‘Fast-Food Nation’ looks to future products
Couch potato! No way. Instead, I have been as busy as popcorn in a hot skillet. I just finished reading the latest issue of Fast-Food Nation. Three articles were quick to catch my attention. I realize today’s consumers already have everything from soup to nuts to satisfy their varied hunger whims, but the future for new food products is bright and exciting as the articles highlighted. I share a brief glimpse of each as follows.
The Southpaw is about to enter the gourmet burger business. Have it your way, either top quality beef or plant based, but the newfangled Southpaw burger is all about its unique shape and placement on a brioche bun designed especially with left-handed people in mind. Lefties of the planet will soon be feeling like the big cheese as they sink their teeth into a burger not only delicious, but one that offers a quick and easy left-handed grab and bite. No longer “one shape fits all hands” is the burger’s motto as the Southpaw ends awkward drips and trickle down the arm-sauce moments. This new burger is destined to sell like hotcakes once it makes its home-run debut.
I can’t believe my coveted ’80s Tupperware citrus peeler is about to become a thing of the past. After years of genetic research, a smart-as-a-cookie scientist claims to have produced not only a species of seedless oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes, but that these select fruits bear thin, zipper-like skins. Even more thrilling to know is that with a single tap of the finger against the skin of the fruit, individual citrus segments easily pop free, ready for the eating; no tools or laborious efforts required. This new “self-peeling” citrus won’t sell for the price of peanuts due to the expense of research, but will make eating citrus a snap for lunch box-aged kids and seniors.
Lastly, Fast-Food Nation has given the nod to a hybrid, perennial called the spaghetti plant. Botanists are soon to announce the sale of its seed, a plant that could change the image of pasta forever. It’s a hardy plant that resembles that of a tall stalk of wheat with the exception that it produces multiple dangling strands of starch growth from the main stalk. With a quick snip of the strands, a rinsing dip to remove field grime and about 15 minutes plunged into a pot of boiling water, soon you’ll be twirling tasty spaghetti on your fork with or without sauce added. The spaghetti plant excels in nutritional content, yet low in calories, carbs and cost. The thought of harvesting “spaghetti” from a backyard garden plot throughout all four seasons is definitely my cup of tea since pasta plays big on my dinner table. For now, botanists aren’t sugarcoating the potential of the spaghetti plant for fear of eating humble pie should its seeds not produce as expected.
Know that Fast-Food Nation is not a half-baked publication nor is it a platform for use by bad-egg scientists whose purpose is to only capture the limelight. The possibility of bringing these three novel food products to reality is no small potatoes; therefore, consumers need to remain cool as a cucumber in the meantime.
Now that I have spilled the beans, I have bigger fish to fry by allowing me to say that April Fool’s Day has come and gone but the month of April continues to cast fun and foolery throughout all 30 days. April’s message is not to always believe what you see or hear; that’s how the cookie crumbles, including the print you just read. Not only is foolery at work in this month’s food article but the use of food idioms plays its role as a kind of “garnish” peppered throughout in hope of creating more delicious expressions.
Without doubt, you already have used and understand the underlying meaning for these commonly used food idioms for they add their own “bits of glitz” to daily talk and expression:
Apple of one’s eye
Don’t cry over spilled milk
Handed to someone on a silver platter
Hard nut to crack
Butter someone up
Full of beans
Bought a lemon
Have all your eggs in one basket
Your goose is cooked
Flat as a pancake
Like taking candy from a baby
Worth your salt
Chicken in every pot
Hungry as a fresh-born robin
Life is a bowl of cherries
Rotten to the core
Bite the hand that feeds you
Toss your cookies
Stick to your ribs
Have egg on your face
Packed in like sardines
Not worth a hill of beans
Not for all the tea in China
Stretch the fun of April into the kitchen. No fooling around, these recipes are “melt in your mouth delicious.” Just like the month, they are a bit unusual but be prepared when friends and family eat you out of house and home.
MOCK APPLE PIE
(No apples required)
Pastry for two crust 9-inch pie
36 RITZ crackers (no substitute)
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Grated rind of one lemon
Butter or margarine
Prepare pastry; fit into 9-inch pie plate. Break RITZ crackers coarsely into pastry-lined plate. Combine water, sugar and cream of tartar in saucepan; boil gently for 15 minutes. Add lemon juice and rind. Cool. Pour syrup over crackers, dot generously with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. Cover with top crust. Trim and flute edges together. Cut slits in top crust to let steam escape. Bake in a hot oven (425 degrees) for 30 to 35 minutes or until crust is crisp and golden. Serve warm. Cut into 6 or 8 slices.
Eat like a king on a pauper’s budget.
Bologna (1/4-inch thick or thicker slices)
Italian seasoned Parmesan cheese
Dip each bologna slice in mixture made of beaten eggs, salt, pepper and Italian cheese and then coat each in bread crumbs. Heat oil in skillet and cook bologna slices to lightly brown; repeat until all slices have been browned. Place on paper towels to drain of oil.
When in a pickle for something new, give this next recipe a try. Serve as an appetizer, part of a cheese plate or an addition to a salad.
8 ounces grated cheddar cheese
8 ounces grated Monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup chunky, thick salsa
In a large bowl, mix cheeses together. Put 1/2 the cheese mixture in a greased 9×9-inch pan. In a different bowl, mix the eggs and salsa together. Pour this mixture on top of the cheese in the pan. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool and cut into squares to serve. Can be served warm or cold.
This next recipe is low in calories with a bit of heat.
1 head cauliflower cut into l-inch florets
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup (or to taste) hot sauce (like Frank’s Red Hot)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place cauliflower, oil, salt and pepper in disposable plastic bag; seal and toss well. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until florets are crispy and caramelized at edges. Remove from the oven, place in a bowl and toss with hot sauce.
No need to walk on egg shells worrying if guests will like this festive drink; they’ll love it.
1 (46-ounce) can unsweetened pineapple juice
3/4 cup frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
1 liter ginger ale, chilled
1 quart lime sherbet, softened
In punch bowl, combine pineapple juice and limeade concentrate. Add ginger ale and sherbet; stir until blended. Serve immediately. Yield: 20 servings.