Culinary Quips And Quotes


     As the days grow short, some faces grow long. But not mine. Every autumn, when the wind turns cold and darkness comes early, I am suddenly happy. It’s time to start making soup again. – Leslie Newman


     This recipe is certainly silly. It says to separate two eggs, but it doesn’t say how far to separate them. Gracie Allen


     Perhaps the easiest way to have people over is to invite them to your version of a Friday Afternoon Club. It can be a small gathering or a large 40+ guest list and usually lasts for a couple of hours. It is a BYOB format (usually a bottle of wine) and everyone is encouraged to bring a snack that can be shared by all in attendance.


     It’s POUTINE.  I know. This is exactly what I don’t need. Another type of comfort food.

     For those of you who aren’t aware, poutine (pronounced poo teen) is a gloppy snack which consists of French fries, gravy, and melted cheese curds, and it’s absolutely died-and-gone-to-heaven good.

     McDonalds sells it in Canada. And in several lists of the ten greatest Canadian inventions, it came in ahead of the electron microscope, the Blackberry, and the paint roller.

     It should also be noted that poutine has absolutely nothing to do with the Russian leader, Putin; however, if you add an “e” at the end of Putin, the result sounds like poutine. It’s truly amazing what the addition of a silent “e” will do.

     I think it will be the perfect snack while watching football, and I’m really on board with this. Besides, when I’m watching football, I’ll take poutine over an electron microscope any day.


     I love to eat BBQ. There just seems to be something primal about it.

     As a matter of fact, if I had my way, every evening for dinner I’d cut a huge chunk of meat off a carcass and toss it directly into the fire. When I felt it was cooked to perfection, I’d cradle the cooked meat in my bare hands. Then I’d take huge bites and vigorously chew with animal fat dripping off my chin. Surrounded by dogs, and dressed only in an animal skin, I would finish by gnawing on the bones while tossing scraps to my canine friends.

     I, of course, don’t actually do this. First of all, I think our guests might find it shocking, and secondly, I don’t think Dorothy would ever stand for it. Women generally keep us in line – they keep us civilized, but if I had my way …


     I think most of us have done it. We utter pet names and nicknames to express fondness and affection to our favorite people. It’s playful and fun, and it’s usually reserved for those private and intimate times; however, oftentimes we overhear talk we would prefer not to hear.

     It’s more than just a “dear” or a “honey” sprinkled in. I’ve also noticed many of these terms involved food. Some examples I’ve heard recently are baby cakes, lambey-pie, cookie shmooky, cutie cupcake, kumquat, big-daddy yum yum, and stud muffin. I find “stud muffin” to be particularly odious. And then there’s the baby talk.

     In thinking about this, I believe there are actually two perspectives on this subject: the lovers (obviously oblivious) and those of us who overhear them. I know it’s hard for newly requited love to stay composed. They assume no one has ever felt what they are feeling, and certainly not with this intensity.  BUT PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

     If you are the ones publicly uttering sweet nothings, you should be careful for your own safety. Your words may be overheard by someone who is either in a bad relationship, has just left a relationship, or has never had a relationship. And the wonderfulness of your love could push them over the edge and make them physically combative or actually make them sick. Would you really want someone to throw up because of your love?

     So, I really do think it’s important not to go public with your newly composed terms of endearment. I think it’s best to keep them between the two of you. Your words will stay special this way.


     The stock market goes up and down; fashion trends are in and out; friends come and go, and the weather is always a bit iffy, but I can always count on a grilled cheese sandwich. Their crispy, crunchy, buttery, salty, cheesy, gooey goodness is always sheer ecstasy, and I get weak in the knees just thinking about them.Finally, I think I can rest easy for now.



     Wouldn’t it be great to be able to stride confidently up to the truck of melons at the farmers market and actually make an informed decision? Read my article in Dinner Parties and More and you will have a much better chance of coming home with A WATERMELON FOR THE AGES. I would like to say, if you follow everything that I’ve said to a “T,” and you still get a bad melon, I won’t reimburse you. We’re pretty much all taking our chances; however, with this information I HOPE WE HAVE UPPED THE ODDS in our favor of getting a good one.


