Culinary no-no #610

Culinary no-no began on Father’s Day 2007, a beautiful summer day, when I wrote about grilling brats. And eating brats. And topping those brats. I was inspired by my wife, Jennifer who, in my admittedly unscientific opinion, ruins brats by squirting ketchup on them. Other dining taboos quickly came to mind. The original idea was to take this concept only a few months, till the end of summer and then pull the plug. Then the unexpected happened. People started reading Culinary no-no. Lots of folks. So we keep doing the no-no.

Please raise your hand if you’ve ever heard the following:

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

The reliable website, WebMD claims to provide credible information, supportive communities, and in-depth reference material about health subjects, and that it is a source for original and timely health information.

WebMD is  aware you may not have time for the most important meal of day. So…

If you can’t find time for breakfast, consider setting your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier. Then follow two simple rules. First, make sure breakfast includes at least one, preferably two, servings of fruit. Next, help yourself to high-fiber foods like toasted whole grain bread, high-fiber breakfast cereal, or oatmeal. That’s all you need to be well on your way to a daily helping of good health.

WebMD says breakfast provides better physical health and feeling better both physically and mentally if they had a bowl of cereal flakes daily.

Researchers have also discovered according to WebMD that individuals who reach the age of 100 tend to consume breakfast more regularly than those who skip the first meal of the day.

To repeat, the recommended breakfast servings by the so-called experts include at least one, preferably two, servings of fruit. And high-fiber foods like high-fiber breakfast cereal, or oatmeal.

Let’s make this personal.

Servings of fruit?

Sure, if stuffed in a donut or pie.

High-fiber breakfast cereal?

Could I have Cocoa Krispies or Cap’n Crunch instead?


I’ve hated since I was a kid. I mean just look at that gunk. It’s about as appetizing as poi. I don’t care how many palm trees are swaying in the background.

So let’s say we (I) opt for something different.

Here’s my usual breakfast routine. My wife packs it for me. This is actually quite healthy.

When I get to work, albeit usually 2-3 hours after I wake up, I toast, and then spread butter and some jam or jelly on…

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Of course an occasional drive-thru at the Golden Arches is quick and convenient.

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But if a Hardee’s is nearby…

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A Kwik Trip is very close to our Franklin home. So a stop for gas can lead to…

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A pretty good donut.

What about a restaurant for a sit down affair. For example our usual Sunday morning visit to Meyer’s Restaurant in Greenfield.

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The Smokehouse Benedict, with smoked sausage. They’ll do a cheese sauce or the traditional hollandaise.

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That’s the Grilled Salmon Filet on spinach served with homemade hollandaise sauce, two eggs, and baby red potatoes at Mad Rooster Cafe in Milwaukee near Miller Park.  Whatever you order there, you must also have the red potatoes, the best in our area.

And at the Cheesecake Factory, I recommend…

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The Monte Cristo sandwich. Kyla goes for the Creme Brulee French Toast.Image may contain: food and indoor

Can we agree that those are all popular breakfast options?

Eggs, sausage, bacon, french toast, etc.

The Internet is a beautiful thing. Need to know how to prepare Steak Diane, or Oysters Rockefeller, or Chicken Tetrazzini, whatever. A gazillion ideas are just a few computer clicks away.

Regular readers know a common Culinary no-no routine. Many photos leading up to the main point.

About these photos, did you notice any lettuce, tomatoes, onions? believes it’s on to something.

“Meet the new and improved morning meal; the breakfast salad.”

A deliciously fresh and invigorating avocado citrus salad with honey lime vinaigrette. It's creamy, tart, sweet and refreshing! I #avocado #citrussalad
An avocado citrus salad. Juicy, tart citrus. And then, creamy avocado. Tangy pickled red onion. Finished with a honey lime vinaigrette. Described as “super refreshing.”


kale sweet potato breakfast salad in a mixing bowl

Pan fried sweet potatoes, bacon and chopped hard boiled eggs with toasted pumpkin seeds in a simple garlic vinaigrette.

Bacon Brussels & Cabbage Salad in a serving bowl with tongs

Shredded Brussels sprouts and chopped cabbage salad topped with crispy bits of bacon and chopped pecans.

Those are just a few recipes MSN has posted.

The website goes so far as to claim salad for breakfast is the new…

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I say NEVER!


The Legend of the Vomelet


UPDATE: Culinary no-no #498

Previously on This Just In…

From a Culinary no-no posted in late 2016:

More great stuff about Kwik Trip from Convenience Store News that designated Kwik Trip Innovator of the Year:

Kwik Trip has become one of the c-store industry leaders in foodservice — noted for owning and operating its own food commissary, dairy, bakery and other food manufacturing facilities, as well as its own trucking fleet.

Here’s an amazing bullet point:

Kwik Trip also offers a wide range of grab-and-go foods for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, most of which are produced and delivered from its own bakery and Kwik Trip Kitchen commissary. Breakfast offerings include bacon croissants, Western English muffins and sausage-and-egg sticks. The bakery supplies Kwik Trip’s signature Glazer doughnuts (think Krispy Kreme), muffins, cookies, Danish, bagels, bars and breads.

