Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sandwich of the Day: “Jalapeno Popper” Grilled Cheese

Came across this sandwich today and it looked too amazing not to share.  I've definitely put this sandwich on my To Do List.  This inventive take on a classic has my tummy rumbling.

Follow this link to find out more and start grillin' your perfect sammich today! 

Monday, August 22, 2011

My DVR: For Better or For Worse

Or, How My DVR Has Changed My Life
I have been video taping my favorite TV shows for as long as I can remember.  It got to the point where I could, and I’m dating myself by saying this, program my VCR like that.  With the advent of DVR, or digital video recording, one would expect my habits to be more of the same, if not slightly more tech-ier (yes, it IS a word).  The results, I’m guilty to admit, are less to be desired. 

Anyone who has been accustomed to their DVR can attest to this statement to a certain degree:  I find myself wanting to rewind certain things in my life (or, have the same functionality of a DVR for moments in my life).  For instance, I was listening to the radio this morning when the traffic report came on.  I zoned out for a mere two seconds before realizing the reporter was speaking traffic talk.  My first thought was, “Oh wait, can I rewind that?  Maybe she mentioned something important about my commute. Oh wait, I can’t.  Because this is real life.  Gotcha.  Or, another unabashed example was at work.  I was taking notes during a meeting and could not keep up with the person talking.  He was on warp speed and I was just getting on the freeway.  I thought it would’ve been so perfect if I could just pause him (a la “Out of This World” – who remembers that fine piece of television programming?). 

I also find myself watching too much TV.  As I often times explain, “I have so many taped shows that I have to do a DVR-watching session just to make room for more shows.”  That statement in itself is a vicious circle.  I think I’m fairly active and there’s enough in my life to keep me from being glued to the boob tube, but every once in a while I like to lay like broccoli, clear my mind, and watch an episode of Gossip Girl.  And that will usually lead to that night’s episode of Conan, the previous night’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and on and on.  I’ve found too many different types of programming to watch, many thing to the Guide.  Oh how easy it is nowadays to view what’s airing next week on any given channel.  Remember the one lonesome guide channel that gave you a scrolling list of the TV shows for the next 90 minutes?

Before I completely call myself out, I’ll stop at this – I’ve gotten too spoiled.  Rarely do I ever catch a program “live”.  Why would I watch it in real-time when I could wait 15-20 minutes and forward through the commercials?  I used to like commercials, found them charming and creative.  Now I’m desensitized and, save for the occasional iTunes/Apple commercial with those damningly catchy songs, couldn’t tell you what the latest advertisements are gracing my television screen.  On the contrary, DVR does give you the freedom to go about your life.  I don’t have to go home to watch my favorite show. I can instead choose to spend time with friends and / or family with the comfort of knowing my DVR has got my TV cravings taken care of. 

Over the years, I’ve grown a love-hate relationship with my DVR.  I couldn’t fully give it up, nor would I want I choose to do such a thing.  I’ll just have to accept that I cannot pause life, continue to live it and be in the moment, and give the couch potato in me a big hug (and a good slap in the face every now and then).   

Friday, August 12, 2011

SPAM: Like!

As I do on many drives to work, I was listening one morning to the Stuff You Should Know podcast (from  I had downloaded a handful of podcasts to listen to and was absolutely giddy when I saw an episode titled "How SPAM Works".  Giddy because I love SPAM.  No, I'm not talking about email junk crap, but the meat product with the recognizable label. 

Filipinos, too, love SPAM.  So much so that SPAM is a staple in many a Filipino household (along with Vienna sausages and corned beef).  In fact, SPAM is so popular in Filipino cuisine that it is actually part of many breakfast options in the (suffix) "-silog" family. SPAMsilog is a breakfast of fried spam slices, garlic fried rice, and a sunny side up fried egg with a garnish of sliced tomato and sometimes pineapple chunks along with chili-garlic vinegar for dipping. And yes, that's exactly how I prefer to enjoy SPAM.

But the big question that I just could not get out of my head was, WHY?  Why is it that Filipinos love SPAM and how did this romance blossom?

Ever the curious monkey, I decided to get to the bottom of this.  In the search bar, I started typing "why do filipinos like".  I have to take a moment here and just say that the plethora of "suggested" searches was hilarious.  Try it out for yourself. 

Search results for "why do filipinos like spam" didn't garner much.  There were some message boards that stipulated the same question, but no conclusive answer. 

Many answers concluded that SPAM is hugely popular in Filipino culture for one of two reasons, and I think these two make the most sense.  The first reason is that people like convenience, and SPAM works well since it is canned and needs not be refrigerated; this is most likely a result of the next reasoning which harkens back to WWII.  American service men were stationed in the area, and the shortage of fresh meat to the troops required canned or processed meat.  The local people were given it, and the rest is history as they say.  Added to that, I personally believe that Filipinos also love the saltiness of SPAM and the fact that you can fry it.  It's no coincidence that Filipinos have a higher rate of heart disease.  Just saying...

So, there you have it.  Nothing earth shattering, but interesting nonetheless.  Plus, researching SPAM is hugely fun.  The amount of products and social media devoted to SPAM is impressive.  If you want to learn a little bit more about SPAM, check out the Stuff You Should Know podcast