  At this very moment the produce section of your grocery store has Vidalia onions. They are seasonal, and NOW is the season. Check out my recipes on Dinner Parties and More for an absolutely delectable delight.


     You’ve known for months it’s destructive – that this isn’t good for you. You say to yourself, “ENOUGH! I’VE HAD IT. I’m better than this. It’s time to act.”

     A bad relationship with a certain food can exhibit the same destructive symptoms you can experience in a bad personal relationship. And when you decide to break it off, you can go through the same stages of a breakup such as crying jags, inappropriate rages, and taking pictures of new foods to post on Facebook to show you’re still living a full life.

     It won’t be easy, but it’s time to focus on new beginnings. It’s okay to indulge yourself in some all-about-me decisions. I PERSONALLY LIKE TO SHOP DURING THIS PHASE. Buying new stuff just makes me feel better. And the new stuff doesn’t have to be food. It can be clothes, a new car, extravagant vacations, a move to a different house, a different city, or even to a different country.

     Also, to help you get through this, I find that binging on movies is a great way to take your mind off of your loss. And don’t forget the snacks. Remember, if you do gain some weight, you can always diet when this has passed. YOU NEED TO LIVE IN THE MOMENT – RIGHT? 


Who named it? It’s one of the laziest names we’ve ever given something. It is, after all, 92% water. It’s rehydration wrapped in a rind.


      I like to read cookbooks. And I enjoy the ones that have lots of narrative as well as recipes. I usually find what they have to say to be fascinating. I like to understand all about what I am eating instead of just shoveling it in three times a day. So, on this overcast Sunday afternoon in March I have an NCAA tournament game on TV, a cookbook in my lap, the smell of chili wafting in from the kitchen, and my lovely wife siting on the other side of the couch keeping me company. And I’m thinking, you know, it just can’t get any better for this old man. March 19, 201


     Raisin cookies that look like chocolate chip cookies are the main reason I have trust issues. – Author Unknown March 25, 20


In our house gravy is considered a beverage. – Erma Bombeck March 10, 2018

Oh, Good Gravy!!! And yes. That’s what this is about. Good Gravy.

If someone tells you biscuits and gravy isn’t a meal, stop talking to them. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

Gravy is like liquid bacon.

Never Judge, Unless It Comes To Stains.

If you see a man with a tomato sauce stain, it’s evident he doesn’t know how to eat spaghetti. An oily stain probably happened due to a piece of lettuce not making it into his mouth. Green stains, who knows? And any stain that contains chunks means he’s just a messy eater. But a gravy stain? Now that’s a thing of beauty.

What’s sexy? Forget the high hems and low-cut dresses. An essence of gravy on her breath, and she’s got me.


     I happen to think so. Forget the high hems and low-cut dresses. The evidence of brown gravy on the corners of a woman’s mouth and the essence of it on her breath I think greatly adds to her allure and makes her mysteriously attractive.

     Can it make men appealing? If you see a man with a tomato sauce stain, it’s evident he doesn’t know how to eat spaghetti. An oily stain probably happened due to a piece of lettuce not making it into his mouth. Green stains, who knows what that is? But seeing a gravy stain? Now, to me that’s a sign he eats well and is successful, especially if the stain is on a Brooks Brothers suit.

     However, not everyone thinks so: “Congress – these, for the most part, illiterate hacks whose fancy vests are spotted with gravy, and whose speeches, hypocritical, unctuous, and slovenly, are spotted also with the gravy of political patronage.” – Mary McCarthy


     “I’m a man. Men cook outside. That outdoor grilling is a manly pursuit has long been beyond question. If this wasn’t understood, you’d never get grown men to put on those aprons with pictures of dancing weenies on the front, and messages like ‘Come ‘n’ Get It!” ― William Geist


     A hot dog at the ballpark is better than a steak at the Ritz – Humphry Bogart


   “I don’t care what you Yanks say, cheese should not whiz.” Janette Rallison, My Fair Godmother


     “Any pan is a ‘no-stick pan’ if you ‘no cook’ in it.” -Aunty Acid


     “Studies find top 3 most stressful moments in people’s lives: death, divorce, and properly pronouncing ‘Worcestershire sauce.’” – Tony Hsieh.

