Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Good Fortune

Tom, Jeremy and I went out to eat at a Chinese buffet recently -- Jeremy's choice, and a buffet is definitely a good value when feeding a 19-year-old male!

At the end of our meal, of course, we received the requisite fortune cookies.

I always wave my hand over them, waiting for one to call to me. Jeremy shuffles them and then picks, which he did that night before anyone could choose any other tactics.

This then led to a debate, as Tom believes in the "Proximity Theory": if it's closest to you and/or pointing to you, that fortune cookie is yours.

So Jeremy shuffled the cookies back into their original order, as he hadn't done much rearranging and could still remember which cookie had started where. And so we selected according to Tom's rule. And here's how they worked out:

Jeremy: "Work is either fun or drudgery. It depends on your attitude." Jeremy admits to having virtually no work ethic unless he enjoys the task or the company he's keeping, so this was perfect!

Tom: "You have a curious smile and a mysterious nature." Also perfect, as 'tis very true on both counts.

And then there was mine: "You are the crispy noodle in the vegetarian salad of life."



Monday, November 29, 2010

My New Kitchen


I have a new kitchen! It's not as big as my old one, and definitely not as colorful -- the old one was blue, and I had painted confetti (streaming swirls and polka dots) on one wall. There is an electric stove rather than a gas one. The countertops and storage space are both significantly limited, though I pride myself on being fairly adaptable so I'm doing my best to accommodate. All of my spices fit on the freezer door (took both shelves, but they fit!), so it's working out okay.

No, I didn't remodel anything just to set these limits -- that would have been a contrary thing to do, now, wouldn't it??? And who has the money for that kind of work anyway?

So, I'm sure you're asking why I have a new kitchen, and why I would downsize this way since I do so love to cook and bake. Well, here's where the big announcement I've been promising for a week (which had to be delayed by my untimely computer problems) comes in:

My new kitchen comes with something far more valuable than work space, more important than a gas stove, more precious than storage capacity. My new kitchen comes with a new house ... and with my sweetie.

I moved in with Tom last week ... :)





Friday, November 26, 2010

Day-Glo Faygo Cupcakes

Soft, moist, flavorful, and vivid enough to resemble colors of nail polish that lil' ol' quirky and whimsical moi would wear ... welcome to the wonderful world of Faygo cupcakes!

These are a uniquely Michigan product -- created by the Just Baked bakery in Livonia (30 minutes or so from Ann Arbor, with a store here in town) using a legendary soda made in Detroit. They come in three flavors: Orange, Grape, and Redpop (strawberry).

I'd heard about them for several weeks -- they're being sold not only at the Just Baked shops, but also at locally-owned grocery store chains Hiller's and Busch's. So, of course, near-omnivore that I am with a hearty sweet tooth, I had to give them a try!

Tom and I went into the bakery the other day, and asked if we could buy a couple of them; no, sorry, they're packaged by the half-dozen for mass retail sales so they can't be sold individually. Well, we didn't need 6 cupcakes no matter how festive they were. So we were thrilled to have the sales clerk offer to give us a sample, and to even ask which flavors we'd like to taste. Hmmm ... ye olde decision-making brain fizzle! Tom chose Orange and I chose Redpop, and we set to tasting and sharing.




Each of the cupcakes had a distinct flavor of the soda they are made with; and our charming hostess told us that no food colorings are used in creating the depth of color in the treats -- the soda alone provides the hue. They were moist, they were flavorful, they were very sweet, and the frosting was silky smooth ... sigh ... :)

These cupcakes would be perfect for a kids' party, in particular. They would also be a perfect way to support multiple Michigan businesses at once, if one were serving state-themed goodies for the Michigan-Ohio State game at noon on Saturday -- show some love to the Great Lakes State against its superarchrival, yeah!!! (Maize 'n' Blue food is perfectly alright, but buying these cupcakes would be an investment in our economy ... and no, that's not just my way of rationalizing a sugar fix!)

