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I'm a guy who likes to cook, eat, and drink, but not necessarily in that order. This blog is nothing fancy; just my random thoughts about anything that can be baked, roasted, or fried. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Martinis at Noon


©2015 Chris Terrell
This past weekend, I made my annual pilgrimage to New York City. I had originally planned for six days in the Big Apple, but that pesky thing called work interfered, so I had to settle for a quick weekend instead. My trip had an inauspicious beginning from a culinary perspective. Dinner Friday night was a grilled chicken sandwich from Chik-Fil-A at the airport, scarfed down with a Good People Pale Ale at the bar next to my gate. At least Delta was feeling generous because the flight attendant gave me two bags of pretzels on the Atlanta to LaGuardia leg. But by the time I arrived at my hotel in New York it was 1:30AM, and I was hungry again. Thank goodness for an $8 can of Pringles from the mini-bar.

The next morning, after a quick continental breakfast at the hotel, it was off to do some serious shopping at my favorite book store: The Strand. Anyone who is serious about books, especially anyone serious about cookbooks, should visit The Strand. I’ve never seen so many cookbooks in one place. An entire corner of The Strand is covered from floor to ceiling with cookbooks—everything from gourmet Jewish food to vegan desserts. Of course, I couldn’t resist—I bought a seafood cookbook titled Fish: Recipes from the Sea. I justified this purchase by telling myself that I need to start eating more fish. Perhaps reading all these cookbooks had made me hungry, because breakfast had worn off. I grabbed a street dog from a cart on Broadway and East 13th Street—a guilty pleasure I enjoy every time I visit New York.

©2015 Chris Terrell
Probably not the best choice for dinner before the theater.
Saturday night was the highlight of the trip—Cabaret—my favorite musical of all time. But first things first: dinner. Finding a good restaurant for the theater can be challenging. The theater district is not known for its restaurants and many of its offerings are tourist traps or “institutions” well past their prime. One exception is Esca, which specializes in Italian seafood. (Esca is Italian for “bait.”) It was started in 2000 by Dave Pasternack, Mario Batali, and Joe Bastianich. The food is fresh and perfectly cooked, with an excellent wine list. The atmosphere is relaxed, yet elegant, and the service friendly and attentive. 

The next morning, breakfast consisted of a croissant, Starbucks, and the Sunday New York Times. Our plan was to see the Matisse Cut-outs at MoMA and have lunch at the Modern, but unfortunately the Modern is closed on Sundays. Instead, we went to what is becoming my New York “standby:” Brasserie, located in the iconic Seagram Building. 

©2015 Chris Terrell
Now that's a burger!
We were seated about five minutes before noon, and I ordered my usual Bombay Sapphire martini, straight up with a twist without any thought about the time. Our server then told me rather politely, that they couldn’t serve alcohol before noon. Really!? I expected this kind of treatment in Alabama but not the city that never sleeps! I’m not sure if this made me feel better about Alabama or worse about New York City. No bother, as it was noon by the time the drink made it to my table—no harm, no foul. Brasserie makes a damn good burger, which is what I got. They also make about the biggest burger I’ve ever seen!

It was during this trip to Brasserie that I noticed an unusual architectural feature. About halfway through martini #2, I noticed that the floor seemed to slant downward from the back of the restaurant to the front. "Wow," I thought, "these are strong martinis!" Laura had not said anything, so I figured it was just gin. But after several minutes of examining the restaurant from different areas of the dining room, I became convinced that there was a slight list of 3 or 4 degrees. I finally got the courage to ask our server, who confirmed this quirk. (Last time, we sat in the back at the “high end” so this slant was not as noticeable.) Maybe the thought is to keep the drunks walking in a straight line after happy hour. 

After MoMA and a quick rest at the hotel, it was off to the airport to return home. I got home rather late and hungry, so dinner consisted of a grilled cheese sandwich. It was a fun weekend, though without my usual NYC gastronomic adventures, but then again, must it always?  I’ve visited New York enough now that I don’t feel compelled to eat fancy meals 24-7 when I'm there. I mean, even Alice Waters probably eats a hot dog from time to time, right? Sure she does. So long as it is locally sourced!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Cook Like a Cook

How does one learn to cook? In the past, such skills were handed down from grandmother, to mother, to daughter. And the skills were based on cooking limited, traditional, and highly local ingredients. Of course, there weren’t a lot of us dudes cooking back then and the highfaluting probably didn’t even know where the kitchen was. 

