holy shiitake! it’s burger day on pmk!

so there is this thing called the mushroom swiss burger.  honestly, when it is cooked properly, it tastes like true love.  or magic. or maybe both.

unfortunately, this story isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

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college, nostalgia, and the beloit bagel.

college is a magical time for almost everybody.  sure, it has its ups and downs.  i think being a freshman is terrible for a lot of people, and i had a rough time my senior year because i just wanted to get out into the world.  that being said, during my middle years, i had not a care in the world.  my highlights included going to a few classes between partying, ordering enough pizza people got fatter by just entering the room, and making all sorts of stupid hasty decisions about what my future held.  ah, i miss it.

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hakuna frittata: it’s a problem-free philosophy.

when i remembered all the delicious edibles sitting in fridge last weekend, it was pretty close to too late.  i had some broccoli, almost a whole head of garlic that was ready to sprout, and a few slices of well-marbled bacon.  to throw away such a bounty would have been a travesty.  i decided to act quickly.

i thought, “i’ll make frittata.”

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summertime, and the living’s izu.

i’ll admit it, i loved summer break as a kid.  summer meant making nachos everyday in the microwave, playing video games, and frolicking outside until i got so sunburned my skin started to peel.  ah, memories.

but looking back, i never truly appreciated summer for what it was when i was a kid.  it was just a long period of time without school, which made it inherently good.  i could have spent my summers in a junkyard or on the sub-zero front lawn of a gulag and i probably still would have had a blast.

in other words, summer isn’t for the kids.  it is for the teachers.

here’s a quick list (in no particular order) of what i did this summer vacation.

  • hopped on a plane and went to the good old usa
  • saw my family for the first time in six months
  • spent as much time as i could with my best friend/love of my life
  • drank cheap beer
  • enjoyed top-notch missouri humidity
  • ate a truly appalling amount of meat and starch
  • evened out my heinous farmer’s tan
  • played with my cats
  • fired up the smoker

and so, as summer draws to a close here in japan, i figured i would cook a tremendous (see: over-sized, far to big for one human to finish) meal to celebrate all the good times i had.  and here’s what i came up with.

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italian club: rescued from the pmk archives.

i have been told that some people feel something called “nostalgia” when they look through old photos they have saved on their hard drive.  i think if i had photos of places and people and events, i might know what that feels like.  instead, i have photos of delicious, delicious food.  and then only thing i end up feeling is the saliva running down my chinny chin chin.

here’s a gem i rescued from the depths of my sd card.

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the club sandwich: and i’m not even a member.

the term “club sandwich” is misleading for a lot of people.  some people think it is a particular sandwich composed of cold cuts, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayo.  some people attach the word club to a frilly toothpick.  still others qualify any sandwich that has three pieces of bread as a club sandwich

because it doesn’t seem like this issue will be settled any time soon, i decided that i too should contribute to the quagmire of opinions.  if you ask me, a club sandwich, rather than being defined by its contents, seems to be defined by its shape and the sides with which it is served.

some club sandwiches contain roast beef, some contain mustard, some are served with pickles and still others are not.  but i challenge you to find a restaurant version of the club sandwich that isn’t cut into triangles and served with a side of some form of potatoes (whether chips or fries or potato salad).  although it might seem strange, it makes sense to me that the defining feature of a club sandwich is its sides and the manner in which it is plated (namely, cut twice instead of in half).

my personal club sandwich contains bacon, tomato, and three pieces of toasted bread, but that is where the similarities to your run-of-the-mill restaurant club end.  homemade chips, homemade condiments, and crispy home-cured bacon make my club a homey force to be reckoned with.

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breakfast: an american tradition.

i love breakfast, and i’m not ashamed to say it.  i can honestly and with 100% confidence say that, especially in the states, it is one of the most under-appreciated (if not completely ignored) meals in the course of a single day.  i make sure to wake up nice and early almost every day (including the weekends, i know i’m crazy) to make myself a good old-fashioned 1950’s style breakfast.

and as an avid breakfast fan, i’m here to tell you that while breakfast might not scientifically be proven as the most important meal of the day, it can easily become the meal that sets the pace for an entire 24 hours.  suffice to say, cereal won’t cut it.  if you start your day with cereal and some milk everyday, you are going to be sluggish and starving by lunch time.  it just isn’t good for you.

personally, i make sure to eat hearty.  eggs are a staple, and i always make an effort to include some fresh veggies and little bit of starch, too.  in all honesty, the only food group that i regularly completely ignore is fruit.  i’m not too big on sweet stuff, and high concentrations of sugar tend to make you crash later in the day.

today i was in rare form.  i woke up nice and early, made a big pot of coffee, and got to work.  my farmer friends have thrown produce at me left and right this month, so i resolved to use as much of the fresh goodies as i good today.  the result was absolutely delicious, super manly, and chock full of nutrients.

sometimes you just have to wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and remind yourself that you are from ‘merica.  and today was one of those days.

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