Just A Nutjob

I have to confess:  I’m obsessed with nuts.  All sizes and shapes and colours; from soft to firm to rock-hard, and everything in between.  Such a glorious variety… mmmm!  And there’s nothing like that delicious crunch when I crush them between my teeth.

Guys, stop wincing – it’s nothing personal.

The other day I checked the grocery list and chuckled.  There were only three items on it:  Peanuts, walnuts, and pine nuts.

This was in addition to the dried-fruit-and-peanut mix that’s always in my car in case I need a snack while I’m on the road; the can of salted cashews in the snack drawer; the almonds and almond flour in the baking cupboard; and the big bowl of unshelled nuts that takes up residence on our counter every year as soon as fresh nuts become available.  (And you know I’m secretly snickering at “fresh nuts”.  There’s nothing better than cupping a nice big handful of… okay, I’ll stop now.)

And there’s always at least a gallon of peanut butter in the freezer in addition to the jar that’s currently in use; but I don’t actually include that in my nut count – peanut butter is a staple food that transcends nutdom.  (If only I could say the same about myself.)

If there’s peanut butter, there’s hope.  If there’s no peanut butter… *shudders at the thought*  I’m not even going to go there – it’s too traumatic to consider.  I’m sure most guys would agree that a nutless day is a bad day indeed.

Hubby is bemused by my love affair with peanut butter.  If we eat the same leftovers a few days in a row I get tired of them no matter now delicious they might be.  But peanut butter?  I eat it for breakfast every… single… day.  And I have for decades.  I just tell Hubby he should be glad that when I find something I truly love, my commitment problems magically disappear.  😉

I do realize that peanuts aren’t actually nuts at all – they’re legumes.  But I’m still nuts for them.  I know; sometimes I’m such a goober.

And now I can’t get the song “Goober Peas” out of my head.

Any other nut nuts out there?

Book 14 update:  I made it to the end of Chapter 21, and circled back to tune up some details in earlier chapters.  It’s fun to weave in all the little loose ends!

A Mashup Of (Mostly) Food

(Don’t worry, it’s safe to read this.  I promise it’s not about gross squished food.)

I’m a little scattered this week. Between my usual writing schedule, my cover updates (only one more to go, woohoo!), the production of the Never Say Spy audiobook (up to Chapter 39 and sounding great), and the busy round of Christmas cards and baking and extra social activities, my brain just doesn’t seem to want to disgorge any sort of organized blog post.

So what the hell, why fight it? Here’s a mashup up of some goodies that have caught my eye and tweaked my sense of humour lately:

You may recall that I mentioned OBSL in a post a few years ago. At the time, I created that acronym to describe my hypothetical Optimum Beer Saturation Level: That perfect point of intoxication at which I become a deadly 8-ball player. When I wrote that post I assumed that I was (as usual) full of shit.

Little did I know that greater minds than mine were busily proving me right. In fact, a recent study shows that there is an OBSL, and it occurs where your blood-alcohol level is 0.075. Unfortunately for my hypothesis, they weren’t testing for 8-ball skill; instead they were focusing on the OBSL as it relates to creativity.  And shortly after science delivered its verdict, some brilliant marketers capitalized on it. Voilà! The Problem Solver: A beer that comes with a creativity scale on the side. Dang, I could’ve used some of that stuff when I started writing this post…

And speaking of happy discoveries involving my favourite foods, science has come through yet again with a discovery that turns peanut butter into… wait for it… diamonds! Apparently it’s messy, but it works. (It was also just a publicity stunt.  It seems peanut butter isn’t an optimum diamond-producing substance.  Go figure.)

Unfortunately, though, the news from food scientists isn’t all good. The latest studies indicate that comfort foods can actually be depressing. Bummer.  Now I need to go and eat a bowl of ice cream.

Moving on from science to silliness (though still food-related), here are a few fortune cookie predictions I could have done without:

“You learn from your mistakes. You will learn a lot today.” – Great, just great.

