Penis Cakes for Everyone!

I’m not sure where the parenting fail actually occurred, but there’s something to be said for a man who emails his daughter and says, “You have to write about the penis cakes.” Interestingly, that was my dad, and it was my mom who actually used the words (in English, even), “Lorca has to get her hands all over this penis cake thing.” Thanks, Mom and Dad. Do you remember those years when I didn’t live at home? When I was busy getting a Master’s degree in English? Just checking.

Yes, my dad sent me a link, presumably because the headline was too enticing for me to pass up. He knew I’d have something to say about this:

Mandatory Penis Cakes For ‘Homosexual Weddings’  (you’re welcome, Dad)

Sadly, “mandatory penis cakes” (while not words that I’ve ever strung together on purpose…in English) is not the worst thing wrong with that article. No, the incorrect use of single quotation marks isn’t the worst problem either, but I applaud you for thinking that. I think it might have been the words, “Orwellian concepts of ‘tolerance’ and ‘inclusiveness’,” in the actual article. Because apparently you’re a commie douche canoe if you think we should support tolerance in this country.

I’m a published author, so I can tell you with total authority that yes, George Orwell’s books 1984 and Animal Farm were totally about penis cakes. You may not realize it–and I’m sure you didn’t realize it in your eleventh grade lit class–but Big Brother was actually a porno baker and Manor Farm was actually the name of a gay night club in Orwell’s home town.

I could be way off base here, but I’m pretty sure that Gov. Brewer vetoing a bill in Arizona is not going to result in the animals overthrowing the farm and then celebrating with a penis cake. I’m also a little saddened that the Tea Party refused to acknowledge the lesbian weddings where they would actually shun all things penis, baked or otherwise, and opt for a vagina cake. There’s that Limbaughian ‘lack of tolerance’ rearing its ugly head.

Even better is the comparison some shitsnacks are making that being forced to bake a penis cake is actually like slavery. I’m gonna have to go all Princess Bride on this article and say, “I do not think that word means what you think it means.” I’m just not seeing the correlation between being shipped on a boat and sold at auction to work in the cotton fields for the rest of your now-short life, and being forced to acknowledge that the people around you are actually people, thereby rewarding them for their human status with cake.

Guess what really should result in mandatory penis cakes? Morons with verbal diarrhea who manage to offend three different groups of people (homosexuals, African-Americans, and cake fans) in one really unthought-out article. I kind of wanted Jan Brewer to veto the bill on the grounds that it was just immoral, but now I hope she did it out of spite.

Never Have Feet Tasted So Good

I have one of the most painful addictions on the planet: feet olives.

I understand that crystal meth isn’t really all it’s cracked up to be, but supposedly it makes you feel good for at least a little while, only to leave you writhing on the floor and scratching at your own face when it’s all over.

In the case of feet olives, I can’t even say they taste good while you’re eating them. There are lots of foods that are incredible during the meal, and then make you burp a deep-fryer for the rest of the evening, vowing that you’ll never eat that food again (until next week). But feet olives are nasty even while you’re eating them, but somehow we keep buying them and keeping gorging on them, straight out of the little tub. We make all kinds of awful faces and horrible gagging noises, only to stab our pokey little forks back down in the tub to fish out another one.

For those of you unschooled in the realm of feet olives, I do have to admit that it is not their actual taxonomical or gastronomical name. I just call them that. I’ve even got my husband calling them that, as in, “If you’re going to the store, pick up some feet olives.” We know what we mean. The really awful thing is I’m driving to the store dreading the purchase, like a crack whore who’s on her way to meet a really nasty john just so she can make enough money to score. I even go into the store looking around for help, silently screaming for someone to stage an intervention right there between the olive bar and the buffalo wings. But no one ever hears my cries.

I’m not even willing to go so far as to say, “I don’t have a problem, I can stop anytime I want to.” Nope. I can’t. And I even wish I would. They’re disgusting. They literally taste like I would have to guess that a fifteen-year-old boy’s unwashed pinkie toes taste like. The very thought of feet makes me queasy now, all because of these disgusting olives. And yet, there’s a half-eaten jar of the rancid things in my fridge even as I type this. They’re calling to me with their putrid vapors, staring back at me every time I go to pour my children a glass of milk.

