“My Name Is Kim, And I’m An Addict”

I have the world’s greatest sweet tooth.

If there’s no candy in the house, I’ll suck on brown sugar cubes.  I mix peanut butter with golden syrup, I will add sugar to Frosted Flakes (!!!);  and speaking of cereal, the last time I had Honey Smacks in a bowl with milk was during Richard Nixon’s first term, because  I normally eat it out of the box with a glass of milk on the side.  I can’t drink coffee or tea without sugar;  and because I hate the taste of plain water, I add a few drops of lemon juice — which makes it too bitter, so I add (you guessed it) a spoon of brown sugar.

My only concession to health is that I’ve managed to eliminate white sugar from my diet altogether in favor of brown sugar, which tastes better, and I’ve only managed to reduce my total sugar intake by eliminating all sodas unless as occasional mixers in gin, rum etc.  I ration myself in the aforementioned tea and coffee by using only 1 teaspoon of sugar per 4ozs of liquid — ergo in a 12oz cup, I’ll add three spoons of brown sugar, and I never drink any quantity larger than 14ozs of anything.

And then we come to chocolate.

Or rather, let’s not come to chocolate, because in matters chocolate I can be so gluttonous that I can make myself sick just in the thinking of it.  If there’s a giant bar of white chocolate (e.g. Nestlé’s Milky Bar, my greatest weakness) I can eat the whole thing in a single sitting, and Cadbury’s Milk Chocolate and Rowntree’s Aero are almost as deadly.  I loathe Hershey Bar chocolate, by the way, because there’s too much cocoa (cacao?) in the formulation;  but when it comes to milk chocolate of the Cadbury’s ilk, I’m a goner.  You know how a leopard will encounter a flock of sheep, and kill and kill and kill until it’s exhausted, and only then carry off a single sheep to eat?  When it comes to chocolate, I’m the leopard and chocolate is the sheep — only I eat everything I kill.

My gastric band is powerless against chocolate because chocolate turns to liquid in the mouth and goes straight down.  It’s a wonder I don’t weigh 500lbs, and it is a testament to my willpower — which has taken me, oh, about thirty years to build up — that I can limit myself to the occasional (small) chocolate bar a month.

One of the few things which saves me is that I cannot abide certain things added to chocolate.  I speak here of nuts of any kind — which is strange because I quite like certain nuts like peanuts and cashews:  just not in my chocolate.  And because I don’t want to throw up all over my keyboard, we will not talk about coconut.  Other than those things, I don’t mind (okay, I love) soft centers, which is why Daughter (a sadist who makes De Sade look like an amateur) gives me for Christmas each year a box of custom-filled soft centers from See’s Candies.  Once again, it is a testament to my willpower that it can take me as long as three days to finish a box thereof because my natural inclination is to consume the entire contents on Christmas Day.  Before lunchtime.

Because I grew up in a British colony (South Africa), the chocolates we had were British, and this was especially true of the boxed chocolate assortments like Cadbury’s Roses and Mackintosh’s Quality Street.  The only thing that has ever stopped me from eating entire boxes and tins of either brand is that they contain landmines — the aforementioned nuts and coconut IEDs.



It’s a good thing that I no longer live there, and especially not in Britishland either, because retailer John Lewis has come up with the outstanding (!) idea that customers should be allowed to create their own assortments to fill a tin of Quality Street chocolates.

Quality Street chocolates are synonymous with Christmas but every year, the flavours that no-one likes always get left at the bottom of the tin.
Now John Lewis has found a way to ensure every treat will be eaten as shoppers will be able to create their own bespoke tins at pix and mix stations in selected UK stores from late September until December 23.
Customers will be able to choose only their favourite chocolates to fill up a 1.2kg tin, which means if you want a tub full of The Purple Ones and no Strawberry Delights, you can have it for £12.

That swooshing sound you may be hearing in your ears right now is the sound of me salivating.  OMG the thought of a Quality Street tin full of Strawberry Delight, Fudge, Orange Cream, Caramel Swirls and Milk Choc Blocks is so alluring, I can’t stand it.

Thank goodness this Satanic Selection of Temptation is on the other side of The Pond, and will be of limited duration (pre-Christmas only when, this year, I will not be there).  And before any of my Brit Readers (and you know who you are) start hatching evil plans to send me any, I should point out that chocolate doesn’t travel well, especially through the mail.  Please don’t.  Let me just deal with the lack thereof in as manful a way as I can — i.e., with a few small sobs and lots of sighing — and a feeling of relief that I won’t die of Massive Chocolate Overload.

