Sunday, February 26

French Fry Spam Casserole

Tonight, on a whim, I made this recipe.

Categories: Main dish
Yield: 8 servings

1 pk Frozen french fry potatoes, thawed (20 oz)
2 c Shredded Cheddar cheese
2 c Sour cream
1 cn Condensed cream of chicken soup (10 3/4 oz)
1 cn SPAM Luncheon Meat, cubed (12 oz)
1/2 c Chopped red bell pepper
1/2 c Chopped green onion
1/2 c Finely crushed corn flakes

Heat oven to 350'F. In large bowl, combine potatoes, cheese, sour cream, and soup. Stir in SPAM, bell pepper, and green onion. Spoon into 13x9" baking dish. Sprinkle with crushed flakes. Bake 30-40 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

I have to say that--though I probably won't be making it again--it wasn't nearly as bad as just reading the ingredient list would imply. I was expecting an unspeakably dense casserole, but it was actually a lot lighter than that. It was more like a complicated potato au gratin than anything else.

It actually tasted quite a bit like a big heaping serving of Waffle House's Scattered, Smothered, Chunked, And Topped Hash Browns, which in my book is a mark in the dish's favor. The other victim subjected to this dish said that--with the cheese, sour cream, and vegetables--it had a real omelet quality.

The SPAM, needless to say, was the one unnecessary part of the recipe. It wasn't that bad, really (one little can in a huge casserole dish isn't really a lot) but it didn't need to be in there. I think maybe this recipe came from one of those hateful White Trash cookbooks. You know, something like Poor People Are Funny!: Recipes From The Trailer Park. 'Cause that's the only reason I see for the SPAM.

The french fries aren't that weird (under all that cheese and sauce, they're just potatoes) and the corn flakes are actually a nice crunchy touch, and they're smashed up so much they're pretty unrecognizable. But the SPAM is a superfluous step too far. (It often is.) Like I said, the SPAM isn't THAT BAD, but if you're going to make it, I'd definitely leave it out. Maybe you could replace it with turkey, or even a can of bean-free chili. But, frankly, the last thing this recipe really needs is more of anything.

More tips: Brown the french fries in the oven for added crispiness...the recipe as is just warms them, and I think I want them with a little bit of crunch. And I'd double the amount of vegetables, but leave the dish in the oven a little longer so they cook. And have the Tabasco bottle or the sriracha handy; believe it or not, the recipe is actually a little bland.

I'll now open the floor to any questions.

Friday, February 17

BETTER IN THEORY: 77 Things That Are Never Quite As Good As They Seem

Doin' it in a hot tub
Being pampered by a bathroom attendant
Hidden tracks at the end of CDs
Menu items described as "beer battered"
Armed revolution
All-star games of any kind
Participating in a food fight
Unwinding at a drum circle
Telling it like it is
Charlie Chaplin's silent antics
Cinco de Mayo
Winning a limo ride and backstage passes to a concert by being the 39th caller
Extra cheese
Desperate housewives-the real kind
Movies that feature Ben Stiller
Getting in touch with nature
Audience participation
Themed hotel rooms
Skits on rap CDs
Documentaries on gruff but lovable pimps
Sampling the food at street fairs
Meeting Courtney Love
Deep-sea fishing with the guys
Slo jams
The Sunday funnies
Your tax refund
Driving around in a convertible with your homeboys
Seizing the day
The back story to the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds
The brave antics of rodeo clowns
Martinis for dessert
Handjobs in public
Eating on the toilet
Realistic portrayals of Christ's last days
A Spike Lee" Joint"
Chimps who act surprisingly human
Swimming holes
The comedic chemistry between Luke Wilson and anyone
Petting zoos
Acoustic versions
Your dog's degree from obedience school
Flavored toothpicks
Front-row seats to Blue Man Group
Homeland Security
Singing in the rain
One-armed push-ups
"Overstuffed" sandwiches
Communicating with relatives from beyond the grave
Actors stretching their improv chops
A rainbow assortment of saltwater taffy
Internet voyeur cams .
PBS documentaries on punk
Following your dream
The salad-bar's sneeze guard"
The "playful" compositions of John Cage
Costume parties
The carefree hobo lifestyle
Electric-bass solos
Free-form poetry slams
Book lights
Attending all-day jam-band festivals
Cordless power tools
Spending a holiday in a whorehouse
Chasing tornadoes
Frisbee golf
Getting your wife to smoke a cigar while wearing only stilettos
Renting a tandem bike
Befriending a grizzly
Leashes for children
Vanity plates that announce your occupation
This list

by Mike Sacks and Ted Travelstead
from Esquire, Oct 2005

Thursday, February 16

Belt buckle knives, Hong Kong suits, and designer USB drives...

The belt buckle knife, the "world's fastest knife."

I highly recommend the video, which takes place in an alternate reality where needing quick access to a knife is not only desirable, but a given.


Hong Kong does a good trade in "suit tourists." (I'm not making this up.) Men fly into Hong Kong, get measureed on Day 1, fitted on Day 2, and fly home with a bespoke suit on Day 3. And all for about a tenth of what a custom-made suit would ordinarily cost. (Ex: Wool gabardine two-button, $398) Even if you factor in airfare, you still come out with a half-price suit.

The best part is that you only have to make the trip once, since the tailors will keep your measurements on file.

Now you don't even have to go at all: Sam's Tailor, one of the best, is offering web ordering. Send in your (dozen or so) measurements, he sends you a suit.

In unrelated news: my birthday is in May.


Designer USB drives, released in batches of 500:

I like Julibear. I'm sure you like Vera.