Go Ask Daddy About Crustacean Cravings, Noodle Knowledge, and Incredible Heroes

photo credit: Reiterlied Seaside Lunch via photopin (license)

I’m all about culinary diversity.

GAD GRAPHICYou won’t believe me, given the playtime the Gastronomic Trinity – cheeseburgers, pizza, and tacos – gets here. But I’ve eaten Indian food for the first time recently, thanks to my millennial/liberal friends. Took a break from the burger joint and everything.

(They can keep their sushi, though, actually.)

I love some Pad Thai, also. I hadn’t had it in my first 43 years on earth. Sometimes, the sense of adventure in food comes without me knowing it. I accidentally ate alligator once. I ordered fish on a stick in a rural north Florida town.

It didn’t taste like fish, and it didn’t look like chicken – those were the only other two things offered from this deep-fry wagon. Ergo …

My girls can be adventurous, too. I don’t have the heart to have them try Rocky Mountain Oysters the way my family did. That means, without prior warning. Maybe it’s a rite of passage for Coloradans. Thing is, they’re kinda tasty. Just being honest.

1. Have you ever had crab cakes?

Yes, and they can be delicious. Better than Rocky Mountain Oysters, even.

The key to great crab cakes, like writing, good soccer teams, and life, really, depends on what you put into them. It’s simple logic, really: If I don’t like an ingredient outside of a crab cake, I will not like it rolled up inside a crab cake. Guaranteed.

It’s 11:32 p.m., a dangerous time to be thinking about crab cakes. And yet …

Man, some Old Bay seasoning. Panko bread crumbs, an egg. Mayo, some mustard, and a dash of Tobasco. Ground black pepper, a little salt to taste. A little butter on the cookie sheet, a dollop of tartar on top. A squeeze of lemon to top it off.

What if I put thousand island dressing on top instead of tartar? Or wrapped it in a tortilla, with yum yum sauce? I’m seeing an egg salad with paprika – prepared like you would a deviled egg – and hush puppies, maybe an amber beer in a glass.

Yeah. I’ve had crab cakes.

2. Why do we draw stars the way we do?

stars-for-quote.jpgDefinitely not in homage to the Dallas Cowboys’ helmets.

(I thought they had that logo because it was like a sheriff’s badge.) Outside that helmet, and the middle of the Converse logo stars in the actual sky look kind of pointy, like a burr or my chin when I don’t shave.

To represent a star accurately would deem it a horrible choice for a football helmet. Even the Cowboys’. It would be an indistinguishable blob with random points. Think about it – if we drew hearts to reality, that would be an ugly way to send a valentine. But I digress.

Egyptian hieroglyphics represent stars much in the five-point way we do here in America. The Star of David has six stars, in a show of one-upsmanship.

Our eyes deceive us when we see reality, and then try to replicate it. Kind of like the championship hopes of the Cowboys, Chiefs, Raiders and Seahawks.

3. What’s the difference between lo mein and chow mein?

There are three mein differences.

If the wheat-flour egg noodles in your bowl are fried crispy, you’re dealing with a chow mein. If they’re boiled and soft, you’re dipping into the lo mein. When in doubt, just order the sesame chicken with fried rice, and call it a night.

If you’re set on one of the meins, just toss it up with some beef or chicken, soy sauce, hell, even a handful of veggies, and now we’re talking.

4. Could you eat that Aveeno yogurt stuff?

raw oats
photo credit: Linda Jacqueline via photopin cc

Gah, you kids, and your food questions. Where does this even come from?

The Aveeno website describes the lotion – packed with yogurt, vanilla and oats – as “rich, creamy.” It’s basically hitting the hot buttons of any 40-something man whose culinary senses were shocked awake by late-night crab-cake talk, followed by a dissection of the Godhead of Meins.

As I polish off the remnants of a bag of tortilla chips (the bottom 5% that no one wants to eat, because you can’t scoop guac with them), I posted a plea on Facebook:

Hey guys – I have the munchies, and the only thing around is one of those Aveeno yogurt lotion tubs. It has vanilla and oats. Is it okay to eat this?


I know it’s after midnight, but a lot of my friends have those little green dots next to their names, leading me to believe they’re lurking on the ‘book while they’re lying in bed shunning REM sleep and cozy time with their significant others.

