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Category Archives: Wisconsin

Frozen Pizza Is A Very Bad Bargain

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We will limit this thought experiment to an average $4 or $5 frozen pizza to be had at the local rialto. This pizza will weigh in at about 1 pound. Let’s not complicate matters right now with talk of delivery and takeout style pizzas, which are really just magnified versions of the average cheapo monstrosity from the frozen food aisle.

For your 4-5 bucks, you get one stodgy pound of food with anywhere from one to two thousand calories. On average this pizza will have five ingredients: crust, sauce, cheese, and a meat or two. These are empty calories! The large amounts of fat and sodium insanity make this it an inefficient and poor quality source of protein.

Compare this with the scores of whole natural foods to be had for roughly a dollar per pound or less! Lentils are $1.08 per pound near me. Cabbage, squash, onions, and more can all be had for $1 per pound or less.

I’ve heard the argument that, of course, people only eat pizza because it tastes good! Which isn’t really true. America’s dietary habits say otherwise. I had a housemate once in the most liberal, hippie city in my state, and he ate a pizza almost every day. It seems to be the combo of succulent flavor and high calories that makes pizza so satisfying.

It all comes down to this: should the problem of malnutrition be solved before the issue of taste is considered? It takes a certain kind of weltschmerz to say no to that question, the same kind which instigates the purchase of cigarettes and lottery tickets every day. It’s probably the cigarettes which cause the ageustia which causes the need for such strong flavors anyway. Hellfire!

I wanted to make a snarky comment here about how ironic it is that I’m blathering about the basics of the produce section of the grocery store, but honestly. . . I don’t know enough about the produce section or the iron contents of its foods to do so. You don’t like my puns? Well maybe if you donated, my puns wouldn’t be so horrendous, and my logic so specious.

Photo Mar 18, 8 48 30 PM

One Dish Of Lentil Chow, 800-900 Calories, For $1.20 Or Less!

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Here’s a step-by-step photo how-to documenting the process I go through daily to cook the frugal and tasty and healthy meal that has come to represent almost 50% of my diet. This dish saved me from my college culinary life which was dominated by fish sticks, ramen, and popcorn! I call this dish lentil chow, and it keeps me hale and hearty. It’s based off of a “rice pilaf” recipe I found on Jacob Lund Fisker’s Early Retirement Extreme blog. I got sketched out while reading about arsenic in rice online once though. Maybe it was BS but I haven’t had rice since. Yes, I have tried this dish with bacon, and let it be said that it was good.

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I get my green lentils at Wally World near my house because they’re the cheapest around at $1.08 per pound. You can also order them online at Sam’s club by the big-ole-bucket. Red lentils are harder to find, and in my experience they can get a lot mushier when you cook with them. You have to be sure to sift through your lentils with your fingers and examine them because once in a blue moon you might encounter a pebble or something. . . it was alarming when it happened to me, but you get used to that sort of thing when you’re eating cheap, earthy foods. I’ll use about one and two thirds of that little cup of lentils you see there for this recipe.

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I like sweet yellow onions. Onions are cheap and pretty good for you, and they’re probably even better for you if you don’t cook them so like I do. I use one each time I cook this. I always discard the outer layer after cutting off the ends, chop it into about 5 cylindrical slices (not from pole to pole as some people do), then slice off little wedges from those larger slices until the whole onion is chopped to bits.

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I put those bits of onion into a pot or pan and add a good amount of extra virgin olive oil. Pompeian claims they don’t rest on their laurels, and I do like the price and decent taste.

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That’s where I set my burner for cooking the onions in the olive oil.

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This is an alternative and by no means mandatory little sub plot to our cooking story that you are living out vicariously through me. The vegetable you see here is Bok Choy. Use one stalk for a dish as an alternative to an onion or simply to add to the onion.

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Bok choy tends to be dirty so I rinse it under running water and rub off all the dirt with my thumb. I rip off the green, leafy parts before chopping the stalk up as the green parts are edible but don’t fare so well in the boiling oil. After it’s chopped cook the pieces with the onion slices in the olive oil.

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Once the onions (and perhaps bok choy) are looking this colour after cooking in the oil a while, you’re ready to progress to the next stage.

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I add about one and a half or more of these glasses of water to the olive oil and browned onions.

