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January 1, 0001

HumourList Package #45 - Food, Eating, Cooking, etc.

To all Canadian subscribers: HAPPY TURKEY DAY! Here in Canada, tomorrow is our Thanksgiving Monday, and since Turkey seems to be the food to eat, I just sorta renamed it to Turkey Day. Mind you, if any of you are like my own family, you might as well name it Turkey WEEK. You know the routine: turkey today, turkey tomorrow, hot turkey sandwiches, cold turkey sandwiches, turkey pot pie, and then when all that’s left is the bones: VIOLA! Turkey soup…

Thanks in advance to the Price family here in Kanata for having me over this afternoon for their Turkey Day feast… I’m typing up this Package (most of it) before heading over.

[editor’s note after the meal: It was Soooo good. Best part about being invited to a friend’s for a big meal like that is that I don’t have the leftovers to deal with. And YES, Mom, I DID help with the dishes like a good little guest. Of course, J.T. and Mike were tripping over themselves trying to look helpful in front of the guests… Just kidding guys.]

The Price family also has a tradition of taking a dip in their pool before dinner. Need I remind anyone I live in a slighter cool area of Canada this time of year? The pool was about 60F, and I managed to get 12 laps in before I got too cold. J.T. did 10 I think, so I felt good about beating him; Mike got 35 full laps in, so I guess he was the real winner. Of course, it took Mike longer to thaw than the 25-lb turkey.

By the way, everybody welcome Mathew Tazmon to HumourList. Why is he so special? Well, he bumped my subscriber list up to 400 subscribers as of yesterday afternoon. Just think what would happen if I advertised a lot more.

Anyhow, since tomorrow for us Canadians is hereby known as Turkey Day, this Package is dedicated to the topic of food.

Opening header is Copyright 1997 by Ian W. Douglas; all rights are reserved, and no portion should be copied in any way or modified in any way without permission of the author.

Indigestion is what you get when a square meal doesn’t fit in a round stomach.

It’s useless crying over spilled milk, unless it’s condensed.

Why would Swiss chess have the holes when it’s Limburger that needs the ventilation?

A cheese cake is something that turns to pound cake when you eat it.

Forget the gas guzzler: The most expensive vehicle to operate, by the mile is the shopping cart.

Ever notice how many people eat with their fingers and talk with their fork?


Friday August 29 1:20 PM EDT

Warning on Eating Squirrel Brains

By Theresa Tamkins

NEW YORK (Reuters) – People in rural Kentucky should avoid eating a local delicacy – squirrel brains. Health experts suspect the practice may have caused at least five and possibly as many as 11 cases of the fatal dementia-inducing disorder Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), the same disorder linked to “mad cow disease” in the U.K.

The family of all five patients reported that they had eaten squirrel brains at some point, a food that is scrambled with eggs or added to a meat and vegetable stew called “burgoo,” according to a letter in The Lancet.

“It’s not that uncommon in certain parts of rural Kentucky,” said Dr. Joseph Berger, professor and chairman of the neurology department at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. About 27% of people living in western Kentucky consume squirrel, according to a survey of 100 people conducted by Berger and his colleagues, Drs. Erick and Beverly Weisman. The patients with the brain disease ranged in age from 56 to 78, and most died within a year of diagnosis.

“There appeared to be, at least by statistical analysis, an overrepresentation of squirrel-brain consumption in patients that had CJD,” he said. “However, it may be a statistical fluke.” CJD can occur spontaneously, though the disease is very rare.

Spongiform encephalopathy disorders, which cause spongy holes to form in the brain, have been found in mink, mule deer, elk, and other species. It’s not clear how the diseases are spread, but many scientists believe the infectious agent is a prion (pronounced pree-on), an abnormal protein thought to change the shape of normal proteins in the brain. The abnormal proteins then accumulate and damage nervous tissue – though the theory is still controversial.