Not this year, anyway, unless Daughter buys me a large box of See’s.

I am so weak

More Crap

Oh good grief, here we go again:

Saturated fats in yoghurt, cheese and butter do NOT increase the risk of heart disease — and may actually prevent a stroke
Eating full-fat dairy actually reduces the risk of dying from stroke by 42 percent, a study found.
Lead author Dr Marcia Otto, from the University of Texas, Houston, said: ‘Our findings not only support, but also significantly strengthen, the growing body of evidence which suggests that dairy fat, contrary to popular belief, does not increase risk of heart disease or overall mortality in older adults.
‘In addition to not contributing to death, the results suggest that one fatty acid present in dairy may lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, particularly from stroke.’
Dietary guidelines in the US and UK recommend people people opt for low or no-fat dairy, however, the researchers warn such options are often high in sugar, which can drive heart disease.
Milk, yoghurt and cheese contain nutrients such as calcium, which lowers blood pressure, as well as anti-inflammatory fatty acids.

And next week, the same group of researchers will say Oops! that’s not strictly true, and all those tasty foods actually lead to brain cancer and Parkinson’s disease.

The war against saturated fats was total bullshit from the start, was based on distorted and in many cases untrue data, and the whole “no-fat / low-fat” campaign was akin to heeding the advice of a guy wearing a wizard’s hat.

A pox on all of them.  Eat what you want, in moderation.  It’s gluttony that kills — hell, drinking too much water is deadly — so go out there and live your life the way you want, not the way some busybody doctors or (even worse) government flunkies want you to.

Question Answered

I’m going to break with Blog Precedent here [waits for gasps of shock to subside]  and tell a story on the Son & Heir.

After his mother and I were divorced, we shared joint custody  — in a very, very adult arrangement, I should add — with extremely loose and flexible visitation parameters.  (That means that nobody kept score as to how many days the S&H was here or there, etc.)  Anyway, shortly after his 11th (? I think) birthday, he’d spent a lengthy period of his summer vacation with me, which led to a slight contretemps between him and his mother.

You see, she was always on a diet, which meant that in her house there were items such as whole-wheat bread, skim milk, margarine, low-fat this and that, and so on.  Of course, I wasn’t:  white bread, full-cream (Vit D) milk and half-and-half (sometimes mixed) along with double-cream butter, and no regard for the fat content of any food.

So after the summer vacation, the S&H returned home, and when given his usual fare of skim milk in his cereal and margarine on his wheat toast, he promptly rebelled and refused to eat the food his mother had placed before him.

“Why don’t you want to eat your food?” she inquired.
Because it tastes like shit, Ma,” was his somewhat intemperate reply.  (Yes, he had just spent the summer with me.)

I told you all that so I could tell you this.  Apparently, sales of the Big Three local beers have dropped precipitously — the three being Bud Lite, Coors Lite and Budweiser — and if anyone should want to know why this has happened, allow me to point you towards the Son&Heir’s observation above.

To buttress what seems to be a purely subjective take on the issue, allow me to point out to you all that as the Big Three have slipped, craft- and premium beers have increased in sales volume, as have spirits and wines.  So yes, the new generation of drinkers may have taken up (ahem) tastier alcoholic beverages — and more varied ones withal — but this would not have happened had the suffering brands in question had any kind of taste other than slightly bitter carbonated water.

Needless to say, I don’t care as I have never drunk a light (lite? ugh) beer in my life other than to taste it (and spit it out violently, shortly thereafter).  Certainly, I’ve never finished a light beer;  the lightest beer I’ve ever drunk was Amstel (in the proper green bottle, not the watered-down garbage sold in the U.S.).  Hell, I don’t even drink Heineken because it doesn’t have enough body for me.  So the travails of the Budweiser- and Coors brewing companies leave me unmoved.  I’m not suggesting that light beers are a product of Satan’s imagination (okay, maybe I am) but like all products which have been “lightened” to lessen the effects on the waistline, they taste like shit.

Okay, all this talk of beer has made me thirsty and it’s nearly lunch time anyway, so it’s time for a pint or so of my favorite:

Cheers, everyone.

P.S.  I should point out (and this should come as no surprise to anyone) that the grown-up Son&Heir is a devotee of full-bodied craft beers.  In fact, he’s a bit of a pain in the ass about the topic, but then again, he’s just as much a devotee of single malt Scotch (again, no surprise) so I’ll forgive him the beer snobbery.


Does anyone see anything strange about this pic?

Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you.  A Japanese whisky just won the “world’s best” award — a Japanese single malt, withal.

