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Best/worst Thanksgiving ever...

About 20 plus years ago when the kids were about 2, 3 and 4 years old, we went to my (now ex) mother in law for Thanksgiving Dinner. We were told to arrive at 6pm and from there it all went downhill, MIL had just put the turkey in the oven maybe an hour before. Pre-dinner snacks were olives and olive tapenade (duh not really young kids food), no juice for the kids, and then we waited and waited and waited for dinner. She kept opening the oven door to check on the stuffed turkey and decided at 9 it was ready.

My (ex) husband started to carve and of course it was raw. We ended up with microwaved pieces of turkey, wild rice and brussel sprouts - my daughters wouldn't eat anything. And neither did we really. Pumpkin pie was store made and pretty bleh.

The kids fell asleep on the way home and me and the hubs went to McDonalds drive thru for our dinner.

Oct 29, 2014
smartie in Not About Food

Guest Calling the Shots

Have a set menu and tell the wait staff and your staff that you're not paying for hard liquor, just beer, wine and sodas/coffee.

Oct 28, 2014
smartie in Not About Food

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014

Nay for the spinach stuffed mushrooms (frozen). There's an odd aftertaste.
YAY for the mini chicken pot pies. 2 bites and they are gone but that pastry crust is delicious and the filling is creamy. A great party appetizer.

Oct 27, 2014
smartie in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014

The refridgerated one.

Oct 24, 2014
smartie in Chains

Food Expiration

I go by sniff and taste. I was raised in the days where there was no 'use by' date. We didn't die or get food poisoning. When vegetables get wilted or whatever I make a soup.

Oct 23, 2014
smartie in General Topics

Breakroom Freezer

I cleaned the break room fridge and freezer today. Gross is the best word, make it totally gross.
Anyway I have posted 'fridge rules' today. Food and drink without initials will be thrown out daily, with initials Thursdays at 4.30 unless claimed at 4.25pm. No exceptions. Including the tupperware! I told them not to whine, complain or cry if non-initialed food was eaten or thrown.
Sick of the state of our breakroom, I've cleaned it twice a year for the past 7 years, nobody else touches it.

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014

Lamb Kofta Meatballs a big NAY. Totally disgusting texture, something in them repeats all day. I still feel nauseous.
Yay to Chicken Samosas though they could do with a dipping sauce.
Nay to Pesto, tasteless

Oct 23, 2014
smartie in Chains

Kerrygold butter - why so popular?

I never bought Kerrygold when I lived in England. I always thought of Anchor as low end butter, Lurpak not salty enough but good for pastry making. Country Life was the one I'd buy regularly.

In the US I've recently found an Amish 2lb roll of butter so I tend to buy that. Publix and Land o Lakes butter is not good enough.

I miss British dairy products (could kill for Marks and Sparks double cream), though I do love American half and half for my coffee. Would love to find a Jersey milk, Losley yoghurts etc, real cream, good cheddars, but it's not going to happen so I make do with what is here.

Oct 22, 2014
smartie in General Topics

Storing butter outside of fridge

I live in So Fl and I always leave butter on the counter in a butter dish. A stick lasts me about 2-3 weeks and it's never gone rancid or melted. My AC is on but I put it to 77F when I go out, so I wouldn't say my house is freezing cold.

Oct 20, 2014
smartie in General Topics

What turns you off about restaurant restrooms?

I spent a few hours layover in Khartoum airport in the Sudan in 1979. I needed to go pee, asked the way, found it, and it was pitch black in there, a little moonlight through the window had me realize that the toilets were long drops that you had to stand over. My brain said 'no' I didn't want to risk falling in. Had no choice but to find somewhere to go outside, and was watched by 2 heavily armed Sudanese soldiers who were laughing at me. But when a girl's gotta go she's gotta go.
I've done a lot of traveling in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. I remember in Israel, back in the 60s, the bathroom attendant, an old lady in her 70s, was sitting on a chair outside in the sun, doling out exactly 2 pieces of toilet paper per person.
American bathrooms are pretty damn good for the most part, though the ones in gas stations are usually the worst.

Oct 20, 2014
smartie in Not About Food

cooking for your dog

Dogs like fish too, I've made boiled rice and fish mixed with chopped up carrots, snow peas, zucchini etc.

Oct 16, 2014
smartie in Not About Food

Food jokes - list

An older man meets an older woman on a blind date. They start talking about past marriages and she tells him she's been widowed 3 times. He asks what happened to her previous husbands.
She says the first one died eating poisonous mushrooms and he sympathizes with her and asks what happened to the second one so she tells his he also died eating poisonous mushrooms.
Then he asks if the 3rd one also died eating poisonous mushrooms and she says 'No, he died from a blow to the head. He wouldn't eat the poisonous mushrooms".

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY - October 2014

NAY to the curried chicken breasts, overwhelmingly salty.
NAY to the vegetable pad thai - salty, gloopy

Oct 14, 2014
smartie in Chains

What products at Trader Joes to avoid?

ah the joy of using the search button. Plus new to TJ's I didn't even know there was a monthly board.

Oct 14, 2014
smartie in Chains

What products at Trader Joes to avoid?

Resurrecting this thread because TJ's have exploded in S Fl in the past few weeks and I have been twice to see what it's all about.

So far, vegetable pad thai - salty and gloopy
curried chicken salad - overpoweringly curried and salty
curried chicken (fresh) OMG too salty
curried veggies Jaipur - underwhelming
pumpkin coffee tasted of cloves and chemicals
french baguette chewy and doughy
frozen cod pieces were good for the price but watery and needed draining.

