Link Salad

Various tidbits seen over the past week or two:


From the Times Square Tea Party: "Do I look like a racist redneck teabagger to you?"


A hilarious Good Samaritan story by Scott Adams:

Luckily I did not have jumper cables, because if I did, I knew we would be late for the movie.  I did my best to make a face that said, "I sure wish I could help," while being secretly gleeful that this was officially not my problem.  I wondered if the young man thought I was lying about not having jumper cables.  My fake sincerity face looks like a mime with an intestinal infection.


Joe Biden on rural broadband funding:

The bottom line is, you can’t function -- a nation can’t compete in the 21st century -- without an immediate, high-quality access for everything from streaming video to information overline.

I don’t know what I’d do without a high-quality access to information overline.  In fact, I don’t even know what that means.


This article claims that wheat bread is no better than white bread.  But what’s interesting is some of the detailed information about metabolic functions that it contains.


From amazon: Classic Live Lobster Combo for Two People.  I don’t suppose it needs to be said that amazon rocks, this rocks, and "Lobsters-Online" rocks.


Ceiling cat.  The photo of the cat looking down is great.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Kettle Brand Krinkle Cut Potato Chips - Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

These chips are good.  But it used to be the case that, about half the time I bought them, the bag would be full of dark chips -- and those chips were great.  Lately though, for the past 6-12 months I’d say, it’s extremely rare to get a bag of the dark ones.

The problem is it’s the same bag and the same variety and everything; sometimes they’re regular, and sometimes they’re dark.  And for some reason the people at the store frown upon customers opening all the bags in the middle of the store.  Or so I’ve heard.

Yesterday Kim went to Redner’s and got 4 bags: 2 of this kind and 2 of the same brand in the "Sea Salt and Vinegar" variety, which also exhibit this inconsistent character.  I opened them all right away, and the first 3 were plain old chips.  But the 4th bag was dark!  I was so excited; naturally I ate half the bag right then and there.

Anyway, I decided to document this irregularity with the hopes that I can bring it to the attention of the company (Kettle Foods, Inc.) and convince them to simply release a second line of dark chips in the same varieties.

These 2 bags of chips came from the same store on the same day, but they do have very different production codes.


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Light production code:

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Dark production code:

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The bags themselves including the SKU/UPC are identical:

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Posted by Anthony on 2 replies

Sharing Size

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As if.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Five Ducks With Bacon

During our trip to Jay Peak last week, I ate duck for the first time.  It was stuffed with apricot and it was pretty good.

Last night, I dreamed that Kim and I were out at a restaurant.  She ordered a mushroom salad, but in real life she hates mushrooms.  I love mushrooms, though, and I hadn’t seen that item on the menu, so when the waiter asked me for my order, I was frantically flipping through the menu trying to find it, in case I wanted to order it too.

But when I finally found the "mushroom salad," it was a sandwich, and I thought that didn’t sound very good.  On the opposing page, I saw "Five Ducks With Bacon", which the photo showed as 5 strips of bacon along with 5 strips of duck meat cut to about the same size and shape as bacon.  I ordered it, but woke up before getting the chance to try it.

Posted by Anthony on 2 replies


Two awesome cereals I recently started eating:

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I hate how so many cereal boxes show a picture of the cereal in a bowl with lots of fruit, but there’s no fruit in the box; it’s just a "serving suggestion".  These two cereals here have the fruit right in the box, the way God intended.

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Posted by Anthony on 1 reply


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Yes, but... these flavors, are they natural?

Posted by Anthony on 1 reply

The Jersey Shore

Last weekend we went to the Jersey shore.  It was nice to camp out with our friend George again, and to do the campfire thing, and it was a pretty fun trip.  But we both agreed that it’s harder to enjoy the black ocean waters of New Jersey after having been in the turquois Bahamian seas and the crystal clear streams of Colorado.

We started out on the beach in Ocean City, but it was packed as usual, and being the long, flat, straight beach that it is, it was really windy.  So we drove route 619 (?) down the coast and eventually ended up at 67th Street in Avalon.  It was now just after 5 PM, so the annoying lifeguards were packing it in, and the beach was far less crowded & windy.