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Then I add one and a half (or more if I’m especially hungry) of these little cups of lentils to the water and stir it up a bit. Let the stuff simmer/bubble for a while, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and uneven cooking.

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Meanwhile, the cats and I cast lots to determine how exactly I shall season my dish. Just kidding about the molasses.

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This is not done.

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This is where I consider it done and cut it off. Sometimes if I’m lucky I’ll get the bottom layer to crisp a bit. . . I like the texture it gives to the dish. You can let it go longer and add more water if you keep stirring the stuff in order to let the lentils get softer.

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Then I pop it into my favourite bowl with my favourite seasoning and use my favourite spoon to chow down.

I did some rough calculations, and here’s what I figured for the calories and prices of a bowl of the stuff like you see above:

  • Lentils: 40 cents, 420 calories
  • Water and electricity: 10 cents
  • Olive oil: 25 cents, 360 calories
  • Onion: 25 cents, 50 calories
  • Bok Choy Stalk: 15 cents, 50 calories
  • Seasoning: 5 cents, 5 calories
  • Total: $1.20, 800-900 healthy, toothsome calories

If this post and the dish described within it enriched your life, consider donating to my own little lentil, onion, and olive oil fund! Believe me. . . if Paypal took lentils I would take them ;-).

Photo Mar 18, 8 48 30 PM

Le Conte de F√©es

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Howdy.

Rest assured… I haven’t given up yet. As if you were losing any sleep over it.

I’m working pretty hard on my paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, but in the meantime you can enjoy this simple fairytale I wrote for a French class in college. There might be a few, minor errors… but it was college ūüėČ

Il √©tait une fois…une princesse habitait dans un ch√Ęteau avec ses parents. Depuis qu’elle √©tait une petite fille, elle aimait beaucoup les contes de f√©es avec les sorciers, les licornes, les fant√īmes, et les personnages comme √ßa. Elle voulait devenir conteuse¬†! Mais √† cause de ses parents m√©chants, elle ne pouvait pas raconter les contes de f√©es¬†; ils voulaient qu’elle √©tudie le loi.

Une nuit, elle s’est d√©cid√©e d’aller en ville pour raconter les histoires. La ville √©tait √† c√īt√© d’une grande for√™t. En ville, elle a trouv√© une taverne, et elle y est entr√©e. Avant qu’elle pouvait commencer un conte de f√©es, les hommes ont tous remarqu√©, ¬ę¬†Voyez¬†! Une belle fille¬†!¬†¬Ľ Et puis ils se sont disput√©s √† cause de la princesse. Rapidement, un jeune homme a fait sortir la princesse sous escorte au for√™t.

Il lui a dit, ¬ę¬†Vous √™tes si belle¬†! Qu’est-ce que vous faites dans la taverne¬†?¬†¬Ľ

Elle lui a dit, ¬ę¬†Merci beaucoup pour me sauver, Monsieur¬†! Je ne voulais que raconter un conte de f√©es. Qui √™tes-vous¬†? Et qu’est-ce je peux faire pour vous rembourser¬†?¬†¬Ľ

¬ę¬†Je suis un prince en vacances. Et apr√®s demain, il faut que je parte.¬†¬Ľ

¬ę¬†Mais je suis une princesse¬†! S’il vous plait, laissez-moi faire quelque chose pour vous rembourser, Monsieur¬†Le Prince!¬†¬Ľ

¬ę¬†D’accord. Demain soir, faites un rendez-vous avec moi ici √† minuit, dans la for√™t. Pour me rembourser, racontez le meilleur conte de f√©es que vous connaissez.¬†¬Ľ

Et le prochaine soir, elle est venue dans la for√™t √† minuit pour lui raconter l’histoire. Mais quand elle est arriv√©e, il n’y avait pas d’un prince. Apr√®s avoir attendu une heure, un diable avec six bras et huit yeux est apparu¬†! Il a kidnapp√© la princesse et lui a amen√© √† une grotte.

