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At a suggestion of a colleague, I went over to Naturally Yours Grocery in the attempts to locate a box of whole grain bread mix. I wanted a guide rather than buying all the sundries and actually figuring how to utilize what little baking skills I have. After a few minutes of roaming the aisles that housed nary a molecule of sodium benzoate, I was guided by an eager employee who pointed out the bread mixes. “Wow jackpot,” I thought, staring at 50 or mixes. Then it I read closer. These items were “gluten free” mixes ranging from blueberry to the generic white bread mixes. Yuck, take out the only thing that gives bread any substance and over charge for the privilege of eating sawdust, no thanks.

 

Saddened by this development, I left this aisle and pursued the store a little more. A few aisles, over I came to gawk for a time at amount of all natural pet food while a Futurama quote danced in my head at that moment:

Leela: What do you people want?
Free Waterfall Junior: We’re with mankind for ethical animal treatment. Popplers are little creatures. You got to stop harvesting them for food.
Bender: Or what?
FWJ: Or…we’ll boycott Fishy Joe’s.
Leela: You’re vegetarians. Who cares what you do?
FWJ: Shut up!
Leela: Animals eat other animals. It’s nature.
FWJ: No it isn’t. We taught a lion to eat tofu.
Lion: *cough* *pause* *cough*
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This thought led to another. I thought about my cat’s desire to imbibe all-natural foods. To this point, the only all-natural things he ate are crickets and the occasional dim-witted spider.

image I kept walking and found a smaller area, which was pay dirt. To make for an easy choice, here was only one type of whole grain bread mix, All Natural Arrowhead Mills Organic Multigrain Bread Mix, so I picked along with an all-natural peppermint chewing, Glee Gum, with “rainforest chicle” in the checkout lane. This was definitely an impulse buy. The package had a fair representation of the Fallout Guy from the game series of the same name. In the car, I tried a few pieces. The favor kept for roughly five seconds before reverting to rainforest resin. It is the last time that I buy food based on a game character.

At home, I awoke the bread maker from its slumber. It had been a second hand gift from my stepmom last Christmas and it the time I did not want to dawn the hat of a baker. This racquet brought out my previously mentioned feline, Shinji, to inspect the goings on. Jumping on the counter he just stared at me with the typical “I am too cool for you” cat expression during the set up process.

Once complete, he took note of the new addition to the kitchen appliances. The stared at me as to say, “Dude, go back to the microwave, remember the last time were creative in the kitchen, in the fridge you detonated many bottles of overly yeasty homemade beers. You want to have DHS to visit again? It’s Getmo for sure this time.” After a while, he decided that the open kitchen window was more appealing than seeing the dawn of my humiliation and wandered off to bird watch.

Directions (If you want to make this too, or a close facsimile)

 

  1. Dissolve 7 grams yeast in warm (85 degree F water) for five minutes to active it

I looked into the bread maker at the small pile of the living organisms and thought, “oh well, so much or reading directions” and proceeded to Step 2. I enjoyed their usage of the metric system in this step as everything else is in standard measures. The yeast must have emigrated from Britain.

 

  1. Add 19 oz. of bread mix and stir

  1. 3 tbsp. of Canola Oil OR unsweetened applesauce.

Canola must be some weird whole grain oil that I don’t use, so I added sweetened apple sauce…a small container of it. I do like apples and now the bread can be used as a fruit for the Extreme Fitness Challenge.

 

  1. 3 tbsp. of honey

I combed through my pantry for some honey and noticed that mine had separated into the component elements–yellow and sugar. Instead, I spiked the mix with molasses from another failed experiment is kitchen chemistry, cookies. Molasses does differ slightly in that it tastes more like a burned out conifer forest rather than sugary goo, but it does have a tad bit of sweetness.

 

  1. 1 cup + 1 tbsp. of water or only 1 cup if using apple sauce

I noted the change and used 1 cup only, but I forgot to warm that water a little before mixing from Step 1. I hope the yeast critters don’t mind.

 

  1. I set the bread maker. It is one of those idiot-proof ones that does the work for you, bonus. I set it up for Whole Grain, large loaf, and darker crust since I thought it would remove any excess liquid that I included with the applesauce. It spit out 3:55 and I started it in its journey. The maker attacked the ingredients with such virulence that it made my Sauder table shimmy along the linoleum.

Outcome

 

I expected something more in the lines of course sawdust, but happily, it was better. Like most whole grain breads, it was dryish, but nothing a drink of water cannot cure. The crust was thick and chewy without much flavor except when biting into the occasional flax seed. The insides tasted much like a Milk Bone, only slightly moister. Putting butter on it was ineffectual as it sopped up all traces of liquid, quickly reverting to its dry bread state. This does not make it an ideal candidate for a good PB&J sandwich. It is more of a cheese and meat type needing someone to triple its caloric output by adding sharp cheddar cheese and sausage log meat.