Finally, Renee Shuls-Jacobson – my favorite Bills fan who doesn’t really like the Bills – chimed in. “Don’t do it, man,” she reasoned. Crisis averted. Did you know they make these in apricot and honey, too, though?

5. Are the Paralympics for handicapped athletes?

The Paralympics work similarly to the Olympic games.

Participants are categorized by their disability into sport classes. It’s to ensure fair competition, much like you girls playing in certain age groups or wrestlers competing against other in their weight range. Paralympic.org lists all 10 eligible impairment types.

That’s only a sliver of the story. The Paralympics are held where the Olympic games are held, and star some incredible heroes.

South African swimmer Achmat Hassiem competes as a result of a Great white shark attack in 2006. He named the shark Scarlet, and he visits her near Cape Town every summer for inspiration.

American Dawn Macomber, an Army veteran who injured her back during her service, became the nation’s first woman to compete in a para-bobsled World Cup. She has her sights set on the Paralympic Winter games.

And Egyptian Ibrahim Hamato, who lost both arms in a train accident at age 10, competed last summer in Rio, serving with his toes and holding the paddle in his mouth.

I’d be honored to sit down to lunch with any of these athletes. Even for sushi.




  1. ksbeth says:

    the mein thing i have to say, is yes to the crab cakes in any form and yes to you stepping out of your food comfort zone. go easy on the aveeno.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      it’s a fine line between culinary diversity and eating lotion, beth. I’m in uncharted waters.

  2. mocadeaux says:

    And 11:54 am is a dangerous time to be reading this. Now I’m craving crab cakes or Pad Thai for lunch. For several years I volunteered with the organization trying to bring the Olympics to Chicago. Although I have some complaints about the political nature (and thinly disguised corruption) of the International Olympic Committee, one thing they do right is the Paralympic Games. They insist upon those games getting equal attention in the planning process and proposals. Hats off to them for that.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You lived on the edge right along with me, Mo. Do they make Pad Thai with crab meat? They should.

      I love that they put as much into the Paralympic games as the others. They’re equally worthy. Plus, some are just fractions of measurements off from Olympians’ times and marks.

  3. Now I’m hungry… It sounds like you like your egg salad the same way I do; and speaking of deviled eggs (well, at least you did), have you ever put spicy glazed pecan halves on top? Amazing!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Never, with the pecans, but I have to try. Sounds delicious, Debbie. (Again, it’s late at night I’m thinking about food.

  4. Lindsay says:

    Wait what?!? Aveeno made a yogurt? Are you friggin serious?
    Hey bro, nice to see you. 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Check it: http://www.aveeno.com/product/aveeno-+daily+moisturizing+body+yogurt+lotion+vanilla+-+oats.do

      I don’t think you’re supposed to eat it … but you know, the kids ask!

      Great to see you too, sis. We need to catch up.

  5. Those crab cakes sound delicious, except, I’d have to leave out crab. Perhaps subbing shredded chicken. My favorite way to have chicken veggie soup is to Thai it up. Add fresh grated ginger, coconut milk, and curry paste to the pot that already has the cooked chicken, broth, and whatever veggies you like. I always start with my favorite trifecta of onions, carrots and celery, adding savoy cabbage and broccoli. Sometimes I’ll add brown rice, which when let sit overnight, turns the soup into more of a stew. On that note, now I’m starving!

    And don’t mention championship hopes and Seahawks in the same sentence. Still mourning that loss.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Crabless crab cakes isn’t out of the realm of possibilities in 2017, Susan. Others might choose bacon.

      What other dishes could be Thaied up? A grilled cheese, even, somehow? You really sell it, even at 7:03 a.m.

      The rice thing, too. It’s definitely time for breakfast. As a Broncos fan without even a passing appreciation for Richard Sherman, I’ll have to say … well, I hope New England finds itself in the same spot as Seattle after today – on the couch!

  6. Rorybore says:

    Oh man I want some Pad Thai now. Living in a small town is not suited to the culinary adventurer. I had alligator a few times. Chewy. That’s my take away. I was in Detroit..???? Which rather scares me to think they may have had available alligator?
    Yogurt and granola is delicious — but I make my own. Mine has strawberries, shredded coconut and dark chocolate chunks in it. you’re welcome.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Pad Thai for breakfast is a thing, right? What’s the best breakfast joint where you live, Rore?

