Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Let's just do a final wrap-up of the Hawaii trip with odds 'n' ends 'n' crap that wasn't worth a whole blog post (although an excellent argument could be made that none of my posts are worth a whole blog post).

First, an important correction.


Liz would like all tens of you to know that SHE was the one who told me what part of the mangosteen was edible (after I consumed the inedible part, mind you) and that SHE was the one who told me to look it up on the computer.


My favorite thing to do at the beach is snorkel. I have many fond memories of snorkeling with my wife. Daisy, however, has never been very comfortable in the water. We put her in swim lessons a few years ago, but it didn't really take.

That saddened me greatly. I didn't learn how to swim until I was 24, so I spent most of my childhood summers dreading pool parties and futilely trying to hide the fact that I couldn't swim from all the other kids. I did not want the same destiny for my child. So, a couple months ago I sprang into action the only way I knew how. I screeched to my wife, "DAISY CAN'T SWIM! FIX IT NOWWWWWWW!"

Hank signed her up for some private lessons in a nice warm pool and they crammed about 10 lessons in before we left for Hawaii, including a snorkeling introduction. She still wasn't much of a swimmer, but her confidence level was up, and if you tossed her in a pool, odds are that she'd get out alive. Additionally, she was comfortable wearing the snorkeling gear.

The end result was that during our first full day in Kauai, we went to a nice snorkeling beach, strapped on our gear, and I got to snorkel hand-in-hand with my daughter along a small but nice coral reef. Awesome. We did that almost every day during our trip.


I have no great love for Thanksgiving. I mean, the spirit of the holiday is nice enough (giving thanks, family, blah blah blah), but the meal sucks.

Turkey? Is there a less flavorful or drier meat? I know you can go to Herculean efforts via brining, frying, stem cell therapy, etc, to make it moist, but the world's best turkey is probably about as tasty as the average hamburger.

Meanwhile the side dishes suck even harder. Yams are a course-confused disaster. Are they dessert? Appetizer? Are they meant to taste better coming back up? Who knows.

And don't get me started with the mashed potatoes. It's like eating baby food. They're bland and mushy and are only as tasty as the salt and pepper you bury them in.

Just a terrible meal all the way around. So, in Kauai, we made a spaghetti dinner. We added garlic bread, roasted brussels sprouts, and in a nod to traditionalism we included the ONLY good Thanksgiving dish: stuffing.

Hands down, the tastiest Thanksgiving dinner I've ever eaten.


newnorth said...

That had to be cool to snorkel with your daughter. That alone would make the trip worth it.
...I see your still all about the roasted brussels sprouts :p

Mike said...

Yeah, sharing my one of my favorite activities with my daughter was a real treat, although I'll admit that after a couple days, I was ready to start snorkeling WITHOUT holding the hand of an eight year-old.

Avery Gray said...

While I have to agree about the yams, I beg to differ regarding the mashed potatoes. If they are prepared correctly, they are a fluffy, steaming pile of all that is good and right in this world. Don't give up on them, because to do so would be to turn your back on God's perfect gift of complex carbohydrates.

And I think the snorkeling thing sounds awesome. So glad you could share that time with your family.

Mike said...

Pfft. Mashed potatoes are boring, bland, and typically uni-texture. I mean, I like salt, pepper, and butter, but let's at least put them on something that has a more interesting texture, like popcorn.

There. That's improvement #1 for Thanksgiving dinner. Popcorn instead of mashed potatoes.

Goddamn. That's genius. Somebody, get me a blog.

Avery Gray said...

You want to blog about popcorn and you're calling mashed potatoes boring, bland, and uni-texture? Methinks the pot calls the kettle black.

Mike said...

Popcorn has crunchy bits! There are the fluffy soft parts and the crunchy kernelly parts, whereas mashed potatoes are just mushy with every mouthful.

Avery, you can't win this battle.

Avery Gray said...

You picked the wrong girl to throw down the gauntlet to. I will own you, bitch.

