Thursday Thoughts: Food for Thought

People have asked me, “Leon, where do you get your ideas for Thursday Thoughts?” Not really. That’s a lie. The most common question I get is “Leon, what do you like to eat for a snack?” Seriously, really. No that’s a lie too.

But now you are wondering, “Leon, what do you like to eat for a snack?”

I have a weakness for chips (crisps for the Brits). My favorite flavour (flavor for the Americans) is ripple. Now, before you start jumping up, waving your arms, and screaming, “Ripple is not a flavor! Ripple is not a flavor!” hold your horses. I know it isn’t, but it’s funny to say*, and I know that next time you are with a bunch of friends (freinds for the people who can never figure out the “i” before “e” rule), you are going to take the opportunity to say, “Pass the ripple flavor, please.” and get that round of laughter we all want from time to time.

My second favorite is Sour Cream and Onion. All the salty flavor and none of the dipping hassle (I do like chips and dip though). But, more often than not, I’ll go for a bowl of cereal.

Cereal?” you ask.

“Yes. Cereal,” he answers aloofly.

Aloofly?” you ask in a puzzled fashion.

“Well, maybe not aloofly, but I don’t think that I have used that word in any of my writings, so I seized the opportunity,” he replies smugly.

“Smu—” No. we are not going to do this anymore. Moving on.

Favorite cereal? Let’s digress, shall we? Remember those 4-packs of little cereal boxes that mom used to buy on special occasions? I’m pretty sure you can still get them because I’ve seen the little boxes at hotel breakfast buffets when the hotel hasn’t sprung for the convenience of the large silo dispensers. You’ve seen them. They are strategically placed above the cereal crumbs and bits on the floor.

What do we remember about that 4-pack? Anyone? Anyone?**

That’s right. It comes with three delicious sugar coated varieties and the one that kids won’t touch until they are older. Much older. I know that “All Bran” was one, and they would also include “Corn Flakes” which kinda look like “Frosted Flakes”*** and with enough sugar will suffice if that is all that remains. No amount of sugar will magically transform “All Bran” to “Frosted All Bran”. (Note: I like “All Bran” now. Not all the time, but it’s a keeper)

So, when I am grocery shopping, I’ll always pick up a box if the price isn’t stupid (have you noticed that cereal prices have got up a lot?) or a few boxes (sometimes four) if they are on sale. I’m not that picky if the price is right. I do tend to avoid the overly sweet varieties, though. I’m happy with good ol’ Cheerios or Corn Flakes.

I did, on a whim, buy a box of Captain Crunch recently. I thought that by this time he should be an admiral, but there he was, still a captain. After solving the maze (and the word jumble) on the back of the box—in record time I might add—I proceeded to have myself a bowl.

Did they change the recipe? Oh, it was still sweet, but the famous “crunch” that used to last through the thorough soaking of milk seemed…well, less brutal-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth than I remembered. I’m not complaining. It was delightfully crunchy, just different. The leftover milk tasted the same, though.

Cereal is often my desert when I need that little extra filler.

Do you have any cereal stories?


*Just like calling sandwiches “sammiches”. We all know someone who does.

**Name that movie reference..

*** If I am using quotes improperly to denote name brands, let me know.

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.

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Tuesday Tirade: The Egg.

Angry cat has returned

Edited Aug 17 Thanks, Clive for the eggformation.

Eggs. One of history’s oldest food sources. At one time—not that long ago—we were told that eggs are high in cholesterol and that we should limit our consumption. Then—not that long ago—eggs were OK. Just don’t eat the yolk. But that’s the best part!. The worst part is that little white squiggly thing attached to the yolk. Blech… (Oh, I’ll eat it, it’s a pain to separate it). Now it’s an all clear for eggs.

Eggs should be kept in the refrigerator—although, I have heard that in some countries, eggs are kept at room temperature. It scares me just bringing them home from the store in the summer.

Don’t eat raw eggs. Why not? (yes, I know – Salmonella) but Rocky did it, and it’s in Caesar salad dressing. Oh, and they are in my mom’s homemade eggnog, but I suspect that all the booze in it (rum, brandy, vodka) sterilizes any dangerous pathogens (and makes it yummy).

The Piece de Resistance: Peeling the egg.

Sometimes, the shell comes right off in two or three pieces, leaving a pristine white ovoid of deliciousness. More often, after cracking and fighting with the shell bits and clingy membrane, you are left with ½ and egg—if you’re lucky.

I have tried every (yes, every) method of preparing a hard-boiled egg to make the dream of a perfectly peeled egg a reality. (Boy, I need better dreams.)

 If you have a foolproof method (Leonproof?) in producing an easily peeled egg, I would be interested in hearing it.


Last day:

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.

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Thursday Thoughts: Recipes – Just a serving suggestion?

I like to cook and bake. I try to make bread once a week, usually a baguette of a french loaf, but I got some rye flour, so I’m into rye bread for a while.

My grandmother would make rye bread in her own way. My sister and I asked her for that recipe once, and she pointed to her head and said “watch”. So, she poured and dashed the ingredient into the bowl—no measuring implements required unless you consider a handful as a measurement—as we looked on and guesstimated the amounts. Even with her arthritic hands, she could kneed better than anyone.

The result? Same as always – Best rye bread ever.

