The laziest man I ever knew put popcorn on his pancakes so they would turn over by themselves.
~ W.C. Fields
A Walk in the Woods
TONIGHT on TV
I WANT SMORE
7 August 2004
Our cable company recently went through a big upgrade (which involved lots of men crawling around in our back yard, climbing poles, reception outages, etc.) The end result, however, was an increase in the number of channels available to us. Most of them are channels I would never be interested in, but the one biggie that has been added is The Food Channel.
I was always surprised that The Food Channel, which runs continuously over the meat bin at Nugget Supermarket and which seems to rank up there with the shopping channels in popularity with stay-at home people (male and female...I really got hooked on it when I stayed in Houston for six weeks, helping to take care of my friend Bill, who lived for the home improvement and food channels) wasn't a no brainer for inclusion among our choices.
But now we have The Food Channel and when there is nothing else on, I put The Food Channel on in the background. Already it has had a major impact.
After watching Wolfgang Puck steam fish, I now own a bamboo steamer and a package of halibut steaks (which Ive never cooked before) and a bunch of things to put in the steaming liquid, as well as a bunch of baby bok choy, which Im not wild about, but which is part of the recipe.
Ive obviously gone over the edge.
I wandered around Nugget Market with my list, ready to make Pucks steamed fish, a recipe marked as "moderately difficult," and it hit me yet again what a lazy country weve become. Is it any wonder that we are such a fat country when everything is pre-packaged, pre-marinated, pre-everything and all we have to do is plop it in the oven (or better yet, the microwave) and have dinner on the table in a matter of minutes.
I guess what got me thinking about this was coming across a display for a "smores kit."
A smores kit???
You dont make smores from a kit, for Petes sake. For smores, you need an open fire, a long stick (the grubbier the better) a bag of marshmallows that drop in the dirt from time to time, a Hershey bar and some graham crackers that break when you try to remove them from the package.
You thread your marshmallow on the stick and put it on or over the open fire. When it catches on fire (which it usually does), you blow it out and then you take the black-charred marshmallow with the gooey center, put it on a slab of chocolate on a square of graham cracker, smush the whole thing together and eat. Then you repeat, putting a new marshmallow on the now-sticky stick, getting your fingers all sticky as well.
Thats half the fun.
But this kit was a nice little hibachi, two little bowls the length of a double graham cracker so you could stack up your crackers on one side, your candy bars on the other, with two little bowls of marshmallows and some cute little forks to put the marshmallows on.
It was the sort of kit that Frasier and Niles would buy to give their children the experience of roughing it in Frasiers penthouse apartment in front of the faux fireplace.
Do we have a whole generation of children who will grow up thinking that smores come either from a hibachi? Wheres the adventure? Where's the burned marshmallows? Where's the dirt?
But we have become a nation of the fast, the easy, the instant gratification.
I am frequently tempted to buy pre-marinated chicken breasts until I realize that they are just a few ingredients poured over a chicken breast, for which the store could charge significantly more per pound than the chicken breast itself.
I also pass up the pre-skewered bits of chicken and vegetables for shish kebab. I dont need to pay more for someone to thread them on a wooden stick for me.
(Perhaps the height of laziness is the new Pledge mits. These are mits that come, I guess, pre-saturated with Pledge furniture polish. Have we gotten so lazy that we cant spray polish on furniture and wipe it off with a regular cloth?)
There are actually commercials on TV which show "home baked" as something you've taken out of a package and put in the oven all by yourself. Pretty soon we're going to be able to buy robots to put the food into the oven for us to save us the exertion.
Well, I actually made Puck's steamed snapper (only I used halibut because they didn't have any red snapper). It was delicious! I loved cooking with the steamer (though perhaps not wise on a day when it's hot outside--I think some of the salt in the dish came from the sweat that was dripping down my face!). But the end result was definitely worth it.
And best of all, there was absolutely nothing pre-made about it.
Web Recommendation Today
Real Voices is a movement giving "real people" the opportunity to speak their mind about the Bush Administration. From the web site:
We regard the war in Iraq to be George Bushs greatest betrayal of the
American people. It has greatly increased the risk of terrorism, damaged our
international prestige, and caused the greatest losses to individual families.
Working closely with families who lost loved ones in the fighting we are determined to
make sure their voices and stories are told in the upcoming election.