     I’ve found that the addition of Worcestershire sauce can make most things better. I add it to tuna salad, to ice cream, to my late afternoon martini, and in the mornings, I splash it on as an aftershave and gargle with it. Okay. I’ve exaggerated a bit, but I do add it to my tuna salad.


      If wishes and buts were clusters of nuts, we’d all have a bowl of granola. – From Strangers with Candy


     As I told someone one time, “You can forget the shrimp. You had me at cocktail.” But seriously, I think the shrimp cocktail and martini cocktail are a winning combination. Alton Brown weighs in: “With the exception of tax attorneys, nothing hangs onto the edge of a martini glass better than shrimp.”


     In our own little cooking space, when we want to create some energy, we click on a playlist. It also makes our work, especially the tedious work, seem more like recreation. Music provides background accompaniment to the slicing, dicing, and stirring. It not only lifts our spirits, but before we know it we’re doing a kitchen boogie; arms are flailing, bodies are contorting, and we’re getting and doing Snoopy feet.

All of these positive feelings eventually lead to positive outcomes. We try to put the audible in the edible, and hopefully the end result is an inspired dish created from all of that musical energy. We want our guests to actually taste the excitement. So, in a sense, it makes everything we cook and bring from our kitchen to our table soul food. It might not be Motown, but because of the music, we think it translates into food that’s mo’better.


      Regeneration occurs here. Found in the remote recesses of our bodies, they’re special areas. Magic occurs in these places. So, have a scoop. And here’s a scoop from Edward Albee author of Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Wolfe?:

GEORGE: When you get down to bone, you haven’t got all the way, yet. There’s something inside the bone…the marrow…and that’s what you gotta get at.


     “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child


     November is all about Thanksgiving. I’ve always felt indulging in sloth and gluttony are no ways to live, but in our country, we’ve created a holiday to indulge in these two of the seven deadly sins. It’s our tribal ritual of caloric excess intended to give thanks for the bountiful blessings of our harvests.

     But the history of this celebration has always seemed a little sketchy as far as the date when it occurred and what was served at the first Thanksgiving. There seems to be general consensus that the Pilgrims hosted the Indians thanking them for not allowing them to starve. Beyond that there are lots of versions to choose from.

   Calvin Trillin’s version seems to make the most sense. He and his family depart from the traditional Thanksgiving meal by serving spaghetti carbonara. According to Trillin family lore (and I’m paraphrasing) the Pilgrims did indeed host the Indians, but when the Indians received their invitation it was not with any degree of excitement. They thought of the Pilgrim women as being terrible cooks, and if they were going to have anything decent to eat, they were going to have to bring it themselves.

     So, what did the Indians bring? Spaghetti carbonara. Way back in 1492, an Italian named Christopher Columbus landed on our shores. He and his crew also had contact with the Indians. As a result, the Indians taught the Italians about tobacco and in return Christopher Columbus shared his family’s recipe for spaghetti carbonara. The recipe was passed down through the generations and among the tribes, and it appeared in 1621 on the first Thanksgiving table.

     So, what about the turkey? How did it make its appearance? When the meal ended, and the Indians were leaving after spending a day eating bad food along with long sessions of silence and prayer, one Indian was heard telling his friend, “What a bunch of turkeys.”

   And the rest, as they say, is history.


     Some of my best memories are the breakfasts I had at the Hotel Dale with my son, Pete. We would sneak out early without waking anyone and meet some of my buddies at the hotel. It was always a lively session.

     The Hotel cooked the best scrambled eggs, so we would order the eggs, bacon, and toast. Pete had juice and I had coffee, and man-oh-man, it was a feast.

     Over the years I have tried to replicate the taste of those scrambled eggs. I could never get them to taste the same. And then it came to me. Maybe it was the fact that we were eating in a smoke-filled restaurant. In those days there was always an overflowing ashtray at every table, and there was always a cloud of smoke hanging in the air.

     So, about a week ago I went out and bought a pack of Marlboros. I scrambled my eggs and poured them into the skillet. I lit up a cigarette, and as I was cooking, I would occasionally blow smoke over the top of the eggs. One taste and the memories started flooding back. That was it. The missing ingredient, and they were perfect. I had nailed it.


