Category Archives: food

happy accidental birthday, bumpy cake.

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A Beloved Treat, Born from a Happy Accident

German confectioner Fred Sanders Schmidt first opened up his confectionary in Chicago, but that venture was short-lived, as it was a casualty of the Great Fire in 1871. Sanders and his wife, Rosa landed in Detroit, where he reopened for business in 1875. Sanders Confectionery has been a Detroit institution ever since.

For its first few decades in business, the store was simply a good old-fashioned chocolate and candy shop, with most of the products handcrafted by Fred and Rosa. In 1912, Fred decided to begin selling baked goods to honor the passing of his father, who had been a prominent baker and business owner in Illinois. One of those items was a rich chocolate cake, first frosted with vanilla buttercream and finished with a glossy chocolate fudge ganache, a nod to Fred’s candy-making skills. During one recipe test, Fred began to run out of vanilla buttercream, and instead of frosting the cake in a thick layer as planned, he playfully piped the white frosting in several rails across the top of the cake, which created a bumpy surface under the fudge icing and made for an attractive cross-section. After recognizing that most Sanders customers always asked for “the cake with the bumps,” the name was changed from “Devil’s Food Buttercream Cake” to “Chocolate Bumpy Cake” and a dessert icon was born on April 27, 1913. 

side note: this is one of my favorite cakes and also the nickname given to me by the waiters i worked with years ago, who suggested that i should use the name ‘bumpy teacakes’ should i ever become a dancer, and the entire restaurant crew knew me by this name forever after.

“nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” 

-ralph waldo emerson

 

 

 

credits: sandersbakery.com

Like many happy culinary accidents, the newly fashioned cake with its unique look took off with customers. Initially called “Devil’s Food Buttercream Cake,” so many people simply asked for “the cake with the bumps” that Sanders changed the name to “Chocolate Bumpy Cake.”

Like many happy culinary accidents, the newly fashioned cake with its unique look took off with customers. Initially called “Devil’s Food Buttercream Cake,” so many people simply asked for “the cake with the bumps” that Sanders changed the name to “Chocolate Bumpy Cake.”

we’re gonna’ need a bigger booth.

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when meeting my friend for lunch

we decided to eat on the light side

 share some apps

not knowing

the ‘apps’ were giants

no small plates action going on here

math is not really my favorite thing

but just by looking at it

 it was clear

we had grossly underestimated

the sheer size of things

 quickly and accurately assessing

that

we were in trouble.

“never order food in excess of your body weight.”

-erma bombeck

oui, s’il vous plaît.

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new french patisserie in town

 seems an impossible challenge

to make the right choice

yet an impossible challenge

to choose wrong.

 

“but compared with the task of selecting a piece of french pastry held by an impatient waiter,

a move in chess is like reaching for a salary check in its demand on the contemplative faculties.”

-robert benchley

frites by idaho.

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The Idaho Potation Commission gave away a French fry-scented perfume ahead of Valentine’s Day.

The new perfume purports to give off the aroma of French fries in all their greasy, salty splendor. “Whether you’re at a drive through restaurant or dining in, it’s near impossible to not grab a fry and take a bite before you dive into your meal,” Jamey Higham, president and CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission, said in a statement. “The smell is too good to resist.”

Dubbed Frites by Idaho, the “limited-edition fragrance” was going for $1.89 per 1.7 oz bottle on the commission’s website before selling out. The fragrance, which the commission says captures “one of the world’s most irresistible scents,” is made from distilled Idaho potatoes and essential oils.

A recent national survey by the firm Pollfish found nearly 90% of Americans “find the smell of French fries irresistible.”The Idaho commission has additional potato merchandise available for those addicted to spuds, including a French fry holder, Idaho potato playing cards, a miniature potato-hauling truck, and a 3-foot-tall “Spuddy Buddy.”

“show me a person who doesn’t like french fries and we’ll swap lies.”

-joan lunden

 

credits: joe hernandez, npr, big talk productions, bbc

hunger harness.

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reynolds wrap made a food harness to keep your favorite super bowl snacks close
If you plan to watch the big game today on Super Bowl Sunday, and also anticipate eating your body weight in food while doing so, take a look back at Super Bowl 2019, when the aluminum foil aficionados at Reynolds Wrap had something they wanted to show you. Here was their unique promotional offering:

You can now satiate your appetite without moving a muscle or missing a play, thanks to the Reynolds Wrap Hunger Harness. This $5 “wearable snack pack” has plenty of pockets to hold your appetizers, main course, snacks, and beverage, all while keeping your food nice and toasty. Essentially, it’s a mini kitchen you can wear like a front-facing backpack or a baby carrier, because after all, snacks are precious cargo.

Want to nervously munch on mozzarella sticks and mini bean burritos while you yell at the referee on your TV screen? Just tuck them into the upper thermal pouch in your Hunger Harness and you’re good to go. Want to make sure you have enough tortilla chips to last through the halftime show? There’s a side pocket for that, too—plus an insulated slot for your queso or dip of choice. A built-in food tray rests on your lap and “turns you into a human table,” and there’s also a pouch for a can of your beverage of choice.

The Hunger Harness was sold in waves in limited quantities and is no longer available. Some may be found on other sites, but are now extremely rare. Just get out that old Baby Bjorn and repurpose as needed! Be creative! If you’re thinking of procuring one for yourself, please heed this advice from Reynolds: “Use caution when handling hot food and beverages.” Lovers of lava-hot pizza rolls, you’ve been warned.

