Category Archives: Food

Pumpkin is Shit


It’s that season again. The season of pumpkin. I just saw a commercial for some kind of pumpkin frappuccino coffee-type drink, presumably about three dollars and seven hundred calories – I don’t know for sure as I honestly didn’t really pay attention, for the simple reason that pumpkin is shit. I suppose I should be grateful that some sector of the retail world is happy to pause in a Fall/Halloween type promotional phase before the inexorable march to Christmas (or “Holidays”). Some stores are already in full Xmas mode, one of them before October even started, I suppose motivated by the desperate fear that people will buy the first piece of useless Santa-themed crap they see, and if they wait too long it just might be some other retailer’s crap.
So I’m all for some Fall seasonal product – I just don’t understand the seemingly enormous attraction of pumpkin. Sure, it’s a seasonal vegetable, with all sorts of Halloween and Autumnal connotations. It looks great in harvest displays, makes a nice addition to twee home décor, and in its carved form can be relied upon to brighten up any front door in October. But what on earth would possess someone to eat one?

Food tends to fall into two categories: there’s stuff that’s worthwhile to eat, and there’s stuff you put on top of it to make it taste better. Bread is good. Want to make it better? Add peanut butter, or chocolate. Potatoes are good. Just add bacon, cheese and sour cream for better. So if coffee is good, I’d suggest (should you be so inclined) that chocolate might be a good addition. Or cream, sugar or whiskey. Not pumpkin. You see, pumpkin doesn’t fall into either category – it’s neither worth eating in its own right, nor is it, in a million years, something you add to other things to make them taste better. In fact, about the only way to get anyone to choke down pumpkin flesh is to cut it severely with something tasty, like marshmallow, or sugar, or maybe heroin.

Pumpkin is shit. Given the choice between eating it and dying of starvation I’d chow down on pumpkin with the best of them, but having been blessed with the great fortune to be able to choose what to eat, I’m going to stick with carving a big smile in it and leaving it on the porch for the ants. In fact, I’m surprised that anyone can face pumpkin if they have at some stage cut the top off one to make a jack-o’-lantern. When you reach inside to drag out its guts you are assailed with the feeling of pulling hair through slime, and a smell like someone took a great big dump inside. Hardly likely to trigger a rational being to think “Hmmm – I wonder what it tastes like. Forget apples, let’s make THIS into a pie.” And then people chuck the layer of marshmallow on top that is apparently necessary to overcome their gag reflex. But if you’re going to do that, why not put marshmallow on something that actually tastes good to start with? Cheesecake Factory has more high calorie, luxury desserts in their cabinet than you could possibly bear to eat, all variations on a theme of “tastes great, pancreas set to overdrive”. Ever wonder why pumpkin isn’t a recurring theme on the ingredient list?

So why do so many companies launch pumpkin promotional flavors at this time of year? I’m assuming none of them actually taste like pumpkin. In fact I bet that’s the secret – they’re probably stuffed full of things that don’t taste at all like pumpkin. With tons of sugar. So maybe consumers come to believe they love pumpkin, as all the pumpkin pies, cakes and coffees are basically a concentrated sugar confection that someone waved a pumpkin over.

All this leads me to wonder if anyone really loses in this seasonal pumpkin con festival. Brand owners get to stimulate demand with new products. Consumers get to believe the sugary crap they eat or drink is really pumpkin flavored. And all over the country our farmers get to unload tons of worthless orange crap that for sure we would otherwise be paying price supports on for evermore. God bless free enterprise, but I’ll pass on the pumpkin frappuccino.

More Fat Please

Maybe real men shouldn’t admit to eating yogurt – perhaps it has the same stigma attached as quiche, manicures and man-bags – but I have to confess that I eat the stuff. I justify this on the basis that it’s proteiny, but sweet enough to count as dessert and (perhaps) allow me to resist the siren call of thousand calorie cakes. Yogurts used to be simple things, but recently they’ve started to grow in size, and cost, so that you’re being asked to pay an obscene amount for a small bucket of Greek yogurt. As though we’re bailing out their miserable economy one pot at a time.