Half and half is good, sliced breads ok, the dogs like their dog food, cheeses look fine, eggs are fine.

I got excited to see all their own brand ready to eat meals but I'm thinking I'd use the place only when I'm nearby and need some staples.

Oct 14, 2014
smartie in Chains

Am I being too cheap? Splitting restaurant bill on family vacation

I hope the OP returns to tell us what happened. I'd hate another bodies under the patio thread.

Oct 13, 2014
smartie in Not About Food

Am I being too cheap? Splitting restaurant bill on family vacation

The OP could wait for the first meal out and see how much liquor is consumed. If it's a couple beers per person then he probably shouldn't be too worried about the extra cost, but if it turns out they are drinking 3 cocktails a piece at $12 each, he probably should ask that perhaps they could foot their own liquor check. Alternatively, go along with the grocery shopping division, and ask for separate checks at dinner.

He and his gf could also go to a couple dinners on their own at the park.

I can understand the OP wanting to take this trip but we don't know his budget and maybe he's stretched financially already, and he's clearly concerned about the unknown factor of the dinners out.

I don't think that the household shopping should be too fearful, it's likely to be bread, coffee, juice, cereal and milk plus a few snacks to keep the kids happy, unless he already knows they are a family with expensive tastes like lobster, smoked salmon and caviar.

Oct 11, 2014
smartie in Not About Food

Winter Emergency Stock-Up

I'm in hurricane central (Florida) so our time of year is the reverse, but from early June I run my freezer down to as little as possible and step up the pantry items - canned tuna and canned vegetables, Parmalat UHT milk or canned milk, cereal, dog food (always keep 2 bags), crackers, water, packet/canned soup, batteries, flash lights and candles (where I can find them), contact lens solution. Worth stocking up on first aid items, meds if you take them, a cooler.

Am I being too cheap? Splitting restaurant bill on family vacation

Won't you add food you like to the grocery shopping list? So they will be subsidizing your favorites too.

Oct 09, 2014
smartie in Not About Food
1

What are Your Favorite Ways to Eat Jam & Jelly?

Hot rice pudding with strawberry jam. Hot yellow custard also good.
Hot buttered crumpets and jam.
Melted brie and fig jam, or a baguette with brie and fig jam.
Victoria sponge cake with any good jam.
Toast and jam.
Mint jelly with roast lamb.
Swiss roll (I think known as a jelly roll in the US).
Bagel, cream cheese and grape jelly.

Oct 08, 2014
smartie in General Topics

"No thanks, I've changed my mind..."

There is one of those chicken and rice places in the next city over from me that we've had food delivered to work but I hadn't been to. When I was in the area we went for lunch one day. Ugh there were trays of chicken defrosting next to the grill, trays of partially cooked chicken warming by the grill and trays of cooked chicken staying warm by the grill which the 'cook' took our portions from and re-grilled. I changed my mind and said no thanks.

Oct 06, 2014
smartie in Not About Food

Read the whole menu then decide or stop when you see something you want?

I scan read and pretty much stop when I see what I'd want. I might read the rest but I almost always choose the first item I thought I'd like. I rarely can't decided between 2 or 3 dishes, nor do I wish I'd ordered something else.

Oct 04, 2014
smartie in Not About Food

Best advice

A long time ago a cook told me to use the RIGHT knife. Don't use a bread knife to cut carrots, or a carving knife for bread. It's quicker and safer for fingers to use the right size and type of knife and make sure they are sharp. Good advice.

Oct 03, 2014
smartie in General Topics

Breakroom Freezer

I write my name on anything I bring into work, my cans of tuna and crackers mysteriously disappeared otherwise.

Oct 02, 2014
smartie in Not About Food

Basic kitchen equipment and supplies?

I love my poultry scissors too.

Oct 01, 2014
smartie in Cookware

USA heavy cream vs UK double cream

I'm a Brit living in Florida and there is nothing like British cream. It doesn't exist in the US in a form that we are used to.

Oct 01, 2014
smartie in General Topics

What's your favourite or most useful, kitchen item?

the plastic one looks ok but what I love about the Tala one is it helps you measure oats, rice, flour, sugar, liquids, powdered sugar, brown sugar,barley, lentils and lots of other things and has English and American cups and measurements.
Like I said it's never leaked, I don't leave liquids in mine, measure and pour.

Oct 01, 2014
smartie in Cookware

What's your favourite or most useful, kitchen item?

No not at all, mine are about 20 years old and still never leaked. When I'm using it for liquids I've used hot and cold water/milk, oil, melted butter with no problems. It has fluid ounces so it must be ok for fluids. Word of warning, if you put boiling water into one, be careful picking it up as the metal gets really hot (I use a cloth and carefully hold the plastic base). Don't put them in the dishwasher or the writing will eventually fade.

Sep 30, 2014
smartie in Cookware

Marmite vs Vegemite Taste Test

Marmite is better than Vegemite because it's stronger. But I'm English so Marmite it is.

The British ad campaign has been 'You either love it or hate it' for a long time.

On hot toast on the melted butter, or on white sliced bread on soft butter. But not bad on buttery toast with hot Heinz baked beans on top. And some brown sauce and a fried egg.

Sep 30, 2014
smartie in General Topics

What's your favourite or most useful, kitchen item?

My Tala Cookware measuring cup. It's a metal cone shaped cup on a base with all sorts of measurements inside, cups, ounces, grams, fluid ounces and is also sorted into flour, sugar, rice, ground nuts, liquids. I have 2 because I can use one for dry ingredients and one for wet. https://www.google.com/search?q=tala+...

Sep 30, 2014
smartie in Cookware