Sadly, I called a rehab facility in the next major town (I don’t want anyone who might know me finding out that I needed professional help…and we don’t have a rehab center) and they were surprisingly uninterested in my problem. Crack? Yes. Meth? Yes. Even cigarettes…yes. Bleu cheese stuffed olives? No. Overeaters Anonymous was briefly willing to help until they learned that I can only down about four of them at any given time, but they told me to call them back when I build up to a full three pounds at one sitting.

C'mon, you know you want some. The first taste is free.
C’mon, you know you want some. The first taste is free.

I Got Totally Gipped on this Elk I Bought

I really try to avoid dabbling in black market purchases, because with my luck, I’d end up accidentally purchasing an endangered elephant tusk filled with heroin and ground up black rhino horn. Even though the inmates at the jail taught me how to buy pot in the local government assisted housing (not kidding…kinda wish I was. Okay, really wish I was…), I’m just too chicken to buy any kind of contraband whatsoever. The guy could still be wearing his cop uniform and holding his Narc School Diploma, and I would still be clueless enough to fall into his sting operation.

So when I was offered the chance to procure a really big buttload of elk meat, I approached the deal with a lot of caution. How could I be sure that this wasn’t black market elk that had been inhumanely killed AND it was the last surviving male of the species? With my luck, there would have been oodles of elk running around, and I would be the person to illegally buy the last known elk because they had all died of rot-hoof, or something. I could be facing hard time.

Luckily, I happen to know the person who shot this contraband elk, and it was all on the up and up. He shot it, someone packaged it, I froze it. The end.

Except, I’m starting to notice a couple of things. First of all, unless this was an anorexic elk, there’s way too little meat. Unless elk are nothing but fluff, this thing is scrawny. Also, this elk tastes very cow-y, like maybe the little bit of meat they did manage to scrape off the bone was so puny that they had to mix it with beef, just to make it fill up more than a zip lock sandwich baggie.

On the bright side, elk is a very tender meat, at least the parts that are genuine elk. It doesn’t have the gamey taste that bald eagle does and it has far less gristle than polar bear. Oh stop, you know I don’t eat endangered food. I would be so busted if I did.

Champagne Wishes, Caviar Dreams, and Deviled Eggs

A picnic just isn’t irreversibly screwed up until the deviled eggs appear. I’m not a snob or have weird food phobias, but I just have this horrible prejudice against deviled eggs (and sort of against the person who brought them). I know people who cannot achieve a good foodgasm over a turkey sandwich unless it has lots of mayonnaise on it, but I can’t even look at the stuff. It’s bad for you, it’s poisonous if left out in the sun, and I won’t even describe the visual because this is a family-friendly blog (yeah, I just snorted while typing those words) but think “money shot in porn movies.” Yup, I just made your brain go there.

But since it’s just not a family meal at my mother-in-law’s house without deviled eggs (wait, those two things kind of go together nicely), I agreed to make them this year for our Easter get-together. I totally volunteered specifically with the devious intent of not using mayonnaise in the eggs.

Guess what? It turns out that mayonnaise is apparently crucial to the deviling process. Poop.

But I’m not one to be sidelined by a little ick-slime in a recipe, so here is my own version of deviled eggs. Street Style. If that street happened to be in Greece.

Peel, THEN dye the eggs. It's more fun to eat a blue egg.

Lorca’s Sophisticatedy Deviled Eggs

Eggs (I don’t know, how many eggs do you need? Well, cut that number in half.)

Goat cheese (The mushy kind, not the crumbly kind. Oh, and let it sit in the trunk of the car to get soft.)