Of course, after being treated so hospitably we didn't have the heart to leave the shop without buying anything ... what a couple of mentsches ([MENT-shez] = good people) we are, huh???

So we decided to try one Chocolate Peanut Butter cupcake -- chocolate cake filled with peanut butter frosting, topped with more peanut butter frosting that is then coated in chocolate -- and a Samoa cupcake with chocolate-drizzled coconut and caramel over a yellow cupcake, in honor of the famous Girl Scout cookie of the same name. Yeah, what a way to spend a Saturday afternoon, huh???


The Samoa cupcake was a bit dry, though the coconut-caramel-chocolate topping was sweet and sticky and wonderful to savor even when it separated from the crumbly cake. The Chocolate Peanut Butter one was rich and smooth and absolutely luscious ... definitely one I would eat more (lots more!) of.


In closing, let me just brag about my state and its delicious goodies and great businesses one more time ... humor me, please. Detroit gets so much bad press that I want to really tout this particular tidbit of news, 'cause it's just a happy little item. Serious Eats, an enormous NYC-based site devoted to all things food (recipes, articles, chatting, photos, etc.) recently did a taste test of regionally produced root beers. Well, you only get one guess as to which was the winner ... come on, you know the answer ... FAYGO, yay!!! Truly, we are a proud bunch here ... :)



504 Main





Thursday, November 25, 2010

Back At It, Sorta


Hi, there -- me again!

We finally got internet service back at work, so there's been mucho catching up to do. My laptop situation is being resolved as I type, and with any luck I'll be back to posting inanity and fluff very soon. I'm surprised at how well I've dealt with my withdrawal symptoms, and how I've distracted myself: I made a Christmas stocking (remedially, because I am not a seamstress, but it was a labor of love), I've completed several crossword puzzles, I've nearly finished a book, I've baked, I've exercised … it's been good for me!

So, I am still unable to show you some of the amazing things I've made and eaten lately because I have nothing to download my pictures to; and I can't really take hours out of my work day (or stay for hours in the evening) to write my own personal blog posts. (It's bad enough -- and perhaps this is what God was chastising me for when He yanked my cyber-access so abruptly??? -- that I check email or comments every so often throughout the day … tsk, tsk.) But I had to at least check in with my friends and followers for Thanksgiving, to offer my deep appreciation for your support and your encouragement.

My ex-husband is in recovery and has attended many an A.A. meeting. For those of you who may not know much about how they work, there is usually a theme: sometimes they read from the Alcoholics Anonymous book, sometimes attendees pick a topic. And if anyone ever wants to get out early, they volunteer to lead the minions in a discussion of gratitude -- it's the shortest meeting imaginable!

While I've always joked about that, in all honesty I have to hang my own head in shame at how much I take for granted, how much I kvetch about, and how little I show genuine appreciation for gifts that the universe has bestowed upon me. And so, as everyone else is doing (since when am I a lemming???), I am going to offer a list of some things I'm grateful for this year. I sat in the Sanctuary at work to offer some silent thanks, and now I'll take some of it into the public realm.

Health: Never, ever take it for granted! I am one of the healthiest people I know, with good blood pressure and cholesterol/sugar levels, no arthritis, no chronic pain, no significant impediments other than an increasingly feeble memory. I take a thyroid pill each morning along with my vitamins -- that's it. Many of my loved ones have both physical and psychiatric difficulties, and one very special person has been hospitalized twice this year with 5 or 6 (we've lost count) trips to the ER for a variety of issues. Those of us who have good health should be on our knees with gratitude for it, rather than just blissfully scurrying about during our days. Health is a precious commodity, and it is more valuable than many others which would be lost without it.

