Category Archives: eating

Hot enough for ya?

They even look like little diablos…


News item: Man hospitalized after eating the world’s hottest pepper.

According to an article I read on – a 34-year-old man experienced a series of intense headaches and dry heaving after eating a Carolina Reaper, reportedly the hottest pepper in the world. the man developed excruciating pain in his head and neck, prompting him to go to an emergency room, according to an article published Monday in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

The word ‘reaper’ is in the very name of the damn thing. Did he actually expect a satisfying culinary experience?

What, exactly, would prompt a person to eat something toted as ‘the world’s hottest…anything’? I used to like hot peppers, but I would stop at a cherry pepper or jalapeno. No sense going any further. I used to like Tabasco sauce, too. But you wouldn’t catch me near a bottle of Zydeco Molten Lava Insanity sauce. Who needs that kind of discomfort? What are you trying to achieve?

the ol’ man likes to grow hot peppers. I recall this one crop – they were dark purple, like miniature eggplants. They stuck out at odd angles from their stems. Right there I knew they were dangerous, but how bad could they be, really? I plucked one and cut the very tip off with my pocket knife. I touched the cut end to the tip of my tongue, {{ding}}, just for a split second. The heat (I would say it was more like ‘burning sensation’) began in about 2 seconds, steadily spread across my tongue, throughout my mouth and down my throat. I developed a headache. I drank copies amounts of beer to wash out the toxin (wait, that might have been before the pepper…) and I never did it again.

When it comes to hot peppers, there are some clues to foretell danger. Smooth skin and rich coloring will usually signal heat. But folds, crevasses and odd colors indicate danger. the Carolina Reaper, when fully ripe is a wrinkly and shriveled looking pepper that glows a satanic red and sports a pointy tail. Surely it is cringing under its own Scovilles. Who needs a crystal ball to portend the qualities of something like that?

Furthermore, who is cross breeding these things and developing new species, the demonic Monsanto Corporation? Ironically, no. It is the PuckerButt Pepper Company (no shit).

And remember: If it burns that much on the way in, it sure as hell is going to burn on the way out.

How are you going to quench that heat?

Fire hiney!


This stuff tastes like…



I’m eating the oatmeal.

Instant, to be exact, and I don’t like it. I’d much prefer a fresh made ham, cheese and egg sandwich, but I’m trying to eat healthy, so I’m eating something that is purported to scrub the arteries as opposed to slathering them with gunk.

But I don’t like it.

I am sitting at my desk – eating ‘al desko’ as its termed. This is instant oatmeal, surely one of the lowest forms of the stuff. About the only level below this is a generic brand. To be fair, it is cinnamon flavored, which is only a rung or two higher than the detested ‘maple and brown sugar’ variety, or any of those ‘fruit and cream’ concoctions they purvey.

More or less freeze-dried yakk, if you ask me. Just add warm water. (You know, yakk…don’t make me add synonyms, please…)

Losing weight? I doubt it. The beer counters that effort. Satiated? Not hardly, but at least I’m not nauseas from hunger.

Yeah, yeah, I know, there are poor people who would gladly take my cup of crap.
If there was a way to get it to them, right now, they could have it while it is still warm.

Rodents are like squash

A pile of friggin' squash

A pile of friggin’ squash

As is well documented here, rodents are not highly regarded. Not that they should be. After all, their gnawing, nesting, crawling around in dark places, pestilence carrying and general squeaky chitter-chatter are not endearing.

And let’s not get started on that tail.

On the hierarchical scale of things, rodents occupy the base levels. Somewhat above bugs; flying, stinging or otherwise, but quite lower than, say, a cute puppy or a furry kitten. Even a squawking bird is a rung or two higher.

Rodents are the mammalian equivalent of squash – they have their place in the grand scheme of things, but you would reach for a potato or the creamed spinach long before the roasted spaghetti squash.

One can easily see why rodents take the brunt of human dislike. No one wants a rodent around anymore than they want a steaming plate of poached pumpkin or baked Hubbard squash on the dinner table.

Rodents, just like pumpkins, squash or gourds, make great targets. I can recall several times when the Birdcrew would purchase a few select sized pumpkins specifically for that purpose. Squash holds up quite well to marble strikes, bullets and arrows. You can use them over and over again. When you’re done, you can smash them, thus getting out some inner aggression, or you can throw them into the fire. Few people (that I know of) would have a problem with either a squash or a rodent being on the receiving end of a projectile.

Just like squash, rodents are filled with yucky stuff. And they tend to linger – like that pumpkin that you leave on the front porch around Halloween. It slowly deflates into a leaking compost display until it needs to be picked up with a snow shovel. That, or you can wait until a hard freeze then chisel it off the step.

The mouse whacked by the trap in the garage will stay there until it starts to smell, or the wife screeches about it. By then it will be somewhat less plump than when it was first discovered.

Seems like there is always a rodent poking around somewhere – the mouse in the garage, the groundhog under the shed, chipmunks in the shrubbery, moles, voles and shrews in the backyard.

Rodents and squash come in all sorts of varieties. The better to fool you with. Acorn, butternut, Hubbard, turban, spaghetti, goose neck, pumpkin, green, yellow, summer, winter – all squash.

Rats, mice, squirrels, woodchucks, rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, chipmunks, moles, voles, shrews, capybara – all rodents.

Can a squash kill a rodent? I think so. If you were to hit a mouse with, say, a 2 lb. butternut squash, I’d bet you would smoke it but good.

Chowderfest 2014

Thanks to this guy for letting me take a pic of his shirt

Thanks to this guy for letting me take a pic of his shirt

I could sum up my experience at Chowderfest 2014 with this quote from the guy next to me in line at the beer truck –

“Sunshine, beer and chowda…you tell me.”

