Thinking About Food At 35,000 Feet - Swampy's Kitchen Blog at - 306215

Swampy's Kitchen

Thinking About Food At 35,000 Feet 
Jul. 10, 2013 2:47 pm 
Updated: Aug. 23, 2013 2:12 pm

Greetings from 35,000 feet - the home of pre-packaged food that you once got for free and where now you willingly pay not to eat it. Yes I am traveling again and though I didn’t have any connections or delays, I did have a few thoughts I couldn’t help but sharing with all 3 or 4 of my readers. And to those of you who have stumbled across my ramblings in hopes of some substance, I am basically the literary equivalent of an old bag of stale airline peanuts. You have been warned and the back button is in the upper left corner.

Joey Chestnut won the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4th by eating 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes. This broke his old record of 68 hot dogs set last year. It also meant that he has now eaten a total of 400 hot dogs in all of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contests he has entered. I got ridiculously full just typing all that out. His style of soaking the buns in water and eating the dogs separately with no condiments makes me wonder, what does Joey put on his hot dog when he eats just ONE hot dog ? Mustard ? Ketchup ? Relish ? Personally I prefer ketchup & grilled onions.


Speaking of comfort foods, I went to a Ted’s Montana Grille last night with a client and had their Bison Meatloaf Sandwich. I really like the concept and can see playing with this idea in the very near future. I did once make a Pineapple Teriyaki Mooseloaf and the kids actually ate it.


 And speaking of foods that aren’t exactly middle of the road (and no I am not about to start talking about roadkill), I have come to the conclusion that while I like to play with harder to find foods & tastes, I may have to quit thinking like I am in a quickfire challenge every time I am asked to come up with a new recipe.


According to the Wall Street Journal today, more & more exotic berries are being brought to market in various products. Look for Goji Berries, Barberries, Olallieberries, Ariano Berries & Yum Berries to hit your shelves in the very near future. They all want to be the next Acai or Blueberry. No matter whether you have heard of it or whether you can even pronounce it, berries are a fruit that have so many things going for them that you really should eat them as often as you can. I know I get criticized at times for using fruit in my cooking but if I can find a way to work in a berry, I am going to do it.


And earlier this spring someone told me that you can’t plant black raspberries next to red raspberries because they will cause one or the other to change to the all the same kind of berry. I am glad my plants didn’t hear that because they are growing just fine next to each other. Not sure what the golden raspberries think of all of this.


I consider myself a pretty knowledgeable home cook. I watch the Chopped, Top Chef and other cooking competition shows for the ingredients & ideas that have been put to the test at a moment’s notice but I am convinced that on Master Chef those home cooks are given recipes to study before they start cooking. Staged reality annoys me but I still watch. On a side note, only Hell’s Kitchen has a meaner spirit than Master Chef and what’s up with all of these hidden camera shows ? I can’t change the channels fast enough.


My garden is exploding though the huge amounts of rain have somewhat damaged the early tomatoes. The Chard is as a high as an elephant’s eye, the zucchini & yellow squash have evaded the squash borers for now, my habanero crop looks like it will be the biggest since 2008 and the beans have started climbing the sugar snap peas. I am sure a mugging is going to get reported soon from that patch. I am positive that I did not plant any golden beets this year because I could not find any seeds but lo & behold I am just as positive that I have about six of them coming out based on the color of the stems.


Non-food related subject – Jimmy Buffett just came up on my iPod. He is a great singer/songwriter in his own right but I also think that his Coral Reefer Band is possibly the greatest cover band in the history of music. I have heard them play Bob Marley, Van Morrison, The Grateful Dead, The Talking Heads, Elvis among others and their version of “Gumbo” by Phish just plain makes me hungry. I just have one question, has anyone ever heard them play “Johnny B. Goode” ? That is the one song that I judge all cover bands by and I don’t think I have ever heard it on Margaritaville Radio.


