Monday, November 04, 2013

No-Restaurant November, Day 1

Thankfully, the adventures at this "super-markets" thing have come to a close, and I have emerged with that most masculine of human needs: beef.

Today will be a beef stew to be frozen, peppers with tuna rice to be frozen, and mashed potatoes to be frozen.  Also, bacon wrapped beef, spare rice, pasta...  An incredible amount of food goes into a week when you're not just grabbing bacon egg and cheeses from Dunkin Doughnuts.  It's crazy.  It's daunting.  The sheer quantity of food to prepare for a week is like the Starks preparing for winter.  Presuming, of course, they weren't all fictional.  And dead.  But unlike Game of Thrones, let's make something happen here!

[an hour later] How do people make this much food?  Do people just have a recurring Google calendar event?  I haven't chopped this much celery since I was doing foley for a horror film.  The mountain of carrots are all staring back at me wondering why I want to kill them all at once.  I imagine this is what daddy carrots tell baby carrots to scare them into going to bed at night.

[two hours later]  My god, the potatoes, they never end!  I feel like I angered the captain of a World War 2 submarine.  "I'm sorry mein capitan!  Das potatoes will be peeled in a veek.  I vill never call you a sour kraut again."  My hands have seized into claw-like potato holding appendages, with each peel being a twitch of my frozen musclelogs.  We need to start breeding these things without skins.  Or genetically modify them to self-peel.  We've done more horrifying things, genetically.

[three hour later]  Two cans of tuna were entirely green on the inside.  Is that normal?  Smelling them makes me feel... woozy.  But a good kind of woozy.  A healthy woozy.  Is that the tuna talking?
I had been wondering if tuna-stuffed peppers freeze well.  This may not be the right question.  Like all things jammed into a freezer, I'm sure they'll freeze just fine.  Will they unfreeze well?  I usually associate words like "fresh" and "crisp" with both vegetables and frozen things.  So... what could possibly go wrong?  Hmm... there are more batteries in the freezer than actual food.


[six hours later] It's done.  My masterwork of food is finally done.  Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go eat a yogurt.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

No-Restaurant-November: an urbanite's quest to survive at the supermarket

You have to understand something about me:  I'm an annoying urbanite whose idea of growing-your-own-food usually involves grow-lights, basements, and some form of hip-sounding tea.  This isn't entirely the fault of liberal media and ivory-tower introspection: vegetables are just amazingly expensive here.  Nothing grows in Boston, other than systemic resentment of the government and Red Socks fans.  Avocados are $2 each.  Tomatoes require monthly payments.  And so the idea of needing food, and then cooking it, doesn't have as strong as an influence here as other regions of the country.

Or I'm just really lazy.

Well, it's time for that to end the vicious cycle of food outsourcing.  Today, I declare No-Restaurant-November!  A heroic quest for this city folk to prove it is possible for him to survive on just food that he made for himself for a month.  We will be reaching back in time all the way back to 1995, before the dot-com-boom made sushi into a something you put into your baby's pacifier.  We will be making food the traditional way humanity has done it for thousands of years... Not by webbing Foodler, but by opening pre-packaged freeze-dried protein, cooking it, and freezing it again.
Today is Day 1 of No-Restaurant-November, and it's time to buy some pre-processed food-like substances.  It may seem completely normal to you, but the local supermarket is a baffling array of choices, all of which are bad.  The canned vegetables aisle, for example, has a thousand different types of beets, baby carrots, canned tomatoes, and other things no sane human would want, all packaged in enough salt to kill a water buffalo.  There is an aisle devoted to dehydrated potato powders of various types, which is interesting considering there is also an aisle of dehydrated potato slices and (for the truly adventuresome) an aisle of just potatoes.  Why you'd need all three, and why they're not next to each other, is beyond me.  The dairy section isn't anywhere near the beef section, nor are chickens close to eggs.  And the frozen food is separated from the regular food by haircare and cat litter.  Clearly, there is some sort of advanced commentary upon society going on here.  Hopefully, with a little more study I can understand the machinations of this fascinating giant corporate behemoth.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

How much blood for oil?

"No blood for oil! No blood for oil!"

It's a nice, easy sentiment that can be rallied around. It plays well in the media, and it appeals to our outer good guys.  Our inner bad guys, however, would probably trade our son's favorite toy to pay off our mortgage.  Everything, even oil, has a price. How much oil is one gallon of blood really worth? And are we getting our blood's value? Let's take a quick look.

So, in a morbid bit of politics, the Obama administration values the dollar value of a single life at 6.1 million. (The EPA, by comparison, thinks you're worth %50 more than that.) The human body has only 1.5 gallons of blood inside of it, so that's 4 million dollars per gallon of blood. Gas just hit 4.60 dollars per gallon, for an exchange rate of 869,000 gallons of oil per gallon of blood.  We can work with that number.

According to Wikipedia, in the past 11 years in the war on terror, the US has had 9,954 servicemen dead, 83,872 injured, 6 missing. That gives a total casualty figure of 93,832 people over the past 11 years, or 12,795 gallons of blood per year. So we should be getting 11,118,855,000 gallons of oil per year paid for in blood. As oil is commonly traded in 42-gallon barrels, that's 264,734,642 barrels of oil.

We consume 7 billion barrels of oil per yer. Our blood-paid stock should therefore cover about 3.7% of our oil usage. So the next time you're at the pump paying for $4.60 per gallon gas, give a thought to the people who gave their blood, so that it wouldn't cost $4.77.