Category Archives: Information

What are we doing?

I love taking pictures of things in the grocery store.

Not good photos.  Not of colorful produce or smiling kids.  Not of friendly workers or fresh baked breads.

I like pictures of the most vile, frozen, processed, absurd products that come out of the dingiest, decrepit New Jersey food mills.

(Also, I like pictures of abundance.  Like the deodorant section at the Publix in St. Pete which, I kid you not, is at least 7 ft tall and 15 ft long).

I’m constantly amazed at the things that my local Publix adds to their shelves.  There is so much stuff that defies logic, and I just can’t imagine anyone (and I mean anyone) buying it.

And, despite the embarrassment it causes to my wife, I’m not going to stop taking pictures of this stuff.  I’ve talked about the wyngz already and the frozen bagels pre-stuffed with goo can wait.  I’ve got a couple of doozies from today’s trip.

First up – perhaps the least appetizing bag of chips I’ve ever seen.

Ruffles chili chips

Tempting, but no.

Chips can’t taste like chips anymore.  They’ve got taste like pizza or chicken wings or chili and cheese, and I don’t know why.  Frankly, I’m surprised there is an audience for these.  But, for the record, there were only two bags left on the shelf.  Including this one, which I put back.

Next up:  (really, I don’t know what to say about this)

mac and cheese flavoring

Who buys this?

How bad does your food have to be before you start adding imitation macaroni and cheese flavored topping to it?

I passed this in the aisle, realized what it was in hindsight, walked backwards with the cart, picked it up and stared at it.

“Please put that down.”

“I can’t.”

“Please don’t take pictures of that.”

“But I have to…”

I just can’t believe this exists.  And it exists at Publix – not at Spencer’s Gifts, but Publix.  Not at a prank shop next to the whoopi cushions.  At Publix.  It’s mainstream.

It’s a McMiracle

Like classic Nickelodeon shows, 60’s fashion and Betty White, I’m making a comeback.

Betty White hosts SNL

88 and better than ever

I’ve spent the last two months getting ready for the upcoming semester by not thinking about the upcoming semester, but the time for fun is now over and the time for studying, working and blogging has returned.

In the months that have passed, I have snorkeled in some fine Florida springs, kayaked some beautiful water in the Tampa Bay area, caved (still can’t really feel my knees) and camped in Central Kentucky, relaxed at a cabin in the North Carolina mountains and enjoyed some good old-fashioned family time.  I assure you, it was all much needed.

High Springs

Exploring > Studying

Hopefully you have all been eating despite my absence.

I’ll have some new recipes up soon, but in the meantime, I need to comment on a few things.

First, McDonalds.  I’ve hated on you before for your oatmeal-contaminated bowl of sugar and 38-igredient Chicken McNuggets.  But I’ve got to tip my hat to Ronald and his crew for finally cutting the calories in the happy meal.  For the first time ever, Apple slices will be included in every happy meal so the kids have something else to throw away.  AND, better still, the portion of french fries will be cut in half.

Now, now, I know what you are thinking.  They only did this because of pressure from Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, and this is just another socialist tactic to take money from the wealthy, greedy potato farmers and give it to the underprivileged yet charmingly hard-working apple pickers.  (C’mon Tea Party – you’re missing an opportunity here.)

Anyways, the fry packets are being cut down from 2.4 ounces to a 1.1 ounce bag.  Cool, huh?  Don’t worry that kids still have the option of doubling their fries if they don’t want the apples, because I don’t know a kid on this planet who would turn down a packaged bag of apple slices.

Happy meal with apples

Lots of kids choose apples and milk over fries and soda.

The full nutrition info hasn’t been released yet, but I’ll post it as soon as McDonald’s puts it out there.

There’s a funny flipside, though.   When I was in North Carolina, we stopped in to a McDonald’s to use the restroom and grab a cup of coffee.  They have a deal there (perhaps elsewhere too, but I haven’t been to many in the last few years) where you can take a regular meal deal and bump it to a large for only 90 cents – more fries, more soda, more regret.  But there’s more:  If you take the bait and get the large meal, they throw in an apple pie for FREE.

