Hot Dog Delight

Archive for the ‘I love cheese and other related items’ Category

For dinner tonight, I didn’t feel like the usual spicy Hunan Chinese food I get in the school cafeteria.  I wanted brain food, also known as junk food.  I’m in the process of applying to law school, so I wanted a sugar rush to keep me awake.  For some reason, I get really sleepy when I’m on the LSAC website, entering all my information in.  I also didn’t want to go back outside after coming into my apartment since it’s freezing out there, so I picked up a few treats after class to keep the energy high.

What did I decide on?  I got 2 packs of Oreo’s, one regular, one chocolate, a bottle of Jasmine tea, and 10 chicken nuggets with hot sauce, on a stick.

Let me first comment on the Oreo’s.  Chocolate cream filled Oreo’s “made with real cocoa” mind you, are fantastic.  I’ve never had them before, but after today, I’m a fan.  I think they’re even better than the original.  Yes, I said it.  Something is better than the original.  I don’t have a glass of milk to really decide.  I’m only eating them dry, but they’re exactly what I wanted.  The chocolate on chocolate combo is superb.  I couldn’t have asked for more when I decided on getting a sugary snack.

Jasmine tea is really good.  It might be the healthiest thing I purchased tonight, if it weren’t for all the sugar they added to make it taste so yummy.  Regardless, the word ‘tea’ by default, makes it healthy.  It does so in my mind anyway.

Lastly, the main course:  chicken nuggets, from a frozen bag, thawed and then deep-fried for my enjoyment.  All the kids are eating them.  They’re a pretty good deal, .50RMB for 1.  I tried them with hot sauce today, and they’re not bad.  I might like them better without, since I’m still not quite used to all the spicy foods here, but I felt more local getting them with.

The best part about getting chicken nuggets is that it comes with a stick.  They put the nuggets on a stick, like a kebab, but without vegetables…just chicken nuggets.  Since I got 10, they put the stick in the bag.  I think they give you a stick for sanitary reasons.  The Chinese rarely eat things with their bare hands.  There’s always a wrapper, a napkin, a plastic bag or a stick that separates the actual food from someone’s hands.  Or it just might be their love of eating meat, whatever meat it is, on a stick.  Lord knows I love it, whatever the reasons may be.  In my humble opinion, eating meat on a stick makes it taste so much better!

The only thing harder than going to work on a Monday after a long weekend is going to work on a Monday after Thanksgiving.  Thank goodness the week is almost over.  It’s been a long one!

They don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in China.  But they do have a fancy buffet dinner at the Sheraton Hotel for foreigners or anyone else who wants to spend 258RMB for an all you can eat dinner.  I had turkey, mashed potatoes, sushi, sashimi, scallops, crab legs, and lots of desserts.  I ate 4 plates of food, and 2 plates of desserts.  I had about 8-10 scoops (little scoops) of Haagen-daz ice cream.  I tried all the flavors since Haagen-daz in China isn’t cheap.  It’s around 60-70RMB for just a couple of scoops!  So of course I had to seize the opportunity and eat as much as I could.

To prepare for the event, I even went to the gym!  I started running again.  After running 10 minutes on the treadmill, I wanted to stop.  After running 20 minutes, I wanted to vomit.  But I pushed myself to run 10 more minutes after that for a total of 30 minutes, because it was absurd how out of shape I was!  I said in my head, “Dammit, Diane!  You can run for 30 minutes, just DO IT!” So I did.  But it wasn’t enjoyable.  And I was exhausted.  I’ve run 2 more times after that, and each time, it is just as painful as the last.  What a long and slow process, being fit is.  But as you are all my witnesses, I will be fit again…one day!

Anyway, I’m glad I started running again, because I think that night, I ate the most I’d ever eaten…in my life!  It was pretty intense.  A group of us from WorldTeach went.  There were 25 altogether.  We sat there for approximately 4 hours, eating, chatting, drinking, eating, resting, and then eating some more.  By the end of the night, I was definitely in a food high.  I had to breathe with my mouth open!  I’m not sure if this is TMI (too much information), but I did make a pit stop to the bathroom during the middle of the evening to free up some space, if you know what I mean (and if you don’t, I mean stuff passed through my system, the natural way).  I couldn’t help it!  It was unplanned, but it allowed me to eat some more, which I was grateful for.

Even though it was a pricey dinner, it was well worth it.  Without a doubt, I ate 258RMB’s worth of food!

If I were stranded on a deserted island and I could have only one wish, I know, without a doubt, what it would be.  Although it would be a tough decision between cable TV, the company of a hot, considerate, funny, and hot man I could hold a conversation with, both pale in comparison to macaroni and cheese. 

