Brett Rants


It's what's for Christmas!

This was taken on the River Walk, Chicago River, showing lanterns arranged all nicely, one lantern in the near foreground, a line trailing back, and I think that is the wrigley building behind it all, the river to the side
This was taken at the Heart of the Season. Does it feel like Christmas to you?

A Christmas Light Display in the shape of an airplane as seen through the prismatic glasses that they were handing out during the lighting ceremony
How about this? I'd say this was a bit more in line with the Trippy-Dippy Holiday Spirit.

Um, why, who, what, a box right outside the back service entrance, it cannot be good, my shadow to the side, foreboding danger, if anything ever did
But this? I've got to admit, the first thing that came to mind was Body Parts. And to be honest, I wasn't aware that I needed any...

The Arrival

No knock on the door. No call. No letter. To be honest, I'm surprised it ever found it's way.

Waiting for me in the dark of the night after a long walk in the chill was this box? Cooler? Package? Or what?

Seriously, what?

Of course, you've already read the title of this post; and so, you know the throwaway cooler contained dry ice (lots of dry ice, fun for a girl and a boy) and meat: carnivorous, red blood eating, meat.

There was so much of it, it was sort of annoying at first. I mean, the freezer was already full... to the point of over-loading, I would say. But an hour later, it was all put away. The hassle of reorganizing it all was over. And I'd done a bit of inventory, cataloguing the take. So, I was quite pleased.

I mean, it is odd that one of my reactions to being sent a quarter ton (give or take) of meat was a bit of annoyance. Talk about a jerk. But in my defence, I really did think the freezer was full. But what do you know! Some of it was peas... and we can toss those to make room for meat.

Eh, I kid. Of the things thrown out to make room was a half dozen bananas that may (or may not) have someday been made into banana bread and a loaf or two of frozen bread that made their way into refrigerator.

And then, there was nothing left to do but read the invoice, start planning meals, and (most importantly) figure out how I could turn this entire thing into a project.

I know!

I'll keep track of how I eat it all.

Glory Be!

Praise Be the Food!

Which may seem a wee-bit sacrilegious to some; but then, consider the Body of Christ is nothing more than Bread.

Food is what keeps us going.

And wine is what allows us to calm our nerves and stick together.

So clearly, I am hoping for a case of the good stuff (to round things out) in the year to come.

Here Be The Meals

I tried to list everything out. But I may have missed a meal or two. As such, you might want to compare what is written with the Shipping Invoice... handily excluded from this posting. So, I guess you're just going to have to take my word for it all.

Top Sirloin: not holiday quality... not bad... but not, um, remarkable

Chicken Fried Steak: with homemade gravy and stuffing... better than I remember chicken fried steak... filling

Burgers: double cheeseburger with horseradish-ketchup... light... tender... juicy. I'm guessing, a minimum of handling (as these are individually packaged patties) is the trick. The repeat the next day with even more pepper was even more better.

Darkened Hamburger: (not black) a single party with buttered bread, leftover broccoli, and grapes made for a full meal: tough, full bodied, sort of like a cubed steak.

Hamburger: on a slice of rye with horseradish ketchup and a side of smashed potatoes. This (list, don't you know) is starting to get list-like, which is just as well (as that's the way the project evolved). In the end, the meal was highly utilitarian.

Top Sirloin: with sumac spice (which turned out to be lightly citric in flavour) and a salad. Delightful. But it's just a steak, in the end. And in truth, if I were buying the steaks, they'd be 5-10x larger with a bone and a lot more fat. So, it's hardly apples to apples... or steak to steak, as the case may be.

Hamburger: accompanied by smashed potatoes, corn, sour cream, salsa and a few tortilla chips; so, a hamburger as utility food.

Patties: eaten as a double bacon barbecue cheeseburger on a bed of lettuce. Feel free to call it health food if you want. I'm calling it yummy.

Scrambled Meat Omelet: two crumbled hamburger patties, eight strips of crispy bacon, two eggs, and loads of barbecue sauce. I almost forgot the cheddar cheese. And that's what I like to call an American Fry Up. I hope I remember the potatoes next time.

Nachos: now, here's using the patties as a commodity: two patties, onions, and salsa over chips with melted cheese and sour cream

Pork Chop: (the first of those), stuffing, smashed potatoes (the last of those) with apple balsamic dressing

Sausage: onions, red peppers, all a bit burnt. Sweet... sweeter than I would normally buy. They cry out for mustard. In the end, it was a quick and easy meal that had me eating semi-healthy.

