Posts Tagged ‘food


Time Travel Tuesdays: I Really Really Really Want You to Shut Up

Time Travel Tuesdays! Yay! Let’s travel back to 2002, when the McDonald’s Corporation made me want to jump off of a suspension bridge just to escape their latest commercial!

April 6, 2002

I really really really want you to shut up

I hate McDonald’s.

I never used to hate McDonald’s. I was actually fairly indifferent towards McDonald’s for quite some time. I’d eat there, but no more often than any other fast-food type of establishment.

Until about a week ago.

Apparently, my friends, McDonald’s has upped the ante in the ongoing fast food war with their new “Chicken Strips.” The message of the chicken strips seems to be, “Hey, if you don’t like our chicken in processed, unrecognizable nugget form, here’s an alternative!”

I have no problem with McDonald’s introducing a new product. That’s certainly their prerogative. I may even have been tempted to sample these new strips, were it not for the way the fast food giant chose to convey the information about its new product to the public.

I’m talking about a commercial, my friends. And not just any commercial. McDonald’s could have used any of a number of ways to promote this product. They could have had a tap-dancing McDonald’s employee informing a customer. They could have had Ronald McDonald put a sleeper hold on the Hamburglar when the latter attempted to steal the coveted foodstuff. They could have simply shown smiling children eating the strips. Perhaps one could have fed a strip to a puppy.
But no.

Instead we unsuspecting television viewers who, innocently enough, want only to see Anthony Edwards’s last episode of ER are deluged with people munching chicken strips as they dance to a ear-splitting voice screaming, “Tell me whatcha want, whatcha really, really want!”

Yes. McDonald’s has resurrected the Spice Girls.

Heads shall roll for this.

Give me bubblegum pop. Give me country. Give me a drunken barber dragging a screaming cat along a mile-long chalkboard but please, dear God, don’t subject me to the Spice Girls again.

This so-called “musical” group has been thankfully off the charts for years now, but that doesn’t negate the fact that for quite some time they were inexplicably popular, even to the point of filming a movie that makes Mariah Carrey’s “Glitter” seem quiet and understated by comparison.

Just this morning, as I drove to work, the Spice Girls began screaming on my radio again, prompting me to reach out and jab at the buttons, but it was too late. I had already been requested to divulge what it was I want, what I really, really want.

The human brain has a serious malfunction in its wiring, you see. While good memories are quickly shunted to the background, the mind feels compelled to replay horrible songs and embarrassing moments at constant, random intervals, moreso when something happens to remind you of it.

As a result, I’ve spent all day struggling valiantly against the urge to explain to the people in my office that what I really, really, really want is zig-a-zig-AH. Meanwhile, the portion of my brain responsible for embarrassing memories, struggling to keep up with the bad songs segment, has been stuck on a continuous loop of the time I accidentally dropped a lead weight on a girl’s head in ninth-grade science class.

What I can’t understand is why McDonald’s would choose such a tactic to promote a new product. What difference does it make if people who hear your radio commercial are aware of the existence of the chicken strips if the way the message is conveyed inspires them to drive into a concrete bridge abutment just to get it to stop?

And so, I find myself in quite a moral quandary. Do I stop going to McDonald’s altogether, or do I take the more mature, sensible route of secretly breaking in one night and altering the intercom system for the drive-thru window so that it plays Ray Stevens’ “The Streak” 24 hours a day?

Decisions, decisions.

In the meantime, I intend to spend the next 24 hours in a sanitary environment being fed a steady diet of Barenaked Ladies and Five For Fighting until the horrors of this music no longer echo in my skull and I am fit to rejoin normal society.

And I’m gonna work on my radio station changing reflexes too.

Blake M. Petit actually loves every Spice Girls album. Why waste a perfectly good skeet in target practice? Contact him with comments, suggestions or any song that can eradicate the Spice Girls from his mind at


Time Travel Tuesdays: Mom, Can I Have This?

It’s that time again (Tuesday), time for another journey into my own past with a Time Travel Tuesdays column. This week we’re getting into the ol’ Delorean and going way back to March 9, 2002, when my encounters with several different foodstuffs prompted the following discourse…

March 9, 2002

Mom, can I have this?

While I don’t consider myself a wise man, there are certain areas of our society that I find I have a particular understanding of. Movies, for instance, and comic books. Random, useless trivia collects in my brain like lint in a dryer sheet. But longer than I have been a fan of any of these, my friends, I have been a fan of… food.