 

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Yes, macaroni and cheese.  I love it.  Everything about it.  It combines the two loves of my life:  cheese and carbs.  It comforts me, and I have nothing but fond memories with Mac.  And there really isn’t a way I don’t like it made.  Mac ‘n’ cheese baked, on a skillet, in a pot, from the box, deep fried to make a wedge!  It doesn’t matter to me.  Cheddar cheese is commonly used but I’m not picky —  I say, the more cheese the merrier!  Of course there are some versions I prefer over others, but I have to tell you, once I hear the words “macaroni” and “cheese” together, I get excited, and I have to eat it.  It is commonly said that the way to a man’s heart is through a woman’s cooking.  And that the way to a woman’s heart is through his wallet.  While I want to be wined and dined and romanced like any other girl (who doesn’t?), the way to my heart is definitely through a nice, steaming plate of macaroni and cheese.  Mmm.  My mouth is salivating over the very thought of it.

 

kraft2When I was little, my mother would make me Kraft Mac & Cheese — I had the blue box blues between the ages of 8 and 13.  She would usually make me half the box for lunch, but sometimes she would make the entire box.  And I would eat it.  All of it.  In one sitting.  I think her intentions of making the whole box were for me to get two meals out of it, but then she shouldn’t have put it on one plate.  Because it was hard for me growing up to not eat everything that was put in front of me (You may or may not know that I was somewhat obese as a youth — true story, but perhaps not the time or place to discuss it.  Don’t worry, I grew up fine, with a healthy appreciation for all things cheesy, but I will have to come back to this at a later time — I don’t want to steal Mac’s thunder).  Sometimes, if I exercised an incredible amount of willpower and restraint, I would leave half of the plate for a later meal, but it wasn’t the norm.  Again, this might not have been the best decision health-wise and most definitely contributed to my overweight childhood, but it was all in my mother’s best interest.  She knew I loved the cheese. 

 

Now that we’ve taken a trip down memory lane, let’s get back to what’s important:  Macaroni and Cheese.  In the 18th Century, macaroni and cheese became popular throughout Europe (first in Italy — Marco Polo brought the curved, tubular pasta to Italy from China and Italians decided to add cheese to the macaroni to make a tasty dish); then the cheesy treat made its way to North America via British colonists.  By the 1800s, macaroni and cheese became an American favorite with variations and recipes featured in many cookbooks.  As times were changing and women were looking to fulfill roles outside of the home and kitchen, convenience foods were introduced.  That’s when Kraft announced its dinner in a box called Kraft Dinner in 1937, and it was a huge success.  It especially became a popular item during World War II when meat was pricey and milk and other dairy products were hard to come by.  Since millions of men were away at war, women had to join the workforce.  After a long day at work, women appreciated the easy to prepare macaroni and cheese dinner that came in a box.  I think that’s why my mom liked it too.  Macaroni and cheese has been an American staple since then!

 

So if I had the company of an endless supply of macaroni and cheese, in all types and varieties, I would be happy to spend the rest of my days stranded on a deserted island.  It’s what the people on Lost have been missing all along.  Perhaps if they had some mac ‘n’ cheese, they’d all be content to stay.  I know I would be.  Because remember, it’s always a party with macaroni and cheese. 

 

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Check out one of my favorite restaurants featuring one of my favorite things — S’Mac:  http://www.smacnyc.com/home.html

For my last post of 2008, I’d like to write about something that I hold very near and very dear to my heart.  On this very last day of 2008, I’d like to take this time to look back on my life and share with all of you something that makes me very happy.

Everyone who knows me knows that I have an affinity towards McDonalds.  And I’m not ashamed of it either.  On more than one occasion I have unabashedly championed the world’s largest fast food chain.  I’m not sure what exactly it is that keeps bringing me back to those Golden Arches, but I am certain of when my fond association with Ronald and friends began.

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There is a photograph that used to hang in my parents’ living room before they moved.  In this photo, I am a bald-headed, diaper-wearing, tiny tyke of not more than 2 years old, holding a little red box with one hand and stuffing my face with a handful of french fries with the other.  Now, I vaguely remember the experience.  But my mother has told this story a countless number of times throughout my childhood, so she has been kind enough to fill in wherever my memory has failed me.

We were in our backyard — my cousins were over, and my dad had just picked up lunch from Mickey D’s.  My dad gave me a fry.  I ate it, loved it, and grabbed the whole box from him.  Gripping it tightly in my little hands, I ran away from everyone.  When my cousin asked if he could have a fry, I proceeded to stuff the entire contents of the box into my mouth.  They all laughed, and quite honestly, were a bit shocked, maybe even horrified, at my reaction.  But I was genuinely worried that he would take a fry from me.  I couldn’t part with any of them.  They were too tasty!  So I did what anyone who didn’t want to share would have done — I marked my territory.  I licked a bunch of fries and quickly devoured the rest before he could take a single fry away.  And if I had to do it again at the age of 23, I’d do the same thing to protect what’s mine.

