Bundles vs. A La Carte: Cutting the Cord and the Pies

After numerous years of just being lazy about dumping our cable TV, one more cable bill increase last month provided the necessary momentum. Not only did it lessen our bills, the change has also added a ton of things we've never even had the chance to watch. It has also added the dilemma of the so-called "Paradox of Choice", where the number of options makes it difficult to choose just one.

One show we've delved into initially is Netflix's "Ugly Delicious", featuring Chef David Chang of Momofuku fame. Built around a general food theme (pizza, fried chicken, etc.), the show proves unafraid to branch off on numerous tangents during any particular episode. One notion Chang attempts to relay is that authenticity in food should not be the ultimate be-all end-all goal.

Chang states authenticity is fine, but not at the cost of creativity nor if it restricts future generations from adding their own authenticity to create something entirely novel.  Here, the Cajun-influenced Vietnamese dishes of Houston provide the ultimate example of this, and Chang bemoans the fact that the authenticity factor has prevented it from moving to places like New Orleans.

They Say The Donut Flights Are Bright on Broadway

The Broadway play "Rent", playing in Columbus this weekend, is
celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year.
I don't know about you, but mental tangents offer me some of the best writing inspiration. Take the play "Rent", which is in Columbus this weekend on its 20th Anniversary Tour and is also one of the few Broadway plays I have seen and my spouse (a lover of Broadway musicals in general) has not.

Anyway, the tangent train started with an article e-mailed to me by one of my fellow bloggers regarding cities and fast food (a potential future topic) that sent me on the research path. During the search, I discovered that Dunkin' Donuts (a franchise that has actually struggled in Central Ohio) was listed in the Top 10 on most lists.

With a pizza post also in the works, that got me thinking about a rhetorical and somewhat unanswerable question: can you have more variations on donuts or pizza? It is here when the play "Rent" and its the signature song "Seasons of Love" popped into my head, with slightly altered lyrics:

"Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred donuts
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred rings so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred donuts
How do you measure, measure a year?"

So that got me thinking: how many different donuts could you eat in Columbus if you really tried?

Hedging on the Veggies

Vegetables, exotic and more familiar, at Columbus's Saraga International Market
Kids hate their vegetables, right? At least, the conventional wisdom leans that way, but when you look deeper into the matter, there’s not much defining data. One article in the Mirror UK shows people have a natural aversion to green and other “weird” colors, yet an article in The Daily Meal notes Broccoli as one of the most well liked kids' veggies.  Meanwhile, a report found in HuffPost’s Australia posits a double-whammy: a natural human instinct to avoid off-putting bitter or sour flavors plus a lack of instinct to like veggies in the first place.

However, there are plenty of articles to be had about the strategies and hacks a parent can use to get their youngsters to actually eat these generally nutrition-laden foods.

Would any of those have worked in my case? Who knows, but I could tell you that a vegetable's texture played a bigger role than than the taste, and still does to a certain extent. Mushy vegetables (peas for some reason were a notable exception), especially those used in the traditional soup-based dishes my parents would make, were enjoyed as much as my parents' Andy Williams or Perry Como albums - tolerated, but nothing more. On the other hand, green beans and carrots, like my mom's Tom Jones' albums, offered more snap, so I favored them more. And corn and potatoes, from fries to baked to mashed, proved much like Santana's "Abraxas" (on 8-Track cassette to boot) album - they could be repeated ad infinitum as far as I was concerned.

Do Fries Go With That Take: The Funk Master and The Galley Boy

The cover of George Clinton's 1986 album "R&B Skeletons in the Closet"
While driving around a few weeks back, I caught a song on the radio from noted funk/R&B guru George Clinton. While his solo efforts are considered not quite up to his works for super groups Parliament and Funkadelic (his first album, “Computer Games”, comes awfully close though), Clinton’s albums for Capitol Records contained inspired efforts that melded the then modern electro-synth sounds of the 1980s with his traditional instrument compositions of the years prior.

George Clinton’s 1986 album “R&B Skeletons in the Closet” was the fourth and last full-length studio effort for Capitol Records before his dalliance with the late Prince and his Paisley Park record label at the turn of the decade. Perhaps the second best of his solo efforts for Capitol, Clinton balanced old and new instruments well in songs like “Cool Joe”, the title track, and my favorite song from the album in “Do Fries Go With That Shake.”