Tag Archives: food

Food Porn

By Vicki Hughes   Posted August 5, 2013

I love Pinterest as much as the next girl. It is my saving grace when I’m too lazy to read, and John has the SyFy Channel on. But I have to tell you, I stay off of the food boards. Hanging out there is just an invitation to a full on food-porn addiction.

I stay safely over on the humor, crafts and photography boards, and even there, I’m not entirely safe from delectable food posts. Yesterday on a humor board, someone posted a picture of a mock up of Outback Steakhouse’s Alice Springs Chicken. It appeared to be four innocent chicken breasts in a Pyrex dish, that had first been trussed in bacon, then held down against their will while four pounds of cheddar cheese was dumped on them, and then broiled. There could be roadkill possum breast under there and you’d eat it. You’d eat it, and you’d like it.

Last week, as John was fiddling with the DVR (presumably to search for more shark movies), my head swiveled up from my book as I heard a food competition contestant say, “I’m making my Maple Bacon Cheesecake.” Really? can we get you a side of queso to dip each bite in? Perhaps a tiny ramekin filled with chocolate sprinkles to really make it sing?

Let me just say, I love food. We cook at least six nights a week, and we eat well. I didn’t join Weight Watchers for nothing. But come on. Unless you want to get winded from brushing your teeth, or have to drive to the mailbox to check your mail, you have to smarten up. Delicious, attractive food does not have to be breast stroking through a channel of melted cheese. Cheesecake does not need additional bacon. Ever.

If a Big Mac and a supersize fries and Coke require seven hours of walking to burn off, imagine the hike to Maine it would take to work off that cheesecake. Considering that most Americans don’t walk seven minutes a day, I think it might be wise to take Maple Bacon Cheesecake off the menu. Unless you’re hiking the Appalachian Trail, in which case, go for it. I’m sure the bears will appreciate the break from Snickers Bars, trail mix and Slim Jims.

Everytime I see an ad for the latest and greatest pizza…”Stuffed crust with fourteen different meats and no pesky vegetables to slow down your heart attack!” all I can think is, “Just what America needs.”


The Magic of Soup


By Vicki Hughes       Posted March 16, 2013

Soup is magical. It conjures up all that is good in the Universe. Love, hope, nourishment, comfort and sustenance. It tells us we will be okay and it’s fine to feel five years old once in a while.

Right after Christmas I had a cold. I went to work sick. I sneezed, and my nose ran through my cold meds. I had a very long day, especially since it was December 26th, I was sick, we had a skeleton crew, the phones rang off the hook, and I was there till 7:30 pm. Did I mention I was also having some lovely cramps? It was a shitty day, not to put too fine a point on it.

When I got home, looking much like I felt, which was not good, all I could think was, “I hab a code.” But wonder of wonders, my Momma had made a pot of tomato-butternut squash soup. It was thick and savory and waiting to be eaten! This is a definite perk of having my Momma living here. She’s an awesome cook. She’d also cleaned up all the debris of Christmas and that too was a mood enhancer after the day I’d had.

I’d hoped to sleep it off and awaken the next day fresh as a daisy, but I was stuffy and puffy, leaking and hoarse and really not suitable for dealing with the public, let alone doing personal services like facials and leg waxes. I made the decision to keep myself home and attempt to be some help to my team via text, but I knew they were neck deep in the trenches and I felt bad for not being there on a very busy day. If I wasn’t worried that I might take them all down with Cholera, I’d have been there.

While I was frantically texting my Front Desk Coordinator, trying to help her with a software meltdown, my Mom asked me if I wanted her to make me some Turkey Vegetable Soup from our leftover Christmas turkey. Answer? “Yes. Yes I do.” Because I may not be able to fix lots of things, but I could accept this bit of solace and allow it to heal me and restore a modicum of peace in the chaos.

Soup makes life better, especially when your mom makes it for you while you’re sick and look like warmed over hell.

Soup is magical because it takes simple, humble ingredients and converts them into comfort and sustaining nourishment. Soup doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not. It doesn’t puff itself up and try to compete with Chateau Briand or Crème Brule. It’s just soup, and that’s enough. Soup has healthy self esteem. It doesn’t try to impress you with a lot of fancy dance moves. You toss a few veggies and some liquid in a pot….add whatever you have on hand, and viola! Soup. And whatever was bugging you before bugs you just a tiny bit less. If you still need a little boost, toss in one grilled cheese sandwich, and call me in the morning.

© Vicki Hughes 2013

I Married a Man


By Vicki Hughes        March 15, 2013

I married a man. It’s true. When John and I married, twenty-seven years ago today, He was twenty-five, I was eighteen. To our families, I am sure we were still kids, (Momma still calls us The Kids,) but we were ready. We had a small wedding in Las Vegas, with immediate family, and my friend from first grade, Cheryl. We said our vows at The Little Chappell of the West, and spent our honeymoon in Carmel, CA. At the risk of sounding sappy and old, it seems like yesterday. It also seems like 100 years.

John had big shoes to fill, to step up to the example my Dad had set. I’m a Daddy’s girl, who spent her childhood chowing down on filets and crab legs, discussing the finer points of gorgonzola and a good smoked Swiss. I grasped the rhythm and the value of a seven course meal from a very young age. I was raised in the golden-age of dark-paneled steak houses, with flaming Cherries Jubilee for dessert. Can I get an Amen?

Daddy taught me countless ways to be cool, so I could just melt into adult settings, without making a fuss. My Dad’s general philosophy in life is, Roll With The Punches. It has served me well. It turns out to be one of the key lessons I was meant to share with John. He’s the intense one, I am the ice in his tea. (Except he’s really more of a wine guy.)

John was the oldest of four, in a house where his dad bought coffee-flavored ice cream to keep the “house apes,” as he referred to the kids, out of it. Gourmet meals were few and far between for him before he met me. I felt it was my duty and responsibility to convert him into a complete foodie, and I am happy to report, mission accomplished!

He turned out to be a fantastic father, the best handler I could have hoped for, for a very strong willed, red-headed baby, we call, The Girl. The Girl turns twenty-four on Monday. Were it not for his intervention on several occasions, I might have fed her to the alligators. I’m glad he stopped me. It turns out, sixteen was not permanent.

We have spent these twenty-seven years working it out, grinning and bearing it, overcoming misunderstandings and hurt feelings. We’ve persevered through over-extended schedules, budgets and patience. We have chosen to huddle together, and take turns telling each other, today is not the day to throw in the towel. Maybe tomorrow, but we can get through today, especially considering what we have on the grill for dinner. If we are going to chuck it all, it won’t be on a night when we are having a great steak, spinach salad and oven roasted veggies with a decent bottle of wine. Hamburger Helper might have been our undoing, but we just never went there. As John says, “We always eat good.”

He has put up with my 1001 projects, and countless new ideas. He took the lead on all bug squashing, and took the reins a few times while I had a meltdown. He took his turn doing the dishes, makes the most awesome BBQ chicken and potato salad you ever wrapped your lips around, and he has provided a great lifestyle for us, even when it meant sweating his ass off, covered in sawdust to do it.

So, I raise a toast to the man in my life, who is certainly not perfect, but is perfect for me. I love you, Babe. Here’s to the next twenty-seven.

© Vicki Hughes 2013