Bachelor Gourmet: A Treatise in Unhealthy Living
Column written by on Saturday, April 8, 2000
I'm happy that the government is always trying to keep me from finding ways to pollute my health. Heaven knows, I don't exactly fall under the "health nut" classification.
Raise cigarette taxes? Thanks, I'm glad you care. Liquor taxes? Shame on me, I should quit, so raise them through the roof. Lower D.W.I. limits? Go right ahead, our judgment shouldn't be trusted. Silicone breast implants? Naughty girl, you should be happy to have your physique described as an "ironing board." We now have the option of turning off the airbags on our cars? Wow! I didn't know it was better to have your head hit the steering wheel at full force. Had me fooled. That steering wheel is so soft and gentle.
If only the government can step in and find a way to keep me from eating all this unhealthy food, I'll be completely under their control.
My eating habits, like most American bachelors, are highly suspect. Most of this results from the fact that I am cooking-impaired.
It's a shame, really. My mother grew up down here in southeast Missouri and learned all the good country cooking tips. She's a master. It's nothing at all for her to cook up a five course meal in less than ten minutes, while talking on the phone, ironing clothes, balancing her checkbook, and changing a flat tire at the same time. If she's not in the kitchen for a few moments, the food actually fixes itself and walks over to the table, crying "Eat Me!"
I was blessed with none of these skills. In short order, here's what you would find on my menu if I owned a little restaurant named "Bachelor Gourmet."
- Tuna Fish Sandwich: A bachelor staple. Also the national food of the Republic of Slobistan, a former Soviet state made up only of shiftless, young single males who have absolutely no redeeming social skills and regard sweatpants as "something appropriate to wear to a wedding".
Take one egg, some mayonnaise, pickle relish, a cheap can of Schnucks' tuna, a loaf of stale bread, and you have a culinary delight.
Note: It is wise to wash the dishes within at least a month of cooking this dish, or your entire city block may be on the verge of asphyxiation.
- Chili (plutonium optional): This is my favorite Sunday dish, particularly during football season. Good thing: almost anyone can cook this. Bad thing: this includes me.
Get a can of extra hot chili beans, four packets of extra hot chili powder, four small cans of tomato sauce, a pound or two of heavily peppered ground beef, eight large onions (don't bother chopping them, leave them whole), a half-pint of Napalm® Hot Sauce (preferably the green kind), and a pinch of plutonium.
Just kidding. About the Napalm® Hot Sauce, that is. Just use real napalm. Available at your friendly local National Guard Armory.
Mix all that up, and you have chili that will eat a hole through your stomach lining, put you in the emergency room for a minimum of three days, and also double as a drain-opener.
Note: Do not serve to friends unless your homeowner's policy has excessively high liability limits. Feel free to serve to enemies.
- Spaghetti: Messy, but delightful bachelor treat. Only do this on special occasions, like after actually getting a date.
Get a box of straight spaghetti, two cans of a sauce that bears a menacing, mafia-style Italian name, four onions (once again, do not chop the onions, drop them in whole), a pound or two of ground beef, and a few cups of mushrooms. Psychedelic mushrooms are optional, although it's best not to do that before work. Your stapler will come across the desk and attack you.
Serve with garlic bread. If you have no garlic bread, leave a few slices of white bread out on your kitchen table for a few days beforehand, and you'll barely notice a difference.
Note: Do this when it's your roommate's turn to do the dishes, or better yet, your wife's.
- Hamburgers: Incredibly easy. A pound or two of ground beef, buns, pickles, ketchup or mustard, and once again, a whole onion. This is virtually impossible to screw up.
Hint: Disable your smoke alarm beforehand if you want your meat "well done". If your stove is broken, you can also use your cigarette lighter, but only if you have infinite patience.
- Hamburger Helper: The bachelor's emergency backup plan.
This comes in a variety of styles, ranging from "lasagna" to "beef stroganoff", to the always popular "road cheese" plucked off the grill of your car. Mysteriously, they all taste the same, kind of like Long John Silver's chicken and fish.
- Hot Dogs: A quick and easy feast.
All you need are a pack of jumbo hot dogs, a microwave, some buns, pickle relish, ketchup and mustard. Ready to go in about thirty seconds, unless you're one of those weenies (no pun intended) that likes to actually boil them. Shame on you. God gave us the microwave so we could avoid such cooking nightmares as...well, boiling water.
Some folks won't eat hot dogs because they have heard gruesome stories about what they're actually made out of. Rest assured, there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that cow's assholes are a hot dog ingredient. Since it's a "hole", it's not logistically possible. But I'm sure someone, somewhere, is working on it.
- Canned Salmon and Crackers: Save this until you're in a rotten mood.
This is a dish best served when you will have no social contact for at least eight hours afterwards, are feeling too lazy to even nuke hot dogs, and feel some gnawing urge to punish yourself.
Pickled Herring and Crackers: Same as above, except you had better not be planning any social contact for at least a month afterwards.
Note: And that's only if you gargle with lighter fluid.
- Mystery Meat Sandwiches: Only do this if you have fond memories of bringing your lunch to elementary school.
Any meat will do. Bologna, salami, pickle-loaf, or even head cheese for the person who wants to offend everyone in his zip code. Slapped between two slices of bread, topped with a slice of cheese, and served with a side of Cheese Doodles, this will bring back memories of your darkest days in the cafeteria with your E.T. lunch box.
Note: If you like brownschwager, or however you spell that stuff that looks like doggie doo, seek professional help immediately.
- Peanut Butter Sandwich: Incredibly simple dish. Also a favorite to put in bomb shelter because of it's staying power.
Buy a ten-gallon tub of this stuff at the Sam's Club, and it will last well into the next millennium. Peanut butter will survive not only the next nuclear war, but will probably still be edible when our sun goes supernova in a few billion years.
Mysteriously, this food sticks to everything but your ribs.
- Bagged Salad: Available at your local supermarkets, for those of you who have no shame.
Disregard the fact that this stuff always tastes like the plastic bag it came in, and serve it when you're trying to impress company. Pour it in a big bowl beforehand, and make them think you made it yourself.
Serving this with a tuna fish sandwich may redeem a little bit of your respect when your mother visits. As long as you don't let her see your bathroom, she might think you're almost civilized.
Note: Substitute barbecue sauce for ketchup, mustard, or cheese in any of the above menu items when in a pinch. It is not recommended, however, that you use barbecue sauce as a salad dressing unless you're south of Sikeston, Missouri.
Another Note: Use paper plates and plastic forks to save on dish-washing time.
Yet another Note: Throwing your dishes away and buying new ones is an acceptable substitute for actually washing them.
When I'm not even motivated enough to make one of my world-famous bachelor dishes listed above, I go to one of those fine local fast food eating establishments. As a result, my cholesterol level is off the charts. My tolerance for sitting in drive-thrus for hours while I grow a beard and my butt goes numb has increased. Cut me, and I bleed grease.
Sometimes I miss Mom's home cooking; I've actually went from a 33" waist to a 32" since I moved out on my own.
But I am a certified Bachelor Gourmet. Call me for catering. All of my dishes cry out "Eat Me!".
But for different reasons that Mom's do.