I don’t know about you but I always put the passenger side seatbelt around the bags of takeout food I get from the thai place we like to frequent. I would just hate to see my Gang Dang Curry go splat on the windshield or floor if I had to slam on the brakes because of a stupid deer or driver.


I also ALWAYS order two thai ice teas for myself, that way they always recognize my order when I call it in. Yes, I am celebrity in my own mind.


Speaking of Asian restaurants, for years I have driven past a Chinese place called “The Big Wing Wah” but I have never stopped there. Now I can’t. They just closed for good. Little do they know, they will live on in my unwritten novel someday.


I think cheese ALWAYS belongs in scrambled eggs.  In fact, I like cheese with my eggs so much that I have started putting habanero jack cheese on my fried eggs as soon as I flip them. Someday that will be a signature breakfast dish at my breakfast & lunch only diner. Of course I have to win Powerball first to be able to afford a diner because as they say, to make a small fortune in the restaurant business, you have to start with a large fortune.


I add a Starbucks Via Instant Coffee package to every cup of inroom coffee I make when I am traveling. Trust me, it helps.


If you ever find yourself in upstate New York and you are driving on Route 73 through the small town of Keene Valley (speed limit 35 & don’t blink) do yourself a favor and stop at the Noon Mark Diner for a fresh pie. It doesn’t matter what kind you buy because each & everyone is outstanding. I brought home a Cherry Crumb & an Apple Crumb after the 4th of July weekend and my extended family finished off an Apple Blueberry and an Apple Blackberry while we were there.


And finally, on Friday the final phase of the dental saga that has plagued my mouth commences. Unlike the implants that went in up top, bone grafting won’t be needed so we will go with seven implants in my lower jaw which will allow for three separate bridges and more stability & teeth. I think we may be biting that apple sometime in late October or early November. I think that particular blog might just have to be one of the video variety so we can hear the crunch of either the apple or my implants as they fall out of my mouth.


