it once was.

Comment from: Prodigal posted at January 17, 2006 2:52 PM

Kraft's EZ-Mac is awesomeness in a pair of packets.

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen posted at January 17, 2006 3:04 PM

By the time I gave up and let Kraft spirals & cheez go fallow, I was adding the following to it: an ounce of finely shredded mozzarella, a tablespoon of grated romano, a few shakes of garlic powder, sometimes some chopped pepperoni or a dash of pepper, and usually a little more milk than the instructions called for because all that extra stuff tended to gum things up otherwise. :)

Comment from: Ford Dent posted at January 17, 2006 3:39 PM

EZ-Mac is cheesy sludge not fit for mortal consumption.

You gotta make it in a pot or not at all, I'm thinking. Macaroni was not meant for the microwave.

Comment from: mara posted at January 17, 2006 4:35 PM

Excuse me? MY NAME HAS NOT BEEN DROPPED NEARLY ENOUGH NOR HAS MENTION BEEN MADE OF EXACTLY HOW I CAME TO HIJACK YOUR BLOG.

Ugh!

Some friends!

HMPH!!!!

My new best friend Tim Berners-Lee is going to knife you.

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at January 17, 2006 4:56 PM

Tim Berners-Lee wouldn't knife me. My stuff usually validates.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at January 17, 2006 6:21 PM

Now to inflict my pain on all of you:

Things in this thread I absolutely cannot stand:

Tuna.
Chili.
Pasta sauce with any texture at all.
Pesto (sketchy on this one, think I hated it but will try it again next time an opportunity arises because hey maybe I'll like it now and I'm a masochist like that)
Mustard.
Dijon Mustard.
Dijon anything.
BBQ sauce.
Hot Pepper anything.
Salsa.
Onion.
Garlic.
Mushrooms (actually, learning to tolerate those in certain settings!)
Pepperoni.

And the grand finale...

Cheese.
Hatehatehate it. When I was about twelve, on one of the many totally-understandable make-Amy-eat-more-foods kicks, my parents forced me to eat something with your standard cheese on it. I threw up. Not because I have any allergy; because it was just that bad. Meanwhile, I love Cheez-Its, Cheetos and every other milk product, all to distraction (wait, if Sour Cream and Cream Cheese are milk products I'm lying, because hate them too).

A few years ago, at a family reunion, doing my usual "maybe THIS TIME I'll like it!" thing, I had a little macaroni and cheese, and announced that to my incredible delight I could taste (along with the still-despicable cheese taste) a similarity in flavor to Cheez-It. I was on Cloud Nine, cuz I figured it was only a matter of time before I could leverage that into healthy cheese tolerance.

It turned out the person who made it ran out of cheese and crumbled some Cheez-Its into the dish, so there went that.

So there. That's for all ranting on about the awesomeness of Mac and Cheese, which ought to be the perfect food for a lazy pasta-holic like me, but is instead inedible. Dangit!

And for the record, I can often tolerate a little bit of pizza with cheese on it, although the vast majority of the time I just pull the cheese off, scrape excess sauce off so the texture doesn't make me gag, and eat the delicious, wonderful puffy flavorful bread.

Comment from: whymy posted at January 17, 2006 6:28 PM

mmmm... Ramen. the cheeper the better!

Comment from: Ardaniel posted at January 17, 2006 7:08 PM

Sriracha sauce is the one true Kraft Dinner add-on.

Comment from: Polychrome posted at January 17, 2006 7:17 PM

Siwangmu, what do you eat? Your diet must be horribly bland.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at January 17, 2006 7:38 PM

Other than pesto sauce (which I'm real iffy on; only a few people do it well, which might be why Siwangmu doesn't like it), I love everything on siwangmu's list in one form or another. Though oddly, I can have hot peppers but not mild bell peppers - I'm allergic to the latter.

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen posted at January 17, 2006 7:46 PM

Yeah, a bad experience can put you off a foodstuff for a long time. I once made the mistake as a kid of putting port wine cheese spread (which I liked) on cinnamon graham crackers (which I loved).

GUH.

It was years before I could handle cinnamon in any form again, and I never regained my liking for port wine cheese spread.

Comment from: Alexis Christoforides posted at January 17, 2006 8:10 PM

Dijon Mustard.

