In Search Of The Big Dog... - Swampy's Kitchen Blog at - 302253

Swampy's Kitchen

In Search of The Big Dog... 
May 7, 2013 9:32 am 
Updated: Jul. 8, 2013 5:54 am
(As fate would have it, just as I got my Pro membership back, I got selected to ride on the Munchmobile this summer. Here is the entry that got me a ride on the Big Dog)
Call me Ishmael.
But if you do, don’t expect me to answer for this is the story of my elusive quest for the obsession of my culinary soul.
For the past fifteen summers I have been on the trail of one of New Jersey’s most beloved mythical creatures. He has been seen across the state by thousands & thousands and hundreds more have claimed to have eaten with him. From the clam bars in Cape May to the rodizios in the Ironbound to the farm stands of the rural counties to the diners lining the middle arteries of the state, reports come in each summer of sightings that always involve varied & wondrous gastronomical creations. He is the Big Dog of Munchmobile fame and he is my white whale.
But this summer will be different. This summer I will be using high tech gadgetry beyond the black ink of a newspaper like Facebook, Twitter & Instagram to follow The Big Dog’s progress. Our local paper even has a “Peter Parker type” of a writer who always seems to be in the right place at the right time for pictures of the Big Dog. I’m not sure how he does it but with coincidences like those, I am going to make sure that I follow him too.

The other day, while I was out for a drive in the country, my Big Dog sense started to tingle. I looked around me and noticed a restaurant coming up on my right hand side. It looked interesting and out of the way and the parking lot was full of cars & people excitedly talking & pointing down the road. As I stopped my car and stepped out, there was just a hint of mustard wafting away in the breeze so once again I was too late. The Big Dog had come & gone.
May 7, 2013 10:53 am
I know not of what you speak, but I find myself intrigued. Needs must I find this mythological nourisher of men's bodies and souls.
May 7, 2013 10:55 am
Holy cow! YOu aren't going to believe this, but I think I just saw a blue van with a hot dog on top streak by my house!
May 7, 2013 11:03 am
Ishmael...I mean Doug, I hope your story has a happier ending.
May 7, 2013 11:57 am
Doug,good luck in your quest in finding THE BIG DOG.
May 7, 2013 4:41 pm
Doug-So the quest begins and how exciting to be so lucky to even see the Big Dog. I hope you let us know all about your quest to find the Big Dog.
May 7, 2013 5:22 pm
This sounds exciting!
May 8, 2013 3:03 am
Too! Much! Fun! Can't wait for the follow up!
May 8, 2013 7:28 am
How fun! I bet you will succeed in your quest. ;)
May 8, 2013 9:15 am
LOL too fun. I agree with Baking Nana
May 8, 2013 11:06 am
I am waiting for the sign up sheet email which will probably come while I am in the air this afternoon. I'll have a better idea then about what type of theme or cuisine we will be tackling.
May 8, 2013 10:18 pm
DM: Please excuse my ignorance. Will you travel with the Munchmobile for an entire season of adventures? Or will you get to go for just one trip?
May 9, 2013 5:47 am
Good morning bikerfamily - it's just one trip and it will be one of the following, I hope - Weird, Wild & Wonderful or Spicy or Bacon or Tacos. It's going to be quite a day no matter which day I go. Have a great one.
May 9, 2013 8:00 am
DM: I'd be raising my hand for the Bacon, but any of those genres would be a good fit for you. Of course, you'll write a blog to share the details; right?
May 9, 2013 8:34 am
Of course I will but I will have to wait for the newspaper article to appear first. Now what to wear ? What to wear ?
May 9, 2013 10:36 am
DM: They should hire you to write the newspaper article...Just my opinion.
May 9, 2013 2:53 pm
Happy hunting on your quest, Doug!
May 10, 2013 1:05 pm
How much FUN can one man have??!! You got it goin' on with your Ishmael mojo, Mr. Matthews! AWESOME!! Can't wait for the reprise! You have quite a way with words... LOVE it!! ;)
May 10, 2013 5:17 pm
Just discovered some new food trucks on Maui this trip. The shrimp one is my fave but might have to try some local grinds. BTW Lahaina Fish Company is still in existence. Sign still says Lahaina Fish Co. :) Went to Fleetwoods last night and Mick was there playing but just as my gf's had predicted....lousy food. I was so happy I had eaten a chicken sandwich before I got there :)
May 11, 2013 5:23 pm
Well it is official - I have been selected for "Weird, Wild & Wonderful" on Saturday August 10. You can call me Ishmael if you want, just don't call me late for the Big Dog !
May 13, 2013 6:02 am
How fun, Doug! We expect to hear all about it.
May 13, 2013 12:38 pm
Hi BN - I will be sure to link the newspaper article as well as doing my own write-up. Have a great day.
May 14, 2013 6:28 am
Did they dub YOU Weird, Wild, and Wonderful? [hehehe] Great fodder for the younger Matthewses =D
May 14, 2013 7:01 am
Knowing the driver/reporter who runs the Big Dog, I'll have a nickname by the end of the day. And yes, my rotten kids have already begun 'expanding' on the Weird/Wild theme.
Jun. 30, 2013 1:20 pm
Hey Ish You are funny. I like your whale-dog watching story. But how do you get more comments than I do about COFFEE??? Are you just naturally more popular, or have you spent a lot more time building followers? Or do people actually want to talk more about mythical hot dogs than java? Unreal. :)) lol. Seriously though, thanks for commenting on my blog. I hope your dozens of people come over to share their coffee stories.
Jul. 8, 2013 5:54 am
Sorry I missed your comment Marjorie - I haven't been writing a whole lot lately but if you look through my library, I used to write quite a lot. Glad you stopped by and I hope to see you both at your blog & mine again in the future. Now I need to go get some coffee....
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Doug Matthews

Home Town
Princeton, New Jersey, USA
Living In
Mendham, New Jersey, USA

Member Since
Mar. 2000

Cooking Level

Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Southern, Healthy, Kids, Quick & Easy

Gardening, Reading Books, Music, Charity Work

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About Me
My mother decided early on that her sons would never have to rely on someone to feed them so we all learned to cook at an early age. I really started to branch out when I moved out west to Denver, SF & Dallas. Combine that with extended business travel to Louisiana & my growing love of spices and you get a real mix of flavors.
My favorite things to cook
Love to make cajun food with my favorites being crawfish pie, alligator stew & alligator chili - I go nuts on Super Bowl Sunday
My favorite family cooking traditions
We didn't have a lot of traditions per se but you could count on pancakes or waffles on sundays - dad making scrambled eggs twice a year on christmas morning & mother's day - veal parmagiana on christmas eve, Thanksgiving with Grandma Matthews and any menu of your choice on your birthday. We weren't a spicy family so I learned a lot of good strong basics in the kitchen from Mom that I have carried over into my cooking today.
My cooking triumphs
I love to experiment with variations of dishes I try around the country. My biggest success is here on allrecipes where I had 2 recipes published in the same cookbook - Southwestern Turkey Soup & Curried Carrot Soup. I think my corn muffins are a great starting point and my alligator chili has become a much requested Super Bowl favorite.
My cooking tragedies
There have been a few times in the past where I tossed everything and took everyone to a restaurant instead. I'm not too proud to say my cooking is awful when it really is.
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