i'd like to teach the world to sing.

do you remember "new coke?"

in 1985, coca cola decided that it would make a newer, sweeter coca cola and it was a total failure. after many marketing inquiries, studies showed that many people preferred the new version, but coca cola did not seem to understand the sadness that might come with the absence of the original.

they had to bring it back. eventually, coca cola put the word "classic" on its bottles of original soda to distinguish it from the new version. but only in the united states. the rest of the world only had one version anyhow.

apparently, the designation is no longer needed.

The Coca-Cola Company is dropping the “Classic” from its red labels in some Southeast regions, and the word will be gone from all of its packaging by the summer, the company said Friday.

New Coke has long since disappeared from shelves, making the “Classic” qualification unnecessary. The font size of the “Classic” has been shrinking in the last decade, and the company removed it from labels in Canada in 2007.

“When people think Coke, they think classic, so more than two decades after introducing the word classic, the reason for being — quote unquote — for that word as a descriptor has disappeared,” said Scott Williamson, a Coca-Cola spokesman.

what does it all mean? well, i hope there's no mercury in that coke. any version. 1985 was also the year coca cola began using high fructose corn syrup instead of sugar.

***and i realize this commerical is from 1971, but it's what i think of when i think of coke.


brew review.

i drink a lot of tasty beers, and i bet you'd like to know about them.

i tried st. peter's old-style porter earlier this week. i really liked the bottle, and i love love love porters. there are not enough porters available in new york bars. when i lived in oregon, there were so many places that brewed their own beers, and i garnered a taste for porters. i long for the days when i could go almost any bar and ask for a beer by type, not brand, because everyone made their own.
this was a tasty beer. it was not very expensive, a big pint for less than $4. it was sweet, but not sugary, dark but not so heavy. a bit of coffee, a bit of chocolate flavor. not very bubbley.

i don't know what makes it "old-style." it was a pretty good beer all-around, but not the best beer i have ever had. although, i would drink it again. definitely.
and who doesn't like a unicorn with his or her beer?

frito pie.

so, ray and i made frito pie the other night. he's also from texas, and brought over some lone star beer with which to wash down this delicacy. incredible. i waxed poetic about how lone star was the only choice to accompany frito pie, and then he found some at american beer distributing company in cobble hill.

i told liz that we were making frito pie, and she seemed excited, but was not home when the magic happened. she was surprised not to find leftovers in the refrigerator. she thought it was a baked pie. i told her that i had never baked it, but upon further research, i discovered that most people do bake it. i bet ray thought i was not a true texan.

so, to make it yourself, you will need fritos, chili, cheese.
yes, real fritos. it's not the same otherwise.
1. spread fritos in a dish that you can put in the oven.
2. cover with chili, already cooked. and then, add cheese.
3. repeat.
4. bake at 350 until cheese bubbles.

blake and i would get a single-serving bowl of fritos, pour the chili over it, and cover with cheese. it's really the same, as the fritos warm up from the chili and the cheese melts anyhow.

it's up to you. it's something special.

egg sandwich.

i love egg sandwiches. i am pretty sure i got this tasty addiction from my father. we both like a fried egg, on toasted bread, with mayonnaise and tomato and lettuce. a sandwich.

sometimes, i will eat a grilled cheese version of this breakfast: toasted bread with butter and cheese and fried egg. but it's greasy, and not as good. unless you are hungover. then it is perfect.

either way, it has to be a a well-fried egg. or over-medium, but not hard.

i ate one on wednesday. this one had arugula and tomato and fancy mustard.
i also had one on saturday. similar, possibly the same combination. we don't have any mayonnaise at home, only vegenaise. it's not the same.

you can see, in the photograph below, that i mixed it up by eating it with carrots, instead of cucumbers.



from the nytimes:
The Georgia peanut plant linked to a nationwide salmonella outbreak that has killed eight people and sickened more than 500 knew on at least 12 occasions over the past two years that its product was contaminated but sold it anyway, according to federal officials.
they knew. they knew they were selling contaminated peanut butter. why is this company allowed to operate? what is the point of the fda? ergh.

i am screaming.


i am going to say it one more time.


oh. my.
i can't get over it. the study was published by the institute for agricultural and trade policy. there is a list of the 55 foods they found containing mercury, along with the level of detection. AND, it's not where you think; quaker oatmeal to go is at the top of the list.

don't we know it?

well, nbc has banned peta's super bowl ad. peta is an organization that i typically find too aggressive in its lobbying efforts, but i think they have good intentions.

first, here's the ad.