¬ę¬†Je suis un diable¬†!¬†¬Ľ il a dit. ¬ę¬†Je ne mange que les princesses, et j’ai beaucoup faim¬†!¬†¬Ľ

¬ę¬†Attendez¬†!¬†¬Ľ elle a dit. ¬ę¬†Je suis d√©sol√©e, Monsieur Le Diable, mais je ne suis pas une princesse¬†!¬†¬Ľ

¬ę¬†Eeeh¬†!? Ce n’est pas vrai, je pense. Si tu n’es pas une princesse, qu’est-ce que tu es¬†?¬†¬Ľ

¬ę¬†Je suis une conteuse¬†! Je connais les meilleurs contes de f√©es au monde¬†!¬†¬Ľ

¬ę¬†Alors,¬†¬Ľ il a dit, ¬ę¬†si c’est la v√©rit√©, je ne te mangerai pas. Maintenant, il faut que tu racontes le meilleur conte de f√©es au monde¬†!¬†¬Ľ

Mais avant qu’elle pouvait commencer l’histoire, la diable a entendu un bruit √† la entr√©e. ¬ę¬†Quand je retourne, tu vas raconter l’histoire¬†!¬†¬Ľ Il est all√©, mais, apr√®s dix minutes, il n’est pas revenu. Le Prince est venu¬†!

¬ę¬†Monsieur Le Prince¬†! Oh mon Dieu¬†! Soyez prudent¬†! Il y a un m√©chant diable¬†!¬†¬Ľ

¬ę¬†Oui, je sais. Je l’ai tu√© avec mon √©p√©e. Encore une fois, je vous ai sauv√© la vie¬†!¬†¬Ľ

Et puis il l’a amen√© chez ses parents au ch√Ęteau, et ils se sont mari√©s. Le prochain jour, elle est all√©e pour habiter avec le prince dans son ch√Ęteau.

¬ę¬†Maintenant,¬†¬Ľ le prince lui a dit, ¬ę¬†je pense que c’est le temps pour le meilleur conte de f√©es au monde que vous m’avez promis, n’est-ce pas¬†?¬†¬Ľ

¬ę¬†Monsieur¬†! Je t’aime beaucoup, mais je ne pense pas que mes contes de f√©es sont les meilleurs au monde¬†!

¬ę¬†Je savais que c‚Äô√©tait une histoire √† dormir debout…¬†¬Ľ

Et puis elle a compris. Le Prince EST Le Diable. Enfin, le diable a mang√© la princesse, et il n’avait pas faim encore.

Fin

Photo Mar 18, 8 48 30 PM

I’m only accepting francs for donations this time… just kidding. No francs please. I mean if your name is Frank that’s okay, but frankly francs are useless to me as a currency.

Municipal Matters: Letter To The Editor #1

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This is waaaaaaay off topic compared to the rest of the things I like to talk about, but we’ll see how this goes. If this kind of stuff takes off, maybe I’ll call the series “Municipal Matters.” I wrote this not too long ago in response to a tragic drunk driving accident that happened here in Tippletown Manitowoc, WI. It started as a serious concept for a letter to the editor…but I wasn’t ballsy enough to mail it. It’s a velleity of a shot at pathopoeia (I know “velleity” doesn’t really fit right there, grammatically speaking, but I just wanted to use it in a sentence):

My Dear, Daaahling Editor,

Consider the impracticality of the Tavern Leaguers and area publicans shutting off the taps most nights of the week several hours before the statute mandated bar close because most of their patrons are already intoxicated. The lost profits to be made from those who imbibe 75% of their calories in Shenanigans glasses after midnight! And the kvetching and whinging over denied drink that would beset our communities!

Notwithstanding, none of these are valid reasons to break state law. State statute 125.07(2) specifically states that it is illegal to give, serve, or sell alcohol to someone who is already intoxicated, though this statute is rarely used. Why am I, a private, if iconoclastic citizen, concerned with this instance of heteropraxy on the part of Wisconsin’s municipalities? Because, as John Donne once quipped, no man is an island, I am involved in mankind, and every man’s death diminishes me.

Given the recent, fatal accident in Manitowoc, one is perplexed by the well-known active pursuit of pot peddlers, drunk drivers, and sellers to the underage of alcohol and tobacco. Is there no sting for the bar tender, salesperson, employer who willingly sells or gives alcohol to the already intoxicated, whether out of avarice or cowardice? Who shall rouse our government from its ignoble torpor?

Sincerely,

The Lord

Photo Mar 18, 8 48 30 PM