Friday, July 10, 2009

Allium in the family

The produce section of our grocery store has useful descriptions printed on cards above each variety of edible vegetation. For instance, naval oranges are "seedless and easy to eat". Jalapeno peppers are "delicious in salsas", and mangoes are "sweet and pulpy."

Novice that I am in all matters vegetarian, these twitterish descriptions were quite helpful the other night as I ricocheted semi-stochastically from one plant product to the next, warily collecting the (mostly green) items on my shopping list prepared by the wife.

While I may be inexperienced in the ways of cabbages, onions, and serrano chili peppers, I am no stranger to the strange and wonderful bulbousness of garlic. I appreciate a good garlic naan (and hyperbolic vegetable characterization) as much as the next guy, but even I was dubious when I read the description: "can be used in any recipe".

Seems a bold claim: "any recipe". Garlic in salsa? Of course. Pizza sauce? Oh yeah. Fruit salad? Perhaps. Chili? Why not? Sure, garlic can be used in "any recipe" in the strictest sense of the description, but I'm betting 2-1 against this anti-vampiric being a welcome additive to Grandma's lemon fluff dessert or the wife's strawberry pie.

But, as Aunt Josephine was fond of repeating, "To each his[/her] own." Just don't kiss me after enjoying your garlic-spiked lemonade.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

This little piggy had naan.

I have never been more proud to be an American.

Congratulations to Joey Chestnut, a true American Idol and model citizen, for his exemplary athletic performance this weekend. He outperformed long-time Japanese rival Takeru Kobayashi in an Independence Day classic. Chestnut is a living testament to how beating your body into submission, years of dedication and preparation, and family support (his mother helped him train) can enable a person to reach his or her dreams. He is a paragon of intestinal fortitude, a competitor nonpareil.

The skeptics said it couldn't be done, but yesterday, Joey Chestnut surpassed his own personal best, setting a new world (and likely galactic) record in the Super Bowl of competitive eating. The beast of feast consumed a mammoth 68 hot dogs (and buns) in 10 minutes to take the championship belt at Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, New York.

A hero of mine, Chestnut inspires me to consume more than is believed possible, to perpetually strive to improve upon past dietary achievements. A few personal bests I aspire to beat: 70 Quaker Steak & Lube chicken wings in one sitting, 4 consecutive nights of India Oven chicken vindaloo (with cheese and garlic naan), eating main courses from every restaurant on the main drag in my hometown in the course of one New Year's Eve celebration (thanks, Dad!)...

I may be no Joey Chestnut, but I will never cease striving to be more like JC.