Those olives that are kind of maroon and start with a K and sound like calamari (but that’s squid)

Salt and pepper

Boil your eggs until they’re hard boiled eggs. Peel them (I love how in real recipes they tell you stupid shit like, “Don’t forget to drain the boiling water out of your spaghetti before adding the tomato sauce.” Anyway, peel those eggs.). Cut them in half and get the yolks out, but don’t throw them away even though they smell like baby fart. Put them in a bowl. Get the goat cheese outta your trunk and mush it up in the egg yolks. Add some salt and pepper. Stuff it back in the half eggs and add an olive slice to the top. It might look a little bland and you might be tempted to put some paprika on top just to make it all, but I wouldn’t. Anybody can use paprika. It’s practically required on regular old redneck deviled eggs. Use your brain and come up with something else that’s fancy looking instead of paprika. I don’t know, why are you asking me what to put on there? I don’t live at your house, I don’t even KNOW what you have in the spice cabinet! Use arsenic for all I care! Sorry, that was harsh. And here it is Easter and everything.


Eating a Horse Might Be The Most Un-Boring Thing You’ll Ever Do

I can’t wait until I’m old enough to start my stories out like Sophia, from Golden Girls. I can’t really pull it off because I don’t have a wicker basket for a purse, a look that she absolutely rocked. But there I was at a beautifully rustic dinner party to welcome my family and me to Italy. We sat at one giant table outside with dishes passed around, just like the Olive Garden people want you to think eating in their crappy restaurants will feel like.

A lovely member of the host family, I can’t remember who it was now, leaned over and said in Italian that the next dish we would have is a local delicacy called cavallo. At the time, I didn’t speak Italian, but I vaguely remembered having heard that word somewhere before.

Oh yeah. In Spanish class. And in English class when we talked about root words and their Latin origins and blah blah blah before my mind started that swimmy thing that happens to people on TV right before they pass out. My mom began thumbing through her Italian-English dictionary to find out what the word meant.

Yup. Cavallo is a really neat rustic-sounding word for horse. We were going to eat a horse. And given how long this dinner party had already lasted, it’s really possible that it was one of the horses we’d just seen munching grass in the fenced paddock on the way up the road, eating like it was his last meal or something.

This is exactly the horse I was trying not to picture, but I wasn't successful.

I immediately started looking on the bright side by thinking of famous horses I knew, wondering if I was going to get to eat something famous like maybe a race horse or a TV star. Of course, I’ve eaten meals in foreign countries before that one, so the real bright side was that horses don’t have tentacles and it couldn’t be as gross as eating octopus, unless maybe they left the hoofs on for decoration. Like those little pants fancy restaurants make turkeys wear.

I had enough time between the announcement of what we were going to eat and the actual arrival of said meat course to undergo this life-before-my-eyes montage of everything I’d ever eaten in my life, including school cafeteria food and stuff I’d eaten on a dare. I struggled to recall anything that I’d eaten that could prepare me for horse.

Nothing prepares you for horse. It was just a regular-looking slab of meat with a nice marinade ladled over the top. Did I mention it was raw? Yes, apparently actually cooking it would have done something to detract from the experience, because it was raw. And mildly slimy. Like chicken, when it’s raw.

When you do have to consume something that you’re not really sure was supposed to be food, take small bites, swallow them whole, chase them with a glass of water that has preferably been laced with bleach just in case. I consumed that meal (ate is just the wrong word here) wondering if the locals had some special enzyme that would keep them from getting sick and wondering if I was lucky enough to have caught the enzyme as I was going through customs.

Then I decided if Sophia could eat food in this country and still live to be four hundred years old, I was probably going to be okay. That woman went from eating horse to eating store-brand hot dogs, and no one has an enzyme to battle those things.

Happy Thanksgiving

I want to cut her.

In a fit of Thankgivingness, I decided to cook something. (pause) Sorry, I couldn’t finish that sentence without laughing. Here’s what actually happened:

I dropped my last red jelly bean in the pantry and had to dig around to find it. To throw it away, people, not to eat it. While I was digging around, I found an open bag of pretzel sticks, half a bag of chocolate coated popcorn, two open bags of marshmallows, and my kids’ trick-or-treat buckets. I know, you can totally see where this is going.

I piled all of that on the countertop and looked inside the buckets first to make sure there were no rodents in there. Guess what you’re going to find in children’s candy buckets in late November? Four hundred Tootsie Rolls.