You all just got saved by the put away your electronics announcement so keep cooking, keep reading and keep having a great summer.
Buckle Up For Safety
Photo Detail
Noon Mark Diner Pie
Photo Detail
The view from the top of Noonmark Mountain
Photo Detail
Jul. 10, 2013 3:11 pm
Hmmm.... a fried egg with habanero jack cheese - sounds outstanding to me! I'm going to try that next time we have eggs. I got a few chuckles from your blog! Thank you!
Jul. 10, 2013 3:57 pm
Oh Doug, so many great thoughts! My tomatoes started off with a bang and with the exception of one very prolific Cherry Pop are slowly surcoming to a disease / virus / bacteria. Who knows, but they are VERY sad and are heading to the dump. Hubby loves the hidden camera shows, me not so much - I like shows about food. Your new chompers should be ready for the fall apple harvest! Lucky you! Now to get down to business. A friend and I are blessed to be coming to NYC in mid August! Are you going to be in town? Mid-August + NYC wouldn't have been my first choice, but we didn't get to choose! :)
Jul. 10, 2013 6:35 pm
Though I have no garden this year, I have a great deal of time to prepare for next year. I hope it'll be a humdinger! A little over a month ago I had a cyst removed from the roof of my mouth, just below the nose and behind my upper front teeth. It wasn't fun, but every time I wanted to whine, I would think of you and what you're going through. Then I'd whine anyway because it really hurt! Good luck with the rest of your surgeries, and I hope the apple succumbs in crunchy way to your pressure.
Jul. 10, 2013 7:00 pm
what a great read doug! our garden is exploding too; and can't wait for the zucchini, lima beans, string beans, eggplants, tomatoes and peppers to come in. (lettuce and asparagus are done) hello summer! now if the humidity would go away i could actually enjoy going travels and good luck with your continuing dental issues. :-)
Jul. 10, 2013 7:11 pm
Am I the only one who wonders how long it takes to ease Joey Chestnuts heartburn after each competition? Right after I stop being disgusted by the whole thing...... I rarely do take out anymore, I have them deliver......I loved seeing your mountain picture on FB. So many people are amazed at our varied topography and assume all of NY is like Manhattan or will be so relieved when your mouth saga is over.....That meatloaf sandwich sounds very good. Happy landings!
Jul. 11, 2013 1:42 am
Sad story, prompted by your seatbelt comment . . . I went to my cupcake place [yes, I have a candy cane guy, and a cupcake place (=], and picked up 2 1/2 dozen mini cupcakes - 1 1/2 of those were to be gifts. On my way home, traffic came to a dead stop, I slammed on my brakes, and my cupcakes slid off the seat and did a flip, landing upside down on the floorboard )= I got off the freeway, turned around and headed back. The clerk looked confused when I walked back in, less than 10 minutes after I walked out, and commiserated and giggled a bit when I told my sad story. I ate [upside down] cupcakes for a couple weeks. Good thing they keep well in the fridge!
Jul. 11, 2013 1:43 am
[Moral of the story is that seat belting your takeout is genious ;)]
Jul. 11, 2013 5:51 am
Good Morning Mother Ann and I am glad I could make you smile. I find if I drop a lid onto the pan right after the flip & cheese, the cheese melts a little faster so my egg stays closer to over easy. Let me know if you like it. Have a great day.
Jul. 11, 2013 5:53 am
Good morning BN - and wouldn't you know it, I walk out to the garden last night and the squash borers attacked. I never use any pesticides of any kind but next year, I think one patch of my garden is going to have to come off the organic list. I am around most of August except 8/12-18. Hope you have a great visit.
Jul. 11, 2013 5:54 am
Good morning Doc and you can whine all you want & as loudly as you want. That surgery sounds painful. Hope you have a great day today.
Jul. 11, 2013 6:11 am
Good morning njmom - jalapenos, bananas, cubanelles & sweet italian peppers are coming in like crazy. I also noticed my butternut squash have started to sprout & sprout & sprout right on into my pepper patch. Hope you are surviving todays storms. Have a great day.
Jul. 11, 2013 6:41 am
Good morning BigShotsMom - I reposted the picture from the top of Noonmark at the bottom of this blog just for you (and everyone else). The NY/NJ area does get a bad rap. I am from NJ and neither my birthplace nor my current town are exits, there are no Bada-Bings nearby and we don't have any Snooki's but we do have the Governor. Have a great day.
Jul. 11, 2013 6:42 am
Good morning gammaray - do upside down cupcakes taste as good as broken cookies ? I learned my lesson with a pizza many years ago. Have a great day.