I wasn't the least bit offended or bewildered by your list until I got to this item.

I EAT GREY POUPON WITH A SPOON FOR BREAKFAST AND DINNER.

I'm not convinced you exist.

I had a few bad cheese-related experiences myself, and could not eat cheese unless it was completely melted in pizza or a sandwich. Thankfully, I've recently went over it and now love me some cheddar for midnight snack. I'm already a Chupaqueso.com regular.

Comment from: oball posted at January 17, 2006 8:17 PM

To the people who claim pasta is only for use with tomato-based sauces: have you never tried pasta carbonara? It's the best pasta sauce there is - it's got eggs, cream, bacon - it's fantastic.

Comment from: Robert Hutchinson posted at January 17, 2006 9:22 PM

Most of what's on siwangmu's list seems to have "spicy" as a common factor. I don't think a diet without spicy foods is necessarily a bland diet.

My foods-to-avoid tend to be things that don't have much taste (because not being able to taste them while I'm eating them creeps me out), as well as a lot of vegetables--peas, beans, carrots, and potatoes being my only common exceptions.

Mara: I would not be surprised if E&W weren't exactly *sure* how you hijacked their blog, considering. :)

Comment from: Daemonic posted at January 17, 2006 9:29 PM

Kraft Dinner + Frank's Red Hot Sauce + Weiners == WIN!

(Yes, I'm a weird eater)

And yes, its not healthy, but who cares.

Oh, and props to the guy using Velveeta as a cheese sauce. Doesn't it make a great sauce when melted? MMmmm... velveeta.

Comment from: Mario posted at January 17, 2006 9:36 PM

Tonight, I had leftover fettucini in a slightly lemony cream sauce (like alfredo, but lighter), with peas & salmon.

It's times like this I love being Italian :)

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at January 17, 2006 11:01 PM

Robert Hutchinson: Naw, we know exactly how she did it.

Comment from: Maritza Campos posted at January 17, 2006 11:29 PM

Pasta is very good with tomato-based sauces, but it's also good with mushroom-cream sauce, or asparagus-cream sauce.

Of course, nothing beats Sex Macaroni with Extra Cheese.

Maritza
CRFH.net

Comment from: miyaa posted at January 17, 2006 11:43 PM

As I've been told many times by Food Network Television, the secret to making fabulous mac & cheese is to make the cheese sauce separate from the macroni, and using one of the five "mother sauces", a Bechamel (white sauce) specifically. Put them together with flour & eggs as the glue, add bread crumbs, and viola, mac & cheese to die for. (I wonder if there is something wrong with me viewing Alton Brown as my hero.)

Cheddar works well, but I've found that mozzarella and pepper jack cheese (or a mexican or pizza blends) make killer mac & cheeses.

Wieners are okay, but hamburger, steak, or chili are great add-ons too.

Siwangmu: I think you have an overly sensitive tongue.

And there's a "Trimuph, the Comic Dog, Grey Poupon mustard joke" in this thread somewhere.

Comment from: Tangent posted at January 18, 2006 2:25 AM

Mixing ham chunks into mac and cheese is actually better than hamburger, steak, or chili.

Rob H.

Comment from: Aerin posted at January 18, 2006 2:39 AM

I make the best homemade macaroni and cheese. I got the recipie from my mom, and I've been making it since I was about 12. (If a Bechamel sauce is what I think it is, it's pretty damn close to the recipie miyaa described.) It uses a full pound of cheddar cheese. I like the Kraft stuff, but it's not not real mac 'n' cheese unless it has a quarter inch of cheddar broiled on top.

As a standard college student, I keep Costco-sized cases of Easy Mac and Maruchan chicken flavored Ramen in my room at all times, but I can't handle either more than once or twice a week, because the nutritional content is so very low.

I'm such a cheese junkie. I routinely buy a big bag of preshredded Mexican blend and eat it straight as a snack. Mmmm, now I want to go grocery shopping...

Comment from: halbert posted at January 18, 2006 5:18 AM

I love food. Practically everything mentioned above is something I like.

I just wanted to add, I find talk of how exactly a pallete is trained interesting, and ran across this article about it:

http://www.idlewords.com/2003/03/french_week_on_school_lunches.htm

On the other hand, you find 'convenieance' food everywhere. I myself like to add onions, carrots, chicken and an egg to my ramen.