Not to bring any lawsuits on myself, but let me tell you my opinion of people who give out Tootsie Rolls on Halloween. Never mind, I should probably just keep it to myself. Oh what the hell…you’re a douche bag if you give little children a wad of impossibly chewy faux chocolate. Does anyone on the planet actually sit themselves down on the couch on a Friday night with a giant bowl of Tootsie Rolls and a chick flick? NO. Tootsie Rolls are worse than the guy who gives out pencils printed with jack-o-lanterns, like you want to be using that pencil in February.

So I had a brilliant idea and here’s the recipe, lovingly created and passed on to you for your holiday baking:

Lorca’s Shit Bars

Butter (I don’t know how much, figure it out!)
All of the Tootsie Rolls that don’t have mold growing on them
All of the pretzels and popcorn from your pantry
All of the marshmallows, except the ones that were pastel and shaped like bunnies ‘cause those went bad in August
Other stuff

Directions: Melt the butter in a cheap saucepan because if you’re making these while drinking you’re going to forget it on the stove and ruin your pan. Melt all of the Tootsie Rolls in the butter. Take the wrappers off first. Melt the marshmallows on top of that. Stir. Add pretzels, popcorn, Flintstone vitamins, whatever. Pour out onto waxed paper in a big pile. Break off little pieces and set them on a plate just before people come over. Don’t tell them it’s really Tootsie Rolls and see if they can figure it out. If you’re Martha Stewart, there’s probably some reason that you should have added vanilla in there while you were stirring.

Happy Thanksgiving.

And That’s Why I Love The Internet

Which wine should I serve with this? White or red?

So if you didn’t accidentally find this blog by typing “stuff my cat ate” on Google, you might already know that I’m ignoring your humor needs completely as I write my fifth book. Everything is, in fact, all about me.

But yesterday I learned one of the great things about being a writer, even an unloved/unpaid one. We get to search for the craziest shit online and call it research. The only downside is we have to make sure all of our searches are spelled correctly or we get sent to porn websites. And I defy anyone to tell me that my hour and a half reading up on bugs was not research.

Step One: Google the question, “What do bugs taste like?”

Step Two: Find a search result called and read everything on their site. NOTE: wipe tongue with a dry washcloth the whole time you’re reading that site because you’re going to start imagining insect legs stuck to the roof of your mouth.

Step Three: Decide the all-encompassing website on eating bugs wasn’t quite all-encompassing enough, and go to the Contact Us tab to email them with several bizarre questions, making sure to mention that you’re not just a weirdo or that you’re not mocking them, you’re actually writing a book and thank you very much.

Step Four: Wait until the owner of the website gets off work (he has other monetary needs besides food, since his foods needs have been met by crickets) and emails you a lovely response:

Hi Lorca Damon

Interesting questions. Allow me….

1) In a society without electricity, running water, etc. (think Mad Max), how would they “grow” bugs (ie, housing needs, water needs)? What would I feed them?

Bugs don’t need what humans need – they don’t need electricity or running water. Insects suck nutrients (water) from a wide range of flora. Plants and trees grow in even the most arid of regions. There will always be life. Where there is life there is water. The bugs will find it. They burrow inside bark and other forms of flora. They don’t need us to feed them. I imagine in a society without electricity or running water it would be vital to keep moving and searching for water and food, so it wouldn’t be prudent or productive to farm (anything), unless one were to harness wind to produce power from rain water. But that’s stretching one’s chances.

2) How would they be prepared in order to get the most nutrition out of them? I know about toasting them, but wouldn’t that deplete any water left inside them? In the setting of my novel, wouldn’t my characters see that as a waste of water?

Eat bugs raw. In the time your novel is set, eating bugs will be where sushi was thirty years ago. Raw is the new cooked.

3) I’ve got my more resourceful characters grinding insects into a paste and mixing it with animal fat and broth to make it as palatable as possible. Is that a likely scenario? And is that a nutritious way to eat insects? (this particular group of characters are the more sensible, survivalist people)

Insects can be incorporated into any type food stuff. The fresher and least cooked, the more nutritious. If one wishes to truly survive in an era of Mad Max type climate and social upheaval and potential violence, one rule of thumb that all humans must be aware of is that it is best to avoid brightly colored and spiny/barbed insects. They are likely a death knell.