 

Good:

  • It has an understated flavor that will enhance the taste of any fattening food place on top.

  • It stays fresh. E.g. doesn’t dry out since it is already died out.

  • Organic

  • Good source of fiber

Bad:

  • Getting through the crust takes jaw strength or a really keen kitchen knives.

  • It is useless to put any fruit product on top since it will emaciate the spread.

  • The ungrounded seeds attach themselves to your teeth. So have some toothpicks on hand for extraction.

Ugly:

  • Albus thinks it is a new brand of cat food.

Verdict: Not bad, but I will stay with the store bought stuff.

Confessions of a Fruit Taster

Originally, this piece was done for a work contest, but I decided to post it here.

On Friday, I choose to pursue the first choice of challenges. My original plan was to do the second one by doing a little yard work this weekend until I realized that I fettered most of the week studying instead of doing anything remotely active. This meant to increase my activity; I needed to go out into the bright sunlight for an overly large number or hours. This would have put a crimp my effort to power up my troll warrior Ditaz so he could do battle against the forces of light, borderline aching carpal tunnel not withstanding.

So, I choose to discover two fruits that I have not had before. Now, I did realize that I have eaten most types of fruits I encountered, but this is a “challenge” and it seemed to be in the week two pamphlet to test my resolve. My first expedition, going to Kroger, ended in abject failure. It seems the store is not on the leading edge of biodiversity as the most exotic fruit was a cantaloupe grown out of season. I left Kroger and my travels finally revealed two fruits that I have not yet tasted.

#1 Pluot (from Chile)

 

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I choose this as it looked the least threatening of all fruits surveyed. Upon closer inspection, the outside kind reminded me of what my mind’s eye thought a Zed would look like from the book World War Z. Since the food processing company was kind enough to encase it in wax to prevent spoilage, it emitted no smell. This just reaffirmed my suspicions about it being the undead.

When I purchased it, the checkout rang up as “Dinosaur Egg.” As I put it in the bag, I thought this a computer error, but later surmised it to be a fruit from the Mesozoic era, and like petroleum, it takes a while to ripen for human consumption. Unfortunately after I ate it, Wikipedia dashed all hopes of dining on a fruit that a Triceratops might have enjoyed. It is a name brand, and the fruit is just crossbreed of a plum and apricot curtsey of the Umbrella Corporation Zager’s Genetics.

Back to the fruit. In palming it, the puolt has a slightly squishy feel and smooth outside. When opened, bit into as it were, it displayed a reddish colored inside. With the wax out of the way, it wafted a smell much like a peach. The meat was firm to the bite, so I suspect that I should have let ripen for another eon or two. Its taste is slightly acidic and very sweet much like a mix between a grape and peach. In thinking about it more, it was like eating an oversized grape with a pit inside. Overall, it was kinda refreshing and enjoyable.

 

#2 Ugli (from Jamaica, mon)

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With trepidation, the next fruit I chose was an ugly wrinkled orange. At close range, the ugli looks like an off colored hedgeapple that fell too far from the tree. Like the pluot, it had a squishy feel to it. However, unlike the aforementioned, it did not have a wax encasement to prevent the fruit from exhibiting its floral and citrusy scent that reminded me of Suave’s citrus shampoo. My hopes were that it wouldn’t taste like soap or even Mr. Bubbles.

It took a knife to hack open its thick skin. Once opened, it emitted a strong citrus scent much like a good citrus fruit. Innards are slightly reddish, like a grapefruit before you add a mound of sugar to cover the icky after taste. When consuming it, I thought it was an overly juicy orange relative. It was so juicy that put a ripe peach to shame. It has a very light sweet and citric taste. It must have been ripe because it peeled quite easily.

There were no seeds, so it must have been be a genetically modified freak fruit. However, I could not force myself to look down on the lonely ugli. I personally dislike seeds so viva genetic manipulation! Again, Wikipedia came along with its so-called facts and dashed my hopes that it was a truly unique fruit. It seems that it is a cross between a tangelo and grapefruit. Why do I keep going back to that web site if it keeps telling me that I actually didn’t eat anything unique this week?

My verdict: yum. It has a flavor that I would expect a good citrus fruit to have. It is juicy, a mix of slightly sweet and sour, and easy to peel. What kept me fruit procuring more they cost so much. It is the F-22 Stealth fighter of fruits.