Unfortunately, our society seems to have taken some incredibly bad moves in the area of food over the past few thousands of years, and as a responsible journalist (or at least as someone who once heard of a responsible journalist) I feel I should take a little time to go over some of the missteps with you, my Highly Educated Readers, to prevent you from going astray. So put the Fruit Roll-Ups down and pay attention.

I became particularly interested in food mishaps at a recent family gathering when my Aunt Nancy produced a box of something called “Satellite Wafers.” This, I learned, was apparently a popular candy when my father and his contemporaries were children. The candy consisted of two oddly-colored wheat wafers with the taste and consistency of packing material sandwiched together in the shape of a flying saucer. This created a pocket in the middle which the manufacturers, in an effort to slowly turn the entire population of the Earth diabetic by the year 2072, filled with some form of rock-hard candy.

From both an economical and nutritional standpoint, one would be better off consuming a heaping bowl of Styrofoam peanuts and gravel than these Satellite Wafers… and yet as soon as the box was open, people (myself included) began consuming these things and could not stop.

At first I was certain the air pocket containing the small chunks of kryptonite masquerading as candy also had some sort of narcotic gas that escaped when you bit into the wafer. After eating several of the offending objects, though, it finally dawned on me why people kept eating them: they were trying to figure out what would possess a person to eat one.
I have a crate of the substance on order to further my research in this area.

Further advances in the incredibly profitable field of food weirdness are currently underway at two of the major ketchup companies, which are virtually indistinguishable from each other down to the fact that their names both begin with “H.” A year or so ago one of the big H’s began marketing a line of… ready for this? Multicolored Children’s Ketchup. That’s right, ketchup isn’t just red anymore ladies and gentlemen – now your kids can stain their clothes red, green, purple, whatever.
Since this has proven somewhat successful (thereby proving that parents will purchase anything their children beg for and that children will beg for anything they see on television), the other H has decided to enter the game as well, but taking a different route as their opponent. The original H, you see, was very upfront about the bizarre concoction they expect people to consume, by clearly making the bottle the same funky color as the ketchup. “Hey!” is the message, “why don’t you eat some green ketchup?”

The other H is taking a decidedly different approach. As a “test,” they intend to randomly place their new multicolored ketchup in red bottles, so that nobody knows what color their lunch is going to be.

The potential problems with this are mind-boggling, not the least of which is the danger of parents who don’t pay close attention to world affairs like I do suddenly seeing their kids squirt what they believe to be some weird blue fungus all over their hamburgers. One must question whether the thrill of a colorful condiment is worth the pain and suffering it may cause.

Never let it be said that I don’t know how to cash in on an idea, though. I’ve currently got my scientists here at Think About It Labs feverishly working on a cross between ketchup technology and paint-matching technology that would allow parents to purchase condiments that would perfectly match their dining room walls, thereby eliminating any fear of childhood stains that last for decades.

By the way, you guys with that floral-print wallpaper are turning out to be a real pain in the kiester.

Blake M. Petit’s next project is plaid mayonnaise to tap into the uncharted Scottish condiment market. Contact him with comments, suggestions or more of those stupid, addictive wafers at


The Shrinking Blake Initiative Update

Not too much to update, honestly guys, but it’s been some time since I talked about my attempt to eat a bit better. So in a nutshell, my pants and shirts are both looser than they were a few months ago. Not terribly loose, not so loose that I’ve got to rethink my wardrobe, but there’s definitely room in there that there wasn’t before. It’s a little difficult to say honest with this right now, as I’ve got more and more rehearsals in the evening, after which I have very little urge to prepare any food and the glittering lights of fast food call to me like the sirens to Odysseus. But as I don’t have any beeswax with which to plug my ears, I must just charge on. Then I get to my own Scylla and Charybdis (is there any doubt what unit I’m teaching in my class right now?) the road with McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Rally’s, Taco Bell, Raising Cane’s and Sonic all within throwing distance of one another.

I’m not gonna lie to you, friends, on occasion I’ve strayed. But I’m eating much less than ever before on the rare (I stress — RARE) occasions I break down, and it’s way more likely you’ll see me in line at Subway than in the drive-through at McDonald’s. The food I’m eating at home and work remains of the much more healthy variety, and I’ve done my best to keep up that schedule of eating some small breakfast each morning as well. I’ve also taken to drinking at least a glass a day of some sort of juice — preferably a V8 Fusion Light, but when I’m out of that there’s always apple or assorted other juices available — to help me meet those fruit’n’veggie requirements the kids on the street are always talking about.

