Archive for the ‘Terrible Takeout’ Category

If you have ever been to a fast food taco chain (of which we only really have two in Canada) then you should know the evil they have wrought on the innocent french fry. At the one chain you can drop a few extra dollars for them to add taco meat, the mysterious orange cheese fluid, onions, tomatoes and sour cream on your fries. At the other major chain the do the same thing to “mexi-fries” which is a trademarked name for “tater tots” which is in itself a trademark name for “pressed potato peelings with a floor sweeping crust.”

No matter where you go, the result is the same, when you get to the center of the dish you find that all the liquids piled on top of the fries/tots has turned it into a chunky paste that is difficult to swallow without gagging a little.

The problem is I really like the idea of taco fixings on tater tots. The execution is god awful and almost instantly regrettable but the idea seems to have merit. A few nights ago, as I pondered the cruelty of fate, the indifference of the universe, the delusional nature of the human race and the excessive build up of lint in my navel (deep thoughts indeed) I realized that it should be possible to re-create this dish at home without the gastrointestinal stress the fast food variety creates. I had a mission. A very, very fucking stupid mission.

I donned my usual cooking attire. Some people prefer an apron, others just like to put on something grubby and roll their sleeves up. Because I live alone, I prefer to strip down to a pair of boxers and get to work.

For clarification:

– Yes, I actual do this.
– Yes, I am aware that it is disturbing.
– Yes, even when I am cooking bacon.
– Yes, that does sting like crazy.

So with the non-judgmental breeze from the hood fan caressing my chest hair I set out to make history.

1) Fry up some burger, add taco seasoning.This was my first hurdle as I realized I don’t actually buy taco seasoning. I buy taco kits with the seasoning in them. Between the pre-packaged seasoning and the square bottomed tacos that stand up on a plate I have labeled the taco kit one of mankind’s greatest creations. As I was just about to break open my last kit to get at the powdery goodness inside I remember that my parents bought me a small pack of taco seasoning (along with a shit load of powdered gravy) when I moved out on my own. Umm, dried powder doesn’t go bad does it? I should be fine…

2) Chopped tomato, salsa, sour cream, onions, shredded cheddar – The salsa probably could have been a little more full bodied. It was a weak no name store brand that was more liquid than chunk. The cheese I sort of assumed would be a waste. Even the strongest, oldest and rankest cheddar was probably not going to have the goods to overpower salsa and primordial taco seasoning. It was mostly just there to add calcium and orange colouring, more to comfort the mind with it’s presence than to actually effect flavour. The onions I browned in a fry pan because raw onions and I don’t get along. I am pretty sure cooked onions and I aren’t the best of friends either but at least they are more subtle about their hate. Tomato and sour cream are pretty hard to fuck up.

3) I was definitely going to have to brown up the tater tots. With all the added weight of the toppings combined with the liquid nature of some of them (sour cream and salsa) they were going to have to stay crisp in the face of adversity. I kept watch through the oven door, waiting for the moment when they were as crisp and brown as they could get without ending up burnt. My apartment building is apparently very serious about fire detection. The detector is hardwired into the suite’s electrical AND has a battery back up. Needless to say I was not eager to test the response times of the local fire hall today.

Presentation: Hmm, I needed sides, that much was clear. It wasn’t going to sit right on a plate and all of my bowls are either too small or too big. In the end I settled for a plastic microwave container. I am classy as fuck.

Result: Well, not the raving success I had hoped for. The cheese was pointless as expected. It didn’t so much add a cheese flavour as much as subtly hinted that cheese was a flavour out there in the broader world and some day I might actually get to taste it. Sadly the tater tots didn’t add much either. They were sufficiently crisp and stayed that way to the last bite but they were overpowered by the taco meat and salsa to such a degree that it was like biting into a crispy null space in the middle of my food. I could have replaced the tater tots with Styrofoam packing peanuts and not noticed the difference. I could have used up a taco kit and been 100 times happier.

Lasting effects: Currently unknown. I have little hope that this meal will sit well and not come back to haunt me tomorrow morning. That said, it went down well enough and hasn’t threatened any of my vital organs yet. I guess if you don’t see me post anything else then you will know not to try this at home.

Rancid Monke

You know how I know I am getting old? Whenever I walk into a food court now I know that there isn’t a single place I can go eat that won’t cause later violent bowel distress. Even the more healthy options are guaranteed to take the short and distressing trip through my colon like a fat kid on a greased water slide.

None of it even tastes very good any more. I sit down to a burger and fries and all I really notice is how bland it is under the mountain of sauces. I could pour myself a big cup of mustard and ketchup and pretty much achieve the same flavour experience. I think that is why most of those places are so liberal with the onion use. Nothing like violently assaulting your taste buds with raw onion to make you ignore the flavour of grade F beef.

When I was a kid this food was like the golden standard. It was the mark of a delicious meal that it came with moist towelettes and individual satchels of ketchup. Now my golden standard is any home cooked meal I didn’t have to make myself. If I get to put 0 effort in and get to have a decent meal out the other end then I have had a successful day. I can cook, don’t get me wrong, but nothing tastes as amazing as something that was made while I got to sit on my ass contemplating my navel lint. 

Seriously though, who are all the people who won’t eat leftovers? What the hell is their problem? Like somehow the perfectly acceptable meal from last night has somehow become inedible in the span of a night in the fridge? Maybe you need to CLEAN THE DAMN FRIDGE THEN! You people irk the shit out of me, that is all I am saying.
Rancid Monke