On another day we went to a beach near 2nd Street in Sea Isle City.  This day had been extremely rainy and windy, but we caught a break from the rain and hit the beach.  It was still really windy, though, and this beach was nearly deserted; and the waves were HUGE, I’d say it was probably 6 foot seas when we went in.  They were definitely the biggest waves I’d ever seen in person, and big enough that it was a struggle just to get out into the water.  A wind-surfer came past us up the coast, and he was getting amazing air -- about 30 feet at one point.  It was like he was flying.

We had dinner at The Lobster House one night, which means that I got Alaskan King Crab legs.  They’re so big that they only give you 3 of them, and you still get as much meat as when you get a dozen regular crab legs -- only it’s far easier to get at it what with only having to break open 3 shells instead of 12.  Also, we went at about 6 PM on a Sunday, and it was packed; but they told us our wait would be 60-80 minutes and it ended up being only 25, probably because there were only 2 of us.

We ate a late breakfast at Uncle Bill’s, but we went to the one in Cape May instead of the one on 21st & Asbury in Ocean City where we usually go.  You’d think they’d be the same, but the stuffed french toast came with Reddi-Wip instead of cinnamon butter.  Of course it’s the cinnamon butter that makes the meal, but when we asked the waitress about it, she said she’d never heard of it.

Of course we went to Mack and Manco’s a couple of times to get the greatest pizza ever.

Posted by Anthony on 2 replies

King Corn

Netflix now has about 10,000 movies in their "Watch Instantly" system, which allows you to stream the movies over the internet, and which is completely free for Netflix subscribers.  Most of the movies aren’t current hits due to licensing issues with the studios, which Netflix is working on I’m sure, but there’s still a lot of good stuff in there.

A few days ago I watched King Corn, which is a documentary about 2 guys who move to Iowa in order to grow an acre of corn and follow it through its harvest and into the market.  The movie was both interesting and informative.  By the end of it, you get the idea that they’re taking a dim view of the corn industry in America, but overall it does not come across as pretentious or judgmental at all.

Some (rough) quotes from the movie:

Quoting King Corn:

A fast food meal is largely corn: corn-fed beef, french fries of which 50% of the calories come from the corn oil they’re fried in, and soda which is primarily corn syrup.

Corn farms use anhydrous ammonia fertilizer which allows a 4x increase in yield compared to corn crops 2 generations ago.

Corn has been genetically engineered with one goal: increasing yield.  This is done by engineering the plants to be able to tolerate growing very close together.

Fields are sprayed with an herbicide called Liberty to kill weeds; the "Liberty Link" corn has been engineered to be resistant to this herbicide.

One acre of corn produces about 200 bushels or 10,000 pounds of corn.  Of this:

- About 50% is fed to animals to become meat
- 32% is either exported or turned into ethanol
- About 5% becomes sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup

Growing and selling corn would not be profitable without the government subsidies that encourage corn farming.

Prior to the 1970s, the US government paid farmers to not produce crops, to cut back on production.  Earl Butz changed that policy when he was Secretary of Agriculture under Nixon.

We spend less of our income on food than any generation in history.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Recent FileChucker Demo Images

Here are a couple of images uploaded to the FileChucker upload demo this week.  I have no idea what the original sources of these images are; I’ve searched briefly for the first one, and didn’t bother for the second.

This first one is beautiful, evocative, and extremely well-executed; I’d love to have it on my wall if I could find a high-resolution version:

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This second one is nothing special, just some chicks in a hot tub:

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Posted by Anthony on reply

Seared Ahi Tuna

A couple months ago Kim and I tried to make seared ahi (yellowfin) tuna for the first time.  Of course what makes this dish so great is the rawness of the tuna: it’s only seared on the outside, with the majority remaining raw -- not rare, but raw.  Cooked tuna tastes completely different and to me is just totally gross.  Anyway, a few internet recipes said to cook the tuna for 2 minutes per side (on the grill) for rare, and even though that sounded way too long to me, we decided to go with it.  And of course, it got cooked all the way through.