Comment from: elvedril posted at January 18, 2006 5:40 AM

My parents are Polish, I ate home-cooked meals as a kid. My only experiences with Mac and Cheese were at a friend's house who would mix the stuff with chili for a dish that tasted pretty good.

As for Top Ramen, that stuff got me through college. Imagine my pleasant suprise on finding that they stock the stuff in Poland too (though in slightly different flavors).

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen posted at January 18, 2006 8:08 AM

Alton Brown is worthy of respect, love and worship.

Comment from: Escushion posted at January 18, 2006 8:58 AM

I'm going to hate myself for this later, but...

Without the Kraft, Eric, you had the Blue Box Blues? :D

Comment from: Matt Buchwald posted at January 18, 2006 9:07 AM

Fifty-some comments and not one of you saying, "But it's Kraft Cheese and Macaroni? The internet has failed!

Comment from: mara posted at January 18, 2006 9:35 AM

To the people who claim pasta is only for use with tomato-based sauces: have you never tried pasta carbonara? It's the best pasta sauce there is - it's got eggs, cream, bacon - it's fantastic.
I love you. That is my favoritest pasta in the universe. I RESPECT YOUR OPINION MY GOOD FELLOW!

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at January 18, 2006 10:28 AM

Actually, I was mostly just exaggerating when I said pasta is only good for tomato sauce. I tend to overstate the glory that is the tomato.

Truth is, I'm quite fond of alfredo sauce as well, and Chicken Sausage Aurora is an incredible sauce. You could probably do well by mixing in some spinach as well. I really ought to make that the next time I have company.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at January 18, 2006 10:38 AM

For the record, that particularly heavy leaning towards the spicy on that list is partly a result of there having been so many spicy foods mentioned... I have just as much trouble with, say, complex meat dishes or casseroles.

Sometimes I just tell people I'm allergic to flavor :). As far as what I do actually eat, I adore fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans, every carbohydrate they make (mm, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes), meats when they're of a texture I can stand (ie very well-cooked, thinly sliced if it's hamburger and pretty much no ham, but I could never go veggie because I'd lose Dinty Moore beef stew, Thanksgiving turkey and, er, McDonald's hamburgers (don't kill me! Until just recently they were the only hamburgers thin and plain enough for there to be no chewy disgusting bits of texture I'd have to try and discreetly get into a napkin if I tried a restaurant burger!) (My life is kinda gross, isn't it?), and also because going vegetarian if you hate cheese, is, well, a lot of work). I devour salty foods (sunflower seeds are the food of the gods) and am building up an excellent reportoire of Asian foods I can eat (ginger on my salad at Japanese restaurants=first salad dressing I could ever stand), because I like almost every kind of sauce and such I've run into in that sphere.

Yeah, definitely going into this too much, but what the hey.

Comment from: Joshua Macy posted at January 18, 2006 10:50 AM

Here's the link for Alton Brown's Baked Mac and Cheese recipe.

I used to think I didn't like macaroni and cheese, but then I tried making this. It really is to die for.

Comment from: Tephlon posted at January 18, 2006 11:03 AM

As for Ramen noodles: It's my favourite "sunday afternoon, when you wake up, after you've had a great saturday-night"-food.

I just add lots of vegetables, mushrooms and soy-sauce, (Basically I make soup) and then add the noodles in the end.

It's the healthiest version of Ramen you'll ever eat.

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at January 18, 2006 2:27 PM

All this "wah, mu's palate is oversensitive and her diet must be bland and HERE IS WHAT YOU ADD TO PASTA" stuff is creeping me out. I tell you a thing: notwithstanding the garlic, we line up almost exactly.

I probably go farther. Example: the idea of pasta sauces just freaks me out no end. (Kraft Dinner doesn't count, and no, I can't tell you why it doesn't count.) Putting things in KD, similarly, is like eating crunchy peanut butter and JESUS PEOPLE THERE'S BITS IN THERE. It's just wrong. Wrong.

Real cheese is also wrong.

Pasta is best appreciated with, at most, some small amount of butter or olive oil. Maybe a dash of oregano and salt. Maybe. Anything else sounds utterly overwhelming at best and nauseating at worst. If you want meat, there's a perfectly good plate over there that you can put your meat on and enjoy it for what it is.

