Friday, February 24, 2012

Watching you eat breakfast


    What did you have for breakfast this morning? Did you go the oatmeal route? Cap’n Crunch? A ham omelet! Well, look at you!

I see several of you are still eating breakfast. No, no. That’s okay. Don’t let me interrupt. By the way, are you gonna eat the other biscuit over there, ‘cause—Whoa! Never come between a mother and her last biscuit. That’s in one of the Proverbs. Might be.

I already had my breakfast. I got up early so I could watch some of you eat yours. How nice am I?  Thought it’d be a cute idea. Turns out, not so cute. But, since I’m here, let’s go ahead and talk breakfast.  

This morning I did something wild and crazy. I had peanut butter and syrup and toast. It’s something my mom invented many years ago. If you think your mom invented it, you’re wrong.

Mom always made biscuits to go with our peanut butter and syrup. I don’t make biscuits. And, I don’t like waiting for someone who does. Toast works just fine. Granted, it’s not as good with gravy, but it’ll do.

I like P&S ‘cause it’s really sweet and needs to be eaten with a knife. A butter knife. Pour the syrup on top of a glob of peanut butter and stir. Scoop up some, and put it on the corner of your toast. About two years ago, I found that if you cut your toast in two it gives you twice as many corners. I danced in the street after that discovery. The neighbors' dogs were most impressed.

I seldom do the P&S thing, but this morning I just wanted something really sweet and gooey and something that would stay with me. Peanut butter sticks around for lunch and then some.

Mom also invented chocolate syrup and biscuits. On chocolate syrup mornings she didn’t haven’t to yell us out of bed. “Mark Scott, if you don’t get outta that bed this very instant your name is gonna be the next entry on that roll that’s called up yonder!” Mom was the sweetest. 

On Cream of Wheat mornings, Mom had to practically pry us out of bed. Did you know it’s impossible to make Cream-of-Wheat without lumps, unless you stay with it every second of the process? Mom didn’t like to watch gruel boil.

Of a morning, Mom not only made breakfast for us, but also prepared our lunches. At one stage of our lives, there were of us kids living at home. A mother cooking breakfast and preparing lunch for six kids is not going to do due diligence to Cream of Wheat. When I cook, I’m only cooking for two, and I won’t carry out the “stir constantly” CofW edict.  

    Mom did serve us eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy at least once a week. She cooked Dad’s eggs over easy, but she fried ours hard and beyond. I guess it’s the only way we’d eat ‘em. I can’t remember. My tastes have changed so much over the years. I’m now an over-medium man.

    I don’t do much egg frying around here. I’ve been known to eat a boiled egg– without the shell—a piece of Ciabatta Bread toasted, and some cottage cheese. Cottage cheese? When I was a kid, I would’ve gagged. In fact, I did. Presentation of the food meant a lot to the Hayter kids. Cottage cheese is a hard food to present in a good light. And, large curd? Don’t even think of it. Today, I’m on board with the cottaging of cheese. I’ve turned into Dad and Mom.

Oops. I can see you’re all finished with your breakfasts. Scarfed it down is what you did. Reminded me of a younger me. Eating breakfast with a bunch of brothers and sisters was a battle. Mom came close to adding us each to the roll up yonder. Mostly Dennis and me. God heard “Mark Scott!” and “Dennis Ray!” yelled more times than He cared to remember. Fortunately, that same woman prayed for us every day, so He heard just our first names a lot, too. I do miss my mom.

Oh, well. In a few weeks, I might try to drop in on you at suppertime. I’ve been known to eat I’ve got a cereal combo that needs to be patented. One cereal no longer gets you there. You need to diversify your grain intake. Just as long as one of the grains isn’t wheat that’s been creamed. That’s some bad ju ju.   


To view Brad and Mark's review of Mama J's BBQ and Grill, click below.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Too much too eat

“The best gig ever"

    Last week I attended the best eating gig in the history of mankind. Well, in the history of Mark anyway. I ate myself sick. Not one of my prouder moments.

    The outfit to be blamed for this is The Woodlands Chamber of Commerce. They hosted the annual Taste of the Town at the Waterway Marriott. Brad Meyer was given a couple of tickets and invited me along. 

    I didn’t really want to go, because it was at a swanky place and I knew there would be a lot of people. Two of my scariest things.

    Brad said, “Look, it’s free food and you’ll get to visit some of the people from the restaurants we’ve reviewed.” That part also scared me. Of course, Brad is the one who writes the Restaurant review articles. All I do is eat and offer my “expertise” during the video segments of “Whine and Dine.”

    Even if a person disagrees with the review, he’s not going to kill me. Oh, he might wanna slap Brad, but surely not me. I’m the nice one.

    Anyway, I wasn’t going to go to this thing, but Brad won me over when he said, “Go. Don’t go. I don’t really care.’”  The fact that he started with “Go” meant that he really did care. The guy is a charmer.