Last night I tried again, with a plan loosely based on some internet recipes and on my memory of what the dish is like at Outback Steakhouse and PF Chang’s.  The thing that sticks out in my mind is the pepperyness of the seared outside, so the main part of my plan was to use lots of pepper.  Here’s what I did:

1. Take out a plate and grind some pepper onto it.  We have one of those small disposable glass pepper grinders where you can actually see the peppercorns inside, and my plan was to open it up and grab some of the peppercorns to manually crush them.  But it turns out that the lid/grinder portion isn’t removable, so I had to just grind the pepper as you normally would.  I did about 30 grinds, which gave me about 1-2 spoonfuls of pepper.

2. Add some salt (preferably sea salt, though we were out of that) to the plate, probably about half or a quarter as much as the pepper, so maybe half a spoonful.

3. Add half a spoonful of minced garlic.  We have this in a small jar in the fridge, which is the only reason I added it; if I’d’ve had to mince it myself, forget it.

4. Mix that all up, then put the tuna steak on the plate and spread the mixture all over it.

5. Use a few spoonfuls of Italian breadcrumbs to further cover the outside of the tuna.

6. Put a pan on the stove, put a few spoonfuls of olive oil into it, and set it to as hot as it’ll go.  Give it about 2 minutes to get hot.

7. Put the tuna in the pan.  Have a shield ready; I used the lid from the pan, or an apron would probably work.  Do not cover the tuna with the lid.  Let it cook for 45 seconds per side.  Even a little less time might have been good, but certainly not any more than 45 seconds per side.  (The tuna steak I used was half a pound, and about 3/4 of an inch thick.)

8. You’re done.  Serve it with Asian sesame dressing and wasabi sauce for dipping.  At restaurants it generally comes cut into thin slices (about 1/4- or 1/2-inch thick) so be sure to cut it that way as you’re eating it for maximum effect.

With this recipe, it turned out awesome, and I’ll definitely make it this way again.  But I also want to try this other recipe, which I didn’t have all the ingredients for this time.  And OK, which is more complicated so Kim’ll probably have to handle it for me.

Posted by Anthony on 10 replies


Cheshire and I ate good tonight!  Kim made Swordfish, Bacon, and Cherry Tomato Kebabs which were superb.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Smoke-free Restaurants in Pennsylvania

[Note: scroll to the end of this post to see the restaurant list.]

The Allentown location of Carrabba’s Italian Grill has gone completely smoke-free!  Kim and I went there for dinner the other night, and when I asked (as I always do) to be seated as far from the smoking section as possible, the hostess replied that there’s no longer a smoking section!  Tears of joy streamed down my face.  And just when I thought that the day couldn’t get any better, they had swordfish on the specials menu.  It was amazing, as swordfish tends to be.

Carrabba’s has been one of my favorite restaurants for almost 10 years, and the only bad thing about it was the cigarette smoke.  With that issue resolved, I intend to visit Carrabba’s much more often.  I called the manager the next day to express my support for the decision, and to ask what made them do it; he said that more and more people were complaining about the smoke, and the majority of their patrons are non-smokers, so it was a good business decision for them to make.

Indeed, nearly 80% of Pennsylvanians are non-smokers.  It’s always been absurd that smokers were allowed to foul the air with toxins in public places, but it’s especially absurd in light of how outnumbered they are.  That being the case, the Pennsylvania legislature had better get their act together and pass a statewide smoking ban this fall.  Not only is it obviously the correct thing to do since second-hand smoke kills people by the thousands, but it’s also what the vast majority of the population wants.

If the government fails to take responsibility in this area, then I sure hope that more restaurants will do it themselves.  Carrabba’s is currently the only real restaurant to have gone smoke-free in our area.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, all the other restaurants that we visit still allow smoking: Applebee’s, Chili’s, Grotto Pizza, the Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, Red Lobster, Ruby Tuesday’s, TGI Friday’s.  (The website has a list of smoke-free restaurants, but the vast majority of them are McDonald’s, Burger King, etc -- not real restaurants.)

Smoke-Free Restaurant List:

These are restaurants that I know are totally non-smoking from first-hand experience.  Note that "restaurants" like McDonald’s, Burger King, etc, will not be listed here.