I'm freaked out now. Ew ew ew.

Comment from: William_G posted at January 18, 2006 3:19 PM

I'm of the following opinion when it comes to food:

That which doesn't make you puke makes you feel yummy.

Comment from: quiller posted at January 18, 2006 3:36 PM

There's just no gray areas with you, is there William_G! ;->

You think we can blow this up to a full blown food drama? Personally, I have to disagree with everything Wednesday says here. Crunchy Peanut Butter is the only way to go, a good marinara sauce is wonderful, and there is just nothing to be said to someone who ditches real cheese in front of a guy who was born in Wisconsin, raised in Vermont, and lives in California. The Cheese is Life! (Is it not just a bit scary when fake cheese has to specify that it is food? Processed Cheese Food. I swear it screams doubleplusungood to me.)

Comment from: imtroubl posted at January 18, 2006 3:56 PM

QUOTE: I was often quite drunk. I had my first real margarita experience. It's worth noting that by the first third of said margarita, I was drunk. So, you know, I'm a big ol' wuss. END QUOTE

You know, hearing eric say this somehow does not suprise me considering this little tidbit found here: http://www.eyrie.org/superguy/authors/sabre.html

QUOTE: Eric's middle name is traditional. It comes from his ancestor, Alfred Burns, who named his first child Alfred Alfred Burns. Each eldest male child since has carried the middle name of Alfred. Alfred Burns -- a sea captain -- was mostly famous for getting drunk on watch, falling overboard, drowning, and being kept by the crew in a pickle barrel (with brine and pickles still within) until they could return to the shores of Maine.END QUOTE

It's nice to see that the Burn genetics is still stong and alive in this day and age. I guess someone will have to buy Weds a pickle barrell.

Comment from: Plaid Phantom posted at January 18, 2006 5:10 PM

Hmm...Now we may just have the means to blackmail the Mr. Burns to do our bidding! And he doesn't even kno--wait a minute. Curses!

Comment from: miyaa posted at January 19, 2006 12:40 AM

I actually knew a guy in college who was allergic to tomatoes, so he had to have pizza without the tomato sauce, which freaked out every pizza place in the world when he makes his requests.

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at January 19, 2006 2:44 AM

Nowadays, if you want pizza without tomato sauce, you can just go to California Pizza Kitchen, which has a great number of things which they call "pizza," and which are actually quite tasty if you simply eat them without thinking of them as being even the least bit like actual pizza.

The first time I ate there, I got the one thing on their menu which most closely resembled pizza, for purposes of calibration; this proved to be a deadly mistake.

The next time I had an opportunity, I just ordered the item which seemed to have the most interesting combination of foods on it; and they actually delivered all of those interesting foods to me on an edible crust! How novel!

Comment from: Robert Hutchinson posted at January 19, 2006 9:35 AM

Weds:

Robert Hutchinson: Naw, we know exactly how she did it.

Um ... (blink blink) ... I was playing along. With the hijacking and the caffeine injected directly into Mara's spinal column and the things. A joke.

I love mixing mac&cheese and hot dogs together, but I always get the proportions wrong.

Comment from: larksilver posted at January 19, 2006 12:00 PM

Wednesday, Siwangmu: I am amazed. Astounded! My significant other is vindicated. He said there were people in the world with choosier palates, and now I guess I've found them.

He won't eat soooo many things:
mushrooms
yams/sweet potatoes
beef which has been frozen
peas
fish or seafood of any kind
ground turkey (I'm kind of with him on this one)

There's also a fairly lengthy list of things he will only eat when prepared a certain way - stir-fried but not baked, etc. - which I won't list here.

This choosiness doesn't seem like much, until you compound it with the big one, the humongoid allergy: CORN. That's right, nothing with corn. Did you know that about 85-90% of everything has some freakin' corn product in it? Corn syrup, corn starch, corn protein.. oy. Thankfully, corn syrup doesn't bother him in small amounts - supposedly because the syrup-making process does the "work" of digesting it for him. Still..

Augh.

Anyway, I'm just impressed that someone else's mate/mother has had the adventure of feeding a Finicky Person Like Him! I'm not alone! Yayyyyyy!

