Friday, February 26, 2010

Many Chickens Died to Bring You This Blog Entry, or Super Bowl Eating

The Super Bowl goes hand-in-hand with greasy, often deep-fried food. Chicken wings, pizza, barbecued sausages, nachos - you name it, if it's unhealthy it'll probably make the Big Game even more entertaining than it already is. There's nothing I can say about Super Bowl eating that hasn't already been said; for a lively audio discussion check out the January 27, 2008 edition of Munchcast with Leo Laporte and Cammy Blackstone.

What I can do, however, is show off the Super Bowl Sunday snacking menu at my in-laws' house where I watched the game with about fifteen people. Yes, I will re-affirm that the food shown below was not eaten by an army of fifty or more people.

Store-bought Mexican dip consisting of tomatoes, beans, cheese, olives, and onions:

Deli tray with crackers, cheese, salami and olives:

Homemade meatballs:

Possibly the most delicious thing I've enjoyed in recent years, my sister-in-law Caryn's homemade dip, consisting of Buffalo chicken, blue cheese, and shredded Monterey Jack cheese. It was unbelievable with corn chips, and I'm still waiting for the recipe.

Pizza Rolls. Since Katie's been pregnant, she's been unable to eat pizza, something to do with seeing the grease and congealed cheese, or something. Since she can't see the grease, cheese, or for that matter the tiny blobs of fat in the "meat", she has no problem eating Pizza Rolls.

Pineapple sausages, sliced:

Some sort of commercially-available breaded chicken strips, undoubtedly found in your grocer's freezer section:

Orange chicken, similar to that sold at Panda Express. I'm not sure of the brand, though the size of the container indicates that they're probably from Costco or another "Y2K-scale-emergency quantities" type of store. Not bad.

Chicken wings. No clue about the origin of these babies. By the time they were brought out, I'd already gone through a couple plates of food, and I don't think I actually touched them.

All in all, I enjoyed the game, though my digestive tract got sacked bigtime. Additionally, I really did mean to post this shortly after the Big Game. Unfortunately I, uh, just got my film developed. Sorry about that.

Lenten Friday Failure, Week 2*: A slice of Big Sur pizza from Pizza My Heart, eaten and digested not an hour ago. Superb, and well worth burning in hell for.

*Note that there was no Lenten Friday Failure, Week 1. By an amazing coincidence, I happened to abstain completely from meat last Friday.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Sacrifice

My understanding of the Catholic religion, and the practice of Lent in particular, is that, during the forty days of Lent, one is expected to refrain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday - today, as it turns out - and on each subsequent Friday until after Easter. Most Catholics give up something else that they love during this time as well: The internet, shopping, video games, reality TV, etc. I divulged my feelings on this subject at great lengths last year; you can read the entry in question here.

Though I don't typically succeed in avoiding meat on every Lenten Friday, I usually at least try, and see how far I make it before I forget, or (gasp!) willfully fail. Despite my usual non-adherence to the guidelines of the religion in which I was raised, I did consider giving something up this year; my twice-monthly Friday visit to Pizza My Heart immediately came to mind. I'm not sure why, as a not-really-practicing Catholic, I entertained, even briefly, the thought of giving something up. I suppose it was the tiny little voice in the depths of my brain that I try my hardest to ignore. The tiny little voice I am referring to is better known by the term "Catholic guilt." My friends and family members have sworn off profanity, sugar, caffeine, social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter, and text messaging. For me, the occasional Friday afternoon spent sitting in a booth at the Peninsula's best pizzeria, enjoying Cherry Coke and a couple slices, is a highlight of any week, something that I regret missing when I have to skip it. Therefore, were I to sacrifice something I immensely enjoy, it would have been that.

While I have no doubt that the friends and family members I alluded to have made their sacrifices out of genuine faith, I am unable or even unwilling - too selfish, perhaps - to make such a blind leap. Though I am nothing if not candid about my own lack of faith, it's not that I necessarily believe that there is no God, no Buddha, no Flying Spaghetti Monster, no miscellaneous Great Intangible your denomination swears is responsible for the entirety of creation. No, I believe that if any such deity exists, He, She or It has better things to worry about than whether I eat meat on Fridays, a rule imposed not by any god but by man.

This Lent, rather than sacrificing something I enjoy, I instead sacrificed something I definitely do not enjoy. Good-bye, Catholic guilt. See you in forty. Maybe.