Those of you who consider me to be a diehard traditionalist — and there may be a smidgen of evidence here or there to support your judgment — might expect me to start fulminating about such an occurrence, much as the French freaked out about a Californian wine winning best of show (as seen in the outstanding movie Bottle Rocket).

Well, forget that stuff.  Excellence is excellence, and it’s clear (from this account anyway), that the Japanese have worked out how to make fine whisky:

The essential difference between the classic whiskies of Scotland and those of Suntory is the type of barrels used for the ageing process. Single malts from Scotland are aged in a wide array of barrels, mostly made of French or American oak that were previously used to age sherry or Kentucky bourbon. The single malts picked up the residual essence and flavourings from the barrels, which added character to their respective flavour profiles.
The whiskies of Suntory have a distinctively Japanese touch, as only mizunara oak is used to age them and the resulting Japanese whiskies are a harmonious reflection of the place they’re from, with a purity of the sum of the ingredients and the skill of the artisans at Suntory.

The story behind Nikka whisky is equally fascinating (see the link above), and I have to tell y’all, I’m going to sample some as soon as Ye Olde Booze Allowance permits it.  The Nikka Yoichi single runs over $80 / bottle, from what I can see, and the low-end Suntory Hakushu just over $60.  Both seem worth a shot, so to speak.  (The “world’s best” stuff costs about the same as 25-year-old Macallan — i.e. way too spendy, so forget that.)


If they taste like drain cleaner, well, at least I tried.  If I like either of them, however, you may want to short the stock of Glenmorangie…

Japanese whisky:  who’d a thunk it?

Calling All Gluttons

Looks like the Morrisons supermarket chain is going to be a breakfast destination for any of you visiting Britishland in the future:

(You may want to take a companion, as that’s a single serving. And it costs just under $7.)

And they call American portions excessive…

Gilding The Lily #268

I am so sick of people messing with perfectly-good things in order to “improve” them.  Here’s but the latest to arouse my ire:

Gin lovers were sent into a frenzy recently when a popular brand launched Premium Pink Distilled Gin & Tonic cans for £1.80 a tin at four major supermarkets in time for the first May bank holiday weekend.
Gordon’s Pink Gin, which launched last year, is said to taste of raspberries and redcurrants with a touch of juniper.

Two things:

1) if a gin doesn’t taste of juniper berries, it isn’t gin at all.
2) Pink Gin is made with a drop or two of Angostura Bitters added to the gin.  Making a gin pink-colored (with raspberries and redcurrants? ye gods) doesn’t make it a “Pink Gin”.  And don’t even get me started on the topic of booze served in tins.

Lastly — and this doesn’t just apply to the above — I’m getting really sick of manufacturers trying to extend their user base by appealing to younger people, playing on their unsophisticated and undeveloped taste buds by adding Kool-Aid flavors to grownup drinks.  (Chocolate vodka? are you fucking kidding me?)  This is akin to trying to get more women to shoot guns by making gunpowder smell like lilacs.

I am, by the way, fully aware of how innovation works — that most of civilization has occurred because someone, somewhere said: “Y’know, I bet if we just changed…” — but that’s confusing improvement with extension.  Tinned fruity-flavored gin is not an improvement.

I know that raspberry-flavored beer may have caused more people to take to beer drinking, but that’s changed things, and not for the better.  Go into any bar and look at what beers are on tap these days.  Barely a drinkable one available, and worse, they’ve pushed all the decent beers into bottles (or out of stock) while hipsters and chickies are catered to with the latest fad, Strawberry IPA [pause to be sick].

Basically, booze manufacturers are changing their products to appeal to people who don’t like booze.  In the old days of marketing, we used to call that pointless endeavor “catching eels” (try catching an eel in mid-air when someone tosses it in your direction and you’ll see what I’m talking about).  Not only is it pointless, it’s mercurial because what’s popular today won’t be popular tomorrow as your fickle new customers chase after the next “Flavor Of The Month”, and you’ll have gone from catching one eel to catching multiple eels.  That’s something they don’t  teach in the Marketing section of the typical MBA course because MBAs are all about theory (“line extension”, “product enhancement”, etc.).  And don’t tell me I’m talking nonsense because I’ve seen the curricula.

I think I’ll go and mix myself a drink.  A real Pink Gin, or maybe a gin & tonic — Gilbeys. Tanqueray or Bombay Sapphire (because the brand is less important when you add tonic to it) and Schweppes Tonic. (Cucumber  tonic? egads.)

Or I’ll just have a pint of Fuller’s London Pride… and if anyone tells me to squeeze a lime into it, there’ll be murders.