Maybe that’s not as interesting to you as it was to me, but I found it hilarious.  Cut the french fries for the kids and throw free apple pies at adults already buying the largest possible meal.

What else, what else?

Oh yeah, I still haven’t seen a Pepsi Social Vending Machine, nor has anyone sent me a free Pepsi.  A little bummed on that front.

I went to my first totally raw restaurant (nothing is cooked, no ingredients get above 105 degrees), Leafy Greens in St. Pete.  It was really good, but until someone convinces me otherwise, I think that’s a crazy way to live (it’s cool, though – people say the same thing about vegetarians and vegans).  I had tacos, which tasted like tacos, but had nothing I traditionally associate with tacos (no tortilla, cheese, sour cream or filling).  Worth a try, but I’ll keep my oven, thank you very much.

If you are still reading at this point, I’m impressed.  In terms of coherency, future posts can only get better.

Talk to y’all soon.

Pepsi’s Pointless Social Vending Machine

I can’t believe I forgot to talk about this a few weeks ago – but I guess it’s better late than never.

Pepsi has unveiled the first social vending machine, which is perhaps the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of.

It’s just like a regular vending machine, except that in addition to buying yourself a drank, you can buy them for your friends as well.  All you need is their phone number and your money.  Type in their digits, a personalized message (“‘Sup man?  Bought you a Mountain Dew Voltage.”) , and record a 10 second video right on the machine and you’re all set.

pepsi social vending machine

Somebody send me one.

Your friend will get a text with your message and a code to be redeemed for his free Mt. Dew, and then he just has to track down a stupid social vending machine to get his drink, which I assume will be pretty hard at first.

Even better, you also have the option of sending into the world “random acts of refreshment,” where you pay an extra couple bucks and trust that Pepsi’s vending machine army will buy someone else a drink with it.  They won’t know who you are, of course, unless you stand in a public place and look directly at the vending machine’s camera and talk to it.

What do these even taste like?

This is ridiculous.  Buying a drink used to be easy.  Soon, you’ll have to bang your way though a janky touch screen, refuse the temptation to buy sodas for strangers, skip the steps where you link your soda purchases to your Facebook profile, and hope that Pepsi doesn’t misuse the mass of telephone numbers they are about to get.

Can’t I just buy the room temperature Wild Cherry Pepsi and move on with my life – why’s everything gotta be “social”?

Pepsi released a video (below) explaining the whole thing.  A few things are clear.  Old people can no longer buy sodas (the first step is “Choose one of the three pathways from the master screen”).  Also, if there is anyone in front of you at the machine, it’s gonna take FOREVER to buy a Pepsi.  Instead of insert-dollar-retrieve-drink, you’re going to have to wait behind insert-two-dollars-select-pathway-buy-drink-for-yourself-buy-drink-for-friend-type-in-phone-number-and-personalized-message-record-video-try-again-try-again-print-receipt.

If you’re at, say, a mall, or any other place where groups of teenage girls congregate, just get a Coke.

Although, if anyone sees one of these things around, send me a drink, cause I can’t resist the novelty.

Chicken “Wyngz”… huh?

DiGiorno, purveyors of fine frozen pizzas, have added a few new, flashy products to their pizza boxes.

Cookies, which I presume are not intended to be a topping, and something they call “WYNGZ,” which are chicken products to cook alongside the pizza.

DiGiorno Pizza and Wyngz

Chyckenz Wyngz

This bothered me in two regards – as a journalism student, I object to that absurd spelling, and as a foodie, I object to whatever it is that a wyngz is (not sure if that is the singular spelling, but I’ll go with it for now).

So what the heck is a wyngz?  According to DiGiorno, they use the spelling “wyngz” because, and I quote, “they’re not wings.  They’re even better.”

“Wyngz,” in reality, are probably not better (if you’re into chicken wings).   They are, according to the USDA, who regulates this sort of thing, “a product that is in the shape of a wing or a bite-size appetizer type product under the following conditions…”

  • It can’t contain any real wing meat.
  • It has to be white meat.
  • No other misspellings are permitted.

