Wednesday, August 20, 2008

RIP Dentyne Soft Chew

My favorite gum was discontinued sometime around the beginning of this year. I'm not sure why, but Dentyne decided to stop producing their Soft Chew line. In short, this was devastating for me. I'm not proud of it, but I had definitely developed an addiction to the Cool Frost flavor. It got so bad that I regularly scoured the internet, looking for obscure online candy dealers who still sold the stuff. But finally, last month, the well ran dry. There was none left, anywhere. So I was forced to switch to Orbit. What was really so great about Soft Chew? For one, it was soft; none of this Chiclet crap that Dentyne now peddles under the ridiculous product names of "Ice" and "Frost." Pop either one of these kinds of gum in your mouth, and within 30 seconds, you will be gnawing on a rock-hard pellet. No thank you. And unlike other brands, like Stride and, ironically, Extra, the flavor of the Dentyne Soft Chew really lasted (an extra, extra, extra long time, in fact). I've resigned myself to Orbit, because it seems to be the least crappy of any of these other brands. I'd still say that it loses its flavor pretty fast, probably after 3 to 4 minutes of chewing, but in other ways, it's relatively similar to the Soft Chew. Still, I really don't understand why a candy company would so abruptly deny the world of a much-loved confection. Oh, the injustice...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Hungry Hundred

The list of foods below is defined by the British food blog Very Good Taste as the 100 foods "every good omnivore should have tried at least once in their life." You're supposed to copy the list onto your blog, bold the items you've tried and cross out the ones you'd never eat.

Since I can't figure out how to format the text here to show anything as crossed out, I've only shown what I have already eaten. I also italicized things I'm pretty sure I've eaten but can't remember when and where. Huevos rancheros, for example: I'm sure I must have eaten them, or something close enough, but I can't give you a time and a place.

All in all, it's pathetic how few of these foods I've tried. I can only claim with absolute certainty that I've had 34 out of the 100, and some of the 66 I haven't tried, I'm pretty embarrassed about. Pho, for instance: I live less than a mile from the largest concentration of Pho restaurants in all of Chicago, and I know for sure I've never had it. Perhaps I'll have to remedy this situation in the near future.

Other things, I know I'll never try. Insects, horse, snake and probably the tasting menu at a Michelin three star restaurant. As much as I'd like to bold that last one, I don't think it's in the stars for me.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart (I'm counting it as the same thing from a vendor at sporting event...)
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel (I actually cooked this myself, for the famous Currier Feast of the Seven Fishes Christmas Eve Debacle)
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut (I don't understand the hype.)
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin (You should follow the link on this one...)
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong (I hate this.)
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish (I think I tried this for the first time at Berkshire. I don't know what possessed me to do that...)
95. Mole poblano (Yum.)
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Madison Memories

It's been over a week since we returned from our mini Madison vacation, but, like any vacation, I still wish it weren't over. The photos from above are of Lake Mendota, the farmland southwest of Madison, the capitol building, and the little fountain in the courtyard of our B & B.