In a couple of weeks I’ll be in Pittsburgh, visiting Erin, and that’ll be the real challenge. Somehow, that urge to eat poorly is even more compulsive when you’re on vacation. Again, I can make no promises, but when we sit down at those restaurants, I’m going to do my best to look at the healthier sign of the menu, and I know I can count on Erin to give me mom eyes if I order a beverage without “DIET” or “ZERO” in the name.

It makes a difference when you’ve got someone trying to keep you honest.


Two weeks and counting

The last day of school for my students is exactly two weeks from today, although many of them seem to think it was two weeks ago. While I have no intention of slacking before the semester ends, that doesn’t mean I don’t already have plans for the summer. In no particular order…

  • Visit Erin in June
  • Host a visit from Erin in July
  • Find a cure for the common hangnail
  • Complete rewrites on Cross-Purposes
  • Go back and re-watch the entire series of Lost in the hopes that, having seen the ending, I’ll know what’s going on
  • Record, edit, and release the project I’ve been teasing on the last three episodes of the Evercast, which I hope to God SOMEBODY has figured out by now
  • Scour every bakery in the Greater New Orleans Area looking for something worthy to submit to Cake Wrecks
  • Finally get around to beating the first Kingdom Hearts game on a PS2 borrowed from a coworker
  • Taste a KFC Double-Down
  • Get stomach pumped
  • Get into a more-or-less regular exercise schedule including walking and swimming
  • Leave writing samples on the desks of Dan Didio, Geoff Johns, Mark Waid, Chris Ryall, and whoever could potentially get me a gig writing a Bionic Six comic book
  • Remind everyone reading this what the Bionic Six was
  • Develop an energy source to replace petroleum, then develop another source to replace that one
  • Two words: Monkey Butlers

How about you, peeps? Any summer plans?


Bone Tired

That’s what I am today, my friends. For many reasons, most of them related to my job, I’m just flat-out exhausted tonight. And it’s frustrating, because I’ve got any number of things I could be doing/should be doing/want to be doing even, but I just can’t seem to muster up the energy tonight.

Spring break is a week away. I am firmly convinced that we will be among the last school districts in the country to have one. I just hope when that break hits, it’ll be enough to recharge my batteries and get me through May.

For the record, the ONLY reason I have not broken down and eaten a KFC Double-Down is because I promised Erin I would eat better.

Hopefully I’ll have a better post tomorrow.


Blake’s Universal Rule of the Universe #66

66. When you’re dieting, willpower is your friend. A nasty, dirty friend who will club you over the head and abandon you when you need him the most, but not before he steals your wallet.

Read the rest of the Universal Rules of the Universe right here!


Blake Gettin’ Healthy Status Update

A few weeks ago, I announced my intention to shape up and finally start trying to get a little healthier, particularly in terms of weight. As the reason I actually made a post about it is because I wanted to be public, to keep myself honest, I decided I should do the occasional update here and talk about how I’m doing.

I’m doing… okay. I’ve really managed to cut down on the junk food, that’s probably my biggest accomplishment to date. I’ve got myself on a fairly rigid schedule — some sort of breakfast daily (fruit or cereal, low-fat milk), a decent lunch (cold cut sandwich, 100-calorie pack of chips), a mid-afternoon snack (fruit or cereal, low-fat milk), and a dinner that consists of more vegetables and smaller portions of the entree. I haven’t gone to a drive-thru window since I started this endeavor, which is probably a lifetime endurance record for me, at least going back to when I got a driver’s license. The closest thing to fast food I’ve had are Subway sandwiches. Tuna, mostly. A roasted chicken or two in there. I’ve cheated a little on the weekends because… well… you’ve gotta. You’ll go insane eating perfectly all the time, and if I’m going to be weak, I may as well do it on Saturday nights when I’m out with my friends at a pizza joint. Even then, even when I eat something that isn’t quite as good for me, I’m winning the battle of portion control — fewer slices of pizza, diet sodas or lemonade or the like.

Have I noticed any difference yet, you ask? Yes, a few. I do feel like I have more energy during the day. I don’t get tired as easily, and a lot of the general cruds I’ve gotten in the past haven’t been creeping up on me. Even my old arch-nemesis — staircases — have been easier to tackle as of late. I haven’t gone down a pants size or anything, but physically, I’m feeling some results.