Since then, McDonalds has never left my side.  I remember when I was in elementary school, my mom would take me on the weekends, and after our meal, she’d let me ride the mechanical Hamburgler out in front, and I’d have a blast on the ride while bopping my head to some children’s song like “It’s a Small World.”  On some Saturday or Sunday mornings, my mom would buy me a deluxe big breakfast and I’d eat it all, savoring each bite (which, looking back, probably contributed to my overweight childhood, but that’s a whole other blog entry in itself…).

Even after working at McDonalds for 8 months as a cashier in high school (with a creepy supervisor who liked to linger and make slightly inappropriate and suggestive remarks), even after seeing Super Size Me, I just could never stay away from those warm, welcoming arches for too long.  The only time I ever tried to was my senior year of high school.  I wanted to lose weight for prom (yes, you read right, I watched my figure for senior prom), so I worked out every day and I stayed away from fast food.  I lost weight, and although senior year of high school was definitely my peak in terms of physical fitness, after I went to college and gained the “freshman 15,” I learned what was really important to me.  You only live once, and you have to be true to yourself.  McDonalds was something I couldn’t help but go back to.  McDonalds was a part of me, and I couldn’t deny it any longer.

Now, I hope you don’t misconstrue what I am saying.  I don’t think people should have McDonalds every day, all day.  Of course I understand that fast food is unhealthy if eaten frequently.  All I’m saying is that it’s a nice treat, and I find it comforting that wherever you go, in whatever state, whatever city, whatever town, McDonalds always looks the same, and McDonalds always has the same items on their menu, with a few variations here and there.  Besides, tough economic times call for thrifty spending and McDonalds has got some of the best deals around — the extra value meals, the dollar menu, the apple pies (two for the price of one!), the all white meat chicken McNuggets, the ice cream sundaes, the sweet tea, the hazelnut iced coffee, the McChicken (plain with cheese is how I like it), the hashbrowns, the chicken biscuits, the McGriddles, the list goes on!  Where else can you spend a few dollars and get the chance of striking it rich and winning millions (or at the very least, getting a discount at Footlocker or a free breakfast sandwich!)?  Yes, I’m talking about the Monopoly game and I still think I can win one day and have my picture on a paper bag or on the side of a drink cup.  Well, a girl can dream, can’t she?

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Even if I never win big, McDonalds can never disappoint me for long.  I must say that I really am lovin’ it.

I am uncomplicated and multi-faceted.  Like the hot dog.  Yes, the hot dog.  That delicious, moist, cooked sausage — otherwise known as the frankfurter — served warm and on a bun.

You see, the hot dog, upon first glance, is seemingly simple.  Just a piece of meat, really.  On some bread.  Coming from NYC, hot dogs are a dime a dozen.  Nothing special.  But when you think about it, really think about it (I know, when have you ever really needed to, but just humor me — it’s my first blog!), the hot dog is quite remarkable.

Hot dogs are made from an assortment of ingredients — beef, pork, chicken, turkey, some combination of all of the above and then some, or even veggie style!  They can be grilled, boiled, steamed, deep fried, broiled, or microwaved.  You can have your hot dog plain, or spice it up with some mustard, ketchup, relish, sauerkraut, cheese, chili — the possibilities are limitless!  But the real wonder of the hot dog lies not in the number of possible tasty topping options (though the list of condiments is quite eclectic) but the wonder of the hot dog lies in its ability to withstand the tests of time!  Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit for dramatic effect, but you get the point — the hot dog is not at all what meets the eye!

The sausage-bun combo has been around as early as the 1480s, originating in Vienna or Frankfurt.  And over the centuries, the hot dog has managed to root itself in popular culture.  When you think of hot dog, what comes to mind?  Baseball games and other sporting events, Nathan’s, Pink’s, amusement parks, fairs, Michael Jordan (Ball Park Franks — “they plump when you cook them,” remember?  Or maybe that’s just me…), city street corners, Coney Island, the list goes on!  There wouldn’t be a National Hot Dog and Sausage Council if the hot dog wasn’t worth it all. 

Simply googling “hot dog” yields 25.6 million hits!  Today, the hot dog not only refers to a type of sausage, but, according to Wikipedia, my trusty friend in all things related to pop culture, the Hot Dog might also refer to:

·      the Dachshund, the adorable and absolutely precious short, stubby-legged German sausage dog that trots its way into my heart every time I see one!

·      a television series on NBC from 1970-1971 (a Saturday morning documentary series for children, with noteworthy hosts including Woody Allen)

·      a UK film magazine

·      freestyle skiing, aka “hot dogging”

·      Jughead Jones’ pet dog, from Archie Comics

·      a fictional character on Battlestar Galactica — Brendan “Hot Dog” Costanza

·      MC HotDog, a Taiwanese rap artist (enough said)

There you have it, folks.  The life and times of the hot dog, in a wrap. 

And so begins my first blogging experience.  I hope you all find what I have to say as delightful as I find the hot dog!