Monday, September 23, 2013

Frozen Food Tasting

My sister works at a trendy chain grocery store whose products she worships even though most of them are mass-produced in facilities at the opposite end of the country. The other day I went to pick her up from work but arrived a few minutes early. While she was in the break room retrieving her things, another employee was preparing an array of new products for the employees to sample. Each of the three products was a frozen meal that had been heated and portioned into small sample cups for everyone to try. Since I'm not one to pass on free food, I examined the three different options: a salmon noodle casserole, some sort of beef stroganoff concoction, and chicken in gravy sauce or something.

I stood behind a flock of contemplative employees, carefully reading each of the food descriptions. I then glanced up to see an older man with a goatee stroke his chin, deeply considering the flavor profiles of the no doubt lukewarm, rubbery beef bits he was chewing. I had originally intended to sample the food item that I believed could best retain its flavor and texture after being manufactured, frozen and microwaved. In the end I opted for the most exotic sounding fare: the salmon noodle thing. It was only a few bites worth of food so what could it possibly do to me?

As I brought the first forkful to my lips, the fickle smell of poorly prepared salmon wafted up my nose and I immediately second guess my choice. I love salmon, but somehow I felt as though this noodle mixture was degrading to salmon everywhere. I shrugged and took the first bite. There was no second bite. It was wonderfully flavorless and boring just like something manufactured with as little care or culinary effort should. It tasted like a day old tuna sandwich that had been forgotten in a school backpack. I had to stifle a laugh as my sister asked me what I thought:

"Meh, it's frozen food."

I couldn't lie, but will the employees have to?

Weird Fungus

I'm sorry to resume my blog with a less than profound post. I wish I could say my online absence has been due to an intense intellectual awakening that I could not fully articulate in a blog post until now. Sadly, I have nothing philosophical or mind-blowing to say, but I have some cool pictures of fungus!

I am working on a collection project for my mycology class and the coolest thing I've found so far reminded me an awful lot of tripe a.k.a. the stomach lining of various farm animals. Tripe is actually considered a delicacy but I don't think I could ever stomach that stuff (see what I did there??) This white jelly fungus I found was growing on a decaying tree. After drying it in the oven it turned a dark brown color. Pretty neat! Hope the fumes aren't slowly poisoning myself and my roommates.

Before drying

After Drying