“Your true love will show himself to you under the moonlight.” – Uh… okay, so my true love is a deranged flasher.  Will there be criminal charges or jail time associated with this?

“You have an unusual equipment for success; use it properly.” –  I guess if I was a guy, I’d know exactly what to do with my unusual equipment, but under the circumstances I’m just not sure how to interpret this.

“Wisdom is on her way to you.” – This one might be intended to encourage, but for me it bears an uncomfortable resemblance to the cartoon about the guy reading a fortune that says ‘Big things are coming your way’ just as a grand piano drops from the sky above him. Wisdom sounds like a good thing in theory, but it seems to me that the phrasing is a little ominous.

I’ll leave you with a cartoon that sums up my attitude when things get as hectic as they are now.  And hey, it’s food-related, too!

* * *

P.S. Here’s Book 8’s new cover, with many thanks to John R. for arranging my great truck-driving adventure and letting me photograph his truck:

Food Fetishes

The dictionary tells me a fetish can be an object that  elicits reverence and devotion, or an object that causes an erotic response.  For me, food falls neatly into both categories.  Sometimes I love food.  Sometimes I looooove food.  (Not literally.  Don’t worry, it’s still safe to eat the cucumbers at my house.)

I do, however, admit to a peculiar food-related habit that can be safely discussed in polite company.  And no, I’m not going to talk about the time I nearly suffered le petit mort over a hazelnut crème brulée and a flight of ice wine.

But it was really, really good.

‘Scuse me while a take a deep breath.

Anyway, what I meant to discuss is the fact that I’m a picky eater.  Not in the sense of having a limited range of foods I’ll eat – quite the contrary.  I’ll eat just about anything except black licorice.  I’m talking about the way I eat.

I always hold corn on the cob with the big end at the left.  I eat left to right in a clean, straight pattern.  The cob, when returned to my plate, is placed horizontally at the 12:00 position.  I contend this is simple logic.  If the cob’s at the front, it’s hard to reach over it to get at the rest of your food.

Pie and pizza are to be eaten point-first.  I’ve seen others eat it crust-first, and while that appeals to my logical side (eat the dry crust first and finish up with the good stuff), I don’t seem to be able to adopt that system.

I once knew a guy who preferred to dig randomly into the middle of a pie without cutting slices, but I consider that to be a sign of a deranged mind.  He ate his corn randomly, too.  And he was more than a little deranged.  ‘Nuff said.

Meat, potatoes, and veggies get laid out in specific locations on the plate.  Meat at 10:00, potatoes at 2:00, veggies at 6:00.  But I’m flexible.  Sometimes I swap the potato/veggie positions.  And sometimes the meat moves up to 12:00 or down as far as 8:00.

I didn’t realize how entrenched this habit was until I caught myself rotating my plate and feeling vague discomfort when the food came arranged differently in a restaurant.  I’ll deny actually rearranging food on my plate at a restaurant, but you probably already know I’m lying.  And I always eat clockwise around the plate, one bite of meat, then one of potatoes, etc.

Toast, I bite off the bottom left corner first.  Then the bottom right corner, then the middle.  I repeat in rows until the entire slice is gone.  It’s simple logic.  I like peanut butter and honey, and this configuration minimizes the probability of smearing sticky stuff on my cheeks.

Speaking of peanut butter, I scoop it from around the edges of the jar. Systematically, scraping it tidily off the inside and gradually working my way around counter-clockwise.  I never stick a knife in the middle of the jar.  Freud would probably have a heyday with that one.

And don’t even get me started about buttering toast and then scooping up more goodies on the knife, leaving toast crumbs in the butter/honey/jam.  That’s just plain wrong.

Is it because I’m a geek and my brain is naturally happy with linear patterns?  Or is it because I’m a control-loving, slightly obsessive freak?  (Don’t answer that).

Anybody else have freakish food fetishes?  Please tell me I’m not the only one.