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at January 19, 2006 12:38 PM

There's hope. Corn sensitivity can go away. My wife's did. (About the time she was diagnosed diabetic ...)

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at January 19, 2006 12:56 PM

Actually, the pickiest eater I ever knew was the younger brother of my best man. He ate only hamburgers, hot dogs, white bread, peanut butter, grape jelly, vanilla ice cream, chocolate ice cream, pancakes, maple syrup, and milk.

Comment from: William_G posted at January 19, 2006 2:37 PM

Look, all I know is that I can eat Korean pizza with all of the weird shit they got on it. I can eat anything.

Comment from: KenM posted at January 19, 2006 5:16 PM

All this talk of food and weird things you can put in Kraft Dinner (so *that's* what Barenaked Ladies were talking about . . .) reminded me of the scene in Chungking Express where the cop eats 30 cans of pineapple. It's a good movie, but man did I ever not want canned pineapple after that.

And talking about picky eating, I'm Jewish, and my suitemate can't eat dairy, so we've come to an agreement when a bunch of us go out to pizza (there's a really good pizza place in town called American Flatbread. If they sell them frozen in your supermarket, or you're from VT, try them.) We split one with no meat or dairy. Turns out it's pretty good, and you can eat more pizza whene there's no cheese on it.

Comment from: Robert Hutchinson posted at January 19, 2006 9:52 PM

beef which has been frozen

So, does he not eat any beef, or does he live real close to a slaughterhouse?

Comment from: larksilver posted at January 19, 2006 11:12 PM

Robert: No, he eats beef. But only if it's fresh when I buy it. If it's been frozen, he swears he can taste the difference. Even in restaurants... which can be a pain, I assure you. heh.

I have tested him, too, the bugger. I borrowed a pound of frozen ground beef from my sister one night and cooked it before he came home. He kept saying "the meat tastes rotten!" "Did you check the date?" Finally, he just ate his vegetables and scrounged for something else.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at January 20, 2006 12:42 AM

Wednesday:
.
.
.
Dude. I mean... dude. "Example: the idea of pasta sauces just freaks me out no end." I was trying to make myself sound less bad with that, because I have worked hard to gain my mild tolerance for the sauce, but tolerance is pretty much defined as avoiding all the textured bits and green things and then after I've gotten a certain amount of the taste in me sticking to the noodles with, like, red-food-colored water on them.

And then: "Pasta is best appreciated with, at most, some small amount of butter or olive oil." My God, such Word, it astounds me. I have no idea if I like oregano, but perhaps I should look into it.

And this: "If you want meat, there's a perfectly good plate over there that you can put your meat on and enjoy it for what it is." So hilarious, so true.

But most of all:
"like eating crunchy peanut butter and JESUS PEOPLE THERE'S BITS IN THERE."
I am now so, so frightened. I am having a full on I didn't know what I felt until you said it thing. This is WEIRD! (I swear, I wasn't gonna come and go on more about my food preferences, but I couldn't not say anything)

Comment from: Robert Hutchinson posted at January 20, 2006 1:17 AM

I'm probably displaying my ignorance, but is beef easily found that hasn't been frozen at some point?

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at January 20, 2006 1:54 AM

So, does he not eat any beef, or does he live real close to a slaughterhouse?

The cows who live next door eye him with grave suspicion when he walks past.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at January 20, 2006 3:00 PM

"...like eating crunchy peanut butter and JESUS PEOPLE THERE'S BITS IN THERE."

For the record, I misread that and thought Wednesday saw ground-up Jesuses in chunky peanut butter. I'm finding the mental image unearthly fascinating in a Salvidor Dali sort of way. Thanks.

Comment from: larksilver posted at January 20, 2006 10:06 PM

Robert H: If the stuff in the grocery store that's non-frozen when I buy it has been frozen in the past, please for the love of the poor goslings do not tell my mate. He thinks it's fresh, and does not whine about it when it's cooked. That's good enough for me.

heh.

Comment from: gwalla posted at January 22, 2006 3:23 AM

I grew up on macaroni & cheese made with veggie-mac and real Tillamook cheddar. I can't stomach artificial mac&cheese. Pretty much the only thing I can eat "American cheese" on, in fact, is fast food cheeseburgers.

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