Greek yogurt is supposed to be good for you – more protein, which is right up my street – but it doesn’t taste better. In fact it generally tastes as one would imagine the congealed nocturnal emissions of a diseased wino would taste, only with fruit on the bottom. We seem to have reached the point where yogurt all tastes shite, it’s just a matter of how shite you can stomach. But the other day Mrs Bison unleashed a yogurt revelation on me: small pots of yogurt that aren’t labeled LOW FAT and, apparently as a consequence, taste great. Like real food. Like you’d eat one out of choice rather than duty. And it suddenly hit me – ALL yogurt could taste this good if we only stopped obsessing about low fat foods.

All those attractive sounding but ultimately disappointing flavors that you see in the supermarket chill cabinet could really taste like key lime pie, or strawberry shortcake, or whatever it is they claim to be. And they’d all taste great. But instead we live in a world of mealy-mouthed, low-fat, calorie-counting self-denial, where luxury is an ever-larger pot of something that you just know will taste like fruity dog semen.

Mrs Bison says yogurts all used to taste like that, but I don’t remember those days. I don’t think we had yogurts when I was a kid, and I certainly didn’t buy them when I lived alone because they didn’t fit my “lots of protein, lots of carbs, and just enough fruit not to get scurvy” low cost shopping plan. Nevertheless I can’t help wondering why, in a country that is quite prepared to chicken fry steak, there isn’t just a little bit of room on the shelf for non-low-fat yogurt.

Maybe it’s the next big thing: “Food You Can Enjoy”, but I can’t help thinking that the great marketing powers that be have decided that Yogurt = Health = Low Fat, and taste can just take a running jump. Pity, because nothing puts you off healthy eating like the taste of dog spooge.


Carbless Hell

I’ve been repeating a process I followed several years ago which involves losing weight by cutting out carbs. Not all carbs, you understand, just potatoes, rice, pasta and bread. I also minimize other carbs, such as desserts, but I don’t cut them out, even though I’d lose weight faster, because once you take the carbs out of life you pretty much extinguish the joy.

So the process is slow, but I lost about 10lbs without having to go hungry. However, I would be happy never to see another boiled egg, tin of fish or salad again. When I’m feeding myself I can stay on track by the simple expedient of not buying any good food. That way all I have to choose from in the evening is salads, and I can just about make myself take a “man-salad” to work too. (Man-salad consists of some lettuce covered with stuff that you would actually like to eat, such as cheese, nuts, tuna and dressing in sufficient quantity to minimize the effect of the lettuce while allowing you to tick the “I had a salad for lunch” box.)

Back in Chicago though I am in Mrs Bison’s realm, and while she likes my diet and will buy me all the proteiny stuff I need, she also buys treats. Like ice cream, pastries, imported Lion Bars, Aero chocolate, good bread, samosas and cake. Even the bag of nuts she bought me had good stuff in, like chocolate bits. And I eat all this because, well, because of the joy thing I mentioned above. This weekend was not a good one for restraint, but I sat at the table next to a gigantic fat bitch in Red Robin last week and managed to eat a salad. Her fries might have been bottomless, but she clearly wasn’t, so I have a way to go before I need to worry…

By the way, did I mention that I have a book out?

Not My Regular Breakfast

I get to spend a fair bit of my working life in hotels, or at least waking up in hotels, which means that I am no stranger to the experience of blearily taking the elevator down for breakfast. In some places you’re faced with an extraordinary selection of breakfast delights, fresh fruit juice, friendly service, eggs made to order and all the hot tea or coffee they can force down your neck. But recently my travels have been more, shall we say, routine in nature. Lots of Hampton Inns, and very basic breakfast buffets.

… to continue reading this most excellent story see my book


Not Likely, Fatso

So it was Friday night and, being the sophisticated diners that we are, Mrs Bison and I took Bison Daughter to Red Robin. For those not in the know, this is a “family” burger restaurant chain, complete with laminated menus, helium-filled balloons and bored staff who periodically gather and sing some generic birthday song. It is probably best known for the lardiness of its clientele – as we sat in the foyer, awaiting our table for three, surrounded by fellow diners it was hard not to notice how fucking fat they were.

