Friday Open Thread: Friday Lunches

I have to admit, this is a bit of a quickie, but it’s my favorite recipe for a good, tasty Friday lunch.

On Thursday night, wait until about twenty minutes before you have to go to bed.  Then, in a sickening panic, realize that you haven’t packed yourself anything to eat the following day.  Throw aside your comforter, and in the process be sure to accidentally hurl at least one of your pet animals off the bed — if you’re able to displace or terrify two or more, congratulations!  You earn bonus points that you will someday involuntarily redeem for vicious, throat-closingly sulphuric feline cat-fart revenge.

Make your way to the fridge in pitch darkness, trying not to disturb anyone in the house.


All right!  So, we’ve got some… ehhhmmm… I see that there’s… uhhhhhh…

…well, that’s not a problem, let’s not panic or anything.  It’s okay when there isn’t a lot to work with, right?  I just need to draw inspiration from my TV chef mentors and remember what good home cooking is all about:  Making the best with what you’ve got.  By God, James Barber built a career on that very thing, and if it’s good enough for the Urban Peasant, then why can’t it work for us?  There’s lots we can do here!


See, this is a great start:  Two cups of leftover cranberry sauce!  We’ve already seen what Tina can do with a few cranberries and some creativity, so if she can do it, why can’t I?  It’s just a matter of some inspiration and letting the ingredients speak to me.  Heck, celebrity chef Michael Smith built his whole cooking show concept on that — and if I can’t do better than an over-sized long-haired hippie chef from the Maritimes, then I’ve got a different thing coming to me.

Speak to me, ingredients!


Well!  Would you look at that, huh?  Would you look at that.  Look at that.

That sure is an open can of an Irish Sea Moss-flavored drink, Jamaican-style.  I can’t even count the number of things on this label that I don’t fully comprehend:

  1. That someone would make a drink out of Sea Moss.
  2. That Irish Sea Moss would be a specific variety of sea moss-flavored drinks.
  3. That there would be a Jamaican style of an Irish sea moss variety of sea moss-flavored drinks.
  4. That… no, I was right.   Trying to count is shutting my brain down.

What is this particular ingredient saying to me?  Is it whispering, “I am a secret delight imported from unknown lands across either the Atlantic Ocean or the Caribbean, my label doesn’t make it entirely clear”?  Or is it hissing, “My flavor is not unlike a barnacle, if you dredged it through a bucket of rotten milk first”?  So many conflicting messages, so little capacity for expressing horror.

But no, I cannot give up.  As Roger Mooking would say, “You gotta make the everyday into the exotic.”  This is my chance to really grab hold of something unique and make it mine.  So despite the quivering nightmare I can see through the tiny hole in the top of this can, it’s time to man up and make it happen.



Okay!  Now we’ll just add to this a little of this… unidentifiable brown stuff, here, and–

–oh, forget it.  As Julia Child would say, “Bugger this, I’m going out for lunch.”

Happy New Year, everyone, and thanks for an incredible first year for us here at Choosy Beggars.  In December alone we served over 10,000 pages to more than 5,000 unique visitors, had our recipes printed over 500 times, and enjoyed hundreds of your own comments — with a minimum of Soviet porn spam!  We have loads of really fun, exciting stuff planned for this year, and we can’t wait to keep you well-fed and entertained in 2009.

So while we’re at it, Happy Friday, and speak up in the comments, folks:  Where’s your Friday, guilt-free, you-had-leftovers-all-week-so-you-earned-it lunch spot?  

  • Peter

    I’m diggin’ Roger Mooking. Not sure if I’d undertake one of his dishes verbatim but I enjoy watching him and I always learns a few tricks from him.

    • Mike

      I know what you mean. A few of his recipes seem kind of… I dunno, off. Plus he did a whole episode about lychee, which might as well have been about kitten feet from my perspective.

      But it’s cute how he sings his own theme song.