'Veggie Love': PETA's Banned Super Bowl Ad

the ad includes, but is not limited to, the following reasons why nbc banned the ad. this is word-for-word what nbc wanted to be changed before they could air it.
  • licking pumpkin

  • touching her breast with her hand while eating broccoli

  • pumpkin from behind between legs

  • rubbing pelvic region with pumpkin

  • screwing herself with broccoli (fuzzy)

  • asparagus on her lap appearing as if it is ready to be inserted into vagina

  • licking eggplant

  • rubbing asparagus on breast
this is embarrassing. the list, not the ad. i think that nbc is just full of a bunch of carnivores who are jealous that there might be a group of people having better sex than them: the vegetarians.

don't we know it?

i told you so.

there is mercury in the high fructose corn syrup.

that is all i am going to say.



lone star to empire state.

there are many, many texans living in new york. i do not have an exact count on this statistic, but i know a lot of texans here. and only some of them did i know before i moved.

we miss a lot of things about texas, like ro-tel tomatoes, tex-mex, people who understand the jokes on "king of the hill," luby's macaroni, spring break with warm weather, maybe even bluebonnets, real bbq, and frito pie. i love the tradition of eating of black-eyed peas on new years day. but, new york is lacking in the texas department. i am unsure why it is easier to find quality japanese or indian food than texas fare.

blake recently showed me a blog dedicated to this mess: homesick texan. it is all things texan, and includes recipes, and the writer sometimes tells you where you can find the coveted items listed above. blake is convinced i should befriend her.

anyhow, she is very helpful.


from the ap on saturday, "Federal health officials on Saturday urged consumers to avoid eating cookies, cakes, ice cream and other foods that contain peanut butter until the authorities can learn more about a deadly outbreak of salmonella contamination." again? really?

peanut butter in jars appears to be safe. they are focusing on peanut paste, not peanut butter. it is an ingredient that is put into products in the factories and not sold directly to consumers. 6 people have died and companies are voluntarily recalling their products just to be safe. uh huh. Kellogg has recalled 16 products.

the apparent source of the salmonella is the Peanut Corporation of America. Peter Pan peanut butter is seemingly not involved in this outbreak. thankfully. last time was too much; it was my childhood favorite. sugary saltiness.

check out the cdc website for more information.
(and i did not take that photo. i could not find any peanut butter willing to pose this morning.)


again, with the chips.

we know that i was a weird kid. all that iceberg lettuce and plain pasta and jalapeno chips. i actually would eat pretty much anything you put in front of me, though i was an incredibly slow eater. but i was the opposite of picky, having no problem with egg salad, or chopped liver, or broccoli, or bread with the crusts, or whatever else little kids do not eat.

but i love love loved (and would probably today if i tried it again) potato chips with ketchup.

tina would buy ruffles potato chips and they are so tasty and salty. and heinz ketchup is so sugary. i always argued that it was just like french fries and ketchup, but no one ever seemed to agree. the canadians have a few varieties of potato chips that are made with ketchup, but it's not the same. the potato sticks were another childhood chip favorite, but i think it's mostly because they came in a can. according to the frenchs website, they also now come in a resealable pouch. there is nothing fun about a resealable pouch.

and for some potato chip cartoons, go here.

oh, and the image is a rendering of a plain-cut and a crinkle-cut potato chip.


my life is like "ready-set-cook."

probably 10 years ago, there was a tv show on the food network that i just loved. there were two teams. each were given $10 to buy food at the grocery store. they also had a pantry of random goods to pull from as they created a meal in 20 minutes. the audience and the host voted and the team with the most votes won something. i always thought this was such a fun show. you never knew what would be in your kitchen, you had to be thrifty, and you had to be able to cook fast.

i have no idea why the show went off the air; hopefully, it was to make room for something of quality, though that is doubtful. i think about it a lot at the end of the week when the refrigerator is emptier than i would like it to be and we are low on canned goods and chips.

food network, bring it back. i might get cable if you do.

the thickest yogurt.

this yogurt is exciting. i know that you are thinking to yourself, "really? how exciting can yogurt be? ashley has lost her mind."

but i haven't. i have tried another grocery store. the met foods on vanderbilt and park place in brooklyn. it's better than other met foods, and i found this awesome product.

so skyr means "thick yogurt" in icelandic. or so says the package. i am eating the blueberry one as i type. it's tangy and so thick (like frosting) and not too sweet. AND the milk comes from grass-fed cows, and there is NO aspartame, sucralose, gelatin, artificial color, preservatives, rGBH, or high fructose corn syrup.

what is it, you ask? the only ingredients are skim milk, agave nectar, blueberries, live active cultures (which make yogurt into yogurt), and vegetable rennet. it was a little pricey: $1.79 for 6oz., but it sure is good.


dominican republic, part iii.

but mostly, we laid in the sun. and drank cocktails. our breakfast was included with our stay, and i took pictures of it, of course, but it's not that exciting. except for the fact that there was always papaya on the plate.
we broke any potential of habit by changing our location each day. one day at the pool, another on the beach (which was about 10 feet from the pool), and a couple of days truly lounging on these "beds." and they would bring our cocktails to us. oh yes. incredible.
we did, however, eat one fancy meal on our last night in the dominican republic. it was at a french-caribbean place literally across the street from the hotel. i spoke french twice on this trip; we ate at 2 restaurants owned by french people. i was surprised at myself; i really had no idea how much french i knew. i've spent a lot of time NOT speaking it.