Good luck. When (notice I did not say “if”) you finish the novel, thank me somewhere in some way, if you feel my responses were effective. I wish you well.


Marc Dennis
Founder, Insects Are Food

I particularly appreciated Mr. Dennis pointing out that neither my characters nor I should ever come in contact with anything that is either pretty or stabby. That advice applies on so many levels.

It does not taste like chicken

It has always bothered me when someone would suggest a new or exotic food and by way of recommendation would say, “Really, it tastes like chicken,” because that would mean there are hosts of food groups that are not usually consumed by people (re: me) that could be masquerading as chicken to unsuspecting eaters. And because it slanders chicken. And slanders whatever food you’re trying to pass off as chicken.

We’ve all probably heard that frog legs tastes like chicken. No, they don’t, they taste like frog. Anyone who has ever eaten in a less-than-sparkling Chinese restaurant is afraid that cat actually tastes like chicken. And I happen to know from accidentally eating something on a stick that I bought from a fried foods push cart in Korea that rat kind of tastes like chicken. Wrong. All of these foods taste exactly like the food they are, only the food that they are brings to mind memories of chicken.

There is a tragic list of foods that I have eaten that most of society would not think of as food, thanks to my parents and their horrendously punitive views on child rearing. In our household it was a mortal sin to embarrass your parents in public, especially if you happened to be somewhere without them which automatically made you the actual Ambassador to the Entire Family, deceased relatives included.

That dubious honor is how my brother and I, ages ten and eight respectively, ended up eating a live octopus.

If you’ve had any dealings with tentacled seafood, you might already be envisioning calamari or sauteed baby squid. Nope. This was octopus. It was wheeled in on a rolling cart and it was behemothly squirming on the silver platter. It died slowly as the servers cut it (yeah, I would stop eating right now if you are checking your email on your lunch break). Think back to that great feast scene in the second Indiana Jones movie, the one where the American showgirl passes out when they bring in the monkey heads.

Weeks later, one of the adults who had been in charge of us at this evening of food stuff house of horrors bumped into my mother and immediately fell into worshipful admiration mode.

“Your children are the best behaved kids I’ve ever seen,” she gushed. My mom did the sweet hand-over-the-heart thing and thanked her. “No, really, they were incredibly well-behaved. You should be so proud of them.” My mom patted her arm and assured her that she and my father were both very proud of all their children.

“And when they had to eat the live octopus, those two didn’t blink an eye. They just scooped it up like they’d been eating this every day of their short little lives. Well, gotta run!” she called back, leaving my mother woozy and reeling from the thought that her babies had eaten live sea creatures captured in the ocean in the toxic waters off the coast of South Korea.

When she got home, syrup of ipecac in one hand, activated charcoal and a tetanus syringe in the other, she demanded to know what possessed us to eat that “thing.” My brother, even at that young age destined to be a rational adult at all times, replied, “It didn’t occur to us not to.” Needless to say, we suffered no ill-effects other than waking up screaming in the night from time to time for the rest of our lives, but he and I do have suspiciously amazing immune systems now.

That event actually began a long list of foods I had to endure, usually because I found myself once again at an event where it would have been unacceptably rude not to eat it. Shut up with your tales of hating lima beans or trying to sneak your steamed broccoli under the table to the dog. And you can stop right now with your one-upmanship attempts, I don’t care if you’ve eaten rattlesnake or gator meat. Hell, who hasn’t? I’ve eaten kangaroo.

I’ve eaten raw horse meat at a “Welcome to Our Country,” dinner in my family’s honor in Italy and I have to say, nothing says, “we’re glad you’re here,” like the grossest concept for meat ever. I’ve eaten camel and goat in a Bedouin tent in the Negev dessert, and I tried buffalo and antelope willingly just because you don’t eat camel and then turn up your nose at buffalo and antelope. I ate dog knowing when the waiter took our orders that it was dog meat and I have to say, somebody send those poor people a cow because dog tastes hideous. It reminds me of beef that has gone very, very rancidly bad. I’ve eaten the usual suspects, the deer, the squirrel, the aforementioned snake and gator, the crawish (crayfish if you’re a fan from Louisiana, thanks for reading), lamb and veal even though they were just babies, etc. If God made it out of meat, I’ve probably had to eat it.

