The Cereal Box Tribune
Upon reading Rodney’s latest post this morning over at his Midlife Crisis Hawaii blog about eating cereal, it reminded me of when I was a young boy, I used to always glance over the cereal box as I ate my cereal. You ever did that?
First you start with the back of your Cap’n Crunch cereal box, all about how awesomely fun that toy prize included at the bottom will be. Then you make your way to the left side of the box, reading over all the nutritional information, right down to the very last “ingrediment”. Finally to the other side, where it’s usually some boring stuff about how good Cap’n Crunch breakfast cereal is for you. The nutritional information on the other side of the box was much more interesting to read, right? Then when you’re done eating, you can barely remember anything you’ve just read on the box. It was purely “dining entertainment”. Ha-hah!
I swear, breakfast cereal and milk just wasn’t complete unless I had the box right in front of me to read while eating it.
Poi, my Boy
Whenever I eat Hawaiian food, I typically don’t just shovel it in my mouth like you do. Nope. What I do is, I place small portions of the sea salty-savory goodness — whether it be Kalua Pig, Laulau, Lomi Salmon, Pipi Kaula, or Big Island Paniolo style Smoke Meat — stay on top da’ spoonful of poi, laddat. Kinda’ like a “poi-meets-salty-savory, ono kine dip” if you will. Winnahz!
Another funny, if not weird thing I still do to this day is, I’ll sometimes eat a complete dish, one part at time, not in unison. So, say I have a plate of Turkey, stuffing ‘n gravy, with mash potatoes and steamed vegetables on the side. What I’ll do is eat all the turkey first, and that’s it. Nothing else. Then when that’s pau, I’ll hit just the stuffing, and that’s it. Then I’ll polish off the mash potatoes, and that’s it. Then I’ll finish the plate by polishing off the steamed veggies. Each part of the dish, one at a time. Not da’ kine, little bit of this, little bit of that. Weird, right?
Another weird thing I do is, while I have no asian blood whatsoever, most of the time I eat with only chopsticks, regardless of what the food is. I hardly ever use a fork, knife and spoon at the table. Like seriously, unless it’s something like steak that needs a fork and knife — or obviously ice cream, or I’m at a formal restaurant — most of the time at home or at a casual restaurant, I’ll use hashi (chopsticks). That’s why I truly believe I must have been Japanese in my past life.
With that, whenever I eat Chicken Noodle Soup (usually only when I have a cold, or I’m just lazy to cook anything else), I’ll actually use chopsticks to eat the slippery-soft noodles and spare bits of chicken cubes in it. Then I’ll drink the soup straight out of the bowl, pretty much like eating Japanese Ramen, no spoon required. I’ll even go as far as fishing the cracked pieces of soda cracker in the chicken soup broth with my hashi.
Not speaking for myself, however I do know some folks who are krazy about ketchup, adding it to just about EVERYTHING that goes in their mouth, from pizza, to spaghetti, eggs ‘n rice. steak, mash potatoes, to even laulau and kalua pig. I’ve seen ketchup used in the weirdest ways imaginable, save for ice cream. Haven’t seen anyone do ketchup ice cream… yet. Thank God.
My friend used to work for this tour company taking tourists to various military bases around Oahu (this was way before 9/11). And at this one base (I think it was Schofield), never failed when they went to have lunch at the cafeteria, he’d run across this retired Air Force general, who’d hit the salad bar and stay there FOREVER plating his salad.
“The General” would methodically first arrange his sliced cucumbers all in a perfectly symmetrical circular perimeter as a foundation on his plate. Next on that, a symmetrically-placed layer of sliced carrots.
Then repeat the process in layers with the tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, olives, lettuce, croutons, and whatever else, ending up with the most symmetrically-perfect, fully-loaded salad you’ve ever seen, like only a mathematically correct retired Air Force general could pull off.
He said it was frickin’ HILARIOUS, yet incredible all at the same time!
I think I told you folks this before, about my food “binges”. I’ll often go on a “Saimin kick”, eating just saimin and/or ramen noodles for lunch and/or dinner for weeks at a time. Then I’ll get totally sick of it and not touch the stuff for MONTHS.
Then next I’ll go on a “Shrimp Cocktail Kick”, eating shrimp cocktail every day after work as a treat for about a week, then I’ll get totally sick of Shrimp Cocktail, and not eat Shrimp Cocktail again for MONTHS. Did I say shrimp cocktail enough? OK, just checking.
Other food “binges” I also go on include poke, sashimi, fries, fully loaded baked potatoes, cheese ‘n crackers, tuna sandwiches and ice cream.
Sleep Walk Diner
Speaking of ice cream, a more bad than funny or weird habit I have is snacking in the wee hours of the morning, no pun intended.
Sometimes when I get up in the middle of the night to take a leak, after that I think to myself, “Damned, I sure could go for some ice cream right about now.” I’ll then proceed to engorge myself at 2am in the morning with about 1/4th of a half-gallon tub of Butter Pecan, before forcing myself to put it back in the freezer. And no, I don’t use a bowl. Straight outta’ the tub, baby!
One thing you can count on when I’m in charge of the kitchen and the cooking, is counting on waiting for your dinner to arrive. As in, if dinner is supposed to be served at 6pm sharp, and Pomai’s the cook? Plan on eating at about 7 or 8pm. For realz! I swear, I have TERRIBLE kitchen management skills.
However it’s not because I’m not aware of it, or that I don’t know how. It’s just I don’t give a flying fu%#. You eat when I’m good and ready to serve, damned it! I take my sweet @ss time, you know, cleaning as I cook, being sidetracked by checking my emails and surfing the web on my phone. Pouring another glass of wine. You know. What REAL home cooks do!
I usually never leave well enough alone in the kitchen, always “doctoring up” dishes with more pepper here, more butter there. Use this instead of that. And I also often mess with recipes, trying to make them “my own”. And with that, I’ve had my share of screw-ups, while also having an equal amount of triumphs. Of course you can’t play “doctor” with baking, being it’s mostly a science. Which is why for the most part, I don’t bake.
No matter what I’m cooking, even if I know how to make it in my head, or have a cookbook I’m following, never fails, I ALWAYS do further research on the web about the dish. I just have a habit wanting to learn more about the dish I’m making, and other ways I can go about preparing it.
A funny note on that, a friend of mine told me he has a family doctor they nickname “Dr. Google”. Reason being, this so-called “Dr. Google” doctor actually searches the web for answers to their health concerns during one-on-one office visits, and even has the b@lls to print out copies of the results, complete with the url stamp at the top and bottom of the page. Un-Effin’-Believa-Ble.
Back to being Japanese at heart, another odd habit of mine at home, is I prefer eating while sitting on the floor, not sitting on a chair at the dinner table. I think this goes back once again to my little boy days, when I’d always sit in front of the TV on the floor while eating my snacks after school. So now at home I have this long, low coffee table in my living room, where I’ll always sit on the floor eating my meals there, instead of on my regular dinner table and chairs.
Please share your funny, zany and weird food habits!