Money: There's never enough of it, and I worry about it constantly both day and night. Dealing with finances is soul-deadening and I loathe it; I'd like greater financial security, rather than always being tense and careful. However, I have a job that provides both income and health insurance, not to mention some truly dear friends/co-workers … I have a home and the ability to pay rent … I have two cars (my Suburban and Jeremy's Beetle) which have been paid off … have clothes, and even relish the thrill of touring thrift shops for new goodies … I have enough food that I can cook and bake what I please, as well as eating out fairly frequently, and engage in the frivolity of writing about it … I have money to donate to some of my favorite charities in $18 increments (18 being symbolic of "life" in Judaism) … I have no late bills and no creditors seeking a pound or more of my flesh … I have heat, lights, water, and even enough disposable funds to grudgingly cough up to get my computer fixed. I am immensely grateful for all of these blessings and others I haven't either listed or thought of.

Family: I am a firm believer that a family is created by the people one chooses to be with, ones who love you, rather than necessarily being determined by DNA. I have my priceless, beloved Jeremy, without whom my life would cease to exist; Tom, who is a cherished member of my family even if we're not married; Tom's daughter and sisters and brother and nephew and nieces and father and stepmother and grandmother and cousins, who have welcomed me because I love and care for Tom, who is precious to them; Wendy and Connie, my bestest girlfriends without whom I would not have survived much "tsuris" ([TSOOH-riss] = heartache); my parents, who admittedly make me insane but who are there when I need them; my "bubbes" ([BUH-beez] = grandmothers), the amazing elderly women at work who have adopted me and whom I adore; the friends I've gathered in recent years through work, whom I consider to be extended family … I am truly blessed with people to love who remarkably love me in return.





Followers/Friends: I started this blog in March, and am utterly astounded that I am nearing 500 followers! And I have also met wonderful friends whom I would never have encountered anywhere but cyberspace, whom I look forward to hearing from and sharing with each day. The support, encouragement, cheering, commiserating, and just genuine t.l.c. you've all offered to me throughout this adventure is so amazing! I am genuinely grateful for your having found me, followed me, and friended me. But then, people always do bond over food, don't they … ?

Have a lovely, blessed, warm, hearty, fattening, happy Thanksgiving!!! We've got Chanukkah fast approaching, and the Christmas and New Year and birthday season soon thereafter … there's always more food, and traditions to continue ... :)



Friday, November 19, 2010

*#&&@(*&#$(*@&#$!!!

Hello, everyone!

Sorry for the obscene greeting above, but it's warranted -- I am currently sitting at the library, typing up a quick post to let everyone know why I've been a.w.o.l. No post today, no reading/commenting on my friends' posts, no obsessive checking of The New York Times ... nothin'. I am virtually cut off from the rest of the universe, for awhile.




Our internet service at work got shut down accidentally yesterday -- still not fixed, and boy! You don't realize how addicted you are -- or how dependent you are for a variety of responsibilities -- until you don't have it. Comcast claims to be working on the problem, which was their error ... we shall see if we have access on Monday. You know it's bad when you have to resort to filing, and when slapping address labels on the monthly newsletter suddenly sounds like a good diversion!

So I went home last night, ready to catch up on what I couldn't check on during the day. I signed on to HootSuite.com, checked Facebook and Twitter, then went into the kitchen to make a phone call. I came back out to my laptop to see the "BSOD" as the tech guy at Staples put it: Blue Screen of Death.

Sooooo, Tom and I took the laptop to Staples last night to see what they could do; they seem to think it's fairly straightforward, and they 're having a 50% sale on repairs, so at least I'm getting a bit of a break. Six times or so, the very helpful Ryan tried to enter a work order ... and six times or so, the computer wouldn't accept it. So I had to take my laptop home, 'cause they can't take it without documenting that it's in their inventory; I took it over after work today and everything seemed to go smoothly ... oy.

God, I believe, is sending a LOUD, CLEAR message about my internet usage ... why, I don't know -- I meet my responsibilities, I feed people, I do my job, I keep up with my friends (both in the real world and the cyber ones). This could be about my New York Times addiction, but I think not ... I hope not! And I had so many posts to write about -- Faygo cupcakes, my prize-winning Thanksgiving stuffing (read all about it right here), a big announcement ... sigh.