Read the USDA’s full definition here.

This brings up all sorts of questions – like, how much taxpayer money is spent on the definition and regulation of wyngz?  And why would DiGiorno want to sell them instead of “wings”?  And do they grow on chykenz?

Stephen Colbert recently had a little fun at Digornio’s expense in his non-weekly word of the week segment, and I don’t blame him.  If you put out a product like that, you’ve got to expect a little backlash.

As he put it, “It’s not delivery, it’s DiGiorno.  And it’s not wings, it’s wyngz.”  Touche.

Stephen Colbert Wyngz

Stephen Colbert's Word of the Week - "Wyngz"

Because Comedy Central doesn’t allow its videos on YouTube and WordPress doesn’t allow flash videos on their sites, I have no way of posting the video.  But I’ll link to it here – it’s definitely worth a watch.

New “Food” at Dunkin’ Donuts

Dunkin Donuts Logo

Not just coffee and donuts anymore

Let me first say this – I don’t spend a lot of time at fast food restaurants.  I haven’t been to one in months.  But I’m consumed by this weird fascination with the whole industry.

We’re at a really interesting point in the history of food.  It has never been safer, more readily available or more diverse.  We have, as a culture, the technology to grow healthy food in a multitude of environments and make it available to the public at any time, at any place in this country of ours.

We have methods to preserve foods that, just 50 years ago, you had to consume within days of harvest.  Heck, an orange in New York used to be an oddity – now people in the north can eat them every day of the week if they wanted.

And these technologies have been embraced by a lot of restaurants and grocery stores, expanding local flavors and offering new ways to eat healthy.

But the fast food industry has run in the opposite direction.  Take, unassuming as it may sound, Dunkin’ Donuts for example.  They have the same technology available to them as everybody else, but do they use it to make inexpensive food that is healthy and fresh?  Nope.  They make this, the blueberry waffle breakfast sandwich:

Blueberry Waffle Breakfast Sandwich Dunkin Donuts

Blueberry Waffle Breakfast Sandwich | Photo from Dunkin Donuts

Keep in mind, this is Dunkin’ Donuts own photo which means this is as good as it could possibly, under any circumstance, look.  The blueberries next to it are also misleading, considering what constitutes the “blueberry nuggets” that are actually in the waffle.

I’ve got nothing against Dunkin’ Donuts, but I just find this whole phenomenon bizarre.  To me, eggs, cheese and sausage sandwiched between two blueberry waffles is a weird breakfast – and the shapes of everything kinda creeps me out – the perfectly round egg thing and the perfectly square sausage and cheese.  I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy.

Nutrition wise, it’s got 550 calories, 38 grams of fat and 78% of your daily cholesterol.  It’s no Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bowl, but still pretty bad.

And the ingredient list is strange as well, not for any one particular thing, really, but just a general abundance of ingredients.

Dunkin' Donuts Ingredients

Ingredients in Dunkin' Donuts Sandwich

Most of the ingredients are your typical fast food fillers (the waffle, sausage and eggs all contain citric acid, for example).  The sausage does contain BHA and Propyl Gallate, which are both approved by the FDA but having been subject to some debate, especially since they have been shown to cause cancer in certain animals.

Regardless, while you’re at Dunkin’ Donuts, make sure to get a Coffee Coolatta.  It’s a great way to start your day – with only 800 calories in a large, 46 grams of fat and 145% of your daily saturated fat intake.  Considering it’s a drink, that’s pretty impressive.  I’ll look for something to top it, but until then, this might be the worst thing you could drink.

Dunkin Donuts Coolatta

The Coolatta - looks good though, right? | Photo from Dunkin' Donuts

I’ll keep a lookout for the next crazy fast food trend, but until then, thanks for reading.

Ebert Reviews Forks Over Knives

A little update on Forks Over Knives, the movie I discussed a few weeks ago.

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert's illustrious thumb

Roger Ebert, the country’s most well-known movie critic, has put out his take on the film – and I’d consider it a glowing review.