My mom has the “recipe”, and it’s good, but it’s not the same. My sister makes it, and it’s good, but it’s not the same. I make it, and it’s good, but—well you get the idea.

I usually follow a recipe once, then make my own variation. My entrees never taste exactly the same, because I often add different ingredients based on what I have in my fridge. Baking is somewhat unforgiving to artistic license I have learned, so I have experience some failures. Oh, I eat them…usually.

I’ve been chastised when asked to prepare on of those meal prep boxes*, where everything is all ready to go, and includes a step-by-step picture map with the first instruction being: “Read the entire recipe card before starting.” Yeah, whatever…


*In one of the commercials, they say these meals are great for preparing dinners “on a budget.” Really? Maybe if you include the 4 or 5 free meals they send, but after that— I could eat for a week on the price of one box.

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.

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Weird Wednesday: July 14 – Food for Thought

I like food. A lot. I exercise regularly and have a high metabolism. There is not much that I don’t like or won’t try. However:

I like cooked broccoli, but I’m not a fan of it in raw form—even smothered in dip or hummus. Yet, I’ll chow down on raw cauliflower while begrudgingly eat it cooked—even drizzled with cheese sauce.

I’ll eat a pear, but I prefer not to.

A few idiosyncrasies:

I can eat an entire head of romaine lettuce in a Caesar salad, and if by chance I don’t finish it, I do enjoy it the next day, soggy croutons and all.

Odd sandwich choice: Peanut butter and cheese.

Dessert? Often a bowl of cereal.

And one final thought: Ripple Chips are a flavor.


The Untitled


That’s all the weirdness for today.


Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

Newest design! “Peloton”

Food for Thought: Fitter or Fatter?

Fitter fatter, let’s get ‘at her. I know that not being able to go out as much as usual is getting to many people. Physical distancing rules are a tough pill to swallow. And many activities have had to be curtailed. Throw in the winter weather-if you are so lucky to live where the seasons actually change, and it’s hard to get in the exercise we want. Many people are taking up different habits, usually revolving around food. Here are a few things I enjoy:

Baking Bread: I started to bake bread because I figured out that 20 cents worth of flour makes a $1.49 loaf of bread. Which was the reason I always bought bread on sale. Plus it is sooo tasty. If you have ever pulled a fresh loaf of bread out of the oven, you know that it is hard to wait for it to cool before you cut a steamy slice from it and decorate it with a all too generous serving of butter (oh yes, you have to use butter). Then, maybe ½ hour later you realize that you need to bake more. I’ll quote myself here: “Don’t bake bread unless you are prepared to eat the whole loaf.” That was the reason that early in history, bread was baked everyday. Not the rumour that it went stale quickly.

My grandmother always made rye bread. No recipe, and bit of this, a pinch of that. Even in her 70’s she would be there with her arthritic hands, kneading away. I think that was the only time that it didn’t hurt. My mother made the same bread, but it never turned out the same. My sister wrote down the recipe when grandmother visited her one time. It’s good, but int’s not the same. I finally got the recipe. It’s good, but it’s not the same. What was her secret? We will never know, but I suspect it may have been the old farmhouse woodstove. Or the old farmhouse lard. Or the old rye flour…

There is a lot of different breads to experiment with, even a failed loaf is kind of tasty. My favorite is pizza dough. After many variations, I have it nailed. I’ll let you in on one secret. Make the dough 3 days in advance (yes, 3 days) and put it in the fridge, covered of course. The slow rise makes for a light and crisp crust. Try to say crisp crust 5 times fast! My second favorite is a French baguette. Good with soup, as a Po’boy, or sliced with a fresh tomato. I still partake in the Parisian ritual of tearing off the heel straight away. I observed this outside a boulangerie where no heel made it out the door untorn. Oh, the humanity!

Sweets: Cookies, pies, cakes. It’s all good. But my all time favorite is…oh it goes by so many names. So like a a culinary earworm, I’m giving it to you, so that I’m not the only one stuffing my gob with this delight.

1/2 Cup Margarine, 1 Cup Peanut Butter, 1 pkg Butterscotch chips, Mini marshmallows. You know what I’m talking about…

Beverages: I love coffee. I started drinking it as a teen (‘cuz it was cool) with cream and sugar. Then I weened myself of cream, then sugar, so that I finally was able to enjoy the actual taste of coffee. I realized how bad some of the take-out / fast food coffees were. I won’t name any outright, but they know who they are. Once in university, I sat with my buddies and drank at least 20 cups of coffee (thank you free refills!), and subsequently was up for 24 hours after. Subsequently, the restaurant revoked the free refill policy.

It is easy to drink more coffee now, but I do limit myself to a couple of cups in the morning, and occasionally one in the afternoon. If I need a hot beverage, I’m turn to my second favorite, tea. Holding a hot cup of tea feels different than a hot cup of coffee. Can’t explain that but try it out. I didn’t know that there were so many types of tea until I had High Tea in London. A whole menu of tea there was. Don’t get me started on the sandwiches. I have a collection of teas that I delight in: Green, White, Ginseng,  Chamomile, Orange Pekoe, English Breakfast, but I’ll always return to my first love.

As a famous thespian in his greatest role once said, “Tea, Earl Grey, hot.”