Friday, May 31, 2021



Do You Live a Spirited Life?
Many folks kind of go through the motions in their lives, moving from one obligation, commitment, or task to another without much thinking about it. Then, there are others who seem to look at life as more of an adventure. It’s no accident that often, these folks are people who love good food and drink

— and occasions to enjoy both. Among those good drinks are…you guessed it…spirits. And among those ‘spirits,’ one of the top favourites the world over is rum.




Rum’s Sweet Origins

If you’re looking for a simple ‘spirit,’  you can’t get simpler than rum: it’s basically sugar and water — or maybe more accurately, molasses and water — which is then fermented with a yeast mixture. Although the refined rum is a colorless liquid, additions of caramel (itself burnt sugar!), as well as myriad techniques of barrel-aging, give various rums their golden hues — and the longer the rum is fermented, the more full-bodied and richer it becomes.


Light vs. Darkness

The differences between light rums and darker rums happen in the distillation and filtering processes the various formulas go through. Light rum has almost no flavour in and of itself (similar to vodka);  if you love daiquiris, you enjoy the lightness of the white rum with lime juice. Dark rum mixed drinks, by contrast, are fuller-bodied and use mixers that have robust flavors in their own right. If you’re a rum-and-coke fan, you already know that classic sweet, strong flavor. There’s a similar flavor to planter’s punch — aptly named because this mixture of dark rum, lemon and lime juices, and grenadine syrup does, indeed, ‘pack a punch.’

From Jamaica to Northumberland – a fascinating ‘rum’ story told at

An International Spirit

You’ll find that rums come from all over the world — from the Caribbean and South America to the United States, Australia, and beyond. It’s also an amusing fact of historical record that rum enjoyed a reputation as a medicinal in the 1700s, because of its calming effect on Caribbean pirates! By the middle of the eighteenth century, Grog (a mixture of 160-proof rum and water in equal parts) was part of the daily rations for the British Navy — and continued to play an important role in Navy lore until the twentieth century.


While most of us would readily identify the Caribbean as a source of rum, however, how many of us would think to look for a distillery in Holland — or a bottler in Scotland? How Jamaican and Guyanan blends found their way to temporary homes in these places (on their way to a permanent site in Northumberland) is a fascinating story told at Yet another example of the international appeal — and reach — of this mellow, warming spirit.


Feeling Spirited from Aperitif to Dessert

Although we don’t dispense rum over the counter as a medicine nowadays, we still use it in ‘hot toddies,’ drinks composed of rum and various fruit juices, teas, and other flavourings, served hot as home remedies for colds and flu — and rice pudding, often flavoured with rum-soaked raisins, is a time-honored remedy for sensitive tummies. You might say we still believe, on some level, that rum’s ‘good for what ails you.’


Even if nothing ails you, though, you can enjoy rum from beginning to end of a meal. Rum plays a key role in many desserts the world over, among them the delicate Baba au Rhum, a French-influenced rum-infused cake served with a generous portion of rum-flavored whipped cream.


A spirited life, it seems, is both soothing and sweet — an unbeatable combination!






Thursday, May 30, 2021

Crazy Food Websites

Weird Food Blogs

geralt / Pixabay


Crazy Food Websites
There are many reasons you might resort to going to food websites. You might have company coming over, your recipe books aren’t cutting it, or you just may want to try something different. For whatever the reason, we’ve put together a list of some sites that go a step further in the unique advice they give users. It might be considered crazy by some, creative by others, and generally delicious by most.


Epic Meal Time

Whether it was seeing them on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, or just by looking at food videos on Youtube, you might have come across the cooks from Epic Meal Time sometime in the past. Visiting either their website or Youtube channel, you’ll quickly notice the particular emphasis on both bacon and Jack Daniel’s in their ingredients. The resulting product by these Canadian cooks are usually meals extremely high in calories and meat. Their website always has a featured dish, which might be whisky and coke ribs one week, and candy bacon or an edible sombrero the next. Their site also directs you to their popular shows such as the Food Network’s Epic Chef, inspired by Epic Meal Time, in which chefs utilize secret ingredients with bacon and Jack Daniel’s to make a dish in 45 minutes.  The site also offers a store that includes everything from Epic Meal Time key chains to a cook book. The site even practices Throw Back Thursdays, where they post content from back in their beginning days, such as how to make a bacon arachnid. For those who are familiar with this online Youtube sensation, it comes to no surprise Epic Meal Time makes the list for crazy food sites.