A gas station that makes its own bakery?
—From Culinary no-no #498, December 4, 2016

The update.

Culinary no-no #609


One year ago this month…

Nathasha Huss (right), of Racine cheers as she's welcomed

People stormed through the doors on Opening Day at IKEA in Oak Creek.

Our family was able to get a sneak preview of IKEA before all the pandemonium thanks to a local elected official.

Who invited us?

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Franklin Alderman Steve Taylor. As IKEA was making plans to open its first Wisconsin location, Taylor also represented Oak Creek as a member of the Milwaukee County Board.

Before we go on my wife swore she’d never see the day I would set foot in one of those stores. Who could blame Jennifer. She assumed I’d have this reaction.

Two-year-old Nathan Koenig lets out a big yawn as he

And if you’re keeping score this is the second time Steve Taylor has been mentioned in a Culinary no-no.

Anyway, since the big opening we’ve gone back to IKEA and we always seem to find time for some dining, right Kyla?

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OK. Nothing wrong with Kyla’s choice being shared by Audrey.

But something definitely appears to be missing.

Let’s check out Mommy’s plate.

Ahh! Those iconic and reasonably-priced meatballs. Beef, pork, onion, bread crumbs, egg, water, salt, and pepper.

Chicken balls are available, too.Chicken, onion, potato starch, salt and spices.

And since 2015 IKEA has also been making veggie balls.

Chickpeas, carrots, maize, kale, red peppers, peas, and pea protein. They are vegan and gluten-free.

I could care less what’s in them. I’m merely passing the ingredients along for informational purposes.

Apparently the veggie balls aren’t veggie enough. Who says so? IKEA says so.

“We know that the IKEA meatballs are loved by the many people and for years the meatballs have been the most popular dish in our restaurants,” said Michael La Cour,  Managing Director at IKEA Food Services AB. “We see a growing demand from our customers to have access to more sustainable food options and we want to meet that need. Our ambition is to make healthier and more sustainable eating easy, desirable and affordable without compromising on taste and texture.”

IKEA reportedly wants to produce a more realistic vegan meatball. What the hell does that mean? More than likely, plants shoved into a fake meatball in hopes of making this phony creation taste like a meatball.

According to MarketWatch this potentially makes obvious business sense:

“It’s all part of the blooming plant-based ‘meat’ trend, as one-third of all Americans (and 37% of millennials in particular) plan to eat more plant-based products over the next year…”

Plant-based meat is considered one of the hottest food trends of 2019. goes so far as to suggest, “They (plant-derived foods and ingredients) are increasingly being served not because there is a booming vegan or vegetarian movement, but simply because people are choosing non-meat entrées as they heed the recommendations of nutritionists, environmentalists and animal activists who encourage going meat-free a few times per week.”

Personally, I have yet to drink the Kool-Aid. I still crave meat and dairy products.

But millennials (of course) are the driving force behind an estimated 30% drop in such food items. There seems to be a fascination with going or being “vegan” as Google searches for the term increased by 90% in 2016. Plant-based meat could mean big bucks with the market possibly reaching $5.2 billion next year.

So can anyone really blame the giant that is IKEA for seeing dollar signs?

“Looking at the quality of the products that we have been tasting I am looking forward to serve a delicious plant based meatball made from alternative protein at IKEA. I hope that the many meatball lovers out there will like it as well,” said IKEA’s Michael La Cour.

Count me out. My wife and daughter, too.

We tried to get Steve Taylor to weigh in. When we had lunch with him at IKEA he definitely went for the real meat meatballs.

Taylor was unavailable for comment. Yes, I know that’s rare. But I’m guessing if Taylor  could express his view on falafel IKEA balls….

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If I’m wrong, I’m sure Steve will let us know.

Meanwhile IKEA plans to test the new vegan meatballs with shoppers beginning early next year, and to roll them out to their in-store cafes across the world sometime after that.

I’d rather chew on their cheap furniture.


Salad lasagna



Culinary no-no #608

Culinary no-no began on Father’s Day 2007, a beautiful summer day, when I wrote about grilling brats. And eating brats. And topping those brats. I was inspired by my wife, Jennifer who, in my admittedly unscientific opinion, ruins brats by squirting ketchup on them. Other dining taboos quickly came to mind. The original idea was to take this concept only a few months, till the end of summer and then pull the plug. Then the unexpected happened. People started reading Culinary no-no. Lots of folks. So we keep doing the no-no.

When was the last time you were in one of these?

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For me it had to have been when I was a teenager. So that’s, um, let’s see, that’s many years ago.

I’m amazed at the crazy new creations American food places and companies are coming up with as of late that sound insanely delicious.

Southern fried chicken at Cracker Barrel.

Cinnabon dessert biscuits at KFC.

Dark berry-flavored Dr. Pepper.

Cheese bites at Burger King.

Dole Whip margaritas at Disney.

And about IHOP.

Double Blueberry Pancakes Image

Strawberry Banana Pancakes Image

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Pancakes  Image

They’ve come up with a new entry on their International Pancake menu. Interesting combination.