Carrabba’s on Cedar Crest Boulevard in Allentown; smoke-free as of Sept 2007.

Bravo at the Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall; smoke-free since its opening in Sept 2007.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Coke vs Pepsi

Coca-Cola vs Pepsi.  ’nuff said.

Posted by Anthony on 3 replies

Housefly Hunter

Cheshire has been running around here chasing a fly that was buzzing along the wall.  He finally caught the fly while it was hanging around a small table lamp.  He batted at the fly with his paws until it mostly stopped moving, and then he ate it.  Now he’s running around crying because he can’t find the fly.

Posted by Anthony on reply

Good Pizza

It must be extremely difficult to make good pizza.  I say that because the vast majority of pizza shops I’ve been to have sold pizza that is somewhere between horrible and "not horrible, but not worth getting again."  In fact, I can only think of 4 pizza places whose pizza is good:

Grotto Pizza in Delaware and northeast PA
Mack & Manco at the Jersey shore
Lorenzo’s in Philly
Domino’s thin crust pizza

What makes those pizzas good is that they are thin and somewhat crunchy, in addition to having sauce and cheese that is between good and great.  (Though I haven’t been to Lorenzo’s in a while -- is their crust actually crunchy?)

The thing I don’t understand is how dozens upon dozens of other pizza joints -- virtually all of them, in my experience -- get this so wrong.  The crust is almost always soft/soggy/floppy, and the sauce and cheese are between "eh" and "gross."  The only conclusion I can see is that it must be really hard to make good pizza.

But having 4 good pizza places is better than having none, right?  Yes, but the problem is that 3 of those 4 places have no locations within an hour of our house.  We do live out in the sticks, and there’s not much of anything particularly close to us, but guess what’s within 5 minutes: not one but two utterly crappy pizza shops.

Kim says that maybe other people actually like the kind of pizza that all these shops serve.  That seems unbelievable to me.  Is it just me?

Note: I also really like Papa John’s BBQ Chicken & Bacon pizza, and Pizzeria Uno’s deep-dish pizza, and the relatively thick pizza from Adrian’s Pizza in Pittsburgh; but these are all thick pizzas and to me that puts them in a totally different category than traditional/normal pizza which to me means thin pizza.
Posted by Anthony on 16 replies

Bacon Wrapped Pineapple Shrimp

Kim made this last night and it was amazing.  Bacon + pineapple + shrimp is a winning combination.

Posted by Anthony on 3 replies

Your Cat is a Carnivore; Don't Feed Him Dry Food

When we got Cheshire a few weeks ago, we were required to purchase a bag of the same food that he was eating at the pet store.  This was to make sure that he continued to eat during the stressful and scary transition to a new environment without his feline siblings that he’d grown up with to that point.

But for the first 2 days, he didn’t eat (though he had no problem drinking water).  And I didn’t want to give him wet food, because I thought once he had that, he’d definitely never want to eat the dry food.  But Kim was worried and just wanted him to eat something, so we eventually gave him some wet food, which he fangoriously devoured in about 3 seconds and promptly threw up again.  And I think he might have thrown up one more time, but after that, he was fine.

Meanwhile I started doing some research into the wet food vs. dry food issue.  I had never really thought about it before, but I’d always heard that cats need dry food, one of the reasons being that it’s good for keeping their teeth clean.  But in my research I read that that’s hogwash, because cats don’t even chew their food up; they just crunch it one time and swallow the pieces, so there is very little friction with the teeth which would be required for the "keep the teeth clean" theory.  And furthermore, dry food is something like 40% carbohydrates, so it eventually just turns to sugar on their teeth, which means it’s actually worse for their teeth.

This brings me to the second and bigger issue: cats shouldn’t be eating dry food period.  Cats are carnivores; their bodies are designed to eat and digest meat, and they never naturally eat vegetables or grains.  When I think about this now, it’s entirely obvious, and the only reason I can figure for why it never occurred to me before is that I never had a kitten before and thus never had to worry about what to feed it.

In the wild, big cats eat big animals (deer, zebras, etc) and small cats eat small animals like mice.  From what I’ve read, this natural diet gives them something like 5% carbs, and wet cat food is similarly proportioned, plus wet cat food being mostly meat has all the stuff that a carnivore needs.  Contrast that to dry food, which is around 40% carbs, and is mostly grains and vegetables, which a cat would never naturally eat.