Fast forward about two or three hundred years, and we arrive in the post-war baby boom. In America, at least, this means frozen foods, fast food, cake mixes, Jell-O, and microwave ovens. By this time, no one knows how to cook real food. Fast forward another twenty or thirty years and the Food Network arrives on the scene, with gastronomic gladiatorial contests like Iron Chef America, Chopped, and Cutthroat Kitchen. And so it seems that everyone in America is cooking again. But are they really? Everyone seems more interested in food, and folks seem to be reading more foodie magazines, going out to eat, and buying cookbooks (I own 33 myself), but are people cooking more? I’m not so sure.

Cooking is more than following a recipe, though there’s nothing wrong with that. I try new recipes from cookbooks all the time. After all, I don’t walk around with the recipe to Lobster Thermidor in my head. Same with baking, which is more like science and requires precise adherence to the dictates of a recipe. But for every day, run-of-the-mill faire, you really don’t need a recipe. In fact, it simply gets in the way. All you need are some basic skills and common sense. And besides, just because you’re cooking “everyday faire” doesn’t mean it can’t be good, so long as you follow a few basic “rules.”

Rule #1: Salt (especially) and pepper are your friends. Ask any chef and he or she will tell you that if they had only one “spice” to take with them to a deserted island, it would be salt. 

Rule #2: More mistakes are made by trying to cook things too quickly than anything else. Take your time. Cranking the oven up to 450 degrees so you can shave a few minutes off the pot roast may shave a few minutes off the cooking time, but it’s not going to make a better pot roast.

Rule #3: Know how to make a salad dressing and throw away any bottled salad dressings you have in your fridge. Vinaigrette is so simple and easy to make, and goes so well over a bowl of simple greens, why would you waste $3.59 on something made in a factory in Toledo, Ohio?

Rule #4: Make soup. It freezes well, and is a great way to clean out the fridge.

Rule #5: Learn how to scramble eggs or make an omelet—there’s a reason Julia Child did a whole episode on this: Julia's Scrambled Eggs

Rule #6: Learn how to roast a chicken. It’s inexpensive; it’s good; and you can use what's left for stock (see rule #4). Here’s how Julia does it:Julia Roasts a Chicken

Rule #6: Learn how to make pan sauces, but keep in mind that everyone makes ‘em different. Nevertheless, here’s a video that covers the various ways to make one: Aussie Makes a Pan Sauce 

Rule #7: Don’t be afraid to use butter. Americans have been brainwashed into thinking that butter is bad.

Rule #8: Have one good, simple desert recipe that you can make in a pinch.

Rule #9: Everyone likes good bread. Everyone.

Rule #10: Never apologize.


That’s it folks. All you need to know in order to be a cook, rather than a heater-of-frozen-stuff.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Luck and Money

©2015 Chris Terrell
Luck and Money!
A new year has arrived, and we will spend the next 40 weeks trying to shed the weight we gained during the previous 40 days. But before we hit the treadmill, there's one last food tradition left: black-eyed peas and collards. 

In the South, it is traditional to eat black-eyed peas and collards on New Year's day for luck (the peas) and money (greens). The green color of collards represents money--that's pretty obvious. What's perhaps less so is why black-eyed peas represent luck. One story is that during his infamous march to the sea in Georgia, General Sherman didn't burn the fields planted with black-eyed peas, thinking they were animal feed. Because of the black-eyed peas Sherman spared, many Georgians avoided starvation and ever since the blacked-eyed pea has been considered to bring good luck. 

Black-eyed peas are not just for New Year's Day. I grew up eating them on a regular basis. In my family, we served them with chopped onion and ketchup. 

