Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures


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Christmas in July Loot

Deck the halls, we’re having a Christmas party!

In case it isn’t clear, most of the loot stuff I get is things I actually ordered myself and have sent to friends and family for them to bring me or ship me all at once so that I don’t have to pay individually for each item.

Beyond the fun of getting all things I know I want, another enjoyable element of loot is the surprise stuff. Best of all those are the edible surprises*. Here’s what I got in my recent haul:

 

Loot 2014 food

  • 3 Skor bars
  • 2 2-packs of Hostess chocolate cupcakes
  • 2 4-packs of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • 2 bags of mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • 1 box amped apple / lightning lemon Sour Nerds
  • 1 box Fierce Cinnamon Hot Tamales
  • 1 whopping pile of taco seasoning

Items which are left as of this writing

  • 1 whopping pile of taco seasoning minus one packet

I am not ashamed. Hell, the Nerds didn’t even last the trip home from the post office. The rest of the stuff didn’t even have a chance.

 

* Food is the best gift. You don’t have to keep it. If you don’t like it you can give it away. Sometimes it’s delicious. No one’s offended if they come by your house years later and don’t see it on display.

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Korean Cheetos

Cheetos are a thing I miss when I think about them. The cheesiness, the cheesy powder, the cheesed-out cheetah. There are no things I don’t like about classic, regular Cheetos. Except maybe that I can’t find them anywhere in Europe. (There are other flavors, but I want the original one.)

I came upon these at a Korean market I go to and couldn’t figure out what flavor they were until I asked the checkout girl. “They’re BBQ, see the BBQ?” she said, indicating the little grilled steak logo to the left of Chester (who’s kicking a football and not riding a skateboard — boo!).

“Sure, whatever,” I said and took them home.

The black arrow indicates the flavor.

The black arrow indicates the flavor.

VERDICT

They taste surprisingly like sweet BBQ. Like, creepily similar to actual BBQ. But they taste nothing like cheese. Final judgement: would eat again, but not an acceptable Cheetos substitute.

They look like this.

They look like this.


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Green eggs and duck

George Costanza can keep all the salsa in the world: mustard is the condiment for me.

It may be cheating to claim all variations of mustard as one thing but, as we’ve established, I make the rules around here and what I say goes, so I’ll allow it.

One of my early and most enduring mustard loves is Savora which I recommend everyone seek out, but I’m no snob so I also love classic American yellow mustard when appropriate and finer Dijons when a stronger flavor is called for.

A new entry into my mustard museum is this one made by Maille, a 267-year old company (now owned by Unilever).

green Maille Fines Herbes Mutarde

Naturally, I was drawn to its avocado coloring and the promise of three herbs. Its flavor is divine and I’ve taken to classing up regular fare with it. Here are some green eggs and duck, made all the brighter in taste and appearance.

Green eggs and duck

It must be said that I do not own this plate.

Here’s a thing I dreamed up on the bus and proceeded to chow down on: warm chicken, orange pepper, soft cheese (Camembert?) and green mustard in a lettuce wrap. Perfect picnic fare this.

Green chicken lettuce wrap


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Bachelor Food: grilled cheese and tomato soup

This is a combination that I distinctly remember “inventing” when I was a kid and I was disappointed to learn years later that many, many people had grown up having grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup served to them by their mothers. I do think that it’s a Midwesternism though, so I’m going to expand the definition of my invention to include that it’s part of the hive mind and leave it at that.

Let's never speak about how ugly this bowl is.

Let’s never speak about how ugly this bowl is.

I was inspired to reprise this classic childhood treat after finding single-serving containers of tomato soup sold by some German company in the “weird food” section of one of my local stores and by the pilot episode of FX’s new series, FARGO, where two adult characters have this combo for lunch.

Disregard that Canadian network logo. They aren't in MN or ND.

Disregard that Canadian network logo.

This is where I tell you that despite most of the action in the story, both the show’s and the 1996 film’s upon which it’s loosely spun off, taking place in Minnesota, Fargo is actually a town in North Dakota. Being an ex-Midwesterner, this kind of flagrant disregard for our state boundaries and identities pisses me off. Now everyone who watches the show is going to have an even worse idea of where things are located in that vast area that’s alternately tundra and arable land and where people do talk with weird accents, albeit not all the same one.

It’s on the eastern border with Minnesota.