I don’t really want to debate Ebert’s point of view, but I did take issues with some of the claims he makes in his review (click here to read it in its entirety).

Like this one:

What every human being should do is eat a vegetarian diet based on whole foods. Period. That’s it. Animal protein is bad for you. Dairy is bad for you. Forget the ads: Milk and eggs are bad for you. Skim milk is no better, because it contains proportionately more animal protein. What you’re trying to avoid is dietary cholesterol. You also need to cut way down on salt and sugar, and run like hell from high fructose corn syrup.

Roger Ebert, by Arcimboldo

Roger Ebert, by Arcimboldo

Okay, I don’t think there are many nutritionists out there that will argue that salt, sugar and high fructose corn syrup are good for you, but there are plenty who would disagree with the idea that animal protein in all forms is bad for you.  Ebert is not a dietician, scientists or nutritionist – he’s a movie critic.  And that’s a darn bold claim to be making without substantiation.

Regardless, he goes on:

Over the years I tried vegan and low-protein vegetarian diets, benefitted from and enjoyed them. I found by experience that all one needed was a rice cooker, a knife, a chopping block, whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. I got all the protein and calcium I needed. I enjoyed it. But I was tempted. I strayed into the elysian fields of pizza, steaks, hamburgers and soft drinks. I once was blind and now I see.

The bottom line: I am convinced this message is true. A plant-based whole foods diet is healthy. Animal protein is not necessary, or should be used sparingly as Asians did, as a flavoring and not a main course. This adds the advantage of allowing us to avoid the chemicals and carcinogens pumped into livestock and poultry. Fast food is lethal. Parents who feed it to their children are helping them get hooked on fat, salt and sugar addiction. The facts are in. Didn’t I warn you to stop reading?

P. S.: I have recently decided to ditch my canned nutrition and switch to a liquid diet based on fresh fruits and vegetables. Yes, I consulted my physician.

Anyways, I still haven’t seen the movie – it’s not currently playing in sleepy little towns in north Florida, but I’m sure it will eventually.  I’ll reserve my judgement till then.

Thanks for reading!

Film of the Week – Forks Over Knives

Forks Over Knives Poster

Forks Over Knives Poster | Photo from

Two days until the release of Forks Over Knives, the latest documentary touting the benefits of a plant-based diet.  And this one gets a wide theatrical release, so get ready for the debate over it’s merits – I’m sure it will have the low-carb-ers and paleo-dieters in a tizzy.

I haven’t seen the film yet, so I don’t want to go into great detail about what I think it contains.  The gist, though, is this: the diseases of affluence (obesity, heart disease, diabetes, etc) that are plaguing our country are a result of an over-abundance of animal proteins in our diet.  The so-called “American Diet,” which is high in everything except fruits and vegetables, is leading to a significant decline in the overall health of American adults and, sadly, children.

The two doctors profiled in Forks Over Knives (forks are used for vegetables, knives for meat/surgery, hence the title) have long supported a diet that is heavily, if not exclusively, plant-based – the complete inverse of the diet that the large majority of Americans now consume.

Dr. Colin Campbell, Cornell University

Dr. Colin Campbell, Cornell University | Photo from

I think we probably all know where I stand.  A plant-based diet has been great for me.  I feel healthy and energetic, and I eat every meal with a clear conscience.

Regardless of whether you agree with this “diet” (and I don’t mean that in the fad-diet sense, but in the way-of-life-diet sense), I encourage you to see the film, do a little research, talk to your doctor and decide on the best diet for you.  “Vegetarian” isn’t a bad word and “vegan” food can be just as delicious and satisfying as a hamburger or steak.  Just watch the film with an open mind.

And I try not to be preachy on this blog.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and their own diet and frankly, I don’t feel that I am qualified to convert anyone to vegetarianism or veganism.  I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist.  All I can do is give my opinion and my experience, and let the experts do the talking.

And this documentary is the experts talking.

