Sunday, November 8, 2015

Adam, Food Hack

Since the dawn of fire, Man has sought ways to make the food they eat easier and more convenient to swallow.  For a long time, it was thought that along other traits (dreaming, deducing, inventing) humans were the only animals that cooked their food, and for the majority of the animal kingdom (save some species of apes), this is true, since very few species go to the trouble of preserving their food stock, let alone go to the trouble of adding supplements to make it tastier.

Since wild animals are prone to having their livelihood taken away from them in unstable environments, there's not much chance of experimentation or seasoning something that'll be downed down in a matter of seconds.  And when you have a small range of foods that don't threaten your immune system (and don't know how to make it harmless), that number goes down dramatically.  When you have a limited diet of foods you enjoy (like I do), you look for more convenient ways to combine recipes more to your liking.

Cheap Ramen packs are a staple of College students and Manga artists.  However, I've never been fully able to enjoy slurping the extra-loooooong noodles from the bowl, because I wind up splashing soupy parts all over me, ruining the few comfortable shirts I wear.  I'm much more accustomed to smaller noodles that can fit on my spoon.  Now, I could simply crumble the Ramen package into smaller pieces, but that results in uneven bits that're difficult to scramble anyways.  Instead, what I do is boil water and dump in the stiff Ramen noodles as usual.  Only, when the noodles are nice and soft, I put them on a plate, refill the soup pot with clear water, and put the soup stock in the noodle-free hot water.  This makes it easier for me to separate the two, and as a bonus, I have a plate of spaghetti that doubles as a fuller course meal.  Of course, having a bowl of just salty water isn't very nutritious, so I add some variety by sprinkling some chopped-up chives or shallots, and add an egg in the mix.  Important - make sure you add the egg and soup stock at the same time, otherwise it'll be harder to combine the two once they permeate themselves throughout the water.

While Japan has their staple of Ramen as their cultural identity, Canadians are content with Kraft Dinner macaroni noodles.  There are all kinds of innovative ways to prepare said noodles in variety of different meals, but the most reliable stock is Mac & Cheese.  Usually, this is accompanied by boiling the noodles, then draining them, and dumping the cheese onto the batch and mixing.  However, I've found that this method isn't perfect, since it makes it harder to evenly spread out the powdered cheese at the bottom of the pot.  To get around this obstacle, after draining, it's far easier to refill the pot with HALF the noodles, THEN dump the cheese, THEN the remaining noodles.  That way, the cheese is in the middle, which'll allow for wider distribution, making sure everything's evenly covered.  This method can also apply to other recipes, such as Apple Cake, where you need to cover the thinly sliced apples in cinnamon, and have trouble covering everything in a small bowl.

Corn on the cob is a staple of summertime festivals and meals, though slathering butter on the uneven surface is something of an uphill struggle.  The knife wavers all over, and the butter has a tendency to slip off due to the heat.  There's a far easier method of ensuring your corn is buttered all over without losing your temper - simply put the whole cob on the butter stick and turn.  This method will result in melting the interior of your butter stick, and you might get your fingers greasy, but that's a small price to pay for satisfaction.

It's no great secret that the food industry sells unequal amounts of food packages, forcing you to buy multiple sets of 8 hot dog buns to complement your pack of 10 hot-dogs.  But there's another alternative to surrounding your meat with bread that works just as well.  Indian Naan bread is a large swath of flat bread suitable for spreading anything you want on it.  What I do is put the roasted hot-dog at one end of a heated Naan, put the usual condiments (ketchup, mustard, relish) in a thin line behind said hot-dog, then simply roll up the mass into one easily digestible phallic object.  (Pizza dough & taco buns would probably work as substitutes)

An added incentive to the above recipe is that you get your ketchup flavor spread out all over your hot dog.
This was something I discovered purely by accident when I was attending a barbecue.  I'm not the most adept person when it comes to social gatherings, and tend to make beelines for the buffets, rather than engage in small talk.  In this instance, I was more flustered than usual, and wound up putting my Ketchup, mustard, etc. on the wrong side of the burger bun.  Rather than fix the mess I made, I decided to make the best of it and eat it anyways, as I was feeling nervous & hungry.  What surprised me was how much tastier the burger turned out to be.  The thing is, for commercials, you always see your favorite ingredients on top so you'll be impressed by the mountain of taste you'll be stuffing into your mouth.  But when I bite into these things, they never seem as tasty as they should be.  Instead, I implemented the strategy done by the enemies in Dr. Seuss' Butter Battle Book.  If the Yooks were so opposed to the Zooks' way of eating, there must've been something to it.  And it turns out there was - by simply turning the burger upside-down, I was able to taste the condiments in conjunction with the hamburger, instead of having to put ketchup on the sides after every bite to retain that tomato flavour.  I employ the same method when eating cakes or doughnuts to get the icing on my tongue.  Give it a try!

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