So, I can't use photos 'til I get my laptop back, though I can at least check in with all of my friends if I have internet access at work next week.

Here's hoping everyone has a fabulous weekend!!! Tomorrow, Tom and I are celebrating the one-year anniversary of when he first contacted me ... awwww. Holiday shopping and a lovely lunch await us ... :)


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Zingerman's Zzang! Bar

A couple of weeks ago, when I got to spend the afternoon with the fabulous cookbook author Joan Nathan before her appearance at the Jewish Book Festival, I was one of two attendants during her book signing at the famous Zingerman's Deli. The other was a very charming young man named Freddy Rosenthal, who works in sales for Zingerman's Candy Manufactory.

While waiting for devoted fans to come in at the appointed time (and one of these was a woman who drove an hour from Toledo just for the occasion!), Joan was trying to decide what gifts to send to her children from one of her very favorite food shops. She looked at the counters, she perused the catalogue, and Freddy very patiently helped her to sort through all the amazing options.

Joan had specifically asked what new items there might be since her last visit to Ann Arbor, oh, maybe 5 years earlier. Candy bars. Chocolate bars. Rich, thick, delicious candy bars that one woman, who was bringing cookbooks to the table for ready signing, described as "what a Snickers wants to be when it grows up." Zzang! Bars.

Well, that certainly sounded intriguing! So Freddy went off to bring Joan a sample ... and kind, sweet gentleman that he is, he brought one for me, too. I, of course, was going to be headed to dinner at eve an hour later; and I also had Tom and Jeremy to share my prize with, so I saved it until it could be properly savored. But Freddy had also brought a bar that he'd cut into pieces for tasting, and I have to say that it was exceptional!

Here's how it's described on Zingerman's website:

Zzang!® Original
Charlie starts with honey nougat made with natural peanut butter. He rolls it up in a silky caramel made from organic muscovado brown sugar. The biggest and best Virginia peanuts come next, and the whole endeavor's finished off with a hand dip into a rich bath of 64 percent dark Ecuadorian chocolate.

Are you sorely tempted now, or what???

If you can't find Zzang! Bars in your area, click here and order them online. Yeah, they're a bit pricey at $6 each -- even Joan thought they sounded a bit expensive. But truly, they are worth every one of those pennies and would make fabulous holiday gifts ... trust me. I wouldn't encourage you to spend that much on a chocolate bar unless it really would be exceptional. Jeremy told me that he thinks it's the best candy he's ever eaten ....


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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Irish Pub Grub

Conor O'Neill's is a traditional Irish pub on Main Street in Ann Arbor; there's also one in Boulder, CO, but I haven't been to that one. Interestingly, the place doesn't seem like a chain restaurant -- it definitely has a secure spot in the Irish lineage, but it still seems unique to our little burb.

I've gotta say that it's kinda loud ... and really, that's an understatement. 'Cause remember, it's primarily a bar. A bar with great food and friendly service and maps of Ireland and pictures of my beloved James Joyce, but a bar nonetheless.

So when Jeremy and I go there to eat -- yes, eat: I almost never drink, and Jeremy's not old enough to do so (legally!) -- we always try to get a small table tucked in the back, behind a wall. It has a bench seat on one side and 2 chairs on the other, so there isn't even the debate you sometimes get between people who prefer booths vs. people who'd rather sit at standard tables. And it's not exactly quiet, but it's quieter.

But that's okay, 'cause I have never, ever had a bad meal or dish or garnish or anything there. The food is fabulous! For starters, two of my favorite appetizers are mussels in a creamy, garlicky sauce (so amazing that I once asked for a small container to take home the extra to pour over pasta!) and Brie baked in a beer batter. Those decisions are pretty easy, and Jeremy will choose the mussels every time to make my life just a little bit easier. But then we move on to the entrees ... and, well, we all know how much trouble I have with that.