I've always made my black-eyed peas separate from the collards, cooking the peas slowly over low heat with butter, onion, and a ham hock or bacon. This year, however, I tried something new—a recipe by Raleigh, North Carolina, Chef Ashley Christensen. In her recipe, she combines black-eyed peas and collard greens, appropriately naming it Luck and Money. John T. Edge, named it one of his favorite recipes in a recent issue of Garden & Gun. Here's the recipe, though I added bacon to mine:

Luck and Money
Chef Ashley Christensen, Raleigh, NC


About 6-8 servings

¼ cup canola oil
1 yellow onion, minced
2 lbs. collard greens, stemmed and chopped*
1 tsp. red pepper flakes, toasted (Toast the pepper flakes in a dry sauté pan over medium heat, tossing constantly until they become aromatic.)
½ cup white wine
2 cups cooked peas (Use your favorite field pea.)
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. roasted garlic butter**
sea salt to taste
fresh cracked pepper to taste

Warm canola oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Next, add onion and cook until translucent. Add chopped greens, and stir to mix with onion and oil. Season lightly with sea salt and toasted pepper flakes. Stir for 2 minutes to allow the seasoning to permeate the ingredients. Add white wine, and cook the contents of the pot (still over medium heat), stirring every few minutes. Cook until tender, about 30-40 minutes.

Once greens are tender, stir in cooked peas and cider vinegar. Bring to a simmer and season with roasted garlic butter, sea salt, and cracked pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 more minutes, allowing all of the ingredients to incorporate.

*Stems in greens are a matter of preference. I like them both ways, but I also love to pickle the stems separately for garnishing deviled eggs, or Bloody Marys…anything that likes a pickle.


**Roasted garlic butter is made by mixing soft, roasted garlic cloves into soft butter in a ratio of 1:8, so 1 tablespoon of roasted garlic to 1 stick of butter. It’s great for finishing sauces and vegetables. If you prefer, you may just use plain butter. If using plain butter, add a couple of cloves of crushed fresh garlic in with the onion.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Don't Forget the Fruitcake!

Around the holidays, I try to remember the less fortunate. I get toys for the angel tree at work. I put money in the Salvation Army kettles at the Piggly Wiggly. I buy a fruitcake. 

You know, that multi-colored, dusty brick sitting alone and and ignored? (I don’t think a new fruitcake has been made since 1978; they just get passed from family to family, year after year.) Maybe it’s Christmas, but I tend to get sentimental at this time of year, and I’ve always felt a bit sorry for fruitcake. Let’s face it: fruitcake has to be the most maligned and ridiculed food in the Western world.

A few years ago—I don’t remember when or where—I had a bite of fruitcake and realized that I actually liked it. So now, I’ve taken up the cause, and I buy one every Christmas. But like the ones my mom bought, mine go mostly uneaten. One of my boys likes it, and other one hates it. Maybe liking fruitcake is the result of a recessive gene.

Fruitcake shouldn’t be feared. It is nothing more than cake with dried fruit and nuts. So based on that definition, fruitcake has been around a long time. The Romans ate a type of fruitcake that consisted of pomegranate seeds in a barley mash.  From there, it spread to the rest of Europe and then on to Aisle 4 at your local supermarket. 

It is also worth noting that what we as Americans consider fruitcake is much different than the fruitcake from other parts of the globe. The Italian panettone and German stollen are technically fruitcakes, but much more popular and tastier than the US incarnation —kinda like comparing Olive Oyl to Raquel Welch and Marlene Dietrich. I particularly like what they do with fruitcake in the Bahamas. Not only is the cake itself drenched in rum, but so are the ingredients. 

And while I don’t eat fruitcake very often, when I do it’s Claxton. This iconic fruitcake has been made in Claxton, Georgia, for a hundred years. But just because Claxton has been around a long time, doesn’t mean it's not in step with the times. Claxton now makes something called ClaxSnax, which according to the company’s website is “Claxton Fruit Cake by the slice, individually wrapped for freshness.” What’s next ? One hundred calorie “ClaxSnax” packs? (For the record, that would be a piece of fruitcake the size of a quarter—have you read the calorie count on the back of the box?!)

I’ve been told that fruitcake is not that hard to make and can actually be made quite well. The jury is still out on that one and besides, the holidays are nearly done and I’m done with cooking, so maybe next year. Until then, grab a fruitcake from your local grocery store at half-off and scarf down the last few fatty calories before the new year when we all will be forced to hit the gym!




Thursday, December 18, 2014

Party Like It's 1975!

©2014 Chris Terrell

All set!
It’s December, and the holiday party circuit is in full swing. Even so, these days it seems as if that circuit is not as daunting as it was for our parents in the 1970s. Back then, grown-ups were always having parties or friends over for dinner, along with casseroles, cheap jug wine, big hair, big collars, and lots of music. With that kind of holiday party mojo, the 70s may have had it going on after all. Maybe there was more to the 70s than Sonny & Cher and fondue.