I actually found out recently that I can no longer give blood and the reason literally printed in the blood collector’s manual was because I may have eaten beef that had been infected with Mad Cow Disease from the years I lived in Europe while growing up. No, the octopus was fine, but the ground beef I ate for years may have infected me, or at least made me a carrier. My husband was all for them sending my head off to the state lab like a rabid dog’s, just to be sure. He actually thinks a positive test result could be quite likely because it would explain a lot.

This lifetime of ingesting things that most of the people I know would not consider to be food has made me really question how we eat in our own country. A slice of raw horse is probably healthier for us than the chemicals we eat on a daily basis. I know people who wouldn’t consider eating the deer that my husband shot last month, an animal that has subsisted for its entire life on leaves and berries and acorns and has never once met the antibiotic/hormone cocktail that we call cattle feed in this country, but they’ll scarf down a preservative-laden fast food hamburger made from cow parts that has sat under heat lamps for the better part of an hour, after being cooked by a barely literate teenager whose TB test results still aren’t back from the lab. Pass me a drumstick of freshly killed buzzard any day, I hear they taste like chicken.

There’s power in power tools

I am the queen of household appliances. If there is a device that does something really cool to food, I probably own it. Or I’ve tried it and dismissed it with a flick of my stirring spoon as non-functional and basically not worth my time.

Even more than the thought of owning an appliance that is money-back-guaranteed to make my work in the kitchen easier, I absolutely live for the moment when I realize that the appliance actually lives up to its informercial’s outrageous claims.

Exhibit A: The Keurig Coffeemaker
Before I ever tried a cup of coffee from this machine, I dismissed it as the ultimate in yuppiedom. The thought of paying almost fifty cents per cup of coffee in my own home was deplorable. Paying three dollars for the barista to make it at an unnammed nationwide coffee chain that rhymes with Blarphux is somehow reasonable, but doing the work at home had better amount to nothing more than a $4 bucket of pre-ground Folgers.

Then I received one as a Christmas gift and had to try it. I originally decided that since I rarely drink more than one cup of coffee per day, it wouldn’t be that big an expense. And I loved it! My whole reason for getting out of bed each morning, other than the love of my devoted family of course, revolves around pressing the button and letting the water heat up while I stand with my mug and coffee pod at the ready. I’m working on teaching the dog to press the button so the water will already be hot when I come downstairs, but so far he’s fighting me on teaching him to brush his own teeth so he can place the pod in the machine with his mouth before getting my mug out of the cabinet for me.

When I decided the coffee was actually bordering on life-altering and amazing, I started having a second cup but justified it by reusing the pod from my first cup. After all, they are one-time-use pods and are just going to waste, so running the water through it again isn’t any more expensive. But the alarmingly awesome taste just wasn’t there the second time so I justified the second pod by likening it to a crack addiction. If I were on drugs it would be a whole lot more expensive and bad for my health. I’m actually saving my family money by having a second coffee pod instead of buying drugs. And they just don’t appreciate it.

Exhibit B: The Soda Stream Club Soda Maker
Okay, this one was completely for my husband. He buys cases of club soda at a time because that’s his favorite drink but it’s sometimes very hard to find in our small town. That dilemma, coupled with the fact that he is impossible to buy Christmas presents for, led me to purchase the Soda Stream. And it’s wonderful! Imagine, who knew that putting carbon dioxide in water made it bubbly? Is this some trade secret that only soda factories knew about? Well, cue the evil laughter, the secret is out and now anyone can have fresh soda at the touch of a button by carbonating ordinary tap water at any time of the day or night. Mwah ha ha ha!