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IHOP takes buttermilk pancakes, then rolls and fills them with sweet Ricotta cream & chocolate pieces. The pancakes are topped with crunchy cannoli pieces, chocolate chips & creamy whipped topping.

Italian Cannoli Pancakes Image

And you have an Italian Cannoli Pancake. That plate will cost you $9.29 and 970 calories.

I can hear you muttering. So fine. Where’s the no-no? Actually, I’ve already laid it out for you.

This blogger is not a picky eater. I don’t get stomach aches. I love pancakes. But, can’t eat them. Oh, they don’t make me sick. One or two bites, though, and I’ve had it. I feel bloated as though I just downed two Thanksgiving dinners.

Weird. I’m not lactose intolerant. No issues with dairy. No allergies. And it ain’t the syrup since french toast and waffles don’t stuff me.

Over at the Mad Rooster Cafe near Miller Park daughter Kyla could easily take care of these.

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Not me.

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Those are pineapple macadamia nut pancakes at the Kona Cafe inside the Polynesian Resort at Disney World. My wife shares a small forkful with me, but I don’t dare eat an more otherwise I could no longer dive into my Tonga Toast.

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Ah, the ultra-thin Swedish pancakes with lingonberries at the legendary Al Johnson’s in Door County, Wisconsin. Now those I can handle. So maybe it’s the thickness?  I don’t think so because I can’t even finish these from McDonald’s.

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This culinary no-no isn’t a major concern of mine. It does have me scratching my head. As a kid I never left a scrap of Mom’s pancakes with apples inside the batter.

Recently I had some waitresses at our family Sunday spot after Church questioning my brunch sanity when they told me I absolutely had to try a new item.

“You have to. You just have to.”

Sounded great. Looked great when I saw a plate delivered to another table.

Cinnamon roll pancakes.  Big as manhole covers.

“Can’t” I sadly informed the ladies. Instead of gaining sympathy my explanation drew looks as though I was from another planet.

It’s okay. Small price to pay if I can devour just about everything else under the sun.


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In New York City schools it’s goodbye chicken nuggets, hello bean curd – Thanks, Mayor de Blasio





FLASHBACK: Culinary no-no #45

On this Easter Sunday when many people will be dining out, a look back to a favorite of mine that is always timely.

Culinary no-no #45

Sunday, Mar 9 2008

In this week’s edition of Culinary no-no, more on the subject (respecting your waiter/waitress) from someone who has walked the walk and is now talking the talk.

Phoebe Damrosch has written a book about her experience waiting tables at Thomas Keller’s four-star New York City restaurant, Per Se.

The inside cover notes of Damrosch’s book, Service Included say, “After reading this book, diners will never sit down at a restaurant table the same way again.”

Damrosch includes numerous dining tips that fall under the no-no category. Here are a few:

  • Please don’t ask waiters what else they do. That implies they shouldn’t aspire to work in the restaurant industry even if it makes them happy and financially stable. It also implies they have lots of free time because they have such easy jobs and that they are not succeeding in another field.
  • Don’t send something back when you’ve eaten most of it.
  • Don’t make faces or gagging noises when you hear the specials. Someone else at the table might like to order one of them.
  • Don’t bribe the host. If there’s no table, there’s no table.
  • Don’t touch your waiter.
  • Don’t say this to the host or a waiter: “Do you know who I am?”
  • Don’t begin a sentence with, “Give me….”
  • Don’t get angry at your waiter if you don’t like something. Your waiter didn’t make it
  • Don’t steal the waiter’s pens. Usually, they have to provide their own.

I first learned about Damrosch after hearing her appearance on American Public Media’s “Splendid Table.” The program is heard on public radio stations around the country and on Sirius Satellite Radio.

From the “Splendid Table” website:

February 16: Service Included | Listen
This week it’s a peek into the life of a waiter at one of the world’s most demanding restaurants. It’s a profession and high craft, and not for the faint of heart. Our guest is Phoebe Damrosch, former waiter at Chef Thomas Keller’s acclaimed Per Se in New York City. Phoebe tells all in her book Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter.

*The Damrosch interview begins 14:22 into the program. Just click the play button and scroll to 14:22*


Is my food safe? Gluten found in 32% of food labeled gluten-free, new study says

Ohio man’s Lenten, beer-only fast comes to an end

And finally, quiz time. See if you can guess what this is? I’m betting you’ll be wrong.

Bloody Caesar

The website I found this on regularly has a vast variety of great ideas. I didn’t think this was one of them.

Culinary no-no: Easter (and Mother’s Day, too)

Easter Dinner Ideas
This week we dig into the Culinary vault for a 2017 no-no that dealt with Mother’s Day but is also suitable for Easter.

Take a look.


The death of the buffet chain

A White Restaurateur Advertised ‘Clean’ Chinese Food. Chinese-Americans Had Something to Say About It.

Stanford study finds drinkers value beer less if they think it’s brewed by a woman

The one thing you should never do to your hamburgers

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The absolute worst Culinary no-no of the season