Two years ago, I made the fateful decision to have a holiday party that paid homage to those days. I got a Christmas tree decked out in tinsel and blinking colored lights, a blow-mold Santa and snowman, and a vintage punch bowl. The year after that, I did it again, and then again this year for the third time. I guess it’s an annual thing now. (It’s always the Saturday after the SEC Championship in case you’re down this way next year.) One friend even said, it wouldn’t be the holidays without my annual party. 

This year I decided to go big and invite more people—a lot more people. The only drawback was that I couldn’t cook the food as I had done for the first and second annual holiday parties. I had no choice but to have my party catered.

As much as I enjoy cooking, especially for friends and family, having the party catered was a great idea. I entered the home stretch a lot more relaxed and a lot less stressed, which obviously made the party more enjoyable. But this was also the first party I had catered. In the past, I've resisted it because I thought it would be too expensive and because it felt like cheating. 

As for the first point, having a party catered is really not that more expensive than making it yourself, especially when you account for the fact that the caterer gets the food wholesale and has the economy of scale that comes with lots of help and a commercial kitchen. You can also save some money by using your own platters and not hiring a server or bartender. As for the second point, it helped that I still made a couple of my “signature” dishes that have become hits and, quite frankly, were expected by my guests to be on the table: Caramelized Bacon and Parmesan Crisps, both of which are Ina Garten recipes. They were gone well before the chicken bites, roast beef on rolls, or the shrimp cocktail that caterer brought.

Even with a caterer, however, a party done right still takes time and effort. I had to get my place cleaned up; flowers ordered and picked up; beer and wine iced down; food plated; punch made; and candles lighted. Hard work yes, but very much worth it. 

Earlier I mentioned that our parents made it seem so easy, but it probably wasn’t it. They didn’t have microwaves to heat things up. Good food was harder to come by and more expensive. Hell, they actually had to change records on the turntable! They did have one advantage, however. Back in their day, there was no Internet, no cell phones, no social media. Our parents didn’t need Facebook to stay connected. That’s what parties were for. 

Don’t get me wrong. This post is not meant to be some kind of where-have-all-the-good-old-days-gone kind of rant—just the opposite. Besides, if there is one thing I noticed this year during my party. I notice that very few people were looking at their iPhones, texting, or even taking photos and selfies and posting them to Facebook. So, we may not have as many parties as we once did, but they’re not extinct. So play some Sonny and Cher on your iPod, throw on some bellbottoms, and put some Riunite on ice! The 70s are back baby!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Thanksgiving With Military Precision

In the early morning hours on the Monday following Thanksgiving weekend, I stepped on the bathroom scale and squinted at the three-digit number staring back at me. Yep, the holidays had officially begun!

This year’s annual, gut-busting holiday of excess and family neurosis had commenced the previous Wednesday evening on a flight from Birmingham, Alabama, to Williamsburg, Virginia. Because there are no direct flights from Birmingham to anywhere, my two sons and I had to connect in Charlotte, North Carolina. And, as we’ve all heard a million times before, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year. Moreover, Charlotte is not one of my favorite airports. It is spread out, and invariably I seem forced to travel from Concourse A to Concourse E in about 15 minutes in order to make my connection. This time, however, my connecting flight was in the same terminal as the flight from Birmingham. Feeling the holiday vibe, I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best…

Our journey had begun propitiously enough in Birmingham when we sailed through a hassle-free, friendly TSA screening, with an on-time departure. After a smooth flight with prompt drink service, we landed early in Charlotte! As we walked off the plane into Concourse E, with its all-too-expected smell of fried jalapeño poppers from Chili’s Too, we were hit with the cold reality of modern air travel, posted in white Helvetica type: FLIGHT DELAYED! 

Our flight was at least an hour late, though it turned out to be more like an hour and a half. But the real kicker was that there was only one bar in Terminal E, obviously added as an afterthought. It had about as much square footage as an Airstream camper and a line of about 25 people waiting for over-priced, precisely-measured, cheap well drinks. After waiting without success for about 10-15 minutes for the privilege of commandeering a mere 18 square inches at the bar, I gave up.

We did finally make it to Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport around 10:15PM. Laura picked us up and, in about 20 minutes, we arrived at her house in Williamsburg. We were tired but wired and didn’t go to bed right away like we should have. We all stayed up too late having a few drinks, laughing, and telling tall tales. (The kids played Xbox.) But eventually we all ambled off to bed for some much-needed sleep.

