At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I am baffled by the white people I work with. This despite being glow-in-the-dark myself. Some people are just more whity-white. So pale they come from Kansas. And fearfully clutch their little dog Toto in panic at anything remotely diverse.

Such as the things that other people eat.

A long time ago, one of my co-workers, despite being of Italian ancestry, claimed that anything except beef and potatoes gave her heart-burn that lasted for days. Consequently she avoided pizza and pasta dishes, savoury stews, Chinese food, and pretty much anything that had more flavour than cardboard.

She was very sensitive.

I took particular joy in steering departmental lunches towards the exotic during those years. It is with pride and pleasure that I admit that I made the poor dear sick as a dog on curries, enchiladas, tortas, injere & kifto, and kuwaleng itik.

Though she herself has since fled for paler parts of the country, the spirit of her food phobias lives on.

Consider this e-mail sent today to all of us in the office:

Dear Staffmembers,

Please be considerate of others when cooking in the microwave. Especially with fish. If you are warming up fish please put a cover on it as this particular food often gives off an offensive smell to others. Maybe best to leave this for home cooking. Thanks.

Please consider the environment before printing this email



What the heck?

No fish?

Perhaps I need to bring in tuna-melts till the end of the month. Or fish-head curry. Fresh mussels and clams - I'm sure I can do those quickly in the micro. The juices, augmented with a little sherry and butter, make lovely sopping for a loaf of French bread.
Or a whole fish, with fresh herbs and chilies, to flash on a plate.

Hypothetical follow-up e-mail:

Dear Staffmembers,

No onions. No cabbage. No garlic. No peanut products.
No meat at all. No carrots. No cheese sauces. No tomato paste.
No spices. No fish paste. No non-standard ingredients. No grease.
No Mexican food. No Chinese food. No Indian food. No ethnic food AT ALL.

No broccoli - Broccoli is not edible.
None of you guys know how to cook, so DON'T!

Please enjoy your lunch of tasty and nutritious rusk (*).


* Plus a pinch of salt - for that sabor autentico puritano.
Please consider the environment before printing this email



I promise I will not cook iguana or raccoon in the micro-wave. If you have any other requests, please remember that you are messing with my lunch. That is never a good idea. I am vengeful and vicious. Especially when people interfere with my food. You ain't seen nutting yet.
Do I make a federal case out of your bland palate? Do I kvetch when some noodge decides to nuke popcorn? Did I even say anything when the Lutheran shrimp-girl burnt an entire packet of hotdogs in there one evening? Have I ever bothered mentioning that most of you suburban Neanderthalers have no taste?
Watch it, boy, I know where you work.

Writing this has made me hungry. I wonder what I'll have for lunch.
That's a threat, in case you didn't know.



I have since received a response from one of the people to whom I sent an angry reaction.

He states:
"Just remember folks, only Doritos are Triangles made in heaven."

Wise words. Baffling, but wise.

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  • At 7:55 PM, Blogger Bob said…

    I suppose you're going to tell me that stinky cheese is out of the question... .


  • At 8:10 PM, Blogger Clementina said…

    I sincerely feel that you must have a little more compassion for these poor misguided people. If they only knew that life without Mexican food is no live at all.
    La Mexican Food Diva

  • At 9:47 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    I suppose you're going to tell me that stinky cheese is out of the question... .

    What, you mean things like Jack, Drunken Bishop, or Manchego?
    Perhaps Red Leicester, Tilsit, Caerphilly, Bel Paese, Red Windsor, Stilton, Gruyère, Emmental, Norwegian Jarlsberger, Liptauer, Lancashire, White Stilton, Danish Blue, Double Gloucester, Cheshire, Dorset Blue Vinney, Brie, Roquefort, Pont l'Evêque, Port Salut, Savoyard, Saint-Paulin, Carré de l'Est, Bresse-Bleu, Boursin, Camembert, Gouda, Edam, Caithness, Smoked Austrian, Japanese Sage Derby, Wensleydale, Greek Feta, Gorgonzola, Parmesan, Mozzarella, Pipo Crem', Danish Fynbo, Czech sheep's milk cheese, Venezuelan Beaver Cheese, Cheddar, Ilchester, or Limburger?


    We will have NONE of those nasty things in our spotless kitchen!

  • At 10:28 AM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    Clementina, permit me to deconstruct that statement.

    A life without chiles, tomatoes, cacao, and vanilla is no life at all.


    A Dutch kitchen that lacks sambal (various types of hot chile condiments, usually in jars that keep for a while), ketjap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce), and spices like ketumbar (coriander), djintan (cumin), kunyit (turmeric), as well as several other ingredients not originally native to Northern Europe...... is probably not a kitchen.
    [Note that all Indonesian ingredients now standard in the Netherlands are called by their Indonesian/Malay name. Even if, like tjabe (chiles) and lombok (chiles twixt birdseye and chiltepines), they originated in the Americas.]

    Oddly, the company that sells most of the tortillas de harina and tortillas de mais available in Western Europe is located in Holland.

    One the other hand, our most signal culinary achievement is perhaps eating the dodo. Which is now extinct due to our cooking.


    And no, I have scant compassion for people who insist on eating boring food. Food is fun, food is sex, food is life.
    Bland pablum is merely fuel. Might as well drink a gallon of gasoline if that is all food is.

  • At 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This brings back fond memories of working in an office where a significant number of the folks were pregnant and with morning sickness, all of whom ran out of the office retching when I microwaved my goat blue cheese and red onion sandwich.


  • At 11:10 AM, Blogger Tzipporah said…

    R - I had the same thought. Of course, you'll have to wait a few months to tell if this was prompted by some pregnant wenches, since odor sensitivity is most accute in the first few months, before the dears are showing.

    I was lucky. I had only two weeks where I could neither eat nor smell anything but ginger beer and crackers. My sister-in-law, however, forbade her husband from cooking at home for about 6 months.

    He ate a lot of take-out sushi during her pregnancy, as I remember.

  • At 5:15 PM, Blogger Spiros said…

    How about raw herring, which won't smell up the microwave?

  • At 7:52 PM, Blogger DEATH BY NOODLES said…

    Just one word of advice regarding all dishes - ADD NUTMEG!

  • At 12:02 PM, Blogger GRANT!PATEL! said…

    Can't get more unAmerican than fish.

    ---Charlie Cannedaleebot

  • At 12:03 PM, Blogger GRANT!PATEL! said…

    Tuna is not fish. It's tofu of the sea.

    ---Saltipack Gheefish


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