Tag Archives: Food

Stake your Stake in a Steak with a Stake. . .Then Enjoy

When I think of cooking, my mind naturally drifts to fire. To my wife’s delight, I would gladly take on all of the cooking duties that arose from an everyday dinner to the most elegant of holiday fare. Even the characters in the novels I write need a meal now and then to stave off the clutches of virtual page starvation.

You’ve heard the saying, The more things change; the more they stay the same. This indeed rings true, although we miss the notion that the more things change; the more they revert to yesteryear–case in point, cooking fuel.

Through the years, the human race has used everything from animal waste and wood to flammable fluid to cook food. This use of less than wholesome means to heat what we eat was the norm for some time. Eventually, electric coils were employed into the construction of modern day oven and cook tops, bringing the ease and a clean way to accomplish our much needed cooking duties inside safely.

So, after these kitchen innovations, why would we grab a bag of charcoal and step back outside to cook meat the primitive way, especially when it took us so long to make it indoors without burning the dwelling down by fire?

Why? I’ll tell you why. One word – –  flavor. Cook a meal on the stove top of a modern oven. You will find yourself dealing with anything from metal coils to flat European burners, glass cooking surfaces to the exotic ceramic. The next meal you endeavor to prepare, start with walking outside and loading the grill with charcoal or if plain wood is your thing fill the grill with dry hickory. Once, whichever you have chosen is ashed over, slap a slab of cow on the searing hot surface. When done to your liking, attack, and you will see why, sometimes, retro, is the only way to go.

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Insects Make Up a Large Percentage of the World’s Protein Intake…Mmm, Mmm…Make Mine Extra Crispy

I love to cook, and believe it or not, I enjoy eating now and again. food chainThe thing I found odd concerning one of my first works of fiction was a particularly negative review. The complainant’s problem (one of several) was that too many scenes were centered around food.

Now, maybe I’m wrong (I don’t think so) but ever since I was a young’n, any time we had a gathering there was always food. I would never venture to presume and at the same time never hesitate to assume that maybe (and this is pure conjecture) this person doesn’t like people or food. (just saying)

Where was I?…That’s right, food. Generally speaking (and I mean generally to the ninth degree) it seems to me there are two types of diners, those that eat any and everything and those who dine exclusively on bugs and slugs.

In a slightly more specific grouping, we have carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores. If we delve a little deeper into the culinary world of stuff, we find the majority of bipedal diners are omnivores. After these, herbivores and there’s gotta be at least a small percentage of strict carnivores out there.

We can take it a step further and research each one of these categories separately. If we start with the omnivore in its purest form, we will discover a plethora of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains and grass fed meats. This equates to good, wholesome fare for the ones who choose to eat this way.

Now, if you want to take these foods and turn them into pure garbage just add the word convenience. We manage to take what God has created, force it into cans and boxes, inject the protein for increased weight gain and turn healthy fare to poison. A good rule of thumb is the more human beings touch your food after it’s picked or dispatched, the less you’ll want to eat it.

Next, we have your herbivores. Not my choice when sitting down for a daily meal, but certainly acceptable for those who wish to eat this way.

Finally, you have those who eat meat exclusively. Personally, I enjoy vegetables too much to ever take on this lifestyle, but can certainly understand the attraction.

Of course, when writing, especially science fiction your characters can dine on anything from Denevian slug eggs to Zoriak tongue barbeque.

It just makes you wonder; the next time you bite into a familiar favorite, take time to ponder: Is this actually what it says it is or some imported interplanetary processed food stuffs?

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Care, Even If It Doesn’t Exist, Offer It Something to Eat, and Care Some More

We all need food, correct? You know what satisfies your tastes whether you desire a full meal or are just in the mood to nosh.

Now, let me ask you a very important question, “If you’re a writer do you afford your characters the same luxury?”

Think about it. Does your protagonist and comrades get three squares a day? Or, are they forced to live off tree bark and grubs because you forgot to set them down to a meager meal?plain jane and beefcake

Oh, you’re all for the actions scenes, the violence, the mayhem, but give them a little snack to provide an ounce of energy to perform up to your expectations, and it’s Katie-bar-the-door. Far be it from anyone to interfere with keeping your antagonist and his cronies fat and sassy. They dine on the fineness cuts of meat, pulling pints of grog, and just generally acting unacceptably.

Then on a world far, far away a beautiful lady hooks up with Mr. Beefcake while Ms. Plain Jane (you know the homely Cinderella type) cleans sewers and lives off pre-chewed apple cores. She spends her down time swooning over Mr. Beefcake, until one day Miss Beautiful Lady is run over by a trolley just as Ms. Plain Jane is crawling out of the sewer. Beefcake and Plain Jane’s eyes meet. They kiss, marry that afternoon, and live happily ever after. (On this particular world, ever after means two and a half weeks) Miss Beautiful Lady recovers from her injuries and is relegated to clipping toenails for a penny a piece in a town called Schwump.

Does anyone remember the poor, downtrodden survivors of the Calistian Finger Fungus of 2953? I believe it was in the Ajax Nebula on a small planet called Plim. The inhabitants were unable to use their finger guns to hunt imaginary prey due to the fungus attacking their index fingers. (Which everyone knows is the most intricate part of the X7300 finger assault pistol) During this disaster one unfortunate Plimosian lost his fingernail trying to beat his gun barrel back into shape. I don’t recall the author of this particular book, but he should be beaten severely about the helmet and breastplate, for leaving his characters in such a pickle.