A spongiform encephalopathy of sheep, a disease called scrapie, was spread to cows after sheep carcasses were ground up and used in cattle feed in the U.K. Consumption of nervous tissue-contaminated beef is thought to have caused 20 cases of CJD in humans in England, Scotland and France, though the link has not been confirmed. There have been no cases of “mad cow disease” or bovine spongiform encephalopathy found in the U.S., so it’s unlikely that the Kentucky cases were caused by eating beef. However, more study – including analysis of the prion protein in the five patients and testing of squirrel brains – is needed to confirm that eating habits are indeed the cause of the disease.

“It certainly raises some interesting questions and we do plan to pursue this both in the human population and we should be harvesting squirrels, or squirrel brains, from that region of the state to take a look at them,” Berger said.

In the meantime, steering clear of squirrel brain consumption is not a bad idea, according to the Kentucky researcher.

“I would not suggest to people that they not eat squirrel entirely, but I probably would avoid eating squirrel brain, and I probably would avoid eating the nervous tissues of any animal,” he said.

SOURCE: The Lancet (1997;350:642)


There were two old boys who love to fish, and they wanted to do some ice fishing. They’d heard about it up in Canada, and they took off up there. The lake was frozen nicely. They stopped just before they got to the lake at a little bait shop and got all their tackle. One of them said, “We’re going to need an ice pick.”

So they got that, and they took off. In about two hours, one of them was back at the shop and said, “We’re going to need another dozen ice picks.” Well, the fellow in the shop wanted to ask some questions, but he didn’t. He sold him the picks, and the old boy left.

In about an hour, he was back. Said, “We’re going to need all the ice picks you’ve got.”

The fellow couldn’t stand it any longer. “By the way,” he asked, “how are you fellows doing?”

“Not very well at all,” he said. “We don’t even have the boat in the water yet.”


Bunol, Spain – It’s probably the world’s biggest food fight.

In less than an hour Wednesday, some 20,000 people turned 132 tons of tomatoes into slop, coating the main plaza of Bunol with the blood- red remains of nearly a million fruits.

The annual Tomatina, or Tomato Festival, began a half-century ago and has been growing ever since. It now draws people from across Spain and has lately begun to attract foreigners as well.

The ritual began at 11:00 AM, when men on trucks doused the crowd gathered in Bunol’s main plaza with water hoses. Townspeople covered their windows and balconies with huge plastic sheets.

A fever gripped the crowd – mostly young men – jammed shoulder-to- shoulder in the narrow plaza. They began ripping off each other’s T-shirts, flinging the shreds into the air.

“Tomate! Tomate! (Tomato! Tomato!)” they chanted, jumping in unison.

Just past noon, the tomatoes came.

Five truckloads of them.

Sixteen thousand dollars’ worth of them.

One hundred and thirty-two tons of them.

Nine hundred and twenty-four thousand of them.

Workers on the trucks heaved armloads into the crowd below. Then, as the workers clung to ropes to keep from sliding into the plaza, the trucks dumped their entire loads.

The now delirious mob, some wearing goggles to protect their eyes from the acrid juice, dived into the tomatoes and began hurling them.

There were so many people in the plaza, there was not much room to deliver a well-aimed pitch. Tomatoes went everywhere, covering celebrators with juicy pulp and splattering the whitewashed houses.

Eventually, the tired mass of people left the plaza to wash off as preparations were made to clean up the area.

For some townspeople, it was too much.

“Before, it was better – when you would know everyone,” said Vincente Badia Ruiz. “You’d see your enemy and throw a tomato at him. He’d throw one back at you. It was a way of letting off steam. Now, I look out into the plaza and I don’t know anybody.”

WhiteBoard News for Friday, August 30, 1996


A plump gentleman ate a fine meal at an expensive restaurant and topped it off with some rare Napoleon brandy, then he summoned the headwaiter. “Do you recall,” he asked pleasantly, “how a year ago, I ate just such a repast here, and then, because I couldn’t pay for it, you had me thrown into the gutter like a bum?” “I’m very sorry sir.” began the contrite headwaiter. “Oh, it’s quite all right.” said the guest, “but I’m afraid I’ll have to trouble you again.”