Shepherd's Pie, featuring cheese-topped mashed potatoes and a gravy made with Bass Ale? Fisherman's Pie with a luscious, creamy cheese-and-dill sauce generously loaded with salmon and shrimp? The Irish Boxty, essentially an enormous plate-sized latke topped with grilled vegetables and pesto mayonnaise? The slow-cooked Irish lamb stew in a rich Guinness gravy? You can see that an omnivore like moi, who also happens to be one-quarter Irish, would fall in love with every option and feel as though she were being unfaithful to all the others!

But when I was last at Conor O'Neill's with Jeremy, I settled upon the fish and chips. I hadn't eaten it for awhile and, truth be told, they make the best variation on this seemingly simple dish that I have ever eaten. (The menu itself tells you that it's "The best you've ever tasted!") The batter is made with Bass Ale, but that's not the only key ingredient; another is knowing just how long to fry the fish, so that they're not slightly burnt but also not greasy. Truly, the fish is absolute perfection. Even the excellent fries pale by comparison.

Now, Jeremy doesn't ever have these menu dilemma issues. If there's a Reuben on the menu, he will order it. And there's a Reuben on the menu at Conor O'Neill's ... a classic one of corned beef, Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing, sauerkraut and rye, grilled to toasted, gooey beauty.

As Jeremy puts it, this specimen doesn't offer as much corned beef as some other restaurants do; however, each and every bite is meltingly tender, whereas the places that might give you more beef are using a lesser quality ingredient that is often chewy or gristled. 'Tis better to have less of an exceptional product than globs of a mediocre one. So this is Jeremy's favorite Reuben, other than the one he ate at the Carnegie Deli in NYC which was amazing even though it was about a foot tall (or maybe 1/2" shorter, but pretty close).

Fortunately, since Irish "fayre" is some of my favorite food, Conor O'Neill's is very conveniently located -- no plane rides for the phobic, yay!!! And we'll be going back there fairly soon, for Jeremy's birthday in January. As I typed this, I asked him if he wanted to go back there again as we have for several years (enough to make it a tradition). He looked at me as though I were the most foolish creature on Earth and said, "Pfft! Yeah!" Oh, if only I could type out the disdain and dismay in his voice!

But I love him anyway, so Conor O'Neill's it will be on January 10 ....


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Conor O'Neill's on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 15, 2010

"Hot Damn!" Triple Orange Brownies


"I have only two words to describe these," Tom said when he tried my Friday night brownie experiment: "Hot damn!" He -- the most disciplined eater I know, a former vegan and vegetarian, a man who enjoys food but treats it more like fuel than entertainment -- proceeded to eat two of them. This is unheard of! You should have joined us for dinner just to witness it!

I was in a reasonably new store last week, which sells only oils and vinegars. It's called Fustini's, and I'm proud to say that it is a Michigan-based chain (with other stores in Holland, Petoskey and Traverse City). Oh, it's open and bright and the staff is wonderfully welcoming. There are small vats on display, with little plastic cups just waiting to help you sample the wares. And truly, you could sample every single item if you wanted to -- I've managed to get through about half of the offerings already without any effort to shoo me away.

So far, I've found a balsamic vinegar named "Better Than Chocolate" that is so sweet and rich that I could drink it straight. I combined a bright and vibrant lemon-flavored olive oil with a subtle and slightly perfumed violet vinegar to find that they complemented each other perfectly. One of my absolute favorites was the cherry vinegar, tart and luscious. Oh, the salads! The marinades! The sauces! How much fun could I have with some of these products??? I've already dropped some downright-obvious (why be subtle?) hints with Tom and Jeremy that some holiday gifts from this charming little store would be most gratefully appreciated.

Then, after leaving, I had a potential epiphany ... and that's where my Friday night experiment comes in.

The woman I'd spoken with when I first found the shop told me that she likes to enhance cake mixes by infusing them with some of the wares she sells. And so, later I thought: "If I usually bake a vegan chocolate cake using apple cider vinegar and baking soda for leavening, then why not use one of those flavored vinegars to really perk up the flavor???" But I've been more in the mood for brownies lately, so then I thought I could substitute a flavored vinegar for vanilla extract or coffee or maraschino cherry juice, or any of the other liquids I usually add to the batter.