At one point a massively overweight older couple came in, and I instantly winced as they walked over, because I could see that they were about to try and squeeze their enormous rumps onto the same bench seat that we were occupying. As the man sat down, his wife declared “I’m just going to quickly run to the restroom”.

Every fiber of my being wanted to respond “Oh come on, you’re clearly wrong on both counts” but I settled for making this comments to my slim wife. Meanwhile a teenage girl, so fat that her black leggings had become translucent, waddled in. There’s no hope for us in this country so long as obesity is treated as a disease rather than a lifestyle choice…

What Did You Expect?

Any time you eat out there’s a finite possibility of ending up with a case of the shits – it’s just not reasonable to expect that everyone who works in a restaurant washes their hands after wiping their arse, or that the ingredients didn’t have green fur wiped off them when they were pulled out of the back of the refrigerator. We routinely take this chance, often putting our colons in the hands of the kind of people we’d cross the street to avoid if we actually met them, in return for the convenience of someone else making us food.

There are times, however, when the possibility of diarrhea becomes more of a probability. And yesterday, when I ordered the seafood chili it’s fair to say that I accepted the near-certainty that it would exit me with extreme prejudice this morning.

And I was not disappointed. To be fair, it looked like diarrhea before I even began eating it – brown liquid with seafoody things floating in it. My poor digestive tract didn’t stand a chance; I’m not sure it even made a dent in the chili. I could practically have counted out the shrimp one by one, had I been so inclined. It’s not as though I didn’t see it coming…

Vegetable Rights And Peace

No wonder vegetarians are such miserable cunts – have you ever tried the food? Mrs Bison decided, for reasons better known to herself, to mix things up on the dinner front tonight, with a recipe for meatballs based on this Match textured vegetable protein. Now I have to give Mrs B the benefit of the doubt on this – she almost always makes excellent food, something she attributes to me having low standards and being easy to please. No matter what the truth in this, I get a lot of good food, and all of it based on variations on a theme of dead animal, so I was willing to give the soy-based veggie crap a go.

Jesus, how does anyone choke that shit down? I was prepared that it wouldn’t taste like meat, in much the same way that a spicy bean burger doesn’t taste like a hamburger. But here’s the thing, a bean burger does taste like real food; in this case beans. And spices. So while you’re certainly going to be disappointed if you bite into one and you were expecting medium rare ground sirloin burger, if you set out to eat it as a bean burger it can actually pass as food.

Textured vegetable protein is another thing altogether. It doesn’t taste like beans, or any other recognizable food substance. It has the consistency of something that has been extruded from the rearmost orifice of a cat, and a flavor that makes you wish that it had. At least cat shit would have some meat content. I suppose the veggie crap is supposed to be all nutritionally beneficial but, let me tell you, the nutritional value of something is irrelevant if it engages your gag reflex so comprehensively that you can’t swallow it.

Bear in mind that Mrs Bison’s characterization of my eating habits is not far from the truth. If it moved once I’ll eat it. Even if it’s still moving I’ll give it a go. I’ve eaten duck brains, fish eyes, frog ovaries, dog penis and cow tongue, so I’m not what you’d call a picky eater, but I’d eat any one of them before ever again tucking into textured fucking vegetable protein. It’s earthworm-guts, leper-sputumly disgusting. I kept trying to eat it; I got three balls of the shit down, for fuck’s sake, but I couldn’t get through it all.

So I retrieved the package from the trash to see what the source of this vile taste was, and I have to say that I was left somewhat in the dark. The ingredients included the aforementioned textured vegetable protein and some other items like caramel color, but did not include any clue as to the source of the nasty seed things in it, which appeared to be mildly less appetizing than what we feed the parakeets. What I did recognize was assorted veggie-world slogans about this kind of crap being “better for the world” and “better for everyone”. Bollocks is it.

Bison Daughter complained that she needed some meat, which made me very happy, since with girls you worry that they’re only one step away from some bullshit vegetarian anorexic nightmare. Just imagine that there was no meat though. Last night we went out for barbecue, and the dead pig meat was so tender I could have hugged it; what if you had to exist for the rest of your natural life on the kind of tasteless, nutritionally worthy, ethically responsible shit for which textured vegetable protein is the poster child? Fuck that!