Now I know this seems a bit severe, but if we as authors do not take proper care of our creations, then who?The home for imaginary characters, retired, or otherwise cannot handle another thought.

So man up authors, take your responsibilities seriously, or lay down that pen.

There is another way. Send $19 USD each month (care of my website http://www.lynnsteigleder.com) and I will send you a mind’s eye picture of a character you will be helping.

Please don’t let another nonexistent character slip into nonexistence, especially when they didn’t ask to be brought into nonexistence in the first place.

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Swim Before Eating or Eat Before Swimming; I Never Can Remember

Have you ever thought how much writing and eating have in common? You probably haven’t since it’s not a thought that most lobster-300x213

people are likely to have. In fact, I just had that very thought for the first time only moments ago.

 First, let me say that I’ve been fortunate enough to travel a great deal throughout the United States. Although there are many other exotic locations with foods too exotic for my palate, our country offers a fine selection of diverse delicacies–things like crawfish, rattlesnake, alligator, turtle, elk, kangaroo, ostrich, sea urchin, frog legs, goat, snails–to name a few; all delicious in their own right.

 If we combine writing and dining and then put them under the microscope, the similarities begin to surface. This is where all the thinking (you know, my thoughts, your thoughts, and when we think’em) from the first paragraph comes into play.

 For instance, a rich buffalo tenderloin in a wine reduction with potatoes gratin and bacon wrapped asparagus…a meal, such as this could bring to mind any number of classics.

 And by no means would a meal have to be elegant. How many times, if given a choice, would you choose a hot dog loaded with toppings or a double bacon cheeseburger over a perfectly steamed lobster drenched in butter?…… I’ll have to admit that was a pretty sad analogy, but you understand where I’m going with this.

 The hot dog would go hand-in-hand with a whimsical romance novel. The bacon cheeseburger, a testosterone laden action adventure, and the lobster… oh, the lobster… yes, the lobster.… Give… me… the… Lobster!

 Digging into a snail shell for the first time would certainly qualify as a mystery. For some, I have no doubt it would be the equivalent of a horror. (Did I mention that lobster is also delicious grilled over charcoal?)

 Now the rattlesnake and alligator go hand-in-hand with espionage and danger. (Seawater is also a great liquid to cook lobster in…kinda seasons it as it cooks.)

 Now that I’ve shown you how books and food can be linked together maybe you’ll eat more lobster. (They are also known as the roach of the sea. It’s amazing how something can exist on garbage yet its own flesh tastes like the food of the gods.)

 So take the time to pair a book with an exotic food. Or if you feel so inclined eat the book and read your food. Either way, it’s just as fulfilling.

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For Once, Just Leave it Alone and Eat it

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables (Photo credit: nutrilover)

 

Food. We fork it off our plate or pick it up with our fingers, insert it into our mouths, masticate, swallow and repeat. Food. Necessary for survival and in most cases, it brings great enjoyment. During the summer months, we look forward to the fruits and vegetables at produce stands, backyard gardens and pots sitting on decks and window boxes, all displaying fresh wares.

 

We see cattle grazing on the tender shoots of grass, chickens running through yards, plucking out June bugs on the wing, and luscious walking-pork chops wallowing in the cool mud.

 

Artisan bakers producing loaves of bread, baguettes, croissants and all matter of baked goods.

 

Artisan cheese makers drawing the milk, adding the rennet, separating the curds from the whey, compressing the curds (depending on the type of cheese), adding salt and aging the cheese for months and gently turning it until it reaches optimum quality.

 

All these things I have mentioned are part of the wonderful bounty we have before us on which to dine.

 

I have but one question to ask: Why then do we choose to eat a 25 cent box of macaroni and cheese?

 

Or instead, we can pull one of the many frozen dinners out of the freezer and nuke it, having dinner on the table in a matter of minutes.

 

What could be better than a fast food burger with a side order of fat-laden potatoes and a drink sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup?

 

A lot, apparently. According to Scientific American, HFCS not only increases the risk of health-related diseases like Type 2 Diabetes, but there is evidence that it actually inhibits the brain’s ability to tell the stomach that it is full. The result? Over-eating and obesity.

 

We’ve taken wonderfully healthy food that our bodies were meant to ingest in order to operate proficiently, and traded it for boxes, cans, and frozen containers of processed crap, all for the sake of convenience.

 

I remember when I penned my first short story. I found myself very impatient and wanting to finish. I took the enjoyment out of writing for the sake of instant gratification. I told myself that I would never be able to write a novel for the very same reason.

 

Luckily, I made an about face. Now, I choose my words carefully and take whatever time is necessary when re-writing and editing. The same philosophy applies to eating.

 

The time it takes to prepare a decent and healthy meal is minimal, considering the benefits you receive. Would you put old, regular gas in a brand new Ferrari? Of course not. Then why load your body up with garbage?

 

I will now return to my re-writes and my cored and slices apple. After all, you know what they say: An apple a day…

 

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