Thursday, June 10, 2010
We're being downsized
MARK’S ARTICLE – June 11, 2010 “The incredible shrinking can”
Did you know that if you close your eyes, lean back in your reclining swivel desk chair and tilt your head back that there’s a good chance you’ll eventually fall over backwards? Depending on where the rotating castered-legs are positioned. Something about center of gravity or a weird force tugging on you from the core of the earth. What I’m thinking.
This has nothing to do with today’s topic, it just happened to be on my mind. Now that it’s gone, let me tell you about this week’s real topic. We’re gonna talk about squash, sandwiches, tuna and ice cream. Not sure anyone has ever done that. So, grab some corn nuts and hold on.
Last week Kay and I were cooking some deer steak and squash that Virginia and Freeman had given us, and some green beans and new potatoes that our good friend Catherine had given us. Nobody thought to give us corn, but that was okay.
Oh, did you know that Catherine broke her foot? I was as surprised as you. I didn’t find out until the sweet lady called to ask if we wanted the green beans and potatoes. Don’t remember how she broke her foot. The story was getting a bit involved. She lost me at new potatoes. Poor Catherine. She’s got that boot thing and has to hobble around. Just as sweet as she can be.
Where was I? Oh yeah, we’re in the kitchen cooking. At some point, Kay suggested we call Virginia and Freeman to see if they wanted to eat with us. After all it was mostly their food. Turns out they wanted to come over… even with the late notice. I had to slap my forehead.
Why didn’t we invite Catherine, two of you are wondering. After all, she provided the green beans and potatoes. Well, did I mention she broke her foot? Hellooo? That woman would be tripping around hurting herself. “Mark, no. I’ll get that myself.” Bam! She’s on the floor. No, it was best for Catherine that we wait till she heals a bit. Just sweet as she can be.
So, we ended up with eating with just the Plilers. And, everything on the table had been given to us. Except for the tomatoes. We got those at Kroger. Kroger didn’t give ‘em away. But, the tomatoes did provide a segue into the HEB vs Kroger debate. The argument lasted for several minutes. It never got real heated, though. Food didn’t fly this time.
The debate ended when Virginia brought up tuna. I think she did it because she was losing the argument. Virginia said that tuna cans are so much smaller than they used to be. A lot smaller. We don’t know if it happened overnight or if it was a gradual thing. All I know is I’m in the store one day and there’s a can the same size as when tuna was first invented. Next time I buy tuna, it’s in a snuff can. Same price.
Can they do that? Isn’t there some kind of law? Apparently not. Same thing happened to me at Which Wich. That’s a reasonably new sandwich place where you grab a bag and check off everything you want on your sandwich. You can check anything and everything, and they’ll fix the sandwich and cram it in the checked bag. It’s genius.
Sidebar: You can actually put too much on a sandwich. Not sure you knew that. One time I ordered one of Which Wich’s Wickeds. That’s one with extra meat. To the meat I added everything. I had black olives, green olives, olive spread, red onions, coleslaw… I had it all. Took a bite of that bubba and it was all wrong. It wasn’t a sandwich. I don’t know what it was. I think it even moved.
But, if you don’t go crazy, you can get a good sandwich at The Wich. However, when they first opened the place near my house, they had big o’ buns. Huge-mongus? I could make two meals out of one sandwich. They cost a bit, but well worth it.
I ate so many sandwiches that Kay told me to lay off for awhile. So I did. A month or two later I went back. Same price, much smaller bun. I had to double up on my chips just to get full. I don’t know how it happened. Was it overnight, or did they just gradually downsize the bun? Do those people who eat every meal at The Wich realize that the buns are smaller? Or are they like the frog in the pan on the stove? -- What? Forget it. -- Point is The Wich downsized without telling me.
The Plilers and Hayters aired out a lot of other important stuff during the meal. We capped the oil leak, wrote out a high school graduation speech, figured out what not to get at the Chinese buffet... Eventually we were ready for dessert. Virginia brought along a homemade chocolate pie. It was the least she could do.
Unfortunately, chocolate gives me migraines. I’d tell you more about that, but I see most of you have your eyes closed, leaning back in your chairs. Nobody listens to me.
So, uh, oh yeah, I can’t eat chocolate, so I went to the freezer and got my half-gallon of Blue Bell banana pudding ice cream. Next to Blue Bells Blackberry Cobbler, it’s the best non-chocolate ice cream in the world.
When he saw the Blue Bell carton, Freeman said, “At least they still sell it in a half gallon container.”
Indeed they do. Most ice cream maker people have gone down to a quart and a half. I don’t know when they did it, but they all seemed to do it at the same time.
And, they seemed to somehow camouflage the smallness of their containers. Some kind of rectangular thing. Like a large can of SPAM. It’s not natural. Blue Bell must’ve missed the memo. They do what they’ve always done. Hopefully always will.
Makes one wonder what has been done to the other stuff. Potato chips, pickle jars, Wheat Chex boxes, donuts, frozen corn… The only thing I know they haven’t messed with is Oreo’s. They do sell ‘em in small looking bags, but they somehow put more cookies in it. Don’t know how that works.
Okay, I think I’ve covered all topic items. Let’s call it a—Hmm. I’ve lost everybody. I tell you, there are gonna be some cracked skulls tomorrow. Stupid weird force field at the core of the earth.
To listen to Brad Meyer and Mark’s two latest restaurant reviews go to