    So, I ended up driving our buns to the Marriott. Followed Brad right into the place. From the get-go it was apparent that I had stepped into something good.

    It wasn’t like my experience a few years back at the 

barbecue cook-off. I’ve only been to one of those. I thought the price of admission included free food. I was an idiot.

    At the Taste of the Town soiree, I was handed stuff. I stood next to the first table and a guy handed me a small cup of gumbo “Here, try this.” Hot! Spicy hot. I instantly hit the next booth where a girl was giving away steak sliders. Absolutely delicious.

    Brad took one bite of his slider and then tossed the rest away. “What? You didn’t like that?” He told me it was great, but he didn’t want to fill up too soon. “Don’t eat all of everything or you’ll hurt yourself.” The guy was a genius. I still ate all of everything, but appreciated the thought.

    A few highlights: There’s a place called “Swirls Above the Rest” that has the best cupcakes ever made. If “Mama J’s” serves barbecue as good as I sampled at ToT they are among the best. And, their cheesy potatoes are gold, Jerry.

    I got some simply scrumptious pasta from the lady who owns Capri Pasta and Pizza. And, she is so sweet. St Luke’s hospital even had a bunch of desserts. Not normal stuff, either. Little glasses of fruity ambrosia-like drinks and cake things. And – get this – No Jello!

    At one point I noticed a guy walking towards me. I thought maybe he recognized me as one of a pair of jerks who trashed his restaurant in a review. He came right up to me and pointed at the small vase-looking thing of chocolate cake with pudding I was holding. “Where’d you get that?” he said. I pointed to the “PF Chang’s” booth.

I believe that was it. There were several Asian establishments represented. I didn’t taste a non-delicious thing at any of ‘em… except for the raw fish in lime juice. Not a fan.

    After about an hour, I spotted Brad. He had a beer in one hand and a fajita in the other. He asked me if I was ready to go. I told him I was, but wanted to grab a bag of popcorn on my way out. 

    “You’re surrounded by all this great food, and you’re gonna get popcorn? Not on my watch,” he said. So, he walked over, grabbed a fajita from the Mi Cocina table and handed it to me. It was almost better than popcorn.
    I bet I only hit a tenth of all the places represented at the Taste of Town. I should’ve either taken one bite and then tossed stuff or did what several others were doing. Brought along a sack.

    I’ll know better next year. Oh, I doubt Brad invites me back, but I’m going. Did I mention I ate myself sick?


To view Brad and Mark’s review of Culver’s, click below.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Surely you can't bring in any ol' animal.

If I put a picture of a snake in here, I'd dream about 'em. 
This picture is so much cuter.

“The snakes are coming”

    I won’t be going to Florida any time soon. Probably never. I suppose you read about the snakes? Oh, yeah. Just when I think there’s nothing else out there that can possibly increase my level of peeve someone introduces pythons and anacondas. “How can we upset Mark this time? Wait! What about giant snakes?”

    The massive reptiles are currently congregated in the southern tip of Florida. Mostly in the Everglades. But they’re gonna move. Oh, they’ll move. They’re predicted to go north to Georgia and then travel west to Texas.

    How long will it take for ‘em to get here? Well, on average the female python lays 54 eggs. The male? Not so many. Not only do all the eggs hatch, but some of ‘em contain twins and several are two-headed. Hey, I’ve seen the movies.

    Won’t be long before you’ll open your newspaper and read, “Montgomery County resident swallowed by two-headed anaconda while trimming the hedge. (The resident, not the snake.) Funeral services will be held in four to six weeks, pending digestive cycle of 28 foot-long Dark Spotted Anaconda.”

    You know how the snakes got to Florida, don’t you? People imported ‘em to the U.S. and sold ‘em for pets. Last year reptile trade in the United States was a $2 billion business. Snakes, crocodiles, poison dart frogs…

    So, some idiot buys an anaconda because-- Who can know why? The same reason somebody pierces his lip and inserts a ring. I can only assume it’s to upset me. (I may be just a bit self-absorbed. You think?)

    Anyway, the pet anaconda gets too big for its cage and eats the Doberman. The owner does the only logical thing. Rents a U-haul and dumps the snake in the Everglades.

    From what I read, “researchers” (nobody knows who they are) conducted an animal count along one of the few roads through the everglades. They didn’t consider getting off the road because of… what? Oh, yeah. Snakes!

 After their drive, they reported 99 percent fewer raccoons and 88 percent fewer bobcats. Absolutely no rabbits or foxes. They spotted some armadillo deification, but no armadillo. Most understandable.  

The deer population was even down. Plenty of giant snakes, though. And, quite a few African Slender-snouted crocodiles. They were big during the Christmas of ’98. 

