Sep 20 2016

Mango mouth

We went on a missions trip to the Philippines this summer. It was incredibly hot, the people were very nice, and the food was great. We had mangos with nearly every meal, and they were amazing. Big yellow mangos with rich golden flesh.

But while we were there, Allison and I developed some pretty harsh chapped lips. Mine were certainly uncomfortable–she developed tiny blisters around her mouth. I thought we had gotten too much sun, or maybe a reaction against the local water or something. Everyone else on the trip was fine.

Anyhoo, a couple of weeks after we got back to the states, I found those same mangos at the Walmart in Warrensburg, so I snatched them up. A few days later, my lips were chapped again. And so were Allison’s. Later in the week I was wracking my brain to see why we were the only ones. For some reason I decided to Google ‘mango chapped lips.’

It turns out they are related–mangos are in the same family as poison ivy, and for individuals who are sensitive, it can cause a reaction, which they refer to as ‘mango mouth.’ And we had both eaten mangos the same day.

If you want to see some pix, just Google ‘mango mouth.’ Enjoy!

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Jan 11 2016

I was on Iron Chef America

It’s true, though you never saw the episode–and never will.

Obviously they had to sample my cooking, which was no big deal. They loved my chili.

Then I had to audition, which kind of shattered my reality TV illusion. They didn’t love my acting (who does?), but they gave me a chance to take some acting lessons and try back in six months. It came out to eight months due to scheduling conflicts on both of our parts. Four months after that I showed up for filming. I actually met Alton Brown at this time, who was personable and funny, even off camera (as I expected). I also met some of the other chefs, who all come in to film their bits at once unless they are actually part of a challenge.

Next the technical directors showed us where to step to avoid the array of power, video, data, and other miscellaneous cables. We got into our positions with our crews, and they readied the cameras to record our reaction shots as they prepared for the big reveal.

When it came time to challenge, I told them I wanted to challenge Jeff Smith, aka The Frugal Gourmet. I grew up watching him on PBS and it was his red beans & rice that I fixed for my first date with Heather. Unfortunately they said I could not challenge him due to 1) unsavory allegations made against him and 2) the problem of his being dead.

No big deal, I thought, he was my second choice anyway. I figured if they turned me down once then they would have to accommodate my second choice. I then revealed the true choice of my challenge: Paula Deen!

There were many gasps as Paula made her way out from the rest of the chefs.Each of us took our places and they filmed several takes as we stared each other down.

Then came the big reveal: “The secret ingredient is–BUTTER!”

Seriously? I just challenged Paula Deen and the secret ingredient is butter?

I walked off the set.

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Mar 16 2015

The MadMania Podcast: Episode 2

This week Elsa and I take a look at food–the greasiest, the stankiest, the nutmeggiest. Enjoy!

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May 1 2014

Taqueria Monarca

Taqueria Monarca is a food truck found on the 2400 block of Holmes street in Kansas City, Missouri weekdays at lunchtime. They serve tacos, burritos, tostadas and other Mexican food with your choice of meats including steak, beef, pork, chicken, chorizo, tripe, and tongue.

I have tied their tacos, which are very good, but I normally get their tostada, which is only $3 and is usually enough food for me. I highly recommend the asada tostada.

Link to their Facebook page.

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Feb 21 2014

Guss’ Pickles: best pickles ever

20140210-101209.jpgI found these in the cooler at my local Walmart out in the sticks. They are easily the best pickles I have ever had, better than Clausen, Vlasic, Heinz, anybody. All that stuff in the bottom is garlic and pickling spices. Guss’ pickles are nice and crisp and cucumber-colored instead of being dyed artificial yellow-green. Unfortunately a jar of these pickles runs about $4, so I don’t buy them all the time. Still–you need ’em.

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Apr 2 2013


I love sauce.

Not in the way that I love my wife or my country or donuts, but pretty close. Not all sauces, but quite a few of them. I only noticed it the last time we were at China Dragon, which ranks up there with wife and country and donuts. China Dragon has this amazing dumpling sauce, which is made from soy sauce, garlic, vinegar, sugar, and I think fish sauce. CD also has the best sweet and sour sauce in the world, and when I run out of edible Chinese objects to dunk in it I have actually been known to directly imbibe a few spoonfuls.

I kind of wish they sold it in pop cans.


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Mar 31 2013

Thanks, fatties

So because America decided to be a nation of big fat fatties, I can’t get a soda at work.

Back in 2009 my company cracked down on smokers, eliminating the last on-site outdoor smoking area, and relegating smokers to the bus stop across the street. I wondered how long before they cracked down on other vices, and it began at the beginning of the year–you can no longer purchase any soda on campus that isn’t a diet soda.

I don’t actually drink much soda any more. I used to drink between one and three a day, but now I might have one every one to two weeks, and even then I can’t even finish it usually. But sometimes all I need is just a little jigger of real soda, and no quantity of diet soda will satisfy that craving.

At least I can still get various forms of sugar-filled carbohydrates at several locations on campus.

For now.

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Nov 10 2012

Review: China Dragon

While on vacation we tried out a Chinese restaurant my brother recommended, China Dragon in Concordia, Missouri. It’s a little place on the main drag—restaurant only, no buffet.

The Food
The food was very good, and the portions are large. I don’t know about you, but I’m picky about my favorite dish, pork lo-mein. Some places have those thin, round, ramen-style noodles, and other places have those nasty, wide, flat noodles. This place has neither–they have what they call ‘soft noodles’ which are very nice (aren’t all noodles soft once you cook them?). Anyway, they are round and fat, like Americans. The General Tso’s chicken was very good–lots of chicken, not a lot of coating (there are some restaurants that have lots of coating and not a lot of chicken). The crab rangoon is literally packed as full as it can be, the egg rolls are great, and the egg drop soup is wonderful. I just really can’t say enough good things about China Dragon’s food. In my opinion the lo-mein could be greasier, but that’s a personal preference*.

The Service
The entire restaurant is served by the owner / waitress, Tina (her husband is the cook). Tina is friendly, bubbly, and just so darn nice she makes it very difficult not to eat there every night.

The Prices
It’s pretty inexpensive to eat there, and we have always had food to bring home.

Just go, man. Don’t believe me? Try these other reviews; my favorite is the one that says ‘GET OFF THE INTERSTATE NOW.’ Tell Tina her brother and sister from Higginsville sent ya.

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* I have a wonderful memory of leaving an entertainment venue late at night one November long ago and then eating leftover greasy lo-mein sans utensils. Mmmmm.


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Nov 6 2012


My daughter found this word and sent it to me. It’s a German word “kummerspeck” that means “excess weight gained by emotional over-eating” and translates literally as “grief bacon.”

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Oct 4 2012

Overheard: 35 yr old male

“I know what bugs taste like.”


“So there I am–eating tick juice.”

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