Check out the trailer:

I also want to point out that this film is produced by John Corry, my uncle’s brother.  And my cousin, Ian Corry, worked as a camera operator on the sequences featuring Joey Aucoin (the landscaping company owner with high cholesterol and diabetes).  Check out some of Ian’s other work here.

Dr. Oz, well-respected daytime doctor to the masses, recently spent a whole show praising and interviewing the creators of Forks Over Knives and the doctors who have spent their lives researching the benefits of a plant-based diet.  The first few minutes of the show are up on Youtube, but you’ll have to dig a little further to find the rest if you missed it on the telly.

Here’s part 1:

Forks Over Knives releases in New York and Los Angeles on May 6, and releases nationwide in the weeks that follow.  Click here for a list of opening dates by city.

Eating Our Way Through New Orleans

Eating Vegetarian in New Orleans

Digging in to a veggie muffaletta in New Orleans

Got back from New Orleans last night, spending a lazy day with family today…

First time to Jazz Fest, first time to New Orleans, first beignet, first muffaletta, first Abita brew, second/third/fourth beignet… now I’m out of money (expect some cheap recipes in the near future).

Jazz Fest was awesome – saw a bunch of great bands and rubbed elbows with some of the dirtiest hippies I’ve ever seen.  The weather was perfect the whole time, mid 80s, sunny and breezy.  And New Orleans, overall, is a pretty cool town.  The French Quarter is crowded, expensive and has a wholly unique, dramatically unpleasant smell, but that didn’t put a damper on our time.

New Orleans Jazz Fest Amos Lee

Amos Lee performing at New Orleans Jazz Fest

We stayed at Bayou Segnette State Park because we couldn’t afford to sleep inside love camping, and for $20 a night, the price couldn’t be beat.  We even got to take the ferry across the river with some seriously crazy friendly folks.

And, best of all, we didn’t get grifted even once.  Some of the fools there even try the “Five bucks says I can guess where you got your shoes! — No you can’t. — You got ’em on your feet!  Five bucks!” game.  I was ready for ’em, though.

(And not to be a party pooper, but that city still has a long way to go to recover from Katrina.  I’ve got a lot of thoughts on that whole debacle, but this isn’t the place or time for it.  Just know that those orange X’s are still all over the city, there are empty lots on every block, and entire neighborhoods in the 9th ward and, to a lesser extent, Lakeview are boarded up and abandoned… five years later).

White Trash Cooking

Almost, but didn't

As far as the food goes, it’s certainly not the most veg-friendly town around.  They add seafood to everything imaginable, which cuts out a lot of options for me. Still, veggie muffalettas were pretty easy to come by, and when those weren’t at hand, I could usually scrounge up some veggie red beans and rice.  When all else fails, like at Acme Oyster House (so Ali could try the oysters), I settled for a bowl of hush puppies (yep) and a root beer float (yep yep).  Not the most nutritious meal I’ve ever had, but it held me over until a big dinner.

I didn’t take many pictures, but here’s a few just for fun.

eating beignets cafe du monde

Ali eating beignets at Cafe du Monde

Walmart Water Ingredients

C'mon Walmart, four ingredients in the water?!

Spent $5 at the Casino and $5 at Pinkberry – should have spent it all at Pinkberry.
Eggplant Muffaletta

Eggplant Muffaletta sandwich from a place

Papa John’s Classes Up the Royal Wedding

While the British elite are spending this week polishing tea sets and ironing their ascots in preparation for the big royal wedding this Friday, us Americans have been looking for ways to join in the fun.

Watch parties have been planned, bets have been taken on whether “Carol Middleton [will] be spotted chewing gum at the wedding” (odds are 25/1, fyi) and gossip magazines have flown off the supermarket shelves – but there’s still a sense that Americans aren’t celebrating with the enthusiasm expected of us by our former overlords.

But Papa John’s, the world’s 3rd largest pizza factory, has done us all a favor and stepped up to the plate for the Americans.

They have created a monstrosity piece of food art that is so classy, it’s making the rest of the developed world nervous.

