Connecting food with people who don’t have enough

I am so upset seeing TV images of farmers and food producers seemingly having no choice but to be destroying food here in the US when on the same news broadcasts we hear people don’t have enough food and are in charity food lines right in our own country. What I find so disconcerting is that we, as the self-professed “greatest economy in the history of the world” can’t find a way to connect food we can’t sell commercially — for whatever reason — with people who need food to survive. If I see ONE. MORE. STORY. about thousands of gallons of milk being disposed of, or thousands of animals being unnecessarily euthanized because the processing plants are closed or operating under diminished capacity, or truckloads of potatoes being dumped into landfills or buried, my head’s gonna explode! Un-freaking-believable!

Sadly, I have very little confidence left that elected officials will act in the best interest of ‘we the people.’ What’s worse, those in power aren’t feeling the pain of this madness… NOT IN THE SLIGHTEST. Did you notice that I didn’t call out any political party? That’s because they’re ALL culpable…culpable for not being willing to compromise on ANYTHING in earnest! WTH is wrong with our country that we can’t do better than that?!? Angry? You BET I’m angry!

Disclosure: Thanks to a dear cruise industry friend, Bruce Nierenberg, who wrote something similar to this on LinkedIn.

What the hell is wrong with today’s chicken?!?

I love to cook! Everyone who knows me knows that. One of my favorite phrases is, “I love to cook for people who love to eat!” Which is just about everyone that comes by for a meal. Over the last couple of years, though, I’ve noticed that chicken has gotten progressively tougher, and whether grilled, pan-fried, baked or broiled, it turns out the same: often tough, rubbery and sometimes, barely edible. And although dinner guests never complain, this has bugged me for quite some time. Now as a sidebar, I only use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, because Laurie doesn’t like to eat “meat-on-the-bone.” But I’ve started to notice that it’s these cuts of chicken that are the culprits.

Out of frustration, I Googled “why is chicken so tough,” and got a public library in responses! One of the better explanations came from “The Reluctant Gourmet.” I am sharing his article with you here in the hope that if you also like chicken as much as we do, you will help bring pressure on chicken producers to take the necessary steps to rid the poultry market of this condition. If they don’t, it may just cost them, in the long run.

Have a great week!

NiblickAdMan’s 7-Alarm “Mad Dog” Killer Chili

I love to cook! One of my favorite sayings is that “I love to cook…for people who love to eat!” Well among my friends, that is not an issue. I have never posted a recipe until today, when a friend asked for my chili recipe and it occurred to me that I could use my blog. Then if any others want it–or any other that I may post in the future, I can just post a link. Various versions of this recipe have seen their way to chili cookoffs in the past…try it and enjoy!

NiblickAdMan’s 7-Alarm “Mad Dog” Killer Chili

Ingredients (You WILL need a large stock pot for all of this!!) Serves 10, with plenty of leftovers

  • 4 lbs ground or cubed sirloin
  • 1-30 oz can pinto beans
  • 1-15 oz can kidney beans 1-15 oz can black beans (NOT black bean soup!)
  • 1-30 oz can finely diced tomatoes
  • 1-30 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1-15 oz can tomato sauce (if you like your chili “soupy-er,” use a second 30 oz can)
  • 1-15 oz bottle chili sauce
  • 3 large onions, finely diced
  • 2 green peppers, finely diced
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • OPTIONAL: 1 yellow pepper, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 5 big shakes, liquid smoke
  • 3 tbsp, crushed red pepper
  • 1 tbsp smoked habanero powder (if you can find it…”Chile Today, Hot Tamale” is the brand I use)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • ½ cup tequila
  • 6 oz dark chocolate
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • OPTIONAL: ¼ cup sugar (if you like “Cincinnati Style”)

Chili seasoning (instead of store-bought packaged stuff) Stir in a bowl the following ingredients:

  •  1 tbsp  paprika
  • 2 ½  teaspoons salt
  • 1 tsp  onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp dried oregano

OPTIONAL: 2 tbsp flour (as a thickening agent)

Note: You may want to double the seasoning for the large amount of chili we’re making in this recipe!

