24 February 2009

A Food Centric Post

I'm not a huge pop* drinker. It's empty calories, generally bad for you, and often horrendous for your teeth. Every once in a while though, I go on a pop-drinking binge. I actually don't like many types - I stick with the following:

  • Coke
  • Cherry Coke
  • Dr. Pepper
  • Sprite
  • Cherry 7-up
  • Ginger Ale
  • Cranberry Ginger Ale (mm, how I long for Thanksgiving already, since I got shafted out of it this year.)
  • A&W or Stewart's Root Beer
  • Orange Soda**.
  • Orange Fanta, only imported from England though.***
Do not put weird additives into any of the above. Cherry Coke, Cherry 7-up, and Cranberry ginger ale are the only exceptions to this rule... though I'm not sure they even count because none of them taste "syrup-y", ala Cherry Vanilla Coke, Vanilla Coke, etc etc. I don't drink Pepsi, ever, and yes, I can instantly tell the difference. I was born and raised in a strictly Coke drinking family - Dad would go through a 2 liter every other day (He had dentures... lucky.)

The point I'm getting to with this rambling, is, yesterday I didn't get around to packing my lunch in the morning, so I bought lunch down in the company cafeteria. I probably grab lunch there about once a week, and when I do, I always grab either a bottle of Coke or Dr. Pepper. So, I grab my lunch, (which turned out to be a sad attempt at beef stroganoff, but I digress..) a bottle of Dr. Pepper, and head back to my office. Open up the bottle, take a swig of Dr. Peppery goodness, and hey. what the.. why do I taste cherry Robitussin..???

Dr. Pepper Cherry.

What. the. hell. I proceeded to Google the socks off of "Dr. Pepper Cherry", but only found Dr. Pepper Cherry Vanilla, which this clearly is not. I even checked their main site - no mention of this terrible waste of good Dr. Pepper. For those of you thinking didn't you notice the cherries on the bottle, stupid? No.. No I did not. It was in the slot where my beloved Dr Pepper always resides. Sneaky bastards in the cafeteria. I guess we must be a test market or something for this stuff... or its really, really old and work got a good deal on it, which could very well be the case too. For those of you curious about the taste, it initially tastes like Dr. Pepper, and then you're hit with the aftertaste I can only compare to Cherry Robitussin. It's very medicinal tasting. The fizz is a slightly red in color, and the drink itself is dark black cherry in color. It is not sickening sweet like the aforementioned Cherry Vanilla Coke (which, was a failure - how do they still sell that stuff?). It also comes across very flat. I guess that's what they mean by "Surprisingly Smooth", as stated across the top of the label. All and all, it was a failure, and I was disappointed by my lunch.

To make sure my Monday wasn't ruined, I headed down to GMU's Jim McKay Natatorium. If you're in the area and haven't been out to this pool, I strongly recommend taking a trip there. Its $6 to get in, but its a very, very nice facility. There's some 25m lanes, 50m lanes, diving boards, and a separate "warm up" or recreation pool. Swimming in a 50m pool makes my day. I did a good deal of work with a pull buoy, and I really feel it today. I depend far too much on my kick for propulsion instead of my arms. Great for sprinting through the pool, terrible for triathlon, especially longer distances. I also timed my 1 mile pool swim, and was under my predicted time for the US Master's Short Course Championships coming up in April. Assuming I continue to improve, I'll shatter my prediction.

I also made some cinnamon swirl bread. Quite possibly one of my favorite things to make toast out of. Turned out awesome. For those that are curious, here's the recipe:

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon

In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, sugar, and salt. Let sit five minutes. Mix in the first cup and a half of flour. Add the next cup of flour a little at a time as needed, stirring until dough becomes too stiff to continue stirring easily. Add a little more flour and begin kneading. The 3 cups flour is approximate.. you might need less. Continue adding flour and kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic. Let dough rise in a non reactive, covered bowl until doubled -usually, about an hour, Uncover bowl; sprinkle in a little more flour and knead again.

Roll dough out on a floured surface into an approx. 12-inch by 7-inch rectangle. Brush lightly with either a little bit of butter, or I prefer just a very little bit of water. Combine 1/4 cup sugar and 3 teaspoons cinnamon. Sprinkle sugar-cinnamon mixture over dough. Roll the dough into a tight log, fold under the ends, and place seam-side down into a greased loaf pan. Lay wax paper over the top of the pan. Allow to rise for about an hour, or until its about an inch over the top of the pan. (I heat the oven to 150, shut it off, place the pan in, and leave the oven door cracked. It tends to rise a little better than it will in my rather chilly house).

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until done.

All for now. I still haven't decided on which helmet I want. I'm leaning towards the black though... I think it matches my race kit a little better... but then again, I have white shoes.. so maybe I should get the white and silver helmet to match the white and silver shoes? I'm making this far more complicated than I need to.

* Its Pop. Not soda, not Cola, not Coke. Pop. I'm from Northeast Ohio, and I'm not going to call it "soda" because I moved.
** Orange Soda has always been the exception to this rule. No idea why, but
that's how us northeast Ohioans talk. It's grape pop, but orange soda.
*** Seriously, the best orange soda in the world - its like carbonated Orange Juice, since they don't use preservatives or
artificial flavors. Amazing. I used to be able to find it at a local import place back home, but it closed down.


D said...

POP! Yes, it's pop! Good for you. Very few Americans that will join me in the pop culture. I mean, uh... ya.

I'm a Diet Coke whore. I've actually switched back to Diet Pepsi and just added in some caffeine-free too. Like you, I can TOTALLY tell the difference. People who can't are clearly taste-bud deficient.

And before you give me shit on the Pepsi switchover, our pop tastes WAY different than yours. You would probably like Pepsi up here ;)

Kelly said...

A) I agree with the pop thing... although, I leave the midwest and I'm shot for saying that.

B) I think Dr. Pepper ALWAYS tastes like cherries.

Z) That bread looks delicious

Rainmaker said...

Wow - I didn't know the 50m portion of the GMU pool is open to the public. I called back this fall and they said only in the summers. Holy cow - that's awesome.

I'll have to give your swirl bread a shot, looks great!