I still had some of the gorgeous blood orange vinegar I'd bought at Fox and Obel in Chicago when Jeremy and I were there in June -- it would be perfect! And I could use an orange-flavored chocolate, rather than plain ol' baking chocolate or chocolate chips. And -- it gets better! -- I could swirl in some orange marmalade, a technique I sometimes use with raspberry jam. The wheels in my brain, they were a-spinnin'!



So on Friday night, as Tom put his brand new rice cooker to work and made a lovely dinner of Cuban rice and beans with cheese, I stirred up a variation on my usual brownie batter. The brownies baked as we ate, and smelled absolutely divine.

Impatient people that we are, we didn't wait for the brownies to cool; they were a bit messier for still being warm when I cut them, but who cares about the appearance of a dessert that's about to disappear anyway???

So we each took a brownie and sat down on the sofa. We took a taste, and Tom uttered his above-stated phrase upon experiencing the luscious, warm, moist, rich chocolate which was scented and enhanced with orange. He then stated: "You'd better tell your readers that they have to make this! I'll hunt them down if they don't! They must make these brownies!"

And so, this is your mission should you choose to accept it. I don't know how readily you can find orange vinegar in your town, but it's worth any hunting you may have to do to procure it. (I'm sure you could also use fresh orange juice or some liqueur, as well.) Orange marmalade is easy to find, but finding one that isn't nearly entirely made of high fructose corn syrup may be a challenge. (I actually found some at a dollar store, of all places -- the best ingredients of any brand I'd looked at, at the dollar store!) And Lindt chocolate should be easy to find; I was lucky that it was on sale last week, just waiting for my little project.

I happen to be a devoted worshipper of chocolate and, particularly, of brownies. And I have to say, immodest as it sounds, that these are just about the best brownies I've ever eaten ... I know they're the best ones I've ever baked.

So take Tom's advice. Bake some Triple Orange Brownies for holiday gifts. Bake them for a tree-trimming party. Bake them to reward yourself for finishing your Christmas shopping. Bake them simply because it's Monday! Just bake them. You'll thank me, I promise ....

Triple Orange Brownies

1/2 cup butter
1 3.5-ounce bar Lindt Excellence Intense Orange chocolate bar, broken into pieces
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons orange-flavored vinegar
3/4 cup unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup orange marmalade

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour an 8" square baking pan.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate together over low heat, stirring frequently.

Stir in the sugar, then stir in the eggs one-by-one. Add the vinegar, then stir in the flour, baking soda and salt; mix until smooth. Pour batter into the prepared pan.

Place dollops of the marmalade over the top of the batter, then gently swirl them into the batter just a bit.

Bake for 30 minutes without peeking, then let cool a bit before serving. (FYI: I added no nuts to the batter, though Tom and I had talked about adding walnuts and they would make a good addition. The chocolate bar contains tidbits of almonds, and one is peeking out in the picture below.)

Cut into 12 or 16 pieces, or just grab a fork and start devouring ....





Mingle Monday



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Friday, November 12, 2010

Long Weekend

I've got lots and lots and LOTS of stuff waiting to be posted, and no time in which to do it. Tom and I have eaten at several restaurants that I still haven't shared with you, and I'm a coupla months behind on a dinner with Jeremy at his favorite Irish pub here in town. I've cooked, I've baked ... there are many photos waiting on my computer and many stories locked in the queue that is my (increasingly feeble) memory. But have no fear -- while I may forget why I walked down the hallway and stand there dumbfounded as I try to figure it out, I always remember what I've eaten and how it tasted and how much I enjoyed it.

But lately I feel as though I've become a pinball -- ping-ing and bouncing around from one place to another to yet another and still another. Little time to just sit in my jammies and type, type, type. And I type fast -- I test at 100+ words per minute! But when you're as chatty as I am, it still takes awhile to give the shpiel. Oh, and I also have to plan at least one post around Thanksgiving ... one more thing on ye olde "to do" list.

