Sunday, December 28, 2008

To Change or Not to Change... that is the Question?

I been thinking that perhaps I should change the name of the blog from Foodfanataholics to The Lazy Woman Cooks! 

It is so quiet here now that everyone has gone home.  My husband is living in fear that since his sons have left, I will not be cooking again!  He doesn't understand that when you are used to cooking for 10 all the time, it's tough and boring to cook for two.  It's not that I don't love him, or love to cook, but how excited can you get about making lasagna for two... especially when the man you are married to hates leftovers (since my kids went to college and left to live on their own, they at least appreciate the leftovers), doesn't think that pasta qualifies as a meal (I married the only Jewish man in America who doesn't think pasta is a main course), and lives with a woman who has had gastric by-pass surgery.

So now, my dilemma, it will be difficult to put a recipe up everyday, since I don't really want to cook everyday... but I figure since this is a blog that is related to all things food, I can get away with posting cookbook reviews, restaurant reviews, food reviews, appliance reviews, just about anything I want because, after all, it's my blog!

So today, I am taking the lazy woman's approach and reviewing a candy product that is, in my opinion, to die for (and, if you've had gastric-bypass surgery, that could be a real possibility after eating them.)

I don't really consider my self a jealous person, except when it comes to a few things... one of those things are people who have a Whole Foods, Wegman's or a Trader Joe's in driving distance.  These people probably don't even realize what they have, or how lucky they are!

I live in a small town called New Hartford a suburb of Utica, New York.  I love this town, raised my children here, have had a good life here, but as a culinary mecca, it is lacking.  Mind you, this is not a complaint, just a statement of fact.  I love it here, of course, if I could, I might make it a little bit warmer, maybe have a little less snowfall (we turn the heat on in August, and off in May) but it is beautiful here, especially in the summer. 

But, we don't really have a gourmet grocery store, or even gourmet food shops, no stores that specialize in just cheese, or just cupcakes, or just anything different.  Which is why, when I travel, I like to do my sightseeing in the grocery stores.  Case in point, I drove my son David for an interview for a residency position in Hartford, Connecticut recently, and had a lot of time to kill before I had to drop him at the airport for the next interview.  Where did I go, Barnes and Noble to buy a few more cookbooks (I had a coupon I just couldn't waste) and a Trader Joe's that I stumbled upon while getting lost.

I am not new to Trader Joe's, after all, there is one in Las Vegas, where I seem to be spending more and more time these days, but there isn't one in Upstate New York.  Now, there is a Wegman's if I want to drive 45 minutes, and a Whole Foods in Manhattan (about 5 hours away) but I don't know of a Trader Joe's that is closer than Long Island. I ask you, do they need all their stores in Long Island and the five boroughs?  New York is a small state,  but we have a population too, first Congressman Gary Akerman says, "I don't do Utica", then no Wegman's, no Whole Foods, no Trader Joe's.  We Upstaters count too!  We  work, we pay our taxes, last time I checked, we even vote.  So in return, we get (when we get them) third tier stores (did you ever compare a Bed, Bath, and Beyond here, and one in New Jersey???) or in most cases, no stores (it took living here almost 15 years to get a book store yay Barnes and Noble for giving us a chance.)  

Please listen to us too, put a ________store here!!!!!
(fill in the blank with whatever store  you dream of.)  Don't you get it, we travel to find your stores, but we'd like to be able to spend our money locally, and support our economy.  I for one believe it is my patriotic duty to shop and support the American economy, and I tell that to my husband all the time.  Okay, I'll stop the ranting and get back to Trader Joe's...

I know that my daughter Lauren loves the dark chocolate covered pretzels at Trader Joe's, so I thought perhaps I would be a nice mother, and mail her some for the holidays (December is probably the only time of the year you can mail chocolate to Las Vegas anyway.)

As I was meandering through Trader Joe's ($350.00 later, and no it wasn't all pretzels that I bought) I happened across a box (right up by the check-out counter) of Sea Salt Caramels

Now, being the nice mother that I am, I thought, gee, my son Jeffrey likes Caramels, so I'll buy this box for him.  Alas, he was so stuffed after eating all the goodies from Chanukah and Christmas, that the little box went untouched.  

What to do... it was calling my name, I was compelled to open the box, and so at 3:00 am (I am a night owl and so I could claim this was breakfast) I gravitated toward the pantry, removed the box from the shelf, and opened it.

The candy was intriguing to look at, it was dark chocolate with granules of sea salt sprinkled gently across the top, not overpowering,  just a hint...just enough. Now, I am normally a salt-a-holic, give me a good bag of potato chips or popcorn and I'm happy, but to have chocolate and salt in the same bite, this could be wonderful, and when you toss in the dark chocolate, you just moved up the ladder to heavenly, nirvana, the whole ball of wax, whatever!

Then  came the mistake, I bit into one, and when the first taste hit my tongue, I knew I was in trouble.  It was delicious!  The caramel was not the chewy caramel I had been expecting, but a loose runny confection with a creamy, buttery taste.  Next came the wow of the dark chocolate and to round out what my sons might call a "hat trick" came the zing of the salt.

I thought I died and went to heaven.  

Now, these should come with a caution label: If you are a gastric by-pass patient you may suffer from dumping syndrome upon ingesting this
delicious confection.

I must tell you as an aside, that since the surgery, if I eat sweets, you do get what is called "dumping syndrome", it makes you tired, sometimes sweaty, and your heart can race. But it was 3:00 am and I thought what the heck, maybe I'll fall asleep, and if one is good, two would be better.  So, I ate one, and then another, and in fifteen minutes, I was in a coma (okay, not literally), but I did get a good nights sleep, didn't finish my book, and didn't really care.

So, the moral is, once in awhile you can cheat, and still live to tell the tale...

These are delicious, and thank goodness, they are only around at the holidays, if you can get hold of a box, try them.

Last but not least, when reading my blog or any blog, website, reviewers comments, remember that they are the opinion of the writer. If you don't like the review, think there are other chocolates that are better, or restaurants that are better, you're probably right, but this is my opinion... Don't get me wrong, I'd love to hear your opinion too, but that's all they are, our opinions.  If you try the candy and don't like it, okay.  If you go to the restaurant and didn't have a good meal, that happens too,  the chef may have had a bad day, or not shown up, you know what they say,
"sh__ happens", life is too short, so relax and enjoy!

PS:  I do hope you enjoy reading these blogs and that they make you laugh just a little :)


  1. so that's why you were asleep at 11 am yesterday :))
    I would have never guessed that chocolate with salt would be a good combination, but I'll take your word for it.

  2. Trader Joe's is a great store! Alas, I don't have one close to me either, but there is one in Danbury Connecticut which is about an hour from me. I was very fortunate this year that a friend gave me a big gift bag full of Trader Joe and Trader Giotti (love the humor in that name) products for Christmas. The smoked trout was delicious.

  3. I have never been to Trader Joe's and never really knew about it until 2 weeks ago. I was given a box of Trader Joe's Sea Salt Caramels from one of my students for Christmas. I instantly fell in love! Am willing to drive for the next Trader Joe's trip!