Have you wondered why your meals don’t look as good as those TV ads? Most of us know they use tricks on those ads. Here are a few reported by Brett Kurzweil in the HOPE health letter (posted without permission)

  • Shaving cream is used instead of whipped cream

  • Roasted poultry is typically shellacked to make it look good

  • Nectarines can be turned into gorgeous looking fuzzy peaches by spritzing them with antifungal foot spray.

  • Wildroot hair tonic is used on cornflakes instead of milk because the flakes can sit around for hours without getting soggy.

  • Ice cream is typically Crisco (a vegetable lard product) mixed with confectionaires sugar

  • Meats are held together with Krazy glue and straight pins.


My wife is probably one of the world’s worst cooks. She has a certain knack to prepare food that’s just not your common fare. Her latest recipe book is called “Rejected by Martha Stewart”.

You should all be able to sample some of the dishes she prepares. I mean when’s the last time you had any baked water or french fried mustard or even pickled chinese fortune cookies ?

Last year she made me a surprise birthday cake – with the candles on the inside – LIT !

Just the other night at dinner, she was saying that she considers her two best recipes as meat loaf and brownies. I asked her which one of the two it was we were eating at the time.

Like a lot of other American families, I’ve always insisted that we say a blessing at all meals too. Our tradition is just slightly different than most though. We always said grace following the meal, to show we’re thankful for having survived yet another.

My wife even taught our daughter to cook. She explained the idea of not wasting food. For example, making carrot pie out of left-over carrots. Of course, you then face the problem of what the heck to do with the left-over carrot pie.

All this explains why we eat out often. Just the other night, I was able to order an entire meal in French; even the waiter was totally shocked – it was a Chinese Restaurant. I’m telling ya, all during the meal, I kept having flashbacks of me speaking Spanish in Brazil.



You must first remove the plastic cover. By doing so you agree to accept and honor Microsoft rights to all TV dinners. You may not give anyone else a bite of your dinner (which would constitute an infringement of Microsoft’s rights). You may, however, let others smell and look at your dinner and are encouraged to tell them how good it is.

If you have a PC microwave oven, insert the dinner into the oven. Set the oven using these keystrokes:


Then enter: <ms//start.cook_dindin/yummy|/yum~yum:-)gohot#cookme.

If you have a Mac oven, insert the dinner and press start. The oven will set itself and cook the dinner.

If you have a Unix oven, insert the dinner, enter the ingredients of the dinner (found on the package label), the weight of the dinner, and the desired level of cooking and press start. The oven will calculate the time and heat and cook the dinner exactly to your specification.

Be forewarned that Microsoft dinners may crash, in which case your oven must be restarted. This is a simple procedure. Remove the dinner from the oven and enter:


This process may have to be repeated. Try unplugging the microwave and then doing a cold reboot. If this doesn’t work, contact your hardware vendor.

Many users have reported that the dinner tray is far too big, larger than the dinner itself, having many useless compartments, most of which are empty. These are for future menu items. If the tray is too large to fit in your oven you will need to upgrade your equipment.

Dinners are only available from registered outlets, and only the chicken variety is currently produced. If you want another variety, call MicrosoftHelp and they will explain that you really don’t want another variety. Microsoft Chicken is all you really need.

Microsoft has disclosed plans to discontinue all smaller versions of their chicken dinners. Future releases will only be in the larger family size. Excess chicken may be stored for future use, but must be saved only in Microsoft approved packaging.

Microsoft promises a dessert with every dinner after ‘98. However, that version has yet to be released. Users have permission to get thrilled in advance.

Microsoft dinners may be incompatible with other dinners in the freezer, causing your freezer to self-defrost. This is a feature, not a bug. Your freezer probably should have been defrosted anyway.