In other bracketology news, Garden and Gun magazine has put together their Ultimate Southern Food Bracket. Last year, shrimp and grits nosed out pulled pork as the ultimate victor, to the surprise of many. After the first round, there have been a few more shocking upsets this year. Peach cobbler over a country ham biscuit? Beignets over fried catfish? I think there are some Yankees voting here.
But, as most thinking people are apt to discover, your tastes and preferences (and maybe even your prejudices) tend to change as the years go by. I now drive a sensible sedan. My hair is back to its natural color, and I've grown a beard. I've learned that there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure. Oh, and I now love Dr. Pepper, have a begrudging respect for 'nanners and go absolutely gaga over cinnamon.
To quote Jerry Seinfeld, cinnamon "should be on tables at restaurants along with salt and pepper. Anytime anyone says, 'Oh, this is so good. What's in it?,' the answer invariably comes back, 'Cinnamon.' Cinnamon! Again and again!"
Which got me to thinking. Why do I like cinnamon so much now, when not but a few years ago I'd have sooner eaten my Sauconys? After doing extensive research (OK, so I poked around the Internet for an hour or so), I'm pleased to report I have the answer.
It turns out I'm just getting old.
Here's how it works: Most of us have between 50 and 150 taste receptors on our tongues, which are clustered in our taste buds. Depending on how many taste receptors you have, you may prefer salty or spicy foods (as yours truly), or you may end up preferring more bitter foods, sugar substitutes and things like dry red wine.
Having a good recipe and the right ingredients on hand makes it easier, which is where Whole Foods gift card and pantry list comes in pretty handy.
Commenter jblank takes the gift card with a recipe for Tuscan Tuna and White Bean Salad that sounds good for lunch, dinner or potluck, whether you're trying to eat better, or just hungry for something with loads of flavor and protein.
Jblank, message me to claim your card, nwood(at)nashvillescene(dot)com
Here's the winning recipe again.
Tuscan Tuna and White Bean Salad
1 (5-ounce) can water-packed tuna, drained and flaked
1 (19-ounce) can cannellini beans (or about 2 1/3 cups), rinsed and drained
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and sliced
1/3 cup sliced red onion rings
1 garlic clove, finely chopped (or I just use 1/8 tsp garlic powder, making sure that it's distributed well)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley or basil
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/3 cup red wine vinaigrette or Italian dressing
Combine the tuna, beans, tomatoes, onion, garlic, parsley or basil, and ground pepper.
Mix in the dressing and toss to combine; chill. Goes well with leafy greens or flatbread.
This photo was posted on Facebook. If you're as amused as I was, thank me profusely for brightening your day. If you're offended, blame City Paper editor Steve Cavendish, who sent it to me and suggested I post it.
Let's start out by announcing the winner of our Boggs Bites Back hot sauce giveaway. Thanks to the gods of random number generation, the winner is reader Ryan Moses who sang the praises of Jonbalaya's Tiger Wings. I know Ryan personally, so there's no need to track him down to get him his winnings. Let that be a lesson to all you anonymous commenters to come out of the shadows and make it easier on us to give you free stuff.
Another fun little tidbit came our way courtesy of Twitter-friend @annshayne. Ann is also the author of the hilarious Mason-Dixon Knitting blog. She corresponds online with her friend Kay who lives in Manhattan, and these two talk about a lot more than just knitting, that's for sure. You should definitely check them out. Ann is also apparently locked in a fierce battle with local author Ann Patchett to see who will have the most popular class at USN Evening Classes. I know, shockingly it isn't one of my classes. (No accounting for taste. ... )
Ann pointed me to a fun little website that I'm pretty sure some restaurants i town have been using to plan their menus. The Random Gourmet Food Generator takes all those pretentious foodie terms and makes mash ups of fictional dishes. Trout Burger with Delicious Hot Dog Stroganoff? I'm pretty sure I saw that on the menu at The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden. Mock-Duck Scramble topped with Tortilla Pie? Sounds like a tayst dish, for sure. If you're looking for a culinary challenge, just give it a spin and try to create a menu for Sunday supper.
Cast your mind back to December 21, when Bites offered a cookbook for the cleverest caption for an image of a man with a bacon headdress.
The prospect of owning the New Southern Garden Cookbook resulted in a slew of funny answers on the porcine minotaur.
Now that Christmas madness has been stuffed back into its closet, and cookieless, boozeless January has moved in its slippers and neti pot to nag about our habits, it's time to recognize and award the triumphal punster with a cookbook.
Two equally strong entries tied for best caption. Short and sweet clenched it for commenter RainandRoses ("The power of bacon compels you!"), while Terence's caption summed up the current climate of bacon worship ("Crisp it from here with the torch — I'm not dunking my head in the deep fryer a third time...")
Congrats, funny folk. Message me at nwood(at)nashvillescene.com for book pickup arrangements.
Anyway, if you're a member of the smartphone-empowered set, there's a fun new app out there that will help to streamline your quest for that elusive pillowy, sugary treat, the hot Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut. The Krispy Kreme® "Hot Light™" App (for iPhone and Android) allows you to enter your zip code into your phone and then receive notifications whenever a nearby Krispy Kreme has turned on the magical "Hot Doughnuts NOW" neon sign. There's also a widget you can download to the desktop of your computer.
It even works when you're traveling, since there are hundreds of Krispy Kreme locations in the U.S. To install the desktop widget or download the free app for your iPhone or Android device, visit the official Hot Light website.
You can win it for keeping or giving. Just write the bestest caption for this photo of crafty bacon headgear, and be available to pick up the book from the Scene's office. We'll announce a winner next week.
It appears that some folks affiliated with Mangia Nashville, calling themselves The Men of La Mangia, have released a five-song Christmas EP, A Very Mangia Christmas, featuring classics like "Jingle Bell Rock," "Dominic the Donkey," "Shake Hands With Santa Claus" and "Christmas Tears." And last but not least: If you listen to nothing else Christmas-related this holiday season, you must hear this version of "Twas the Night Before Christmas," à la Christopher Walken. Seriously. It's incredible.
You can download the whole EP here — for free. How's that for the Christmas spirit?
So who are The Men of La Mangia, you ask? According to the website:
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