As cats get older and many of them have diet-related diseases, often the first thing the vet does is switch them to a lower-carb (i.e. wet food) diet.  From what I’ve read, vets are coming around to the realization that cats should have been eating that kind of diet all along.

Of course, you need to take a grain of salt with the things you read online, but I’ve found quite a few different sites recommending an all-wet-food diet.  And today I had to take Cheshire to the vet for shots, and she actually said the same thing.  That, coupled with the fact that it’s common sense to feed a carnivore meat, makes it pretty clear to me that it’s the right way to go.

(And we were pretty terrified to discover that the food we’ve been feeding Cheshire is one of the dozens of brands that are part of a massive pet-food recall, but fortunately it looks like none of our cans/pouches are in the recalled batches, and Cheshire seems perfectly healthy in any case.  I asked the vet today and she pointed out that Friskies and Fancy Feast are two of the (few) brands not part of the recall, so we’re going to stock up on them for now.)

Posted by Anthony on 2 replies


I’m not much of a fish eater, because I’ve never liked the fishy taste that they have.  I’ve always liked other seafood like crab, lobster, shrimp, and scallops, and I’ve liked shark and swordfish the few times I’ve had the opportunity to try them, but the more standard fish have never appealed to me.

But it was long ago that I formed this anti-fish bias, so yesterday I decided to give fish another try.  Kim and I went out to the Blue Mountain Summit restaurant and I got salmon.  I could smell the fishy smell from a mile away though, and I didn’t really like it.  The waitress explained that salmon is probably the fishiest of the fish on the menu, which included flounder and haddock.

We watched some Emeril last night and he said that you shouldn’t really be able to detect that fishy smell as long as the fish is fresh enough.  So, was my salmon just not very fresh?  Which fish should I try if I want less of that fishy smell/taste?

Posted by Anthony on 7 replies

Groove Salad, Business, and The Secret to Charcoal Grilling

Wow, quiet times around here, no?  I know it’s time to make a new post when I get one of those "are you still alive??" emails from my mom.

I’ve been extremely busy with work, which I’m extremely thankful for.  July was my most profitable month to date, and business -- both sales and custom work -- seems to be steadily picking up.  Don’t get me wrong: my income is still no match for my student loan bills, but I’m making way more money doing web programming than I was making as a PC technician.

A couple weeks ago, Dan imparted unto me the secret to grilling with charcoal.  My problem has been that the coals are always too cool to put a nice charred exterior on meats, yet ironically I still can’t avoid making things more dry and well-done than I’d like.  Dan’s tip was to spread the coals out unevenly (after they turn gray, of course), so that they are just a single layer deep on one side of the grill, but stacked up on the other side.  That way one side of the grill is extremely hot and puts those nice grill-lines on your steaks, but you can move them off to the other cooler side after that.

To wrap things up, I’d like to say that Groove Salad on SomaFM is a great internet radio station.  They call it: "A nicely chilled plate of ambient beats and grooves."  It’s largely instrumental, and on the occasional vocal track, I usually enjoy the vocals too.  I listen to it pretty much all day every day.

Posted by Anthony on 2 replies

Mixed Nuts

Today I discovered that Planters sells a nut mix called "Pistachio Lover’s Mix" that contains just pistachios (shell-free no less), cashews, and almonds.  That’s what I call mixed nut perfection.  It’s about time somebody made some mixed nuts without all those weird nuts that nobody likes (filberts?? come on).

Also, while researching this post, I came across this gem of a webpage.  Be sure to read the whole thing.  It’s surely one of the most freakish pages there is.

Posted by Anthony on 1 reply

Ban Cilantro (or: a Brief Review of Boston's Sports Bar)

Tonight Kim and I ate at this new restaurant called Boston’s Sports Bar and Grill.  We were eyeing up their BBQ Chicken Pizza but it had cilantro on it, and we couldn’t figure out what that was.  I thought it was somehow like parsley, but wasn’t really sure.