Papa Johns Royal Wedding Pizza

The Royal Wedding Pizza | Photo from Papa John's

The royal teeth are made from cheap Mozzarella and the royal suit is made from salami.  The skin is made from cultured human tissue.  Just kidding.

The work was commissioned by a “food artist,” according to Papa John’s.  It’s also available for delivery to residents in the UK, and comes with a hefty price tag (although I can’t seem to figure out how much – unconfirmed reports says $500 – and if someone pays that for that thing, I’ll lose my mind).

Pizza art, though, is not new.  It’s as American as baseball or apple pie, or cheating at baseball or making fast food apple pie. It’s an art form akin to French impressionism or Swiss furniture, and we’re lucky enough to live in a time where we get to watch it spread across the globe.

Joker Pizza Art

Died-too-Young Pizza Art | Photo from HubPages

Yoda Pizza Art

(Sea sick) Yoda Pizza Art | Photo by Cool Pictures

Obama Pizza Art

Better than a birth certificate | Photo by

Can’t wait to see what Papa John’s dreams up for Gaddafi’s retirement party.

That’s not food, Jimmy Dean

Jimmy Dean and Elvis

Jimmy Dean (left) poses with some other guy | Photo from Music Row

I’ve put the recipes aside for today, and want to focus my microscope on an issue that’s been plaguing the American food industry.

There’s long been a problem in this country with non-portable breakfast foods.  Sure, we have yogurt, granola bars and bagels, but none of them clog my arteries the way I crave.  It just seems like every time I want to eat something filling, I have to make it and then sit there and eat it.  What a hassle.

I wish there was a way that I could wake up, unwrap some plastic and nuke me a breakfast that I could eat without getting a plate dirty.

Jimmy Dean, apparently, has been working to solve this problem.  Their regular sausage products were fine and successful, but they’ve been pushing tirelessly to capture that I-wish-this-came-on-a-stick demographic.  And now we have it, Jimmy Dean’s Pancake and Sausage on a Stick.

Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sticks

Jimmy Deans Delicious on a Stick | Photo by Jimmy Dean

Wrapping a frozen sausage in a frozen pancake is gross a perfectly reasonable breakfast food.  But our intrepid explorers at Jimmy Dean couldn’t stop there – sausage in a maple pancake on a stick is too mundane, so they now offer “Chocolate Chip Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick” as well as “Blueberry Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick.”  And if you still want the stomachache without the stick, they also come in stick-less “minis.”  It’s make a great appetizer for a party where all of your guests hate food.

Inside View

So gross I almost couldnt post it | Photo by Southpaw Beagle

Jimmy Dean, in their corporate quest to appeal to the country’s youth, has fully integrated their website into social media.  And while I forgot to promote them on my Facebook page, I did pull out one pretty insightful comment from a loyal fan.

Jennifer Shaw writes:


Right on, Jennifer.  Go healthy with the Chocolate Chip Pancakes & Chicken Sausage on a Stick.

For the record, each “unit” (pancake and sausage, probably not the stick) contains 230 calories, 13g of fat, 8g of sugar and 30 minutes of self-loathing.


Chock full o fat | Photo by Jimmy dean

But nothing tops Jimmy Dean’s other breakfast gem – the “bowl.”  They come in all flavors, but the worst best one looks to be the “Jimmy Dean Sausage, Eggs, Potatoes and Cheddar Cheese Breakfast Bowl.”

It comes in a bowl, so you can skip that step.  And you don’t even need a fork, just jam your face into it.  There’s not a lot to say about this one, except don’t eat it.

It puts up some impressive numbers, though.  It clocks in at 390 calories, with 123% of your daily cholesterol (see, it saves even more time – you’ve already got cholesterol credits for tomorrow).  It’s also got 52% of your daily fat intake, and 65% of your daily saturated fat.

Bowl info

Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bowl (Sausage) Nutritional Information

Yum yum yum.

Keep it up, Jimmy Dean.  Now that Chocolate/Pancake/Maple/Sausage sticks and bowls of fat are acceptable breakfast foods, there’s really no limit to where you can take us.  The future is in your hands.

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