Have you noticed how the animal rights brigade are ready and willing to engage in violence so they can stuff their world view down everyone else’s throat? You know what, if I had to eat that modified dog excrement every night I’d be ready to burn something too, although I’d be more inclined to direct my ire to the vegetable protein manufacturers before going after Hummer dealerships, drug companies and those people who like to make beagles smoke. I’ve never yet had a smoking beagle ruin my dinner.

Anyway, I’m now about ready to yak up the few veggie balls I swallowed, and Mrs Bison has vowed never to go anywhere near that shit again. Tomorrow I fully intend to find myself a vegan and slap them for being such a dickhead. If it wasn’t for them no-one would make that textured veggie bollocks, and it wouldn’t be lurking on the shelf, ready to ensnare the passing shopper with wholly unfulfilled promises of flavor.

It’s fucking shite – don’t ever attempt to eat it, OK?

Copyright © 2009 Edward Bison

Who’s There?

It must be tough to be a Roman Catholic these days. I mean, it’s got to be hard enough being a member of a church that has institutionalized kiddie-fiddling to a degree that has the NAMBLA complaining about turf infractions. Who can send their children off to a catholic school, summer camp or youth club without lining up a good psychiatrist and attorney, just in case? But as if that isn’t bad enough, the church appears to be chock-full of nutjobs, convinced that they see the image of the virgin Mary in countless bizarre places.

The most recent case was a woman called Pamela Latrimore who was trying to sell a brain scan which she claimed contained an image of the virgin Mary. Does this sound messed up to you? Well, bear in mind that the blessed virgin gets about a bit. She’s already been sighted on a tree stump and a fence post, as well as on a pebble. She popped up on an expressway underpass, prompting all sorts of weird bastards to show up and turn it into a shrine. She’s done windows – an office window in Massachussetts and a hospital window. Obviously glass is a good medium for the virgin because she’s apparently also appearing in a greenhouse in Canada. Her appearance in a mirror was seen as a clear sign that little Elian Gonzalez (remember him?) was blessed and should not be sent back to his father in Cuba.

Food is also a good place for her to show up. So far she’s appeared in a grilled cheese sandwich, a bowl of salsa and a pizza pan. She’s been immortalized in the grease of a Geroge Foreman grill and even taken time out to inhabit a rotten grape. Believe it or not she’s also been sighted in a toilet bowl. This is a clear indication that the catholic church is slipping in its discipline. Back in the good old days of the Inquisition I’m pretty certain that anyone who claimed that the blessed virgin could be found in their shitter would have wound up sitting on a pile of burning wood, reflecting on the error of their ways. And what kind of fuckwit turns around after dropping their fudge and checks it out for any reason? Who looks at a pan stain closely enough to see what resemblance it may bear to persons alive or deceased, let alone Biblical? Do they call family members to come and verify their claim? “Hey, Martha, come look at this! I think the virgin Mary’s appeared in the spicy bean dip that disagreed with me last night!” You’d have to be fucking insane.

To be fair, these people probably are insane, or at least borderline mental defective. Why is it that when they see an image that bears the tiniest faint resemblance to the stereotypical virgin Mary, they instantly assume that’s who it is? Doesn’t anyone else get to show up on a grape or spend a little time in a pizza pan? Maybe it’s Mother Theresa, and she’s constantly pissed to be mistaken for the mother of Christ every time she puts in an appearance.

It doesn’t even have to have a face – all it takes is a swirl. By that standard I could turn out images of the virgin in a cake mixer every ten minutes.

Of course this could be the same problem that affects the sad wankers who are convinced they’ve lived a previous life as Cleopatra or Joan of Arc. No-one ever gets reincarnated from a dirt-eating peasant, a chicken thief or a goat molester, do they? Oh no, they all spent time in the court of Marie Antoinette or Henry VIII. So by the same token that indistinct image in the road salt on the side of your truck just has to be the virgin Mary – who else could it be?

These people are certifiable head cases, but with a faith that is capable of imagining faces in the window it’s no wonder they managed to convince themselves to start burning witches. It’s just the kind of deep, unshakable faith that’s necessary in order to send your kid off with the priest for a sleepover. Which is convenient…

Copyright © 2008 Edward Bison