anyhow, that last meal was something to write home about, but the photographs are lacking, due to the fact that we ate outside and there was little light. tracy and keith started with foie gras, and ate some beautiful fish (salmon and tuna, i believe). this was the only restaurant where they offered to make me a vegetarian meal, and it included very fancy mushrooms, spinach, asparagus mash, a goat-cheese filled biscuit, and a million other kinds of excitement. we finished with a shot of mamajuana, a combination of rum, wine, honey, and herbs (including tree bark). it is supposed to increase sexual energy. unsure about that.


dominican republic, part ii.

this is when i eat the chicken.
we took the longest walk to go to la casita de juana. we attempted it once before, but the streets are not lit, and we didn't want to venture into foreign neighborhoods after dark. it was a little scary. even the bars were seemingly not open.

so, we left the beach early and embarked on our food adventure, easily finding it the second time around. we ordered the dish we had read about: fried yuca with anise seeds. i am not a fan of licorice but this was a chewy, tasty treat. the anise tasted a lot like caraway, which i love.
keith ate some sort of fish soup. i have no idea what kind of fish. the woman in charge, presumably juana, told us about the fish, but it was unfamiliar, something local to the region.
i knew there might be a moment in this vacation where i might have to put my vegetarian ways aside. dominican food is not very conducive to vegetarian eating; it's pretty privileged. i am trying to be a better traveler and eat more local foods, and that means trying things that are outside my food realm.

we asked juana for the best item on the menu. she told us it would be the dominican chicken. that was the prevailing answer everywhere we went, and so i decided that this was my moment. i hadn't eaten chicken since i was 14, but i decided to go for it. there was nothing vegetarian on the menu anyhow, besides the yuca.

it was served on the bone with rice and pinto beans (which i am convinced were also not vegetarian, as i think there was pork in them). i ate it. and liked it. keith thinks that dominican chicken is a lot like filipino food. maybe there is something similar in places colonized by the spanish?
i over-thought the experience later and almost got sick as i thought about eating flesh. but i think it was worth it to eat the local food. really. i do.


dominican republic, part i.

so, tracy, keith, and i went to cabarete, dominican republic for 5 days. i had never really been on a vacation where all you do is lay on the beach for days and days. i was a photographing maniac.

we flew delta, and on each leg of the trip, they offered us the grand gesture of these cookies, which they referred to as biscotti. tracy described them as cinnamon graham crackers. rightfully so. this is not a biscotti. but it does say "delta" on it.
so this is where we stayed. pretty sure it was the nicest hotel i've ever stayed in.

brahma was the beer of choice. there was also presidente. but keith and i were all about brahma. street food. finally. we really wanted to eat dominican food, but that is easier said than done. we did get empanadas. yum.

isn't everything the best when it's fried?

note: there was a picture of tracy holding said empanada, but she demanded that i remove it.


the week before a vacation is a confusing one for a person who cooks often. i never want to buy much from the grocery store, but, at the same time, i have to eat. there were leftover biscuits, and frozen corn, and i knew i could do something.so kim and i ate this breakfast: egg fried over-easy, turtle beans (with onion and garlic), corn (with butter and sea salt), toasted biscuit, and a dollop of goat cheese.

and coffee. what's breakfast without coffee? not as spectacular.
kim probably drank orange juice. because she's addicted to that. still not as spectacular as coffee.


blake housesat on a farm? i am unsure. there were chickens and some other farmlike animal, like goats or cows. whatever.

but, he brought fresh eggs to thanksgiving. and i put some in the potato salad for keith's party. so exciting. fresh. for real. not from the grocery store! from a farm! or something.

before the move.

not to be confused with "after the jump."

this is when i write about all the food i forgot to write about last year. i need to do it and move past 2008.

to begin, blake and i made popsicles at some time right before he moved back to texas. we were no longer buying much food, but still to feed ourselves. i am pretty sure that this popsicle is some sort of mango mix. mango-orange? who knows? those damn popsicle-making-plastic-containers never work properly. this was the one prefect popsicle. maybe in the whole time i ever lived in harlem. blake and i became fans of the bodega on 136th and lenox. they are lovely, and i think muslim, as there is no liquor sold in the store. i like to believe that halal is a lot like kosher, and that matters in some way. i am unsure. but i enjoy that someone somewhere cared about dietary laws, and that maybe that goodness gets passed onto the consumer.

again, the chips. and as a treat, dr. pepper. we love love love to put the chips in the sandwiches. blake suggested once that sandwich shops should offer chips as a topping. i agree. (i also think this meal was eaten on the floor, as i sold most of the furntiture. high class.)

pizza. pizza is a rare treat for me. there was this incredible pizza place called "a slice of harlem," but once day, it was gone. and we were stuck with unfortunate corporate delivery pizza.
where i live now, in brooklyn, has much better delivery options. and grocery stores. it's a totally different grocery experience, even if i still have to walk a bit.


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