      Alligator isn’t real tasty. Maybe Detroit alligator is chewier than North Florida alligator.

      Maybe it’s like ordering the ocean catch of the day – in Lincoln, Neb.

      I don’t think the Detroit alligator came from the sewer as an abandoned pet or anything, though.

      If you’re making that kind of delicious granola, maybe you should lead the birth of culinary adventure in your small town.

      1. Rorybore says:

        I don’t know that I could handle that hot and spicy too early in the morning. Although I have been known to put Tabasco sauce on my eggs and hash browns. We have a traditional truck stop diner in our town because we are near a major highway and let me tell you…. there’s nothing like truck stop diners for comfort food. Breakfast all day. Gravy. An in restaurant bakery with fresh biscuits, pies and other goodies. You would think it’s heaven. They don’t need me at all to improve the place. We are very short on anyplace that is Mexican or even Tex Mex though. Like no tacos for Rory. 😦

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I bet you could handle it, Les. Gives you just a bit of a lift to toss hot sauce on breakfast. Hash browns from a truck stop should have their own national holiday.

        Breakfast for dinner is one of the finer things in life. How can a town find itself on a map without a decent joint to get a taco?

  7. Milenial/Liberal friends: hahahaha Yeah, we’ve all got ’em. All that talk of Chinese food: Now I’m starving. Oh yeah, I promised to thaw out the Shrimp Scampi I bought from Sam’s, so at least I have a plan for food. I really enjoy the “Go ask Dad” thing you do. Boys aren’t inquisitive enough to do a regular section on that. I have to beg and bribe to get info from them.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      They’re everywhere, April, and ideology aside, I find the common ground in most cases. Kids.

      What’s your favorite Chinese food? I always go with sesame chicken. I need to branch out, but isn’t it difficult to turn away from proven deliciousness in the spirit of adventure?

      Thanks about the Go Ask Daddy thing. I jot down questions as they pop up in conversation with my girls, and I don’t remember to do that for every one. The list is well more than 300, so I pick five randomly through the week.

      1. That’s because Sesame Chicken is DA BOMB. When I go to a Chinese place that doesn’t have it I’m like “I um..oh…uh…okay…General Tso.” And then I spend the next hour trying to get the heat out of my mouth.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Right, April? I used to get the sweet-and-sour chicken or pork, but sesame chicken ought to be a mandate. No, that’s not right. It’s made better when it’s made with love. And lots of sauce. Is General Tso worth the heat?

  8. Lyn says:

    I love stuff cooked in Panko breadcrumbs; it beats ordinary breadcrumbs by a mile! Your version sounds so good, I might have to try it (but not at 10:36 at night). The Paralympics is unreal! When Sydney hosted the Olympics, I managed to get tickets to the Paralympics. Tell you what, those wheelchair basketball players take no prisoners – even the tennis players just about kill themselves trying to get to the ball 😮

  9. Miriam says:

    Hey Eli, It’s nearly midnight here and I have a sudden craving for, mm not crab cakes but some hot spicy Thai food. I do like my oysters though and fresh lobster, straight from the ocean.
    I’ve made my own granola too but have to admit that lately it’s been substituted for some good ole wholesome cooked breakfasts. All this thinking about food is making me hungry and probably not conducive to sleep. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Hot, spicy Thai food is fine at midnight – if you plan on staying awake until 4! It’s been an eternity since I last had lobster, Miriam. Ages.

      You should have the wholesome cooked breakfast, and grab the granola for mid-morning snack. Yes, I plan for such things.

      There are far worse things to think about at midnight.

      1. Miriam says:

        No plans to stay up till 4am Eli so I’ll have to scrap the Thai idea. But as for the morning, your food plan sounds pretty good to me.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        There’s always breakfast, Miriam.

      3. Miriam says:

        And then there’s lunch! And now I’m off for a swim.

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        Do they say to wait 30 minutes between eating and swimming in Australia, Miriam? Or is that just America?

  10. Now I’m hungry for some lo mein noodles! What about a good steak, baked potato, and salad? Now, that is heaven! Cooked to medium/med rare, some extra butter for the baked potato and well the salad to offset all of that butter and rolls. You have to have the rolls!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’m good for conjuring hunger, Rena. I’m good with your Trinity of Taste: The steak, the potato and the salad. Yes, with croutons.

      Butter rolls are essential. I see what you’er doing here …

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