Category: Food

It’s a coffee maker. No, it’s a music box!


When I’m at a loss for a blog idea (which is often), I call in the Never-Fail Blog Topic Generator: the Hammacher/Schlemmer catalog. They seldom disappoint, and yesterday this gem appeared in my in-box. It is a combination music box and espresso maker that plays an odd assortment of 30-second snippets of songs such as Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water as the beans brew. (Let’s just pause here a moment while you run those two tunes through your head.)

If you are reaching for your credit card so that you can have your very own Music Box Espresso Machine, I should warn you that it will set you back $4200. That’s a lot of beans, friend.

I try to imagine how this product came about in the first place. Did the inventor’s children accidentally Crazy Glue his wife’s heirloom Swiss music box to Mr. Coffee? What else can we juxtapose?

Oh wait, those already exist.

For just an instant, I considered trying to invent something and pitch it on some local cable TV channel at 3AM, but that would be silly.

Any fool can see that all the good ideas have already been taken.

I’ll have coffee, eggs, and a side of bacon


Photo credit:
Photo credit:

There is no such thing as status quo. Even if you just stand still, things will change anyway.

I once read three articles about possible causes of cancer. The stories appeared within a single week.

And what were these findings? What should we avoid?

  1. Having sex
  2. Abstaining from sex
  3. Drinking water

Well, that was depressing week.

Ever since then, though, I treat all news stories about nutritional guidelines, health warnings, and those never-ending “studies” with the same mild amusement that I pay to those ludicrous tabloid headlines on display by the check-out lines at the grocery stores. (My favorite: “Baby Born With Wooden Leg!”)

So this week’s news says that eggs AND coffee are OK. Go ahead and indulge or, in my case, just keep on enjoying them.

I’ll drink my coffee and enjoy my eggs while I read about the next findings. Who knows what we might be told to avoid? No sooner will the story come out than new stores will open in the strip malls. Out with the “Gluten Free” store! That’s just so yesterday. Let’s go to the ribbon cutting ceremony at the “Brown Rice-Free” shop!

Who cares? The only advice I follow is that red wine is good for you.

I’ll drink to that.

Meeting Notes: February 16, 2015

Cupcake photo credit: Food Network
Cupcake photo credit: Food Network

Our meeting got off to a rousing start. Marge brought in two dozen cupcakes, which prompted us to run to the kitchen and make a fresh pot of coffee.

Marge admitted she hadn’t intended to bake cupcakes for the office. “I used to bake them more often for the school bake sales, but their school stopped having them because they are too unhealthy.”

Resulting in healthier offerings but much lower sales, I suspect.

Marge said that her children had missed so much school this brutal winter, that she had run out of ways to keep them entertained. “I decided that it was time to pull out the cupcake tins and let them learn to bake, she said. “So we had a decorating contest, which was a lot of fun, but we ended up with 48 cupcakes!

“I had to get all these extra calories out of the house,” she explained.

We were not insulted because Marge bakes a mean cupcake and we’ll take them any way that we can get them.

Note to Harvard Business School: Nothing ensures a successful meeting like extremely tasty, empty calories.

“I used to love the bake sales at school,” I said. “My mother would bake dark chocolate cupcakes with her special chocolate fudge frosting. She would chop up walnuts to put on the icing so that she could wrap them up and not worry about the cling wrap pulling the frosting off.”

“The walnuts made it easier for me to find hers at the bake sale. I always bought her cupcakes because, well, they were chocolate. Plus, that icing was delicious.”

This lead to a discussion of using “icing” versus “frosting.” They are supposed to be regional terms and our informal survey indicated that we were split on the use of terms.

The meeting concluded on time with no actual business discussed.

Best. Meeting. Ever.

From the culinary vault: Jell-O Salad

Cubes of Lime jello on a white background

I’ve been browsing through my mother’s old cookbooks and came across this classic.

Please note: I am not recommending it. I offer it only as a piece of American history. Budgets were tight when I grew up (as they are now) and Jell-O was affordable. There seemed to be endless variations on what someone could do with a box of Jell-O and a few other ingredients.

Here, from a community cookbook, is a recipe I am only reproducing in the spirit of history. Please note that the illustration does not represent the finished product. Sadly, we have no record of it, except in our memories.

Jell-O Salad

In top of double boiler, melt 16 large marshmallows in 1 cup milk. Then add 1 large package lime Jell-O and 1 large package cream cheese that has been softened. Cool.

Then, add 1 can crushed pineapple, drained, 1 small carton heavy cream whipped stiffed, and 1/2 cup mayonnaise.

Set until stiff.

(They absolutely lost me at the mayonnaise.)

When you are “between contracts,” it’s time to bake.


Yes, I find myself “between contracts” at the moment. That’s an euphemism consultants use when one contract ends before they’ve found the next one. This is the nice thing about consulting, you are never out of work, just between contracts.

While I devote a large chunk of my day towards finding the next source of income, I also can tend to some neglected chores, such as straightening up my disaster of an office, or finally painting some rooms that need a touch-up.

My favorite part of this time is to leave the house and do something fun: extra walks with my dog, a weekday visit to the wonderful museum in town, or maybe finally stop in at the artisan bakery that receives such rave reviews.

I’ll bake some bread myself, of course, because I enjoy doing it. Besides, I have family traditions to keep alive. (more…)