     Cooking together is a great couple’s activity. Head to the kitchen with your significant other and create something delicious and fun. Begin by talking about what tastes you desire, and then set your menu and go with it.

     Be especially playful in the process. Get a verbal back and forth going. Does it need more salt? Could it use some garlic? How can we make this taste even better? And sip wine all of the time you are doing it. Drink in the drink and drink in each other.

     I like intimate kitchens which puts each in close proximity to the other. As you are working you will both be moving from stove to sink to fridge to counters. You will be reaching around each other and invading each other’s private space. A kitchen choreography occurs and a dance ensues. And it gets physical. Take notice of the incidental bumps and physical brushes that are occurring.

     During the process taste what is being cooked and revel in the flavors. Do it with a slow hand, and don’t rush this. And then sit down at the table and enjoy it. Taste every bite. Your meal will be the product of your love, and you will realize that what you have experienced is one of the best that life has to offer. And the beauty of it is, the two of you can do it again tomorrow night.


     You are at a party holding a glass of wine, a plate of appetizers, and a napkin. As you look around you realize there is no place to sit or even space to temporarily set something down. Click on the link below for a novel way to handle this all to common dilemma:

SPECIAL MARGARITA FEATURE – Margaritas and Your Health:

  •  Do you have feelings of inadequacy?
  •  Do you suffer from shyness?
  •  Do you sometimes wish you were more assertive?
  •  Do you suffer exhaustion from the day to day grind?

     If you answered yes to any of these questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist about margaritas.

The Therapeutic Effects 0f Margaritas:

     “Margaritas are the safe, natural way to feel better and more confident about yourself and your actions. You will notice the benefits of margaritas almost immediately, and with a regimen of regular doses you can overcome any obstacles that prevent you from living the life you want to live.


  •  The consumption of margaritas may cause you to think you can sing.
  • The consumption of margaritas may make you think you are whispering when you are not.
  • The consumption of margaritas may cause you to tell your friends over and over again that you love them.”

– The above is from the online site Jumbo Joke: Humor the Way We Like It.

     For a proper perspective you need to remember the following: some days you eat salads and go to the gym, and some days you eat 20 tacos and drink margaritas.

It’s called balance.

BE PREPARED: The watermelon feed.

     If watermelons are being served, you know people will be spitting seeds. At some point usually, a competition will ensue.

     Most of the time these are simply fun activities, but if you are asked to participate and are directed to a spitway (an outlined 75 X 15-foot area), you know you are in the company of serious watermelon spitters. You need to be ready if this happens, especially if bets will be placed.

     The rules are simple:Seeds must be selected on site. The larger seeds work best.

Eat some watermelon flesh to moisten your mouth.

Each participant gets two chances. Only the seeds that land within the spitway will be measured.

Put the seed on your tongue with the tapered end pointed at the opening of your mouth. If you roll your tongue around the seed, you are fashioning a barrel for the seed to be shot out of. 

Toe the line of the spitway, draw in a big breath of air (through your nose), aim, lean back and fire. You can either arc the flight (especially if there is a wind at your back), or shoot it like a stone skips over water. Distance is measured from the starting line to where the seed comes to rest.

Everyone should compete at least once. Who knows, this may be the hidden talent you’ve always thought you had. And if you are doing well, you can always go to Luling, Texas to their annual Watermelon Thump in June. You’re too late for the 2018 edition, but I’m sure they will have one next year. One piece of advice from Jamie Nickells, secretary-treasurer of the Thump Association. “Relax. You’re going to look silly, so get over it.”


     Picking Out the Perfect Muskmelon: If the truth be told, most Americans have never tasted a cantaloupe. True cantaloupes are native to Europe. What we call a cantaloupe in the U.S. is actually a muskmelon.How can you tell a muskmelon is ripe? 

  • By sight. Examine the skin should be a beige-tan with gray netting.
  • Hold it in your hands. Should be firm and when you squeeze it, it should give a little (but not too much) with a soft spot at the blossome end.
  • Give it a sniff. Should smell like fragrant flowers.
  • Hold it up to ear and give it a shake. If you can tell the seeds are loose, then the melon is ripe.
  • You can follow the items of advice listed above, and this will help in your selection, but some people just seem to know. It’s like divining for water – some have the gift and most don’t.