“our inventions mirror our secret wishes.”

-lawrence durrell

 

 

credits: emily petsko, reynolds

 

it fell from the sky.

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after last week’s surprise package of tempting treats

another food surprise arrived

 a couple of breakfast meals

seem to have fallen from the sky

right to my front door

this time delivered by grub hub 

with no address on the receipt 

delivered in the morning when i was at school

 huge portions of pancakes and eggs benedict

i’m sure they were hot and delicious when they arrived

another set of challenges to my healthy eating

testing my temptation limits

is my door the common delivery area for every address on my street?

what will appear next?

should i leave snacks and drinks out for all of the delivery people yet to come?

“when fortune knocks open the door.”

-proverb

raining popcorn.

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popcorn is art and one of my favorite snacks

(though it’s no flamin’ hot cheetos!),

something to consider on national popcorn day.

Raining Popcorn (2001) is a piece commissioned by the Faulconer Gallery of the Grinnell College in Iowa. The commission would take artist, Sandy Skoglund many months to complete. In Skoglund’s art practice, the conceptual subject matter works in conjunction with the physical materials she uses, drawing on historical references, and instilling them with psychologically complex meaning.

Produced in 2001, just before the September 11 attacks, Raining Popcorn references the complex roots of American contemporary culture and overconsumption. The unifying subject throughout the piece is popcorn, so pronounced and repetitive it replaces nature. The popcorn becomes an all-encompassing reality, lining the walls, the floors, the subjects, and alas growing from trees. This obsessive environment constructed by Skoglund derives from the artist’s desire to combine sculptures of animals, live humans, and nature into a space that involves thought and play, as part research and part recreation.

The abundance of Popcorn acts as a reflection of the cultural environment, being noisy, excessive, universal, and part of popular culture. Currently, Americans eat 13 billion quarts of Popcorn a year, produced mostly in the heartland of America, from Illinois to Ohio. The piece is a response to memories and experiences Skoglund felt as a graduate student in Iowa.

The painstakingly handcrafted quality of the endless popcorn creates a fantasy landscape, one that raises questions about climate issues and our surrounding environment, as well as fantasy and reality. In Raining Popcorn, Skoglund’s objects and composite staging have a base in truth; they are not a product of photoshop or digital manipulation. It is critical for the artist that the photographs evidence something genuine. The constructions are explicitly staged to be photographed from one unique viewpoint.

“americans love popcorn, and their love doesn’t quit.”

-rosecrans baldwin

 

Credits: Sandy Skoglund, Raining Popcorn – Holden Luntz Gallery

aisle of shame.

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Aldi shoppers are not birds, but they sometimes sound like they are.

meet the proud shoppers of aldi’s ‘aisle of shame.’ this aisle has its own subculture and fan club.
(the ‘caw’ sound you may hear is one fan calling to another)

The “Aisle of Shame” is the unofficial name Aldi enthusiasts have given the store’s middle aisle, home to a weekly rotation of curious edible and non-edible products available only while supplies last. We’re talking everything from vegan lasagna made from lentils to a churro maker and apple cinnamon latte-flavored dog biscuits. The recipe for the Aisle of Shame’s surprising cult status combines the joy of a bargain, the thrill of discovery, the allure of the unusual, and the satisfaction of snapping up a limited-time offer.

“It’s something that you can use to express yourself and add fun and joy to your grocery shopping,” says enthusiastic  shopper Brenna Bazemore of its odd assortment of products. “I hate grocery shopping, but I love to go to Aldi and shop, because I know I’m at least going to get something that I can use outside of food and that’s always exciting to me.”

Plus, she can share her excitement with a million other AOS fans in the Facebook group where members share more than recipes, reviews, and Insta-worthy pics. With an evolving lingo, hashtag trends, and a propensity for random acts of kindness, the Aisle of Shame community is a unique food culture inspired by a grocery store. The Aisle of Shame’s edible advent calendars contain beer, cheese, and more. “It started as a fan group and it has become so much more,” writes Stefanie Fleming, the creator of the  Aisle of Shame website and Facebook group.

While each week’s AOS items can often seem like a compilation of randomness, a method exists. Since Aldi keeps prices low by stocking about 1,400 products (mostly staples) compared to a conventional grocery store’s 40,000, the AOS introduces more excitement and variety for shoppers. The aisle, which each week is split 50-50 between edible and non-edible items, often has a theme, whether seasonal (pumpkin foods in the fall; pool products in the summer) or regional (many AOS enthusiasts plan meals of schnitzel, spätzle, and strudel around the aisle’s German Week). Nils Brandes, a retail consultant who has co-written a book on Aldi’s business strategies, estimates that 20 percent of all yearly sales come from these products.

The Aisle of Shame is also where the grocers test new products to gauge their popularity—the vegetarian and vegan Earth Grown and gluten-free LiveGfree product lines, for instance, advanced from the AOS to the main aisles. “It’s crazy to think this is a grocery-store community,” Bazemore says.

After some thought, McKillip observes that Aldi shoppers might be more down-to-earth, their need to make a dollar stretch giving them both a healthier perspective about the products and more joy when they have room in their carts and budgets for the AOS’s more quirky products. Ultimately, though, she offers a simpler explanation: “It’s fun.”

“you’ve got bad eating habits if you use a grocery cart in 7-eleven.”

-dennis miller

credits: gastro obscura, sara murphy, photo: stella murphy
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