Tag Archives: eating

31 Days of Spoooktacular: The Horror in the Tin

I really like the show Good Eats with Alton Brown. This is important if you’re to know about The Horror in The Tin and why I did what I did. I need you to understand that I was once very much like you and I was normal. I was so normal.


Alton, I can call him Alton because, in my head, we’re good friends, began to talk about these little fish called brislings and how good they are and how, yes, technically they’re sardines, but they’re still good and healthy and provide valuable nutrients and you should eat them. I laughed at my friend Alton’s claims and shook my head. “I will never eat sardines, Alton. No matter how good you say they are.” Alton didn’t respond, because he’s on the television.

But later, in the grocery store, I kept thinking about those damn little fish. Alton said they were good. He doesn’t lie. Maybe…maybe I could try them. I stood staring at them in store for ten minutes, trying to make up my mind. Finally, I grabbed the most expensive can (because I’ll be goddamned if I buy budget fish in a can) and bought them.

I brought them home and set them on the table. The spider watched me. He would not follow me on this journey, his red eyes reproachful and wary.


They looked unassuming in their cheerful red wrapper. How bad could it be? How truly awful could this…Horror in the Tin be?


They could be that bad. Immediately upon opening the tin, I was awash in the smell of fish. They lay in their untidy little rows, oily and glistening. I poked them with my chopsticks (Alton recommended eating them with chopsticks) and they broke apart easily, exposing the dark flesh inside, the skin sliding free from the meat. Their fins lay folded flat against their sides, thin membranes stretched between clear points of bone.


I picked one up, pulling it free from the oil and the other fish. I had been so worried that they’d still have their heads, but that might have been a silly fear. They do not, they did not, look like any kind of appetizing. But, over the years, I’ve learned that it’s best not to dwell and just throw yourself in, even if the water is moving fast and filled with dirt and sticks and poisonous snakes. I ate the little horror from the tin.


And, as soon as it began, it was over. The tin was empty. Flecks of silver scales and bits of meat and bone floated in the remaining oil. It had been so fast, so brutal and I had eaten them all, consuming the horror with relish and without pausing and, by the end, I realized that it was I that was the horror the WHOLE TIME.

They were pretty good. I’d probably get them again.



Filed under Halloween: Rock and Shock, 31 Days of Spooktacular, Spoooky Beer Reviews and More

Restaurant Review: Hungry Mother

Emily and I have gone to a few restaurants in the area now and I think we have a good bead on what’s good in Boston/Cambridge.

For us, the best restaurant we’ve gone to, either here or elsewhere, is Hungry Mother. We’ve only been there twice, because that’s as often as we can afford to go there, but both times we’ve been there, it’s been great every step of the way.

The food is always excellent and they make use of locally grown produce whenever possible. Since they advertise as a Southern style restaurant, they do have to dip into Appalachia for some of their ingredients.

Last night, we ordered the Smoked Beef Tongue ‘Au Jus’ and the Carolina BBQ Pork Biscuits to start. Emily got the Braised Beef Cheek ‘Parmentier’ and I got the Cast Iron Chicken.

Both the beef tongue and the pork biscuits were the right size for appetizers, so we were both still hungry when the main course came. And they were a great blend of flavors: The smokiness of the tongue mixed well with a horseradish and swiss cheese. And no offense to my home state, but that was some of the best BBQ I’ve ever had and I’m angry it was in such small amounts.

My chicken was phenomenal and was probably the best chicken I’ve ever had. Rather than masking the chicken in a bunch of spices and sauces, they used the flavor of the chicken, accenting it with this green sauce stuff. It was the right balance of taste and some of the most tender chicken I’ve had.

The last time I was there, I had their Catfish Pecan ‘Meuniere’, which I can still vividly picture. I miss that catfish.

Emily’s beef cheek was also amazing. Very tender meat. Great mixture of textures and spices.

After dinner, we ordered the seven layer cake, which was everything I’ve wanted out of a restaurant’s dessert. Usually, it seems like they try and overwhelm you with some kind of overly-chocolatey death by fudge concoction. The seven layer cake went the opposite route by being light and airy without being oversweet. It was the perfect way to end the dinner.

Hungry Mother has a good selection of drinks. I tried their hefe weissbier (Weihenstephaner) and a whiskey (Redbreast 12yr.), both good.

Their waitstaff was always on hand and helpful. When our original selection for dessert was sold out, they even gave us a free scoop of their ice cream, which was also the best ice cream I’ve ever had. They were never intrusive and always managed to arrive right when we needed them. Duane, our water for most of the night, was also knowledgeable about the mixed drinks.

I realize I’m using the word “best” and “perfect” a lot here, but really, there’s no other way to describe Hungry Mother. Everything has either met or exceeded expectation threefold both times we went there. The atmosphere is relaxed, the food is delicious and the staff are among the best (there’s that word again).

I can’t recommend them enough. If you’re willing to spend the money for it, it’s the best dining experience I’ve had.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Food: Cooking It, Eating It and Drinking It

Recipe: Lil’ Griddlin’s

I haven’t talked about it much, but I do a fair amount of cooking. I’ve long ago conquered the egg and ramen is no longer beyond me. After all this experience, I’ve decided to share with you, my lucky readers, a recipe I made up just yesterday. I call it Lil Griddlin’s, because cutesy names hide the despair.


A half pound or so of ground meat

Some cheese from the back of the fridge





Whoops, almost forgot the onion


So what you want to do is chop up the onion and put it in a frying pan at about medium heat. Then have a panic attack when you smell burning onions and you realize that you forgot to put in the oil. Put in some oil, you dingus.

While that’s getting mushy and oily, mix up some salt and pepper into the meat. Throw in some cheese, because why the hell not? Cheese is good.

Make three or so irregularly shaped patties and drop them into the oil and onion mixture. Everything should now smell pretty good. Congratulate yourself. Flip the patties a couple times until you get bored.

Slash one of the patties and take a gander inside. Recoil at the sight of bright pink meat. Holy shit, these are still raw. Hack at all three patties until everything (the patties, you and the wall) is coated in hot oil. There shouldn’t be any pink left.

Take the remains of the patties and scoop them onto a plate. This does not look appetizing. Cover it with some more cheese in an attempt to cover your shame. Squirt mustard on it and enjoy your Lil Griddlins!

Best enjoyed in the dark by yourself.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Food: Cooking It, Eating It and Drinking It