*     *     *     *     *     *

  1. Brown the meat, drain and set aside
  2. Sauté the diced onion, garlic and peppers in the olive oil. Add the meat back into the batch and stir well to blend everything
  3. Add the tomato sauce, chili sauce and all the beans; stir again to blend; bring to just below boiling point
  4. Add chili seasoning, crushed red pepper and bay leaves; stir and let simmer for an hour
  5. Add tequila and dark chocolate (you may also at this time, DRINK similar amounts of tequila, called “chef’s prerogative”); simmer for another three hours (lowest possible simmer temperature on your stove
  6. After 4 hours of total cooking time, turn off heat and let pot stand for 15 minutes.
  7. Serve in bowls with crackers, cheese to your liking, sour cream if you like it, and more finely diced onions. You can also use either cornbread, biscuits or rice on the side
  8. EAT!!
  9. Drink more tequila…beer is optional
  10. Take nap following the meal! See warning below

NOTE: I found a website that sells the smoked habanero powder…the original founders of “Chile Today – Hot Tamale” sold the business

WARNING: Over consumption of this stew could cause your toes to get painted the most hideous color of pink! The management assumes no responsibility for this!

‘Dr. Bloomberg’ steps in to limit size of sugary drinks

Man, I am just NOT comfortable with Mayor Bloomberg’s stand on this! We’re already hearing the rhetoric about how we banned smoking, and curtailed other unhealthy activities, but this puts us on an already slippery slope! The government(s)–federal, state and municipal–are in our pockets, and now they’re wanting to get onto our dinner plates and into our drinking glasses. We do have an obesity problem, but we’ve got to find a better way. Pass this kind of legislation, and what’s next? I don’t even want to think about that! When I consider the overarching dietary problems that are indeed real, it continues to beg the question: will we ever see personal responsibility return? Or will we become a culture of lemmings just waiting for the nanny state to take care of us, ’cause we can’t–or won’t–take care of ourselves?

Just sayin’!


Props for a fast food restaurant

My wife’s mom is nearly 91 years old and not in the best of health. Her state is such that there aren’t many things she can eat. One of the few things is a “Veggie Bowl,” made by Yoshinoya, a fast food restaurant popular here in California. All too often, fast food (sometimes called quick serve) restaurants don’t get the best of props, but our local Yoshinoya has singled itself out for being excellent, and particularly kind to our family. The following is a letter my wife sent to Yoshinoya corporate, along with their response. It just goes to show that you don’t have to be a 5-star restaurant to deliver 5-star service! Thanks to Mr. Bhavsar and the local crew at the Costa Mesa Yoshinoya!

—–Original Message—– 
From: Laurie Wall ( 
Sent: Feb 8, 2012 2:42:09 PM 
Subject: staff/food 

I would like to tell you something about your staff and food at the Yoshinoya location on Harbor Blvd in Costa Mesa, California. My nearly ninety-one year old mother’s health has been failing for the last year. She survived colon cancer surgery at eighty-seven, and has fallen twice in the last year, suffering a fractured pelvis, arm, and leg. It seems that the only food her eighty-four pound body can process is your veggie/rice bowl with extra veggies. Every other day I come into the restaurant and order two days worth of food. The  staff, which includes, Nestor the manager, Kelsey, Maria, and Paula, are all very sweet and helpful. With a smile, they ask me if I’d like the “usual”. 

When Nestor sees me, he’ll say, “hello friend, how is Momma”? He hasn’t met her, but it brings me comfort as care giving is difficult. Nestor is hard working and gracious. I have seen him clean the bathrooms and mop the floors. His staff is also hard working, and in constant motion. It’s a busy location. 

My mother eats the same food seven days a week, even though we have tried other foods. Every day that I prepare her veggies, she tells me that she never gets tired of Yoshinoya. Yesterday, I took her to the orthopedic doctor and he couldn’t believe that her arm healed so quickly. I truly believe it’s because of your food. My mother cannot process meat well, so it’s strictly veggies and rice. And, of course, pudding or ice cream for dessert. (<: 

Many thanks to your staff and food. You’ve been a life saver. 


Laurie Wall 
Costa Mesa, California 

The response from Yoshinoya:

Sent: Thursday, February 09, 2012 6:40 AM
To: Laurie Wall
Subject: RE: staff/food (#8242-278862994-6059)

Dear Laurie Wall, 

Thank you for contacting Yoshinoya America, Inc. We are always willing to listen to our customers whose comments are most valuable. The District Manager will be informed of your comments. It makes me very happy to hear that your mother is doing so much better and that she is well. Thank you, we were very pleased with your comments. 

Rok Bhavsar