Exhibit C: The Corn Dog Maker
Yes, there’s a sucker born every minute. Fortunately, this device actually works so I can claim I am no sucker. The concept of this doodad is that you can have baked corn dogs that contain far less fat than regular corn dogs. First, the inventors of this product forgot that the dog part of the corn dog already contains almost 20 grams of fat. What further harm can deep frying it do? Apparently, lots, because thanks to this little device that looks like a George Foreman Grill (which I own, by the way) you can reduce the fat in a corn dog from Instantaneous Heart Attack down to Kills You Slowly levels. The great thing about this is you can use it to cook other things—I despise a culinary one-trick-pony—like pancake on a stick with the sausage in the middle, reduced fat jalapeno poppers, and my personal favorite, Buffalo Turds. Google it.

And finally, Exhibit D: The Egg Genie
I have been on a quest ever since watching the movie Julie and Julia to make the perfect poached egg. Since I am not a moron, the egg poaching part was easy and I mastered it in no time. What I have not figured out is how to make poached eggs for three people every single morning without having lots of clean-up to do. While at the overpriced every-gadget-in-the-world megachain that rhymes with Fred, Math, and Bee Pond, I bumped into (literally) a display for a new as-seen-on-TV gadget that claims to cook soft/medium/hard boiled or poached eggs by simply filling the resevoir to the correct level with water, plugging it in, and walking away. I’m a sucker for all things that let me walk away, so I bought one. Plus, it was the exact same price as the non-stick pan that only poaches eggs, so already this gadget was a workhorse by the simple fact that it can do the boiling thing too. And it works! Beautifully! We’re now eating boiled eggs three meals a day and at snack times! We’re going to have to invest in a high-yield chicken! Cue the applause.

While I reign magnanimously over my kitchen with my wooden spoon sceptor, it is a good thing to watch various devices do my bidding from across the tiled floor. The Roomba vacuums the house, the Flowbee cuts my husband’s hair (okay, we don’t own that one, he’s bald), and the Egg Genie prepares our dinner. Life is good.

Melt-in-your-mouth roughage

I don’t eat fish because it tastes like licking the bottom of a boat. I’ve never licked the bottom of a boat, but I’m sure it would taste like fish. I do hate to slander boats by making such a claim. But once every few years I feel the need to be self-righteous about my health and eat fish since it’s supposedly some kind of super food, so I’ll go to Captain D’s and get the 2-piece fish dinner with fries and hushpuppies. It’s amazing how eating a meal made up entirely of deep fried foods can negate any self-righteous health consciousness.

There are a host of other foods that are rumored to be nutritional powerhouses but have a very miniscule group of devoted followers. Kale is one such food. I’ve never eaten kale because all this time I thought the produce section only sold it for snobby people to decorate their plates with. I seriously thought it was the curly green garnish fine restaurants poke onto the edge of your plate on its way out the kitchen door and I just assumed there were people out there who were big enough jackwagons that they would actually purchase it to garnish their plates of Skillet Sensations at home.

Turns out, there are actually a lot of recipes for kale on the internet and one such recipe—Kale Chips—looked suspiciously promising. It had all kinds of reviewer comments like, “Tastes just like potato chips,” and “I’ll never serve anything else with dip ever again.” They sucked me in. They got me.

I sought out the least wilty-looking bunch of kale I could find and had to root through the produce bin for ages for a bunch that didn’t look like it had been man-handled too much. I took it home, washed it, chopped it, and according to the recipe I baked it in the oven with some sea salt. And I waited.

The interesting thing about kale is its ability to taste like a completely different food. Unfortunately, it took me several bites to figure out that the different food it tastes like is brussel sprouts. I’m actually okay with brussel sprouts, but they’re not usually my go-to snack food. Wait, there was another interesting thing about kale, at least once you bake it with sea salt: it dissolves when you eat it. It was the weirdest sensation, crunching up a crackling leaf and having it dissolve. I can’t think of a lot of other melt-in-your-mouth experiences with roughage foods, but that’s what happened.

All in all, kale will have to fall into the same category I reserve for fish, which is foods that I only eat once in a while because they’re very good for me. At least this food group hasn’t languished in the mire of seaweed and barnacles, which is only fleetingly comforting.