For me, Thanksgiving is food’s high holy day. I know for others it’s all about friends and family and while that’s important, I must confess that for me, it’s all about the food. I also love to cook on Thanksgiving. This year, I volunteered to do most of the planning and cooking, coming up with the menu, making the shopping list, and doing some, but by no means all, of the shopping. Several times, I got the obligatory “why don’t we just go out?” or “why not just order from Honey Baked Ham?” Sacrilege, I cried! 


I must brag, but I think lesser mortals would have given up in the face of the obstacles before me. First, I wasn’t cooking in my own kitchen, which is always a challenge. Second, the kitchen was a tad small. Third, and most importantly, we only had one oven, prime real estate on Turkey Day.  The day was also complicated by our late arrival into Williamsburg on Wednesday night – leaving only Thanksgiving day to do all the cooking without the luxury to cook some things the day before. 

©2014 Chris Terrell
The work begins.
So what was my solution? With the precision that would have impressed Herr von Schlieffen, I put together a detailed cooking schedule. We even began with a kitchen staff meeting at 8:00AM. No, I’m not kidding! My staff consisted of Rob, Laura’s brother-in-law, who has experience in commercial kitchen’s; Laura, because she is great at organization and cleaning up after my messes; and Forrest, my son, who is developing a budding interest in cooking that I want to encourage. 

Because this is Thanksgiving, the schedule revolved around the turkey. And because we were planning to eat around 6:00PM, and with a sixteen-pound turkey, I would need to put it in the oven by 1:00PM to allow time for it to rest. So, by 12:30PM, I had to bake brownies, a pecan pie, pumpkin muffins, cornbread stuffing, and roasted root vegetables. Now, the schedule doesn’t seem so crazy, does it?!  Here it is:

8:00AM
  • Kitchen Staff Meeting

8:30AM
  • Prepare Brownies
  • Prepare Pecan Pie

9:15AM
  • Brownies into the Oven
  • Slice Red Onions

9:30AM
  • Soak Raisins for Muffins
  • Prepare Pickled Onions
  • Make Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette

10:00AM
  • Pecan Pie into the Oven
  • Prep Pumpkin Muffin Batter
  • Prep Root Vegetables
  • Prep Green Beans
  • Prep Potatoes
  • Prep Onions and Celery for Turkey

11:00AM
  • Pumpkin Muffins into Oven
  • Make Cranberry Sauce
  • Prepare Cornbread Mix
  • Clean-Up If Necessary

11:15AM
  • Cornbread into Oven
  • Prep Okra

11:30AM
  • Bloddy Marys!

11:45AM
  • Roasted Root Vegetables into Oven

12:00PM
  • Steam Potatoes
  • Fry Okra

12:30PM
  • Prep Turkey

1:00PM
  • Turkey into the Oven
  • Start Slow Cooking of Green Beans

1:30PM
  • Make Mashed Potatoes

2:00PM
  • Make Cider Glaze for Root Vegetables

3:00PM
  • Remove Cheeses from Fridge

4:15PM
  • Charcuterie Plate Served

4:30PM
  • Set Table and Prepare Happy Hour Cocktails

5:00PM
  • Happy Hour!
  • Warm Sides as NecessaryCarve Turkey

5:30PM
  • Carve Turkey
  • Plating

6:00PM
  • Dinner Served!


©2014 Chris Terrell
A man's gotta do 
what a man's
gotta do!
©2014 Chris Terrell
A Member of the Kitchen Staff Revolts!
We all worked well together and there was little drama—maybe the Blood Marys helped—though there was a balky deep fryer that refused to work. No sweat, we still got the okra fried. Most importantly, I only went into Gordon Ramsey mode once. Ok, maybe twice. We stayed on schedule and sat down to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving meal around 6:30PM. (Dinner was delayed because the kitchen staff insisted on a shower before dinner.) I felt proud of what we had accomplished. It tasted great (though the stuffing was a bit dry—but isn’t it always!? – and some great gravy helped make up for that)  

Here’s the menu:

Main

Roast Turkey with Chorizo Cornbread Dressing & Gravy

Sides

Garden Salad with Pickled Red Onions, Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette,
and Fried Okra “Croutons” 