I’m feeling other things, too: hungry. I’ve been told that, once you get yourself on a schedule like this, your appetite will subside. I wish it would freaking hurry up and subside, because I’m really sick of being hungry all the time. I don’t crave food any less, I’m just getting better at fighting those cravings. I keep my gaze trained firmly ahead when I walk past the candy aisle. I ignore a low rumbling because I know I’ve eaten everything I actually need for the afternoon. I chew sugarless gum. I’ve chewed a lot of sugarless gum.

When I’m really hungry, I admit, I start to get a little snippy. In the store earlier today, the guy ahead of me in line got a Coca-Cola from the cooler. As he did so, his wife said, “That’s your second Coke today!” My immediate reaction was to snap at her, “And how many times today have you bitched today?” But I didn’t. Because I’m nice.

This is just update number one, status report number one. I’m still going. Keep your fingers crossed for me, will you?


Time to fix this mess…

Okay, guys, here’s the deal. I’m trying to lose weight. I need to. I’ve needed to for a long time. I’ve got back problems that start with the skeleton, but being a beefy dude like I am isn’t helping. I’m not some amorphous blob or anything, I’m not “Kevin Smith vs. Southwest Airlines,” but if I don’t make some changes, I could wind up that way.

This is nothing new, of course. A few years ago, I started to have some bad chest pains that scared the hell out of me. Turned out it was just heartburn, but the fear was enough for me to clean up my act and start fixing the way I eat. That lasted for a few months, and I lost a good chunk of Blake. I felt better, I looked better, the buttons on my clothes got out of that annoying habit of making a “zing” noise and threatening low-flying aircraft. It was awesome.

But it didn’t last.

When the fear started to subside, my eating habits went back to the Bad Old Days of junk food and soda. I’ve got a real weakness for food. I seek out new flavors and new combinations, but not in any healthy way. New candy flavors, new potato chips, new pizza toppings, new hamburgers — this is the stuff that gets me going. And I have a hard time stopping at just one, too. Portion control may well be my greatest nemesis. It’s hard. Figuring out how much you need to eat instead of how much you want to eat has always proven incredibly difficult for me. So has eating at the right times — another problem I have, as I often have a tendency to skip breakfast and pig out later in the day. I know that’s a mistake, I know that keeping your body on a regular schedule is one of those things your metabolism needs if it’s going to burn off the calories.

Making it even harder, for me, is the fact that this isn’t exactly a project with an endgame. I will never be “finished” this this. I don’t have a target weight, because I don’t really care specifically what I weigh. My target is, “current weight minus enough to stop these problems.” And it’s not like I can stop even then, because I never want to start creeping back in this direction. This is about changing my life and changing how I operate for the rest of my life. Even though I know that 20 years from now, when McDonald’s unveils some new “Juicy Off-The-Endangered-List Bison Burger,” my first instinct is going to be to rush out and try it.

I’m not posting this online because I’m looking for sympathy or pity or — god forbid — advice. Nothing personal, friends, but I already know what I need to do: as Walton and Johnson say, “eat less and move around more.” And while I do appreciate your concern, when a fat guy is sitting around having already eaten his single-portion chicken and salad for the evening, urges still telling him he wants more even though the brain knows he doesn’t, there’s nothing more irritating than well-intentioned friends  telling him how their uncle’s nephew’s sister’s koi pond cleaner took off 55 pounds by inhaling powdered snakeskin twice a week.

I’m posting this to keep myself honest. I’ve tried a lot of times to change things, only to slip up in days because I hadn’t told anybody and no one was going to hold me accountable if I stopped at Burger King on the way home. But if I put it out there, if I say it to the world, then I’ve got it in the back of my head that if I screw up, someone may be disappointed. And for me, that’s a far more unacceptable outcome than anything that only affects me, like potential diabetes. I just want to know someone is keeping track of me, because that will help keep me going.

And if you just plain don’t give a crap about all my personal nonsense, I understand that too. I promise, it won’t be a regular thing here. Just every so often, when I need it. Just enough to keep me honest.



