Thursday, July 24, 2008


I love to cook. Oh sure, sometimes – let’s be honest here, many times – after working all day I don’t really want to slave over a hot stove for a couple of hours so we’ll hit the Wendy’s or the Panda Express (is there anything better than Panda’s Orange Chicken? I didn’t think so). And I have a few select frozen meals that my family loves (for instance, the Shrimp Scampi from Costco is fabulous). But for the most part, I cook “from scratch” and love finding new recipes to try out.

I was surprised when our first exchange student informed us that during her pre-departure orientation in Germany, she was told that Americans never cook. They eat fast food and microwave everything else. A sad commentary on how the world views us. Our exchange students have been pleasantly surprised to find that, at least at our house, cooking does happen.

Of course, it’s things like the following that probably add to our stereotype:

When you really NEED bacon, but none is handy, you can now make that chicken/fish/whatever taste like bacon. What??? I can get this stuff at 19 stores within a 30 minute drive from my house. But why???? So I can make such wonderful recipes as: Roasted Bacon Asparagus, Bacon Mayonnaise, and Bacon and Beer Steamed Clams. *shudder*

The website features rotating pictures of French fries, steak, grilled corn on the cob and hamburgers. I don’t know about you, but I’ve NEVER wanted my corn to taste like bacon. Not once. And I love bacon. A lot. Maybe not as much as this guy, though:

And because making pancakes is SO HARD, I give you Batter Blaster. Billed as “USDA Organic” no less. Okay, so the ingredients are allegedly organic, but doesn’t the whole shooting the batter out of the nozzle on an aerosol can sound like something distinctly not organic, notwithstanding the ingredients? The recipe I use is pretty darn simple. If I haven’t got time to whip up the real thing, I don’t have time to wait for these to cook, either. The little infomercial on the Batter Blaster site touts the neatness of the product: “No more cracking eggs or splattering ingredients.” Color me old fashioned, but still not a good enough reason for me to squirt my pancakes from a can. But do I wish I’d invented this little product (more than 400,000 sold from its release in October ‘til a review written in January)? Oh, yes indeedy.

I use my share of packaged goodies – Rice-a-Roni, boxed pasta mixes, spaghetti sauce from a jar – when I’m in a hurry (unlike pancakes, it takes hours to make a good spaghetti sauce). I’m usually a wee bit embarrassed when I resort to these shortcuts, though.

Not as embarrassed as I would be if I made pancakes from a can served with eggs flavored like bacon, though.

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