Jul. 11, 2013 8:05 am
Your story of using a seat belt on your Take out food caused rambling around in my own brain. My brother always volunteered to go get the take out food for the family. When he got home items were missing or the french fries were pretty skimpy. Of course with 3 other siblings we accused him of robbing the french fries out each french fry bag and eating the missing items. Our solution finally was -someone had to ride shotgun so the food would be safe. Ah the memories! Thanks for the great blog Doug! It is like I was able to read minds there for awhile!
Jul. 11, 2013 8:29 am
Good morning Lela and that is funny. I know I didn't trust my brothers or sister either. Older brother even used to take a bite out of any Hoagie Haven cheesteak he picked up as a "delivery charge". Glad the blog made you smile. Have a great day.
Jul. 11, 2013 8:44 am
To: Doug what folks expect of NJ..I was raised in the midwest but due to job transfer in early life, spent over 30 yrs. in NJ (slbeit Western NJ)..retired back in midwest. Recently had a conversation with a gent who was surprised I didn't have the "Joisey" accent after living there so long. FYI Western Jersey has a more midwestern accent.
Jul. 11, 2013 8:55 am
Hi Judy Lew - I can honestly say I have NEVER said "joisey". A friend once heard me me tell a midwestern heckler that I had more trees in my backyard than he did in his whole town. Years later when my friend came back to my parent's house for a visit, he agreed with me. Hope you have a great day.
Jul. 11, 2013 9:43 am
LOL on the seatbelt stories! Reminded me of my own - had my husband's favorite Mexican in the seat next to me and, I really am not one to rubberneck, I just couldn't help myself when I saw this, um, specimen, running in really skimpy shorts. Thankfully the person sitting at the (for him) green light, saw my "plight" and waited until I stopped (at the red-for-me light). Smothered burrito hit the floorboards. Thankfully most stayed in the box and tasted just as good "tossed".
Jul. 11, 2013 10:18 am
That's funny HeidiS - which now makes me think, could anyone really tell if a mexican style dish hit the floor or not ? Most of mine, when I make them, come out looking like some kids went crazy with a paint sprayer. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.
Jul. 11, 2013 11:04 am
That was an eyeful, and I enjoyed every word of it!! Thanks!
Jul. 11, 2013 11:22 am
Good afternoon 1st Lady - sometimes I just don't know when to stop writing. Glad I made you smile a little. Have a great day.
Jul. 11, 2013 11:31 am
Very true! You too :)
Jul. 11, 2013 3:00 pm
Nice blog Doug. So much energy.
Jul. 11, 2013 5:21 pm
Good evening redly - Computers sometimes get a bit energetic too. Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for stopping by.
Jul. 11, 2013 6:21 pm
Doug...long time no see.......great read as two cents...we had bison burgers here just last night for the first time...grilled on bbq..low and slow and they were great....I see bison meatloaf in our future...all the for your take out= brilliant!
Jul. 11, 2013 6:56 pm
DM: I have to admit there's a lot of "space junk" floating around inside my cranium. Honestly, I think you may have more random thoughts bouncing around in your head than I do. Just the idea of eating contests makes me ill. Never heard of Ted's Montana Grille, but I was disappointed because I thought maybe you were here in the Northwest. As it turns out, Ted's is rather prevalent on the East Coast. When all your berries cross-pollinate, you'll have a new prototype berry. Maybe we can call it Swampy Berry. I also have dreams of opening a diner someday. Frankly, I don't know anything about the restaurant business, so I would likely suffer the same fate as Big Wing Wah. But it's kinda fun to plan. I think I'd better stick to my day/night job. Good luck with the continued dental work. Bring on the Honeycrisps!
Jul. 12, 2013 2:52 am
Lela, my ex was one of seven. He talks about when they were kids and the family would get In'N'Out for dinner. They always got an extra order of fries to be eaten on the way home (=
Jul. 12, 2013 2:53 am
Upside down cupcakes taste as good as right side up ones. But I think potato chip crumbs taste better than entire potato chips (=
Jul. 12, 2013 7:49 am
Great read! Comments: 1) Went to a Jimmy Buffet concert, once. That was enough for me, but I still love his music. 2) If you're ever in Cloudcroft, NM [elevation 8600'] stop in at the Mercantile building and buy one of their pies! Too die for.
Jul. 12, 2013 12:10 pm
You always make me laugh Doug. I am jealous of your garden, we didn't get a chance to plant one this year. Loved reading this blog, and don't forget about the apple I will send you when all the work is done. Take care.
Jul. 12, 2013 4:20 pm
