Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A week without red meat is like...

The day following our return to my small town we gathered up the kiddies and went forth to make a small cash donation to the local Catholic Church fundraiser in exchange for a rib dinner.

Now, I don't know what kind of beef ribs these were, but we could smell them smoking and brewing and festering over burning wood and coals in jet black rolling smokers for hours beforehand. By the time we got to sinking our pearly whites into the thickly sliced hunks of prime Oklahoma fed, raised, and butchered rib meat, the flesh was literally falling off the bone.

Those Knights of Columbus boys sure make some good ribs.

While picking our teeth and sipping our post-fundraising feed tea, the Wifey and I got to talking about our recent culinary choices while in the land of the Rhodes and came to the realization that we had had not a trace of red meat the whole time away on our anniversary vacay.

Not a rib, nor breakfast steak, t-bone nor all beef wiener had done the downward spiral toward either of our stomachs for the previous 8 days.

However, the following is a relatively complete listing and description of what replaced the bovine-based consumables in our diet for the week.

Shield the kiddies eyes, this may get ugly...
  • Quahogs (kwaw-hawg, -hog, kwoh-, koh-, kwuh-hawg, -hog) - native coast clam, fun to say, funner to eat. Also the fictitious namesake of the Family Guy's home town.
  • Clam Chowder - RI-style chowda is clear-broth based (lactose intolerant chowda---heaven in a bowl). Not good if you don't like to see the big hunks of quahog clams in your chowder, but if that's the case, why are you eating clam chowder in the first place?
  • Jonnycakes - flapjacks and pancakes hefty stone ground cornmeal cousin, made famous in an old episode of The Sopranos.
  • Clam cakes - cross between a crab cake and beignet, with bite sized chunks of clam hidden within. Best when dipped into a steaming bowl of RI clear broth chowder.
  • Lobster bisque, lobster roll sandwiches, lobster ravioli, lobster salad, fried lobster, whole boiled lobster (stop me when you get tired, Forrest)...
  • Dunkin' Donuts- with a DD on just about every corner throughout this most miniscule of state, I chose the cinnamon laced fried dough confection because that's what Spenser would have selected. There are two DD's in the metro OKC area so I'm familiar with their quality and selection. Honestly, they aren't the best donuts I've ever eaten, but their ease of access, availability and selection make for a tempting mid-day sugar rush.
  • Coffee milk w/ Autocrat syrup - just think chocolate milk made with a coffee flavored and colored Bosco. So popular, it was recently voted as the official State Beverage, beating out Del's Lemonade.
  • Local wine purchased at a Package Store - I recalled these odd named liquor stores from last years jaunt to Massachusetts. We luckily found a really tasty wine made at a local vintner.
  • Awful Awful - (awful good, awful big - no kidding). Don't ask for a milkshake in RI -- you'll get a flavored milk drink. To get a traditional ice creamy type milk dessert drink, look on the menu for a Cabinet, the ultimate one being the "Awful Awful" from a local chain of creameries.
  • A substantial Italian immigrant population in RI ensures two things - a big Columbus Day celebration and an Italian eatery on every corner not already occupied by a Dunkin' Donuts. For our traditional anniversary meal (pizza), we turned to a local favorite on top of Federal Hill's Little Italy district. Caserta Pizzeria made us a neapolitan-style medium 4-topping special (they only offer 5 toppings, the last of which being anchovies, which normally I would heap on, but this being our anniversary pizza, I went without to keep the peace) as well as their signature Wimpy Skippy -- a folded over spinach filled pizza pie stuffed with cheese and pepperoni. Swigged down with a couple of Narrangasett lagers, color us happy.
  • NY System wieners - mustard, meat sauce, onions, celery salt on a steamed bun. We ordered 2 wieners each and were happy to do it. Also happy to report no negative after effects that night or the morning after. Plus, admit's just fun to say "wieners." Regarding our red meatless week, there may have been some real beef in these wieners, but I'm not brave enough to venture a guess as to what the meat content of these dogs were. Remember, I'm a Spam eater, so I'm definitely a "don't ask-don't tell" processed meat consumer.
  • Drake's coffee cakes - okay, not really a local treat, but when I saw them sitting on the prepackaged bakery goods next to the familiar Hostess products, visions of Seinfeld flooded my head. I've never seen these on the bakery shelf here in OK, nor back in LA, so I had to partake. The combination of the moist cinnamon topping and ultra dry crumbly cake made for a happy food dance moment.
  • Bon apetit.

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