Don’t Make Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

For some strange reason, the percentage of cookie makers who like putting raisins in their cookies is far higher than the percentage of cookie eaters who like having raisins in their cookies. It is like there is something about raisins that make them more enjoyable for bakers to use than any other ingredient on earth. I suspect this may have something to do with people learning to bake from their grandmothers, who baked back in a time when chocolate chips were not as readily available as raisins.

Thankfully, we all now live in a world where chocolate chips are as readily available and inexpensive as raisins. Since chocolate chips taste objectively far superior to raisins, if you want to serve cookies at a party that most people will really enjoy, you should use chocolate chips instead of raisins.

Curiously, nobody ever puts raisins in plain cookies; it is only ever with oatmeal cookies. It appears that people may be misunderstanding the nature of an oatmeal based cookie and look at it as a health food rather than a treat, but oatmeal cookies taste just as good as regular cookies. If you put out plain oatmeal cookies with regular plain cookies the oatmeal cookies would eaten first. You can tell this is the case because while you can find oatmeal cookies, you will very rarely see a plain cookie for sale; they need chocolate chips in them in order for people to buy them.

Two things you need to realize are that oatmeal cookies taste better than plain cookies, and using raisins will at best make the cookie only slightly healthier than if you used chocolate chips. Adding the oatmeal to a cookie is what really increases the healthiness of the cookie and it does so without making the cookie less appetizing. Raisins are healthier than chocolate chips, but they are high in sugar and calories, which offsets some of its benefits, and when you factor in that most people don’t actually like raisins you are better off sticking with the chocolate chips.

What’s With All These Vacuum Sealer Twitter Accounts?

Since I started my food blog I’ve followed a lot of people on Twitter who write and tweet about food. I’ve seen many different types of Twitter accounts. You have the genuine food blogger who posts links to his or her blog posts and makes the odd food related tweet or retweet. You have the accounts that are only trying to get clicks and traffic by any means possible and send what are likely automated tweets and retweets every hour of every day. And then you have people who are promoting vacuum sealers.

It is amazing the sheer number of Twitter accounts whose sole purpose is to promote the sale of vacuum sealers. I must have seen several hundred of them. You know how many I’ve seen focused on promoting a brand of blender? Zero. Food processors? Zero.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen any account that focuses on promoting a third party product other than vacuum sealers.

This makes absolutely no sense. I mean, I get the concept that some company could offer someone with a few thousand followers on Twitter to promote their product, but it makes no sense that only one food based product would be doing it and have such a wide presence. If that sort of marketing makes sense, then why aren’t I seeing any accounts that promote frying pans or juicers? This type of marketing appears to be solely for vacuum sealers. Perhaps it works on some people, but I would eat my weight in tofu before I would ever consider buying a vacuum sealer I saw on some Twitter account.

Storms Turn Newfoundlanders into Zombies, not Hoarders.

Whenever a storm is on the way in Newfoundland everyone takes the empty shelves and long line-ups at grocery stores as evidence that Newfoundlanders, particularly those in the St. John’s area, overreact to coming inclement weather by stocking up on enough food to survive being snowed in for weeks. The truth though is that is not actually the case. The longer line-ups before storms is not due to irrational hoarding, it is just a matter of everyone who needs to get groceries in the next day or two going to the grocery store because they may not be able to get out of their driveway the next day. If you combine two days of grocery store volume into one you will end up with a very crowded grocery store. Though storms don’t turn Newfoundlanders into hoarders, they do turn them into zombies.

Since I knew I wouldn’t be leaving the house tomorrow, I stopped into the grocery store today to pick up a few things for the weekend. The place was busy, but not overrun with people by any means. The people who were there, however, almost to a person, were all scuffling along in a slow, almost ominous gait.

Normally at the grocery store, most people look like they have somewhere to go after their grocery shopping; they are pushing their carts, around, grabbing items decisively, and scratching items off their lists. Today, as with every time there is an approaching storm, everyone seemed confused. Some were just standing there, staring confusedly at items, unable to process whether to buy three yoghurts to get the multi-savings or just get the one package. Those who were moving were doing so only barely, as if they were unsure exactly why they were in the store or what they were supposed to be doing, but just knew that they weren’t supposed to be standing still. So they moved. Barely.

Multiple times I had to squeeze past a logjam of people with shopping carts pushed by people who weren’t taking anything off the shelves. I excused myself but none of them seemed to notice my presence, even though I was passing inches in front of their faces. I’m not sure if they noticed any of the items in the store. I can only assume that 15 minutes before closing the store staff took all these people by the elbow and lead them to the checkout.

I’m not sure why storms have this effect on people, but I suspect it may have something to do with people going to the grocery store before they were planning to and not preparing a grocery list. I cook a lot and am in a grocery store pretty much every day or two and people generally seem like normal human beings when I’m there, but whenever a storm is on the way easily two thirds of everyone in the store start acting like zombies.

Pizzas Are Not Pies

A pizza is no more a pie than a boiled egg. Everyone knows this. A pie is something you have for desert that involves having a base and a top of pastry with some sort of blueberry, apple, or pecan based filling inside. A pizza may be served at either breakfast, lunch, or dinner, but never as a desert. The only type of pizza that you could perhaps refer to as a pie would be a Chicago style deep dish pizza, which has the same depth as a pie and has a crust that vaguely resembles pie crust. There is absolutely no excuse for referring to any type of conventional pizza as a pie.

People who refer to pizzas as pies are generally insufferable hipster-types who never stop looking for ways to make themselves feel superior. “You’re a Tim Horton’s drinking simpleton who scarfs down pizza while I am a sophisticated person who eats pizza pies.” Christ. If you want to make yourself feel superior than go find yourself an Ethiopian restaurant.

In normal times it wouldn’t really matter if some self-important hipster went around calling pizzas pies, but we are not living in normal times. Donald Trump was just elected partly as a reaction to the growing numbers of insufferable and obnoxious pseudo-sophisticates who were constantly rubbing their misplaced sense of superiority in people’s faces (that and the intervention of the Russians and a press release from the head of the FBI…). Every time someone refers to pizza as a pie another Trump voter is created.

Stop Putting Bacon on Everything

Bacon wrapped everything is awful. Bacon wrapped scallops, bacon wrapped pork loin, bacon wrapped chicken, bacon on pizza; all terrible. Bacon isn’t like eggs; you can’t poach it, boil it, or bake it, so why on earth would anyone think it makes sense to put it in an oven? It’s like steaming a T-bone steak.

I love bacon and take pride in cooking it properly; not too crispy but no pieces of raw fat either. When you cook the bacon in a frying pan and the fat renders out and then helps cook the strips of bacon evenly. When you wrap bacon around something and bake it in an oven there is no such effect and you end up with a pile of disgusting half raw bacon fat.

Wrapping something in bacon is essentially just a way of saying that you either don’t know how to add flavour to a chicken breast or scallop or are not interested in making the effort. If you really want to add some flavour to something using some salty and flavourful meat then use something thin that cooks quickly like prosciutto. Or you could just google “scallop recipe” and pick one that doesn’t involve bacon.

Though wrapping things in bacon is the worst misuse of bacon, putting bacon on pizza is not far behind. Even in the hottest of pizza ovens the bacon will still be half raw. There is absolutely no reason why you would ever need to put bacon on a pizza. If you want a salty meat on your pizza just use pepperoni or ham.

Bacon is meant to be eaten at breakfast with eggs and toast. If you want to be adventurous and use it outside of breakfast than make yourself a BLT or club sandwich. If you ever feel tempted to use bacon for anything else than stop what you’re doing and go buy yourself a cookbook.