Saturday, February 22, 2020

It was a sketchy day yesterday, the first real test of our ability to see through the toughest terrain of this project. Fortunately there were only two items on the menu, and one of them needed to be skipped. You can’t do National Grain-Free Day if you’re also doing:

National Sticky Bun Day

Full disclosure – we spent yesterday sad that we were shipping our daughter back to school, busy running dogs to vet appointments, and I am still gliding down the slope of a chest-based illness. I am prone to bronchitis and a couple years overdue for my next bout, which will make it tough to keep celebrating. But dammit, we are troopers, and just like troopers we are here for a good time (not a long time), and to raise a little hell like any boy in a bright white sportscar. So we shall power through it, Canadian classic rock puns be damned.

Of course, it’s a lot easier when “powering through it” means eating something as divine as a sticky bun. Sticky buns have been around since the middle ages – once cinnamon became a widely-used ingredient, it was the easiest way to spice up bread and concoct a dessert. Apart from fruit, this is probably one of the oldest consistent desserts in western human history.

We opted for a trip to the High Level Diner for lunch today, not only because they use killer locally-sourced food and make the greatest homemade ketchup I’ve ever tasted, but because their sticky buns are the stuff of local legend. They tower over a plate like some fluffy, imposing monolith. They are served with a bourbon caramel sauce that dares every taste bud not to fall into a bliss-induced coma. Unfortunately, their immense stature means they don’t work as dessert. Abbey enjoyed hers as a main course. We took ours home for a treat later, as we were foolish enough to order actual food for our meal.

They were worth the wait. These things are pure doughy heaven.

National Grain-Free Day

Okay, we opted out of this one, given our sticky bun treat. Even dinner was Chinese food, which my wife pointed out was partly breaded, and included rice. Rice is absolutely a grain – I looked it up.

So is the point of this day to go full-on Atkins and stick with meat and veggies only? No, that probably shows up on a different day, and so help me if it’s one of the doughnut days it can rightly go fuck itself. This was concocted just last year by Siete Family Foods, a family-run company who makes grain-free tacos and other such products. They wanted a day to honour the items made for folks who can’t process grains.

I love this idea. As someone who got thwacked with lactose intolerance at age 30, I can appreciate that the struggle to adjust one’s diet to conform to one’s digestive capabilities is a tough one. And where I can pop a few pills and dive into ice cream consequence-free (most of the time), there is no such magic for those who must shy away from breadstuffs. So sure, Siete Family Foods is trying to make a buck with this day, but they are creating products that absolutely deserve the publicity. Just so all y’all with grain intolerance know, we were with you in spirit yesterday.

If the Atkins Diet is more your thing, I’d like to introduce you to the original grain-free weight-loss regimen: the Drinking Man’s Diet from 1964, invented by a forward-thinking San Franciscan named Robert Cameron. He pushed low-carb, manly foods (this was fully intended for men, and the weird gender-bias is evident in his writing). He said we should eat steak, eat fish, even eat salad if it’s smothered in Roquefort dressing. And drink, dammit! But just the low-carb stuff: gin, vodka, rum, whisky, and so on. So on you’ll go, not counting calories, not adding up “points”, just eating your manly meat foods and drinking your hard liquor.

Like a man, I guess. I’ll take the shot of whisky, but give me a grain-free taco instead.

Drink Wine With Your Cat Week

My beloved cousin Shelby helped out with this celebration, as we have no cats on the premises (and could not bring one onto our premises, at the risk of offending Trixie beyond repair). She enjoyed a tasty malbec with her cat Harriet and graciously sent me a photo.

Cats and wine make sense as a pairing. Cats are a more emotionally complex pet than dogs, just as the flavours of wine are intricate and often complicated. A cat requires patience and understanding, while a dog just embraces you with love and drool. A wine is meant for sipping and savouring, not gulping. Wine, like cats, is jazz. Dogs are rock ‘n roll. Hopefully this analogy makes sense to someone outside of my skull.

I’m happy we could acknowledge both this week, and in a way that causes no additional stress to our puppies. I’d encourage every cat lover to share a glass (well, don’t actually share it) with their feline companions. You both deserve it.

Today I’m not sure I’ll be up to much. We’ll see how this cough and its accompanying pains will treat me. Here’s what’s up:

  • National Margarita Day. If I have to pass this one up, I will make up for it in the near future. So help me, this will be celebrated.
  • For The Love Of Mike Day. Another odd celebration from that guy who made up a bunch of odd celebrations. We’ll send a little love to the Mikes we know.
  • National Walking The Dog Day. We have three to choose from. They’ll likely all get a turn.
  • National Cook A Sweet Potato Day. I suppose I’ll be making these with dinner.
  • National California Day. Our once-a-week journey around the US cuisines takes us to the sunny west coast. I’ve got a good recipe planned for dinner tonight.

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