we take requests.

This is Andy's photo above.

These morbid little menus had quite an unsettling effect on me (and they also led me to someone who is obviously less disturbed by it than I am). As someone who enjoys a love-love relationship with food, it didn't really take much effort at all to imagine the annihilating poignancy/horror of planning your own last meal. Or being someone with the words "Death Row Head Chef" on your bidness card.


1) Karl Hinze LaGrand. Two Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato sandwiches on white bread; mayonnaise; 4 fried eggs, over-easy; medium portion of hash-brown potatoes; 2 breakfast rolls; small portion of strawberry jelly. One half pint of pineapple sherbet ice cream, one 22 ounce of hot coffee, black, one medium slice of German chocolate cake with coconut-caramel icing, one 12 ounce cup of cold milk.

(note: his brother was executed 3 days later and also requested pineapple sherbet)

2) Baltazar, John. Cool Whip and cherries.

3) John George Brewer. Grilled Pork Chops with gravy; 1/4 lb. Bacon; 6 Fried breaded Shrimp; Beef Rice-a-Roni; 2-3 slices French Bread with butter; Applesauce; 2 cans Canada Dry Ginger Ale with ice; 1 slice Coconut Cream Pie; 1 pint orange juice; 1 can Chicken Noodle Soup with Crackers; 1 can Pear halves with syrup; Maxwell House Coffee with cream and sugar.

4) Chappell, William. Same meal that is served to all other offenders in the main dining room.

I could go on: the guys who requested only a pot of coffee, or water, or tea; the guy who requested 4 Rolaids (along with his meal...not just 4 Rolaids). The Arizona prisoners all requesting chile peppers. The "chewy" bacon. The "real" butter. All that fucking butter pecan ice cream.

The twist of the knife: these are just requests. They're not always granted. Oh, the humanity.


planting seeds of defilement.

According to some, that's what the (new) name of this site is doing. Not purposely or maliciously (Dear Mother, if you're reading, you know I would never willfully plant seeds of defilement, you raised me better than that), at least not that I'm aware of.

No, I just thought the phrase "vegetarian duck" was pleasantly stupid-sounding and also represented one of my veganism obstacles and so that's why I rechristened this site thusly. Regardless, I'm here to tell you that I'm increasingly finding myself to be a true convert of these centuries-old but now politically-incorrectly-monikered Asian vleesvervangers. And believe you me it's not just the savvy marketing/eye-catching packaging!!!

In fact it's almost completely a quesiton of texture variation, because their primary taste characteristic is that "they don't taste fucked up", like so many meat substitutes. Today I sauteed my frozen duck substitute with onions, ginger, shao hsing, sesame oil, hoi sin, peanuts, spinach, and scallions, and the result was tastebud transportation...to somewhere with rude service, flourescent lights, and sticky plastic menus. Basically anywhere on the Zeedijk.

Actually that's a total Amsterdam Tourist Book Food Writer Myth. I've never had anything but lovely, reassuring customer service experiences on the Zeedijk (you know, involving food...I score my crack rock at the CS and do my karaoke at home). I've never understood that whole "expect surly service" cliche that goes with our Chinatown, but maybe it's because I rarely eat at Nam Kee or New King. I do kinda really want to smack or pinch this cashier at Oriental Commodities who just oozes contempt and misery and consistently throws my receipt on the floor instead of handing it to me. Not sure how the smack/pinch would help things, but...my point is, at places like AFusion, Bird, Toko Dun Yong, Toko Joyce, Wellcome, Nyonya, Kam Yin, Hoi Tin, etc...everyone's been real sweet, much more so than your average non-Asian Amsterdam restaurant.


Back to my mock duck. I've had a much higher proportion of positive experiences with the frozen variations vs. the canned kind, but this is maybe not surprising, as almost any canned food is inferior to the frozen version (exceptions: tuna, sardines, uh, uh...anyone? silkworm pupas?).

If you have no idea what I'm talking about with this whole Satan Duck thing, check here, or here. But don't buy the canned stuff if you can get the frozen stuff.


no, seriously, steve...don't eat it.

Jealous of Radosh:

"...at the Fairfield, Connecticut Borders Books next week: on December 10th, come meet Sandra Lee, author of Semi-Homemade Cooking. In the words of one Amazon reviewer, 'Lee basically takes overprocessed, ridiculously expensive premade foods and arranges them into new combinations, adding the odd badly made homemade garnish or ingredient to her typical hopeless mishmash of precooked overprocessed chemical-laden garbage. She presents this as some kind of new method of cooking, when in fact it's just a combination of mental laziness and indifference to real flavour and nutrition.'"

So that's a negative review, right? Not nearly as negative as my review of this would be (my sincere apologies to you in advance...I'm sorry you had to see this):

Steve, Don't Eat It! - Silkworm Pupas.

Here's hoping for an imminent return to talking about edible food around here....