    I realize that all of us think that the government has no business regulating anything other than non-white collar crime. However, I’m going to go out on a limb here and beg, plead, beseech… ( somebody grab me a thesaurus and give me more “urge” meaning verbiage.”) Please, stop the importation of any animal that has at any time been featured in a Disney documentary.

    I did read that the Obama administration banned the import and interstate commerce of Burmese pythons and yellow anacondas. I can only assume that the Indonesian pythons and Bolivian Green anacondas had powerful lobbies. Regardless, it’s a start.

    As soon as we get the snake invasion under control – and considering how well we handled fire ants and killer bees, it shouldn’t be too long – we need to move on to the monkeys. They’re here folks.

    I read another piece on a family traveling the country in a motor home, because authorities in their parish in Louisiana wanted to inspect their monkeys. The monkeys must’ve been breaking the law somehow, ‘cause the guy loaded up his wife and monkey family and headed out. Probably plans to park in the yard of one his uncles
who happens to live behind me.

    I’m sure monkey’s make great pets, but only if you’re an orangutan. Otherwise they’re going to do a number on you and your house. Won’t be long before they’ll be interrupting our roofsits. “Agnes, not to worry, but you’ve got a squirrel monkey in your hair. No, don’t scream, that only— Well, that’s just sad.”

    And, why do people have pet monkeys? You guessed it. – “Next, let’s upset Mark by introducing some Asian carp that come flying out of the water and hit women in the head and men in the crotch. It’ll be a hoot. Wait a minute. We’ve done that.”


To view a video of Mark and Brad’s review of Dumas’s Tacos click below:

Friday, February 3, 2012

Not on the roof


    THE PORCH – The reason we’re not sitting on the roof right now has nothing to do with the fact that the earth is currently being bombarded by an excessive amount of radiation and gamma rays likely to mess up our ATM machines and neuter a few of us. I haven’t read anything about the Neutering Threat, but I’m sure it’s there.

    No, the recent solar storm hasn’t kept us from the roof. It’s the sporadic rain. The metal roof is slicker than eel sweat. And, yes, two or three of you didn’t get the message and are at this very moment sitting on the roof waiting for us. They’ll slide down in a minute. Just hope they miss the hedge. 

    One thing good about being on the porch is that I get to wear my houseshoes instead of my skid-proof roof shoes. Those things are a bit cumbersome. I got ‘em after I about cracked my tailbone up there a couple of years back. It was sprinkling about like now, and I was up there blowing leaves off the roof. Did I mention the eel secretion sensation? Hadn’t been for the gutter I would’ve bought the sod. I only wrote five articles about the mishap. Scared me a bit.

    It’s much safer here on the porch bench. We need a swing, is what we need. Unfortunately, the porch is too narrow and Kay would get upset at me constantly bumping the wall. The least little thing sets her off.

    Where is she right now? Oh, she’s watching one of her Cesar Millan Dog Whisperer episodes. She tapes all of ‘em. When a new one comes out she gets real excited. Runs around in circles sometimes. Weirdest thing.

    What makes it all the more weird is the fact that we don’t own a dog. I’ve only mentioned that about four dozen times. I may have to get one, though, ‘cause Kay needs to start applying her Dog Whisperer tricks on something other than me.

    Anytime I do anything the least bit annoying – Yell at the TV or try to catch Cheetos in my mouth – Kay points at me defiantly and goes, “Psst!” If I persist, she reaches over and pokes me in an area just below my ribs. Definitely not one of the body’s erogenous zones. Yeah, the girl needs something else to discipline, ‘cause this ol’ dog won’t hunt. Not really sure what that means, but I’ve heard it enough times.

    Wouldn’t it be neat if we were sitting here and it started snowing? I’d about go ape. Haven’t experienced enough snow to dread it. I think it’s absolutely beautiful. And, I’m going to tell you something, if you promise to keep it to yourself, ‘cause it’s bizarre. Promise? Okay, when I watch the news and they’re showing a place with a lot of snow, I envision myself being there and scooping up a handful of snow and eating it.

    I told you it was weird. When I see flaky ice, I want to eat it. It goes back to the time before self-defrosting freezers. Our freezer compartment always had a layer of fine, flaky ice on the sides. I’d go by when Mom wasn’t looking and scrape some off in my hand and eat it. In fact all the kids did. I think I even saw Dad do it once. I believe the family had a phosphorus deficiency. Something like that. Some element that made us eat ice. 

    What? You have got to be kidding. We’re about to go off the air? Seems like we just got here. We didn’t accomplish much, but wasn’t the moment nice? Can’t see as well from ground level, but it’s not bad on the porch.

    Tell you what, I’ll go ahead and sign off, but if any of you care to stick around a little while longer, I’ll go make us a pot of coffee. While I’m gone keep an eye out for people sliding off the roof. I can’t believe we haven’t seen any yet. – Next time.


To watch Brad and Mark’s review of Dumas’s Tacos click on pick below.