Recently by Meg Favreau:

“Favreau.”

 

My boyfriend says my name as a warning, with a cautionary edge to his voice. I look down in the dim light of our LED flashlight to see that I am three inches away from stepping on a tarantula, furry and the size of a lime. I yelp and hop to the side as if I’m performing a move from some lost ’60s dance craze (“Let’s all do the terrified lady!”), and keep hopping as if the longer I can keep myself off the ground, the less likely I am to step on something potentially venomous. It’s some form of logic, but one that I can recognize in retrospect is also likely to startle any sort of potentially harmful creature into attacking.

It is nighttime in December, and we are walking towards a tiny beachfront Indian restaurant… More…

Want to see a corpse dance? Just ask someone to write an article about the state of women in comedy. Before you know it, the author will have slid his hand into that sack of bones known as the Christopher Hitchens “Why Women Aren’t Funny” article and have it shimmying around like Kermit the Frog on stage at the El Sleezo Cafe in The Muppet Movie, his skinny little legs obviously not strong enough to support his body. At over three years old, and argued against countless times already, the Hitchens article is still trotted out as A Thing to Mention.

I know this because someone suggested last week that I write about it. The e-mail I received can be paraphrased as: “There are a lot of prominent female comedians right now. Maybe you can give some thoughts on women in comedy? Oh, BTW, remember that Christopher Hitchens… More…

As you’ve probably heard by now, NBC recently announced it was canceling Law & Order after 20 seasons on the air. So yes, they’re canceling all the drama, all the crimes, and all the intense courtroom action. But moreover, they’re also canceling this:

The Law & Order “doink doink,”“bamp bamp,” or “chung chung,” depending on who’s talking about it. Like salivating dogs, as soon as we hear that noise we expect some serious crime investigation and, if we’re lucky in the re-runs, a good dose of Jerry Orbach.

The “doink doink” is arguably one of the most recognizable sound effects in modern media, punctuating each episode of the crime drama multiple times. A 2007 Saturday Night Live sketch about Law & Order allowed no scene to start unless the sound effect was played, and its use is also the fastest way to brand a Law & Order parody, such… More…

Many complaints have been written about the pancake-wrapped sausage on a stick, and its kid brother, the Pancake & Sausage Minis. There is, first of all, the look of them: a reviewer on the Impulsive Buy blog describes the minis as “tiny, diseased Russet potatoes.” And that’s just on the outside. When I look at the cut-in-half example on the front of the Minis’ packaging, I can’t help but think that I am looking at something dirty, like the poor Pancake & Sausage Mini forgot to close its curtains when changing at night and I happened to look up and catch the thing’s…well, sausage hanging out. Chow’s Supertaster describes the actual taste of the Pancakes & Sausage Minis as “solidly bad-bad,” noting that “[t]he mealy, greasy sausage is real enough, but the pancake coating is pretty fictional – it’s far more like breading than a soft, absorbent, fluffy breakfast delight.” Even… More…

IncrEdibles thankfully didn’t last long, but their blip of an existence makes a point: if a food product as extremely stupid as this can make it to market, that says a lot about our, well, stomach for convenience foods. Basically, we eat a lot of them. And while one might hope that the belt-tightening from the recession steered us away from them, it might be pushing us to eat more: In mid-2009, Mark Bittman and Kerri Conan wrote on the Bitten blog about how, while people are eating out less, Kellogg’s CEO David Mackay has claimed that people are actually turning more to packaged foods instead of cooking.

I’ve had both Kellogg’s and convenience foods on my mind recently because of the new year. See, it’s resolution time, which means all across America, people have promised that they’ll eat better in 2010.  For many, part of that promise is that… More…

That’s right, together: I have flour-fear issues, too.

My issue has traditionally been a fear of refined carbs. I love baking and eating baked goods, but I’m a whole grain girl. It’s not a bad thing to be. When companies make white flour, they remove the fiber-filled wheat bran and high-nutrient wheat germ from the kernel, leaving the low-nutrient endosperm. When you eat white flour, not only are you getting fewer nutrients, but white flour also takes less time for your body to process. Thus, as the women’s magazines at my gym scream in perky pink fonts, “Whole grains make you feel fuller longer!”

I’m also a frequent baker, and, like an egomaniac who always inserts his personal experiences into the most impersonal conversations, I put whole wheat flour in places where nobody ever asked it to be. Tucking it inside my breads is reasonable, but I also put it… More…

So for the record, Tom Green didn’t dress up as Hitler at a bar mitzvah, the Hoover Dam doesn’t have bodies of workers buried inside, and candy canes? Oh, where do I begin.  Perhaps with a warning: other than grappling with a particularly divine-tasting edible, a column about foodstuffs isn’t normally the place to tackle religion. Today it is, because the candy cane and Christmas are as intertwined as the stick’s red and white stripes.

I first read about the myth of candy canes (and Tom Green, and the Hoover Dam) on Snopes, the rumor-busting Web site. Paraphrased, this is the myth that Snopes tackled: Candy canes were created by a man in Indiana. He decided that the J-shape of the cane would stand for Jesus’ name, the white of the candy symbolized the virgin birth, the hardness of the candy correlated to the firm foundation of church, and the… More…

In these days of 200-mile locavore meals and freshness trumping shelf life so much of the time, why does canned pumpkin remain so firmly entrenched in our lives? It’s not like we’re just talking about some starchy tuber like the potato. This is the pumpkin, the friendly fruit that makes a dessert arguably more American than apple pie. But when it comes time to put pumpkin in the oven, recipe hockers from Sandra Lee to Saveur open the can.

Obviously, it wasn’t always this way. The pumpkin was used in uncanned form by the Native Americans, who not only ate it, but also wove dry pumpkin strips into mats. When the colonists showed up on the scene, hungry and sick of boats, they incorporated the pumpkin into their cuisine. According to the Cooperative Extension at the University of Illinois, “The origin of pumpkin pie occurred when the colonists sliced off… More…

We all begin as butter people; nobody erupts from the womb ready to move from mother’s milk to margarine. Kids happily spread their school-lunch rolls with individual pats of butter, top their pancakes with generous globs of the stuff, and will even take bites of butter sticks when a caregiver isn’t looking. But slowly, margarine creeps in. Maybe we eat margarine because our parents do; others among us switch when we’re old enough to start paying attention to our waistlines or hearts. After all, the American Heart Association and the Mayo Clinic both recommend using margarine. So eventually, we stand in the dairy aisle, look at our options, and put the margarine in our carts.

If you’re interested in food enough to be reading a food column, you shouldn’t need me to tell you that the sensible way to approach butter — or any other high-calorie, high-fat food — is… More…

There is another class of foods we frequently eat without thinking about, but for very different reasons. These are luxury foods. They are wholesome, good, even healthy foods but, because they’re fancy, we almost never consider their creation. We assume they have to be crafted with a certain level of quality, but beyond that, do we think about how caviar is harvested? How champagne is fermented? How salmon is smoked?

Let me give you an example of how little people think about smoked salmon by providing a little quiz. If all smoked salmon is hot smoked or cold smoked, how is lox smoked? Answer: it’s not. Lox isn’t smoked at all — it’s simply cured in a brine that can keep it safe to eat without refrigeration for up to a year. This also means that lox isn’t simply a tasty pairing with cream cheese, you pretty much have to… More…