Popcorn, while delightful, has those little sharp bits that get stuck under your tongue and gag you. It also smells horrible when it burns, dissolves when it gets wet, and is not conducive to spooning. Or forking, for that matter.

Mashed potatoes, on the other hand, are tongue-friendly soft, don't smell when they're overcooked, don't dissolve when they get wet, and are meant to be spooned. And sometimes even forked, if they're thick enough.

They're also a wonderful compliment to garlic and/or bacon. You can't put bacon in popcorn, my friend. Try it if you don't believe me.

Mike said...

You poor sad woman. You've been brainwashed by the potato lobby. Fear not, my friend. I can help.

I'm not claiming that popcorn is easier to eat or that it is immune to overcooking. I completely agree that mashed potatoes are so easy to eat that they're essentially baby food. And you can cook them all damn day long and they still have that same mushy texture. Big freakin' whoop.

But as for flavor versatility, you can't compare your gloppy potatoes to my crunchy popcorn. Popcorn is good sweet, it's good salty, it's good spicy, cheesy, meaty, chocolatey, etc. I've never added real pieces of bacon to popcorn, but I'd bet that's delicious. Hell, bacon on everything is delicious. (I recently had a bite of a dark chocolate bar with embedded bacon bits and it was quite tasty).

So, quit snorting the Irish Spring, and just concede that popcorn is tastier and more enjoyable (for non-infants) than mashed potatoes.

Avery Gray said...

Mike, the sad part is, you don't know when you're owned. Because I already do. Own you, that is. You're arguments, like your popcorn, don't hold water.

Have you ever heard the expression "a meat and potatoes kind of guy"? Yeah, you have. Because it exists, and is quite popular. You know what's not popular? A "meat and popcorn kind of guy". You know why, Mike? Because you are THE ONLY ONE.

Give it up, dude. Take your defeat like a man. You know I'm right.

Mike said...

Avery, you've spent too long in the 'burbs. You're been brainwashed into a conformity automaton.

Your big reason for liking mashed potatoes is because the expression is popular? I guess you could plop some on a piece of white bread, slap a piece of American cheese on there, and chow down while watching Dancing With the Stars.

You're all set, babe.

Avery Gray said...

So, what? You're hung up on the consistency? That's your big argument? You're too much of a manly man to let anything that a baby might find palatable pass your lips? So I suppose you also eschew applesauce, pudding, bananas, yogurt, milk, and my personal favorite, smoothies.

Do you, Mike? Do you?

Mike said...

I'm not sure where you think mashed potatoes excel? We've established that their consistency is infantile. I can't imagine you're excited by their off-white color.

Sooooo, it's the bland taste then? The taste that is wholly defined by the other stuff you put in the mashed potatoes? Those same "extra" ingredients go great on popcorn and then you get that delightful crunchiness. Mmmmm! Crunchy!

Ok, so it's not the consistency, color, or taste. I guess you're nuts for the smell of potatoes then.

That's just weird.

Avery Gray said...

The argument you use against potatoes can also be used against popcorn. Plain popcorn is crap. Crunchy crap.

So, we agree that both popcorn and mashed potatoes require extra seasoning to be palatable. Ergo, your last statement can, for the most part, be considered null and void.

And since potatoes are essentially odorless, I guess that brings us back to texture. Soft vs. crunchy.

Hey, you know what you might like, since crunchy things are so intriguing to you? Bugs. What with their crackly exoskeletons. Have you ever considered that, Mike? I can't imagine why not, seeing as how crunchiness appears to be the only basis by which you judge the edibility of a food substance. And people the world over are doing it.

Heck, I'll pay you a dollar to try one. That's cold, hard cash, my friend. Think about it.

Mike said...

You've correctly circled around to my very first (and main) point on the popcorn vs mashed potatoes battle. It IS just about texture. Mashed potatoes have a lousy one and popcorn has a fun one.

If bugs had a very mild taste (like corn or potatoes) and a fun texture, then, YES, I'd consider eating them.

Welcome to sanity.