      ATTENTION UN-CANADIANS: Roger Mooking hosts a show called Everyday Exotic, which is on the Canadian Food Network (likely to satisfy Canadian content rules). I have no idea if he’s syndicated into the USA yet.

  • Tara

    Yay for going out for lunch!

    This site is great guys, it’s one of my favourite blogs to visit (think daily) and I’ve even made quite a few things based on your recipes! You got me to cook! That’s like a miracle in and of itself!

  • funtime42

    March through November, the local A&W for a #3 Crispy, plain, cheese, fries and a pepsi, which in English means the gods of the deep fryer have brought to earth a perfectly crunchy yet moist chicken breast smothered with cheese on a grilled bun, piping hot french fries lightly salted, and an ice cold Pepsi in a to go cup. They usually have it rung up before I turn off my car. When they’re closed for the winter I sit at my desk and eat crackers…

  • noble pig

    What the heck is that moss? That is just hysterical…I have never…just never….heard of it!

  • Alison

    I leave this post with one question only: what the hell on earth did you plan on doing with that moss drink? Was that part of some kind of twisted New Years resolution? (will eat right, exercise, and oh….what else? Drink moss!) I must know.

  • Tina

    Peter – I agree. I rarely make a dish verbatim anyway, but I love Mooking’s enthusiasm for bringing ingredients that people may be leery of, and showing their versatility. It also makes me giggle when he starts grooving out. You have to have respect for a guy who’s name shows up so many times in the show’s credits, including writing and performing the theme song!

    Tara – I am puffed like a pelican that you visit our wee corner of the interweb so often, and that we can give you a bit of creative kitchen inspiration!! I’d love to know what you’ve been making!!!

    Funtime42 – A&W closes in the winter? Really?? And you totally rang my bell by mentioning anything smothered in cheese….

    Noble Pig & Alison – The Jamaican Style Irish Sea Moss is something that I will take full responsibility for. I can’t help snagging these random items that I’ve never heard of, often with disastrous consequences. Mike taunts me for it, particularly when things are entirely UNLIKE what I expected…like a can of Jackfruit….definitely jack, and nothing like fruit. Sigh. The Irish Sea Moss was opened up with great excitement, but then when I tried to pour it….well….it looked like something which had been hacked out of the lungs of a death-bed ridden consumptive. I couldn’t do it, but I tried, daily, for three days…finally, on day 4, I closed my eyes, girded the appetite loins, and took the smallest possible slurp. It’s actually really tasty! It’s like a thin condensed milk that’s got a flavor like peppermint and Baileys. I can see why people like it, but I couldn’t get past the mucus texture, unfortunately…so there it sits.

  • kristie

    I like the new look. Very perky and assertive. I’m also fascinated by your fridge. It might become a trend. I take pictures of my groceries before I put them away. Is that weird?

    • Mike

      Thanks! The new template has been out for a while, and lets us do a whole bunch of stuff with WordPress that we weren’t able to before. Plus I like fiddling with logos in Photoshop.

      This is the second time I’ve shown the contents of my fridge to people on the internet, and I swear it always generates a shocking amount of interest. It’s somehow akin to showing people your underwear.

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  • Jason Parrish

    Thanks for the interesting blogs and recipes. I came for the mustard recipes, which I’ll initiate tonight, but had my interest piqued when I saw “Irish Moss”.

    My experience with Irish Moss comes from my home brewing. In brewing, you drop 4 tsp Irish Moss into a 5 gallon batch of beer about 10/15 minutes before you’re done with the ‘boil’, preceeding tossing your yeast, when the actual fermentation takes place. When you ‘brew’ beer, you end up with a lot of floaty bits that make the beer cloudy if not removed. The Irish Moss serves as a magnet for a lot of the particles remaining in the beer, which drop to the bottom of your brew tank, leaving a clearer beer than before. Granted, this is a very over-simplified description, but that’s how Irish Moss in it’s dried form is used.

    In milk… or with a cocktail… I’m just not there yet.