So rather than proverbially phoning it in today, I'm just going to take a long weekend and try to catch up on sleep and errands and other things. There's also a big adventure pending, and I need to make some plans for that, as well ... shhh, it's a secret for now.

All good things to those who wait ... :)



Thursday, November 11, 2010

Marketing Mayhem

I've received a few emails occasionally asking me to review a product or publicize a promotion for a company; I politely write back to dismiss them, and then move along to blathering about what I ate, what I cooked, what I baked, what I obsess about. I'm almost always here for the food.

But the other night, there was an absolute flurry of solicitations ... huh??? Kraft "thought that Food Floozie readers would want the answers to ... questions and more by watching our new video about buying, storing and freezing seafood, chicken, and meat." If y'all want that, let me know and I'll embed the code they gave me (though I really think folks who had any interest in this information could either go to Kraft's site themselves or do a search). However, I would hope you'd rather just keep drooling with me over recipes and meals and photos and the complete seductive, sensual experience that food can be. If I've misjudged my faithful followers, I apologize.

Jack in the Box -- which doesn't even have a franchise in my entire state of Michigan -- wants me to let everyone know that "On Tuesday, November 16th Jack in the Box will give away Two (2) FREE Tacos to anyone with NO PURCHASE REQUIRED. Just walk in the store and ask for your FREE TACOS. (Limit 2 tacos per customer; at participating locations only)." That's as much endorsement as I can muster ... consider yourselves informed. I've put this up more as an illustration of the drivel that's sent to me than any endorsement of the ploy ... though I do hope that those who are hungry -- and there are far too many, these days -- can benefit from this offer.

As Tomoson -- a site which appears to exist solely as a pimp for a variety of items, though they claim to facilitate "a better way of managing product promotions with bloggers" -- once phrased it when asking me to help them sell everything from bbq sauce (which admittedly fits my platform) to a pink digital photo keychain (pink, yes; useless tchotchke, no): "We currently have companies wanting to send your blog FREE Products To Review so you can use them & write reviews." I'd say that I appreciate the thought, but really I don't.

I've also been asked by others to promote Meatless Mondays, pillows with built-in speakers for playing music while I try to sleep, and even the theoretical benefits and perks of a certain credit card (and they tried to lure me with an invitation to a fancy dinner with a James Beard Award-winning chef, 'til they let on that I'd have to buy my own tickets) ... oy! Make it stop!!!

I don't want my integrity to appear compromised in any way -- I value it too highly. So I would rather write about places I've actually chosen to eat at, as well as foods and items I've bought voluntarily, rather than have any suspicion that I've raved about (or even just seemed warmly fond of) anything in particular because of having received a freebie.

Because, of course, while these companies offer trials of items with no stated demands for positive feedback, it is abundantly clear that they want to use me and my blog as marketing tools to sell their products. Uh uh. I would feel the need to be completely honest whether I liked a product or not, and I would hope that anyone who has had even the most remote contact with me -- in person or online -- would know implicitly that I was being truthful.

But there would always be a hint of taint if I truly loved a product and wrote about it, with some doubt of my sincerity because I might have been enticed by the supposed thrill of being chosen as a recipient or by the giddiness of having been sent a present. Personally, I've never read a bad review of any product by anyone at all ... never ... regardless of whether jewelry or food or hemorrhoid cream is being evaluated. If anyone else has, I'd be glad to know it.

So, I just felt the need to rant about this a bit because I'm tired of seeing these emails and having to respond to them. I'm not the sort to just hit "delete," but rather I write back (politely, too!) to explain my position so that a) they don't waste their time pursuing someone who's not interested, and b) they'll stop pestering me.

Yeah, good luck with that!



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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: The Justly Famous "Famous Hamburger"








Famous Hamburger
1739 Plymouth Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48105
Hours of Operation: Monday through Sunday - 10:00 a.m. to Midnight








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