Comfort Stew

I’ve had a lot going on lately, but one weekend I found myself alone in my apartment with a math set that wouldn’t die, two tests in the next week, and the realization that both my internship this summer and my classes next semester were going to be a whole lot of work. (Surprise!) So I did the rational thing and made stew–er–soup. I’m not quite sure. My process was as follows.

I rummaged through my stock of cans, the refrigerator and the freezer and came up with some pinto beans, a can of diced tomatoes, a can of tomato sauce, some milk, some frozen mixed vegetables, and a third of a bag of tater tots. I also found some dried out onion in the fridge and some onions on top of the fridge which I couldn’t remember whose they were, but it looked safe to eat neither. I poured the tomatoes and beans into a pot together. Oh, look, chili! I decided I really liked tomatoes. I poured in the rest of the dry ingredients. It looked less like a soup or a stew, and more like a Heap of Things in a Pot. Which is what it was. So I added the tomato sauce and used my milk to clean out the tomato sauce can before adding it. (The milk that is, not the can.) I looked at the results.

Some time ago my suitemate was watching this cooking show called Chopped. It followed the basic premise that the contestants were chefs in a weird world were they had twenty minutes to cook something appetizing with ingredients so random one wondered whether anyone had gone shopping for this segment or whether the contents of all the studio’s mini-fridges had been pooled. It was obviously a simulation of college cookery. The show was unlike college cookery in that the servings were smaller than what I’d feed a cat, and, like cats, the judges wouldn’t eat anything they thought looked less than perfect. This soup was not perfect.

Some people look for a strong hearty red color in their soups or sometimes a sweet and savory orange. This soup was pink. (Note to self: too much milk.) The judges from Chopped could probably come up with some very apt and unsavory descriptions of its color. But, being neither a cat nor a judge, but a college student, I ate it anyway. It was delicious.

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Tupperware: A Phantom Menace

A new menace to the world order has come to my attention. Even in the most ordered democracies, the presence of just one of these agents introduces entropy and initiates a swift downfall into chaos. Even now, it lurks unsuspected in our homes. This phantom menace? Tupperware.

Like most people, I find Tupperware to be a convenient way to store and transport leftovers. Few people consider that it both contributes to obesity, propagates waste, and encourages people the likes of Martha Stewart.

  • The ability to transport food encourages people to do so to ridiculous extremes. It is true that these people could buy vending machine chips for lunch instead of bringing a sandwich with them, but then, lunch is an unsustainable added expense, a privilege, and the vending machine economy is stimulated. So I say, support your local vendors especially if you live on a campus almost entirely supported by restaurant and vending machine revenue.
  • The availability of storage encourages people to make too much food. But we all know what happens to leftovers in the back of the refrigerator. They evolve and make evil plans against the nostrils of all mankind until someone notices and squelches the revolution with a trash bag.
  • All those partial matched sets of Tupperware came from somewhere. The chief culprits are people the likes of Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray, who endorse the containers after they have been designed and manufactured. I sincerely doubt Betty Crocker personally examined your sandwich box. Will you trust your BLT to someone who sells their opinions on sandwich boxes so freely? I thought not.
Then there are the practical disadvantages of Tupperware. These include their inability to actually stack like normal dishes, to actually store food, and to reduce dirty dishes.
  • No matter how many times you buy a matched set of Tupperware and throw out the rest, in a few weeks you will always find that the containers no longer fit into that neat little box and have spread throughout the entire cupboard–especially if you let someone else do the dishes. (Why are there so many different shapes of containers?) Only half of the original set will still be there; and the only lids left will belong to the lost containers. In addition, someone will have the brilliant idea that they can reuse a cottage cheese container. Moreover, someone else will have found another piece in the car that you haven’t seen since you left college, and then there will be that other piece someone left at a potluck and moved away….

    Tupperware

    Can no one stack them right?

  • Tupperware lids are tricky things. Nine times out of ten, they don’t fit on the containers they’re actually supposed to fit on, unless that is, you have ten strong men and a trained monkey. The other ten percent of the time, they are obviously too loose, and you can throw them out. But the lids leak. They don’t always leak, or else that could be discovered while washing dishes. They leak the day one packs chili and has a major essay in one’s bag. Devious things.
  • I’m not sure whether Tupperware was actually meant to reduce dirty dishes, or just make the fridge easier to pack. Considering that dirty containers are created every time one uses Tupperware, I tend to doubt the first. Considering that once the food is in the Tupperware, it becomes invisible, either because of the cloaking field surrounding all normal Tupperware, or because one only opens it because one thought that the re-purposed margarine container actually had margarine in it, I also doubt that it’s worth it to put these things in the refrigerator in the first place.
So I ask you, fair readers: Is it worth it? One must ask whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous food storage. Or to take arms against a sea of lids, and by opposing boycott them. And speaking of slings and arrows, I should finish preparing for my physics test. Adieu.

Look out for the flying biscuits!

Returned, and there were slight amounts of rejoicing. (yay!) (…over ice cream) Of course, from my posting habits, it would be a little hard to tell that I was ever gone.

I spend slightly more amounts of time on facebook however, and there I was missed, if only by one person. I threw a sucker at her to console her after the ordeal.

Mercifully, my attempts at making hardtack last week were glossed over by the trip. It wasn’t that it wasn’t real hardtack; on the contrary, I got an actual recipe from a circa WWI online cook book. The problem was that, my siblings , by their definition of the word, wanted good hardtack which, in my opinion, happens to be a contradiction of the word. For clarity, it is not a “cracker” but a hunk of hard biscuit whose formula I could probably beat when I was seven and playing around in the flour.

However, we will suppose that they actually did want good hardtack and not what my exact brain assigned to the word. If we assume that, I will readily admit I’m not up to the task, being that the experiment was the first baked good I’d made in months, I’m not used to wheat dough anymore, I wouldn’t be able to taste/feel the texture of the dough in my mouth, and all sorts of other lame excuses (etc.) BUT, after annoying my sister endlessly with my definition and refusal, I promise that for her next birthday, I’ll make it by her definition, if possible. (“Happy Birthday Christina : ) Guess what I got you…”)

Unfortunately, as Christina herself says, “hardened biscuits make good projectiles if kept long enough…”

In other news, Philmont is a go. Woot! I hear rumors of them only recently (ten years ago is, in my opinion) ceasing to make people drink their dish water. This tiding holds slight foreboding. However, the mere mention of the name brings images of military-fit people to the mind of the seasoned scouter and would be something really neat to tell about;….if I survive…..

In which Joanna talks about cake.

Hey, There is big gap between posts, I know. And, because I need to do a lot of stuff, in all probability, the gaps will grew more frequent.

Right now, however, I get to rave about how hard it is to find fudge/cake without flour. (See the “Who am I?” page.) I want to make a cake for my birthday at the end of next month; my main candidates being cheese cake and fudge. The thing is, that I have had cheesecake for like every friends party for the last three years, and I am not sure I want a chocolate cake, chocolate fudge that is. We could do taffy. But knowing the people I know, half of them would get incredibly hyper;and the other half would take one bite and declare they had eaten enough sugar to last them a year, or at least to the end of my party,…..meaning leftovers. And you know, “I don’t want to eat any taffy-cake either.”
So at my mom’s twenty-seconds-ago suggestion I will freeze random fruit pieces inside a block of ice cream, call it a cake, and save the trouble of getting any additional ice cream to go with the cake.

Hmmm…..Never mind,… getting ice cream to go with an ice cream cake might actually be really good………

When writing the title I realized something:” If I can write a whole post about food, I probably need to go eat, drink, or do something.” because of that startling new revelation I am going to end the post now. Bye.