I asked the waitress, and she said that it was, in fact, parsley, and she even said "you can’t really taste it."  So we got the pizza with the cilantro, and while it’s similar in appearance to parsley, that’s where the similarities end.  The taste is very strong, which sucks because its taste is the taste of soap.  After a few bites of it I realized where I’d tasted that before: in certain salsas.  In fact whenever I buy salsa I buy ChiChi’s brand because Tostitos’ salsa tastes like soap; it’s all so clear now that I know why.

So I vote that we ban cilantro.  Admittedly, it’s not quite the most offensive food known to man -- a distinction which I reserve for gorgonzola cheese -- but it’s pretty nasty.

The pizza itself was pretty good, but the crust was entirely tasteless.  It was strange; they’re all about their "gourmet" pizzas but the crust was not unlike cardboard.  The other strange thing was the french onion soup that I got as an appetizer: the cheese on it was some of the best french-onion-soup cheese I’ve ever had, but in the soup itself, in addition to there being the normal onions, there were soggy breaded onion rings.  Normally french onion soup has bread or croutons in it, and they get soggy and it’s all good.  But the soggy onion rings were just nasty.

Posted by Anthony on 9 replies

New Favorite Restaurant

OK not quite, but Bob Evans is pretty good, and tonight I had a meal there which was really amazing: pot roast hash.

This is hash browns, topped with pot roast, and then topped with eggs (cooked to order, i.e. overlight) and cheddar cheese.  As I read the description, I was thinking, "Wow, this sounds really good" until I got to the eggs.  Then I thought, "Eggs?  Hmmm..." 

Nonetheless, I pressed on with my order, eggs and all.  And it turned out to be delicious.  Of course steak & eggs is a very common breakfast dish, but I’ve never gotten that, and pot roast isn’t quite the same as steak.  So it seemed like an unlikely combination of foods at first.  But they went together delectably, and I loved every bite.

I’ll probably be getting this almost every time we go to Bob Evans from now on.

Posted by Anthony on 3 replies

Tomato Conspiracy

When you go to Italian restaurants like the Olive Garden or Maggiano’s, they serve you these huge salads with literally two or three tiny tomato slices.  Not two or three tomatoes, two or three slices, for the entire salad.

How is it that Italian restaurants, establishments that owe their very existence to the power of the tomato (in sauce form), are so consistently skimpy when it comes to tomatoes in salad?

Posted by Anthony on 2 replies


Last night, Kim took me out to Bravo! for our one-year anniversary.  We had never been there before, and I really loved it.  It’s like a more fancy version of Carrabba’s or the Olive Garden, with more space (higher ceilings, and tables farther apart) and completely non-smoking.

I got the "catch of the day" which was swordfish, and it was delicious.  Swordfish is the only fish that I like (well, and shark) because it doesn’t taste fishy like most fish.

Working backwards: the salad was also fantastic.  It was a "chopped" salad, which meant that there were no huge pieces of lettuce or whole slices of tomatoes or cucumbers; everything was sliced & diced small enough that you could eat it by the forkful without getting it all over the sides of your mouth because the pieces are too big.  (OK, so maybe I’m the only one with that problem.)  Also, the italian dressing was wonderful, maybe even better than the Olive Garden’s, which I also love.

Finally, the initial bread with dipping oil.  This is one of my favorite things to eat ever, and here it was as good if not better than at Carrabba’s.  The only thing Carrabba’s has on Bravo! is that the bread wasn’t warm at Bravo!

The one negative comment I have about Bravo! is that above the sink in the bathroom, there is a sign that says:


Aside from the fact that that’s just grammatically stupid, I’m fairly bothered by the fact that the people preparing my food didn’t actually have to wash their hands, and instead can get away with some kind of finger-quotey mock rendition of hand-washing.

Posted by Anthony on 4 replies

Mmm, It Does Go Well With The Chicken

Actually, it IS the chicken.  Kim made cornish game hens for dinner and they were sooo good.  My mom made them every once in a while as we were growing up and I always loved them.  Despite having never even eaten one before a couple months ago, let alone cooking one, Kim served up a mean couple of little chickens tonight  : )

Posted by Anthony on 3 replies
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