Chicken Fried Steak: with peas and mushroom sauce. The next meal being the same (i.e. leftovers) only with sour cream and more pepper.

Sausage: fry up with tomatoes, onions, and broccoli, relying on the juice from the meat to provide flavour.

Meatballs: frozen chopped spinach and leftover apricot dressing (apricots, apricot preserves, onions, broccoli). I carried the sauce forward, reusing it wholesale, which is about as grand of praise as one can make for a sauce. Nice tender meatballs. Perhaps, a bit bland. Good for three servings.

Potatoes au Gratin: with a medley of leftovers: hamburger, liver cheeseburger, peas. Um, nothing to write home about. The liver cheeseburger stood out more than anything else. And I don't even know if contained liver or not.

Apricot Pork Stew: with provided spice packet, apricot jelly, a tomato going bad and on the way out (eh, we'll put in two), along with leftover onion, zucchini, and a cucumber, which I thought was more zucchini, so I can hardly blame The Steak Guys if this meal sucks. I was going to eat the stew with some leftover stuffing on the side, but I decided to mix that in, as well. And this is no longer looking like a tasty dish, the length of the description, perhaps, being inversely proportional to the quality of the meal. But in the end, it was very tasty. Luckily, the stuffing had enough flavour to carry the dish. And the cucumbers turned into 'fresh pickles'.

Salsa Slop: meatballs, spice packet, salsa, water, onions, and spinach. Slop (of this sort) sort of grows on you. In the end, the dish incorporated the meatballs as if they were a commodity item.

The last two steaks: (I was wrong about these being the last two) with cheese potato balls (part of the frozen food delivery), apricot stuffing, and frozen fruit... along with a few of the caramel apple tarts (also, part of the delivery) for desert. The tarts are fine, but not wondrous. While the steaks are laughably mediocre. I mean, they are not bad. But this is not $20/lb stuff. I like the cheese potato balls. Actually, I've enjoyed it all. And getting the box was an experience. But for the money, I could be eating anything. And there is little chance these steaks are what I would decide upon.

Carmel Apple Crisps: make a nice dessert. I am pleased with those. Better than expected. Of course, nothing like homemade.

Meatballs: over rice with leftover Chinese Take-Out sweet and spicy sauce... after adding some additional mustard and soy sauce

Apple Popover: as a desert with pizza. It hit the spot.

Apple Popover: au natural.

{And that's a wrap. There are a few last pieces of meat in the freezer (probably two each: pork chops and steaks). But the bulk of the delivery is gone. And the remainder will (likely) be eaten as commodity food... or as part of a project ending pot of chili.}

Final Chili: two pork chops, half pound hot italian sausage, a can each of tomatoes, corn, and beans, along with the full fixings for chili: salsa, sour cream, cheese, and chips.

Final-Final Steak Salad: steak, corn, lime juice, soy sauce, and black pepper. If either the tomatoes or cucumbers had been good, I would have used one or the other. Served at room temperature.

Post Gorge Debriefing

Delivering multiple containers of this kind of the thing to the same household all at once could be a bit of a gag gift. They came with dry ice, so they were going to last for a few days (two or three times the expected shipping time, let us assume). And if one were to then show up... well, I think we know what everyone is eating while Brett is in town.

I have the packing slip in front of me. I saved it specifically so I could reference it during the write-up. And I can go online and check prices. Thus, I do not believe value was delivered... in that, grocery store meat would be cheaper, more convenient, and in many cases of a higher quality.

On the other hand, the experience was quite fun. And I made a project of it all (i.e. this webpage). So, I am hardly going to complain. Also, those hamburger patties were pretty darn good. And if money were no object... well, I'd be eating Filet Mignon Burgers, so never mind.

But that's the mundane side and is looking at things the wrong way.

What did I get for Christmas this year?

A Feast that took eight months to complete and the inspiration for a fun little page on my website. So, I'm happy to think of that Box of Steaks as a Do-It-Yourself Cooking Kit (or something like that) and calling it a wrap.

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Yeah, I'd do it again.

No, I wouldn't hunt it out.

Sorry, I'm not going to be a future customer... except as a gag. I can really see this working as a gag.

Refrigerator Overload!

Must Cook Meat Now!

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