I saw this guy walking in.  He had on dark sunglasses, carried one of those red and white canes that the sight impaired use and a woman hooked into his arm, ostensibly guiding him.

But she was not with him at the moment.  Curious, I thought.  Was this guy deploying some kind of subterfuge to help him cut ahead in line?  Then I recalled a song lyric, perhaps from the Grateful Dead – ‘But even a blind man knows when the sun is shining’.  That made a lot of sense to me.

“Better than rain, beer and chowda.”  I responded, feeling quite smug that I had a witty reply.
“True dat, my brother.”

Or something like that.  I can’t remember how the conversation ended.  We were both thirsty and nothing quite complements good clam chowder – red or white – like a cold beer.

It was a damn fine day.  The sun was shining, the temperature was most pleasant and the ground was not at all soggy, despite the previous evening’s rain.

I’ll tell you this, it takes a lot of clams to fuel this thing every year.

Thanks, Fred and Kim,  for inviting us down for the weekend.

Outside the 'White' tent

Outside the ‘White’ tent

Blow it out yer ass

Ok, give me about an hour…


I’ve heard the ‘eat more fiber’ speech for most of my life and, for the most part, I do.  I have no problem with bran muffins, oatmeal, or salads.  I eat a lot of them.  They keep the pipes clear and help to fill me guts at mealtime.

The big pharma companies would rather you popped one of their over sized and over priced pills every morning.  Then time your day to coincide with an urgent and catastrophic washroom visitation later on.

Me, I take enough pills just trying to keep on an even keel.  I don’t need to gag down some compressed wad of hay, saw dust and shredded grocery bags just to keep me regular.

Prunes are the inside joke amongst the aged, but they may well be a better alternative to pill or liquid form laxatives.  I’ve been told that fresh figs are a fair alternative, but I don’t  imbibe in them, so it’s just hearsay at this point.

I do, however, eat prunes and let me tell you, just a few of those sweet, little chewy black gems can get things moving along just fine.  There’s no need to eat a whole box or package, unless you are the kind of person who enjoys long and frequent bowl sessions.

I, myself, am not such a person, despite what you may have heard.

But Bird, what if there is already a blockage at the toll booth?  What then?

How about a couple of flaming hot cups of full strength COFFEE? That shiite is like two state trooper cruisers with full lights and sirens screaming down the road.  It scares the bowels into movement and clears the roadway, sometimes with urgent and bombastic results.

Of course, there is the ubiquitous prune juice.  The standard bowel flusher for those who can’t masticate a regular prune proper.  Again, not something I have any prior experience with, so I will just let that one be, for now.

It stinks that we even have to know about such business.  But we humans tend to put a lot of crap into our mouths, and in quantities that the rest of the organization doesn’t much care for.

Sometimes the offensive load is rejected by customs right at the first warehouse and sent back the way it came FOB/Post Haste.  Hey, no one that I know likes to purge out the intake chute, but let me tell you, it sure beats suffering through severe abdominal cramps for hours.

Other times it gets processed through the system only to foul up the works later on.  That is when the Purple Prune grenade comes into play.  Pull the pin, let the handle fly and don’t plan any long meetings for the next couple of hours.

Ow! My liver!

No thanks

No thanks

If anything in the above picture looks the least bit appetizing to you, this might not be the post for you.

I am not a picky eater, but I draw the line at internal organs.  The casing on sausage or some choice shellfish is as far as I go down that road.

Don’t even try.  I am not a fan of, nor will I entertain the likes of chit’lins, brains, sweetbreads, liver, stomach, tripe, tongue, heart gizzards, kidney or anything having to do with any of that.  Maybe, just maybe, if I was in a survival situation and then it would be under protest.

And really, in this day and age, why the fark should we be eating that crap?  Keep in mind that the internal organs do a lot of fitering and collection of organic and inorganic trash that a given animal eats.  It is known that certain big game animal’s livers are contaminated with lead and cadmium and unsafe for human consumption.  Hey, no worries there, as far as I’m concerned.

Cadmium for crying out loud.  Who the hell needs more of that?  And as long as we’re on the subject, anything ending in ‘ium is not good for humans – uranium, plutonium, osmium, oppossium, bacterium, et al.

It’s not called ‘offal’ for nothing, you know.  The very word ‘offal’ is derived from the term ‘awful meat’.

Awful.  Meat.  Indeed.

But I digest (well, no, actually, I don’t).

I’m sure some of my vegan friends are thrusting their stalks of celery high in the air and shouting out, ‘You go, Birdwell!  But it’s not like I have anything against people eating whatever they want, it’s just that I think organs and such are repulsive, reprehensible, regurg-itory, purge-itory and downright hurl-worthy.

How in the world could you ever compare the delectable, mouth-watering smell of a grilled steak to that of a liver, onion and eggplant casserole?  Or tripe and tomatoes?  Or kidney pie and okra?  Or friggin’ baked tongue on rye?

Sheesh, I don’t know about you, but I’ve about lost my appetite.

So the other day I dropped into a eating/drinking establishment that I don’t frequent very often.  But I had some time on my hands and I was in the area and I was somewhat parched, as it were.

It is populated by folks much older than myself and I grabbed a bar stool next to a couple of guys that were about my ol’ man’s age.  I listened with disinterest as they ordered their meals, disinterest right up until the point where one of them said,
“I’ll have the sweetbreads, lightly braised, with extra sweetbreads” (no, really, he asked for extra).

I looked up from my glass for no good reason…

“Oh, a fan of the sweetbreads are ye, young feller?” He said, meeting my gaze.
“No.” I answered flatly.
“Ye don’t know what yer missing.” He returned, jovially.
“Nor do I care to find out”, I replied as I shot my whiskey to wash the taste out of my mouth.

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