Great blog Doug! But, wait just a minute here Bub...... you must give credit to Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas as the female winner of Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest. Us gals can put away the food too donchaknow? Comfort food to me is anything I'm hungry for at the time. Regarding Berries, OSU (Oregon State University) developed a berry called the Chesterberry. It's a Blackberry the size of your fist. We bought some last year. Developing a bigger berry sacrificed making a better berry. Practically no Blackberry taste at all. Speaking of berries, my 8 Blueberries bushes are going nuts this year. I can't keep up with the buggers. So please, come get all you want. That goes for allayall! (no, I'm not from the south, I just like to talk like I am sometimes)Me? I'm a huge Neil Young fan. Oh yeah, and Abba... Not crazy about Oriental Food except sushi. Love the stuff! It's them slimy noodles they call chow mein that makes me wanna puke. Eggs, soft scrambled by my dear hubby topped with capers. Can't wait to hear about your implants completion. You've been very brave about this procedure. I'm so very impressed Doug. By the way. Love your ramblings. See, you've me how to ramble too! Enjoy your weekend.
Jul. 12, 2013 4:22 pm
...taught me how to ramble too!
Jul. 13, 2013 7:05 am
Good morning ! The implant surgery was a success. It took a long time but the pain is bearable and the results are great.
Jul. 13, 2013 7:07 am
Good morning ellie - it has been a while hasn't it ? So glad you stopped by. Keep me up to date on your bison meatloaf and I'll make sure to update you on mine. Have a great day.
Jul. 13, 2013 8:27 am
Good morning bikerfamily - hope you are having a great summer so far. The Ted's in midtown manhattan seems to be filled at lunchtime with a lot of wannabe urban cowboys. If ,y black raspberry, gold raspberry & red raspberry due cross pollinate, I hope it comes out in stripes. Surgery went well. I hope you have a great day.
Jul. 13, 2013 8:29 am
Good morning gammaray - my son agrees with you on the potato chip crumbs - have a great weekend
Jul. 13, 2013 8:30 am
Good morning midwestchef - thanks and now I think I have a reason to go out of my way on a business trip to find that pie. Have a great weekend.
Jul. 13, 2013 8:31 am
Good morning manella - I hope all has been well for you. I am looking forward to that apple. Have a great weekend.
Jul. 13, 2013 8:37 am
Good morning Candice - I love rambling comments even more than I like rambling myself. That blackberry the size of your fist sounds like a serious letdown. I tried the Pizza Slice as Big as Your Head that Man vs Food ate and it was bad too. Size was all it had going for it....and despite her diminutive size, The Black Widow did throw down 37 doggies on 7/4 so you are correct, props are definitely due to her....Abba & Neil Young ? Can you say eclectic ? B-) Surgery went very well. Hope you have a great weekend.
Jul. 14, 2013 11:40 am
Aloha young man. Don't tell the berry theory to our old neighbors in Olympia Washington. Mr. Garrett grew three 30 foot rows of red raspberries, planted next to a row of black cap raspberries and another row of golden raspberries. As kids, we used to sneak into our neighbors patch in the dark hours and eat as many of those black caps as we could. BTW those suckers were close to 6 feet tall as I remember. The best! I am still friends with his daughters (we have known each other since the time we were allowed to explore our neighborhood). I am slowly....emphasize slowly....learning to garden in the desert. I commiserate with Baking Nana on our failures and our few bumper crops. My Early girl tomato is just not doing much. My San Marzano is doing nicely. My sweet 100's are producing but NOT alot. Zuchinni is going nuts like zuchinni does everywhere. My beets are doing pretty good. Other than that, the crops would not feed an anorexic :) Have come to the conclusion that I need to start my crops much earlier in the year to deal with the heat of the desert. I am a native of the wet side/forest of the Pacific Northwest. The logging companies started stripping our forests in the 70's and it is a pitiful reflection of the glorious rain forest we used to live in. We were shocked when we came to NY and NJ and Conn. and saw the glorious foliage that still thrives there. Makes me sad for my home state of Washington :( Living in Vegas, we go to shows weekly and sometimes a few times a week. There is some amazing talent out there. To our surprise, many of the tribute bands sound better than the originals. Our favs so far Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Queen, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles and Steely Dan. We have seen all of the originals(sometimes several times)...Donald Fagan most recently, and we like certain tribute bands better. Helps that we get tons of comp tickets,though we don't gamble on much more than our puny garden :) Are you and the missus going to make the Maui blowout? Sure hope so. We plan on doing some serious cooking there.
