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When my daughter was in 2nd grade, each student in the class was given a week to be the “Top Dog”. The week before, the students were sent home with a sheet they were to fill out. It asked questions about some of the favorite things in life and what made them special. The kids got the opportunity to stand in front of the classroom and share all their favorites.

One week a girl in my daughter’s class shared that her favorite food was spaghetti tacos. When my daughter told me that her friend’s favorite food was spaghetti tacos, the first words out of my mouth were, “What are spaghetti tacos?” My daughter responded that she didn’t know. She had never heard of them before either.

One day after school, while I was waiting to pick up my little girl, I ran into the dad of the girl who had been Top Dog. I asked him what spaghetti tacos were. He informed me that they were an invention from his daughter’s favorite TV show, iCarly. In one episode the brother is given the task of making dinner. He is torn and can’t decide whether to make spaghetti or tacos. He is suddenly hit with a bolt of inspiration and decides to join the best of both worlds. And thus, the spaghetti taco was born.

Without a formal recipe we decided to give it a try and make out own version of the spaghetti taco. We had prepared in advance and made trip to the store for supplies. For spaghetti, my daughter opted for penne pasta. The only problem we encountered was that we have a tomato allergy in our house. We had learned that ranch dressing make a great substitute for tomato sauce in many situations. We bought the pre-made taco shells and were all ready to go. The cooking was easy; the assembly was a little more of a challenge. Trying to get the penne in the taco shell was a learning experience. In the future, I would recommend the use of regular spaghetti noodles.

Overall, the spaghetti tacos were a success in our house. I loved ‘em too. The crunch of the taco shell combined with the pasta and the ranch was yummy. They have made return trips to our house. It’s always great to learn of a new menu item that we can add to the dinner rotation.

What other menu items have you tried on the suggestion of your kids? Any unusual foods that have been inspired by TV shows or movies?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo from http://makingmemorieswithyourkids.blogspot.com/2011/01/spaghetti-tacos.html

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A holiday all about food. I know that Thanksgiving really isn’t all about the food, but it would appear that way sometimes. Especially if you see some of the statistics. One of the these Thanksgivings I would love to be able to bake a Turducken and then dig into a lovely Cherpumple for dessert. But not this year. This year will be a little simper. I plan on spending a quiet day at the home of my in-laws. We will gather with a small group of family and friends and give thanks together. Maybe watch a football game or two, share some memories and expose my daughter to some of the things that we truly value in life. Not the Black Friday (or Black Thursday now) sales, not the latest Hollywood releases, and not any other material possession that marketers and advertisers will try to convince you is the secret to true happiness. Have a wonderful and blessed holiday. May your cup always overflow.

“This Thanksgiving I’ll be thankful: For the prayers for it means the presence of God will fill my home. For the smells and aromas and the memories they stir. For the crowd at my house for it means I have love in my home. For the noise of children for it means their lungs are healthy. For the laughter for it means I have joy in my home. For the old stories retold for it means there is heritage to pass along. For the sleepiness afterwards for it means all are content. For the cleanup afterwards for it means we all had our fill. For dessert for it means there is always something more to look forward to. For leftovers for it reminds us that God gives abundantly beyond our imagination.”

-Author Unknown

November 2008

I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of a friend this morning. I struggle to imagine what my life would have been like without him. High school would have been close to intolerable. The friend is someone you may also know. His name is “Twinkie the Kid”.

I fondly recall the parties my friends and I had in high-school. They weren’t your typical high school parties. We were the nerds so we did things a little differently. We had what we used to call, “Ho-Ho Parties”. Everyone invited to the party would bring their own box of Hostess snack cakes and a six-pack of their favorite caffeinated beverage. Some of us preferred Ho-Hos, but I fell into the group that was Twinkie fan. That golden sponge cake, the gooey creamy filling…irresistible.

I used to joke that Twinkies were actually the ultimate health food because they contained all four food groups (back in day when there were such a thing as food groups). The flour was your grain group; the cream filling was the dairy products group; the animal shortening was the meat group; and the fruit and vegetables group was represented by corn syrup and soybean oil. According the Twinkies Wikipedia page the official list of ingredients are: Enriched wheat flour, sugar, corn syrup, niacin, water, high fructose corn syrup, vegetable and/or animal shortening – containing one or more of partially hydrogenated soybean, cottonseed and canola oil, and beef fat, dextrose, whole eggs, modified corn starch, cellulose gum, whey, leavenings (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), salt, cornstarch, corn flour, corn syrup, solids, mono and diglycerides, soy lecithin, polysorbate 60, dextrin, calcium caseinate, sodium stearoyl lactylate, wheat gluten, calcium sulphate, natural and artificial flavors, caramel color, yellow #5, red #40. Yummy! Sometimes I regret not becoming a food scientist. Think about it…Your job is to invent food. Awesome!

Twinkies have a long history (having first been invented in 1930). People even deep-fried them, and they became an instant hit at the Texas state fair and at ballparks across the nation. Sadly, I will have to live with the regret that I was never able to savor one of these magical delicacies. I was however able to share a wonderful Twinkie treat with my daughter. One of all-time favorite musicians “Weird Al” introduced me to the Twinkie Wiener Sandwich. You take a Twinkie and turn it upside down, cut it down the middle lengthwise so that it resembles a hot dog bun. Then place a cooked hot dog in the sliced Twinkie and top the whole thing off with a generous helping of Eazy Cheese. It is a taste that your taste buds will never forget. An explosion of mouth-watering goodness.  My daughter absolutely loved them.

Twinkies even had their day in court when a defendant claimed that he was not in a right state of mind when he committed the crimes because of his increased consumption of junk food. Although Twinkies were never specifically mentioned, famed newspaper columnist Herb Cain dubbed this the Twinkie Defense.

The shelf life of Twinkies is legendary. I even recall having buried a couple myself with the hope of returning one day and digging them up to see how well preserved they still were. If only I could find that treasure map to their locations. The movie Wall-E even has a still-wrapped well-preserved Twinkie on the shelf in Wall-E’s trailer. Look for it next time.

So my friend, I am sad to see you go. You led a rich life and touched the hearts of millions of people. Lives were changed because you were on this planet. I count myself lucky to have known you. I know that I will see you on the other side. God Speed Twinkie the Kid.

James Kennedy

VCE Chemistry Teacher at Haileybury, Australia

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