Roasted Root Vegetables with Apple Cider Glaze 

Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

Southern Style Green Beans

Cranberry Sauce

Rolls

Pumpkin Muffins

Desserts

Brownies
Pecan Pie

©2014 Chris Terrell
Voila!
And unlike past Thanksgiving dinners, this year we didn’t scarf down our food, something I really appreciated. Instead, we had a nice leisurely meal with good conversation with a minimum of controversial topics. And like any good American family, we followed dinner with a tear-jerking viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life

In the end, a great home-cooked feast, family and friends, over-the-river-and-through-Charlotte-airport, and an evening spent watching Jimmy Stewart remind us that we are “the richest man in town” when we have all that.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Saturday Morning, 1978

The other day on Facebook, I noticed something that caught my eye. It was an article about the last Saturday morning cartoon show going dark on the CW channel. Of course, I began to wax nostalgic about those lazy Saturday mornings in the 70s when I would get up early, make a bowl of cereal, and sit in front of the TV watching cartoons by the hour. Because we only had three, maybe four channels, Saturday was the only day you could watch such a large, unudulerated block of cartoons. It was the one day upon which the whole kid-week revolved. I would start with The Bugs Bunny/Roadrunner Hour and end with Super Friends. In between, there was Scooby Doo.

For an eight-year old kid, Saturday morning was empowering—getting up before your parents, running downstairs into the kitchen to fix breakfast all by yourself. In a real sense, this was my first experience at “cooking,” even if it was nothing more than a mere bowl of Froot Loops. What made it even more special for me was that I really didn’t eat a lot of kid cereal. It was considered a treat and something I only got on the weekends. Also, you can’t ignore the toys! The ones with minute plastic parts that would cause today’s plaintiff’s lawyers to foam at the mouth!

I would have to say that my overall favorite kid cereal was (and still is) Froot Loops. Right behind that would have been Capt’n Crunch. Now the purists say that only the original Capt’n Crunch is worthy of respect, but I must say that I was somewhat partial to Capt’n Crunch with Crunch Berries. An iconoclast even at the tender age of eight! One thing on which all Capt'n Crunch aficionados can agree, is that eating it hurts like hell and feels like the cereal is cutting the roof of your mouth. Of course, we could wait for the Capt'n Crunch to soften up a bit in the milk, but that kind of  patience is as hard to come by as waiting for pizza to cool before eating it.

Occasionally, I would enjoy a bowl of Apple Jacks just to mix things up a bit, but it was never my go-to cereal as a kid. Besides, it really doesn’t taste like apples. I was also fond of what was called back in the 70s, “Sugar Pops.” No PC language with that one! We all knew what that cereal was delivering! The name was later changed to Corn Pops and later just “Pops.” I guess each iteration was an attempt to re-cast this sugar-bomb delivery system something that, at least, sounded healthy.

There were other cereals that came and went and that captured my fancy for a time: Cookie Crisp, Fruity Pebbles (though they always got soggy too quickly), and Quisp. But I always went  back to the standards. You may dabble in the Buzzcocks, but you never quit listening to Sgt. Pepper.

I was never a big fan of Honey Comb because it struck me  as “healthy” cereal trying to pass as kid cereal.  I felt the same way about Cheerios and Life—these were not kid cereals, despite how hard those Madison Avenue folks tried. (The closest I got to liking “healthy” kid cereal was Frosted Mini-Wheats, which I also still like.) As an adult, I've learned to like Cheerios, though occasionally I will, in a moment of weakness, buy a box of Froot Loops or Capt’n Crunch and hide the boxes from my kids like some sugar junkie. 

Speaking of kids, adults, and kid cereal, a few days ago I found boxes of Count Chocula and Booberry on sale at Target for 75 cents a box! I couldn’t resist, even though I have never been much of a fan of the marshmallow-based cereals (i.e., Lucky Charms) because the marshmallows taste like styrofoam.  I think my kids agree because they would have nothing to do with Booberry or Count Chocula. They said the Booberry had no flavor. Instead, they opted for the Cheerios while I defiantly stuck with the Booberry

Later, however, I had to admit to myself that the kids were right. Booberry doesn’t resemble blueberries in taste anymore than Denise Richards resembles Meryl Streep in terms of acting. I guess it’s true when they say you can’t go home again, even if it is a Saturday morning in 1978.