Category: The Culinary Institute


Excluding fast food (whose origins and processing techniques are always questionable), American food is not popular anywhere else in the world. It is the year 2005, and TGI Friday’s is the pinnacle of American dining.

There are certain foods that immediately come to mind when I think of foreign food…

China – sweet and sour chicken
Italy – pasta
Germany – massive sausage
Japan – sushi
France – baguettes
Mexico – grilled stuft burrito
North Korea – grass porridge

But the United States? Burgers.

All the popular American chefs take strong influences from other countries. Except for some Southern cooking, this country has little food culture.


Insomnia came over on Friday night for a barbecue, the first one of the year.

Those sideburns look pretty thick from the side.

Close up of the sauce application:

How do you prevent the massive fire that develops when the awesome grease from the burger drips down into the coals? That made my grilling skills look amateurish.

The result: Hawaiian pineapple burgers with twice-baked stuffed potatoes.

Saturday night it rained, and according to my new rule for 2005 that means I’m staying in because the only people who go out when it rains are hardcore clubbers, people you don’t want to spend time with.

Wow look, an artsy photo of nothing important.


I grew up next to Roy Rogers, an East Coast fast-food restaurant inspired by a famous film cowboy. I remember at age 12 my friends and I would bike up there, get a kids meal, and then sit down for an hour to free drink refills while management dissaprovingly stared us down. I eventually was able to buy adult items, usually the delicious roast beef or Gold Rush chicken sandwiches. So it was very upsetting when many of the Roy Rogers in Maryland started closing in the late 90’s (even the one in College Park got replaced by a McDonalds), though they seem to be making a comeback. I wonder if they stopped cooking french fries in the same oil vat as the fish sandwiches.

In honor of Roy Rogers, I recently made a roast beef sandwich with Mexican rice. The rice was alright but the sandwich was a little bland, even with homemade barbecue sauce.

This was the only time in my life I wish I had a free toppings bar.


Carrot cake is the best cake that man has ever created. The brown sugar. The walnuts. The powdered sugar based frosting. And of course the carrots. They combine to form a synergy that is more potent than any alcohol and anti-depressant pill combination.

Before you hate, this piece is sloped because it was at the edge.

I started giving pieces of the cake away (Spaniard was fortunate enough to have two), but it was so good that I stopped telling people about it until it was all gone. Only 400 calories per serving.


Introducing the most un-photogenic meal I’ve made:

It’s chicken breast coated in garlic butter and cornflakes with potato pancakes. The chicken was pretty tasty, but the potato pancakes were so bland I had to eat it with ketchup. And even then it wasn’t better than my hash browns, which take no prep time (versus the 20 minutes of peeling and shredding for the pancakes). The kitchen – and you, dear reader – have been shamed.


Every weekend morning I used to make pancakes with real maple syrup. It was my “thing”, something that a few of you reading right now got to enjoy (:amused:). After a couple years of carbohydrate heaven, I had to phase out pancakes because it didn’t have enough protein for my growing muscles. It felt like a dessert instead of the power breakfast that my body so desperately needed.

After months of breakfast experimentation, I have found a meal which satisfies me in every way: cheese and onion omelette with McDonalds style hash browns:

The key to the omelette is using one tablespoon of butter, which acts as a mini-remedy for hangover grumpiness. Served with hot salsa, the tingling sensation in your mouth refreshes like a cold shower in the morning, similar to your last herpes breakout.

Cook your hash browns enough so it’s slightly crunchy on the outside and gentle soft on the inside. My hash brown experiments have concluded that garlic salt, pepper, and ketchup are the best toppers.