This is Why You’re Huge

This site is not concerned with healthy eating and is heavy on visuals that could make mouths water. Not concerned with calories, the site offers creations such as the “Land, Air & Sea Burger” putting together a filet O’Fish, McChicken, and quarter pounder patty all in one between two buns. It breaks down cooking categories into soul food, easy party food ideas, lists of Italian, Mexican food online, and how to bake a chicken. Organizational scheme may not be the site’s strong point, but it more than makes up for the recipes given alongside the humorous site navigation. There’s even an entire page dedicated to proper handling of food to those with less experienced hands and cooking skills.

While maintaining the take on crazy ideas for food on the site, it offers pragmatic solutions to common day issues. One of the most commonly used pages is the easy party food ideas, offering cheap and quick methods to put together finger foods for guests when you’ve got little time on your hands. The suggestions range from casual tiny tacos to more elaborate dishes such as chorizo in red wine. An added plus is that some suggestions are so different from anything in a cookbook or traditional food website, so your snacks will be bound to stand out to guests at a party.



It doesn’t look crazy, but don’t judge it by it’s easy to use navigation and clean design. Foodbeast goes above and beyond with its features of not just restaurants or recipes, but news on everything from food trucks and drinks to particular cravings you might have, fast food updates, and where to get the best deals. Rarely will you encounter any online food site that offers advice or advocates any kind of fast food. Foodbeast does what few if any sites do. It embraces the concept of fast food, and brings you the newest and greatest in the industry. Everything from the “Red, White, & Blue Breakfast Specials” at Denny’s to McDonald’s new limited time Dulce de Leche Shakes are covered. Whether you want a Darth Vader fridge or a basic recipe for a dish, however simple or crazy it is, there’s always a chance you’ll find it on Foodbeast. The site has come a long way from its humble beginnings in an apartment in Orange County.


The Worst Thing I Ever Ate

This site or psudo-blog is a collective work that grows with its following as users submit their poor culinary experiences to the site for publishing. Just snap a photo next time you’re at a restaurant and given something awful, in hopes that you might save someone else the same suffering if they ever come to the Worst Thing I Ever Ate. The site doesn’t exactly offer much help for what to do for parties, recipes to follow, or advice in general. However, this has not prevented it from success, and it more than makes up for the lack of aid with the humorous experiences of other’s less than appetizing experiences with food. If you’re ever down on your own cooking, the Worst Thing I Ever Ate might bring up your spirits through the crazy experiences of others.


About Our Guest Author:

Adriana Borges is the manager of Estancia Churrascaria, a steakhouse in Austin, Texas. Estancia Churrascaria offers a wide variety of meats served right to your plate by the chef, ranging from lamb chops and fillet mignon to slow roasted seasoned ribs.

Wednesday, May 29, 2021

Menu Ideas for a Summer Wedding

Menu Ideas for a Summer Wedding


Menu Ideas for a Summer Wedding

As the weather warms up, there is a lot to look forward to. If you are a summertime-bride-to-be there is even more reason to be excited! Not sure what culinary display you would like to go with? There are many great summer themes you can work into your reception, you just need to be a bit creative. The reception, along with the food, is one of the main focal points of a wedding. Luckily, for couples planning a summer wedding, the summer season come with all kinds of wonderful and delicious menu possibilities to choose from. Whether or not your wedding has a particular theme, atmosphere, will be indoors or outdoors, or you have a limited budget to work with, your menu can be one to remember.


The Barbecue
For summer weddings, if you are having your reception outdoors, the barbecue is a big favorite. If you choose to go with a barbecue reception, first decide on your main course items. These could include lighter fare dishes such as fish and chicken or a true Southern style BBQ with fried chicken and saucy ribs. If you have vegetarian guests attending, make sure to include a veggie friendly option as well, such as grilled stuffed Portobello mushrooms. Grilled corn on the cob is also another menu favorite.

To go with the main course, select a couple of “backyard barbecue” style side dishes. Pasta and potato salads and crudités all make lovely side choices.


The Picnic
This is a great option for a tighter budget. It is simple, light, low key and quaint. Offer up a variety of sandwiches for guests to choose from. Include a green salad with a basic vinaigrette dressing. Other side possibilities include coleslaw or chicken salad. Dessert choices could chocolate dipped strawberries, mini tartlets or even a fun option such as ice cream cones or a “make your own sundae” station.


Formal Sit Down
If you want to stick with a more traditional, sit down reception, fish is an excellent summer menu choice. From assorted sushi, to grilled sides of salmon fish is light, healthy and elegant. Looking for something a little different? Try grilled Ahi tuna, poached prawns, steamed mussels or freshly shucked oysters. Include a baby spinach salad tossed with feta cheese, red onions and a simple vinaigrette. Keep with the fish theme and offer shrimp cocktails or vodka capers during the pre-reception hour. Hors d’oeuvre options can include various topped crostinis as well as charcuterie with fine cheeses.


This is a guest post by Mark Lynch. Mark recommends finding more great information on culinary ideas, and recipes at

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