Jul. 14, 2013 4:23 pm
Forgot to add....bison burgers are our favorite when we can get them. Moose.....not a fan.
Jul. 15, 2013 3:31 pm
Great news about the implants, Doug, and that you will be able to enjoy fresh apples again soon! It's always a pleasure to see what you've been up to. I get such pleasure from reading about other people's lives. Mine is pretty dull. So happy I stumbled across your blog, thanks!
Jul. 16, 2013 9:08 am
Aloha Julie - All of of our black & red raspberry plants are pushing 6 feet. Should be fun watching my son try to the 2nd round when they all come in. Ann & I would love to come to the maui blowout but school & kids get in the way. We are trying to work out another trip to makena for s soon as we can. Looking forward to your take on Bison. Talk to you later.
Jul. 16, 2013 9:09 am
Good afternoon Bibi - all always a pleasure to have you stumble by. I really am looking forward to those apples again - right now I can only begin to think about applesauce but I'll get there. Have a great day.
Jul. 17, 2013 2:45 pm
Hi, Doug. As always, this is a great blog. I can't possibly hope to comment on every statement, but I can say that my garden is having a bang-up year, too. My sugar snap peas have grown to a height of about 10 feet. I base that on the fact that my supports are 5 feet ball, and the peas have grown over the top and back down to the ground again. Tomatoes are 7-8 feet tall. Cherry tomatoes are getting ripe, but my full size are still green. And based on how my Romano bean plants look right now, I'll be harvesting pounds of beans again like I did last year. Can't wait for those! We scaled back to only 4 super hot peppers this year, and due to a cool, wet spring, they aer just getting going. But there's a really nice Trinidad Scorpion growing, and the Moruga Scorpion is blooming now. As to the cheese in eggs, I agree...the two just belong together, although I don't care for fried eggs. It's a yolk thing...I can eat the whites if they are fried crisy, but forget the yolks..the dog gets those. I've always thought I would love to have a little cafe where I served breakfast and lunch and could just have fun with whatever I wanted to create and put on the menu. But it'll take a lottery for me, too! And thai iced the stuff. I have tried gojo and olallie berries and like both. I can't stand acai...takes like a rotten blueberry to me. : ) And the rasperries...well, my red ones never did a thing, but we are having a banner year on the black ones this year. Those things seem to sprout wherever a berry seed gets deposited, even in one of my unused hanging baskets this year which has maybe an inch of soil in it. And I hope you enjoy those apples this fall!!
Aug. 23, 2013 2:12 pm
You now have 4 or 5 readers Doug!. Mortimer and I watched "Chestnut Joe" as I call him, break his record on TV. We live in Brooklyn but dared not the crowd at Coney. I don't know. I think eating contests are gross and I can't stand to watch them but sick curiosity made me peek at the boob tube and I was astounded by Sonya. So petite you wouldn't know she was the Hot Dog Eating Queen. Yeah I remember when "air fare" was free. Hell they should give us a discount for eating it. They don't take cash you know. Once my ATM card wouldn't swipe (a warning sign from above in retrospect) so the stewardess snuck me some snacks. I confess I feigned being famished on the return flight when their extra baggage charge cleaned out the rest of my vacation money and I couldn't afford the five buck box of miniature morsels. A second freebie I ended up paying for physically after landing. (Note to self: Bring berries in my carry on next trip)
Click to Change your Profile Picture
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

Subscribe Today!

In Season

Homemade Pancakes Are So Easy
Easy Homemade Pancakes

Homemade pancakes are so easy to make, and nothing tastes better.

Guacamole, Chips' Best Friend
Guacamole, Chips' Best Friend

Try one of our dozens of ways to make delicious fresh guacamole.

Subscribe Today! Only $7.99
Subscribe Today! Only $7.99

Delicious recipes, party ideas, and cooking tips! Get a year of Allrecipes magazine for $7.99!

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.
Argentina  |  Australia & New Zealand  |  Brazil  |  Canada  |  China  |  France  |  Germany  |  India  |  Italy  |  Japan  |  Korea  |  Mexico

Netherlands  |  Poland  |  Quebec  |  Russia  |  SE Asia  |  United Kingdom & Ireland  |  United States