  • If there’s anything that can — however temporarily — get me to turn my attention from the Olympics, it’s a new episode of LOST. The final season of the show has been one mindbender after another, and I’m loving every minute of it. As I type this, I’m watching this week’s episode a tad late, thanks to a Playhouse board meeting I’m just arriving home from.
  • Wendy’s new “Bacon and Bleu” burger looks pretty good. At least, it does if you like bleu cheese on a hamburger. I do. However, I know in my heart of hearts that the burger in real life will never possibly live up to the image on the commercial. It just isn’t fair, consarn it.
  • After some deliberation about whether or not to get a smartphone, I have decided instead to get an iPod Touch and upgrade my cell phone to a simpler model. The iPod does everything that I would want a smartphone for, and it has no monthly service plan. Granted, unlike a smartphone, with the Touch I’ll be limited to using the internet connection in places I can get a wireless signal, but that’s not really a big deal. More and more public places are getting hooked up for WiFi all the time, including most of the places I’d be likely to use such a device. I think I’ve found an affordable compromise.
  • Started teaching Romeo and Juliet to my ninth graders this week. I’m a little blase on the subject. Not that it’s a bad play, but you’ve gotta remember, the kids only have to learn it once. I’ve got to teach it three times a day, every year. I wish we could rotate our Shakespeare. Do Romeo and Juliet one year in ninth grade, the next year switch to Julius Caesar, the next, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Just something to keep the teachers from getting burned out. It’s easier with short stories and poems, there are more to choose from and you can mix it up. And we cover the same epic every year, but somehow, I never get tired of The Odyssey. It’s just drama that runs the risk of draining my batteries.
  • Like you don’t have enough social media websites to worry about already, earlier today I got turned on to thanks to J.C. Hutchins’ Hey Everybody Podcast. This isn’t an attempt to horn in on Twitter or Facebook like Google Buzz. Rather, it’s a site where you can rate and discuss virtually all forms of entertainment — books, movies, TV shows, music, and so forth. It does combine the efforts of other websites like Goodreads and Flixter, but it’s the first time I’ve seen an all-in-one site like that. It’s cool, though. If you’re on it, go ahead and friend me. The name is blakemp. (And please, “like” my novels Other People’s Heroes and The Beginner so that they’ll start being recommended to people.) And no, I have no idea what “Get Glue” refers to.

How to Have a Crawfish Boil

Being, as I am, from a very Catholic family, when Lent rolls around it’s all seafood on Fridays. But being, as I am, from Southern Louisiana, this is hardly the sacrifice it is for most others. We have so much seafood down here that, for years now, my cousins Carl and Tammy have hosted a seafood feast every Friday during the Lenten season. Fish fries, shrimp, crabs, and all other manner of food from the water. But perhaps the most popular — and most enigmatic, for those of you not in Louisiana — are the crawfish boils. So for the sake of you who live elsewhere, especially for Erin, who requested pictures, I thought I’d give you guys a little visual tour of just what goes into an old-fashioned Louisiana Crawfish Boil.

(Oh — and it’s crawfish, not crayfish. You try calling ’em crayfish in Louisiana, you’ll get laughed out of the state.)

First of all, you need some crawfish

First of all, you need some crawfish

First you need some crawfish — two or three pounds per person. And if that seems like a lot, remember that most of the weight is shell and other inedible parts. All you really eat is the tail.

What kids did before Pokemon

What kids did before Pokemon

If you’ve got kids at your boil, inevitably, some of the crawfish will be played with before they make it into the pot. You can’t stop this. It’s part of nature.

Put de water in de pot

Put de water in de pot

You hose down the buckets of crawfish, then put water into your pot. Yes, we use a garden hose. Don’t worry, as hot as this is going to get in a few minutes, it’ll be utterly sterile.

Add your flavorings

Add your flavorings

Add the stuff you use to give your crawfish flavor — crab boil spices, garlic, onions… cut some lemons in half and squeeze ’em in. Also, toss in some side-dishes to boil with the crawfish — things like potatos, mushrooms, and corn on the cob. Oh, and if you’re like us you’ll need a bit of a kick…

Feelin hot! Hot! Hot!

Feelin' hot! Hot! Hot!

Add juuuuust a dash of cayenne pepper.

We got steam heat!

We got steam heat!

Next, set the pot to simmer for a while. We typically use a propane burner. Hank Hill would approve.
A fish fry is a nice added bonus

A fish fry is a nice added bonus

While the pot heats up, you can make up other dishes — fry some fish, for example. It’s good for the sake of guests, like myself, who can’t eat crawfish. Yes, I confess — crawfish and shrimp tend to get me sick if I eat more than a little. I think it’s the iodine content. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have fun at these things.
Add the crawfish

Add the crawfish

Next, pour the rinsed crawfish into the pot. Let ’em boil for a while.
Push em down in there good.

Push 'em down in there good.

Let them boil!

Let them boil!

And serve em up!

And serve 'em up!

Serve em hot!

Serve 'em hot!

And enjoy with something cold!

And enjoy with something cold!

That’s pretty much all it is to it. Thanks, as always, to Tammy and Carl for hosting the bash. Wonder what’s on the plate next week…

May 2023

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