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Food critic Tonya Kuxhausen writes reviews of meals she prepares for herself at home. Food is at the center of each article but the whole dining experience is considered and commented on. To paraphrase Socrates, an unexamined meal is not worth eating.

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four hearts

Garderburger Revisited:
A New Take on Old Favorites

I plugged in the toaster oven and set it to "broil." I sprayed the frozen Gardenburger on both sides with oil and placed it on some tin foil and waited. I poked around in the fridge. To my surprise, the spinach from last week still looked good. While the veggie burger was in the oven, I washed and chopped the spinach. I chopped it up fine like chives. I have a really sharp knife and this was pretty fun. Once the veggie burger started to brown, I crumbled some feta (a lot) on top and put it back in the oven to melt. I love watching feta melt and get sort of brown on the edges. Oh, it is so wonderful. I mixed the finely chopped spinach with chopped kalamata olives and sprinkled it over the top of the melted feta. There was a lot of the spinach/olive mixture so it sort of looked like an inverted salad on my plate. The veggie burger was completely hidden from view, but not from smell. The warm garlicky fragrance wafted up from below and this seemed like real cooking to me.

The Menu (12-01-02)

Menu for T
Gardenburger (fire-roasted vegetable flavor), garnished with feta, spinach and kalamata olives
Pita bread
Olive oil
Penfold's Shiraz

Menu for Murray's
Precise Feline Growth Formula

I sat down to eat with a glass of wine. The veggie burger was delicious. I love the fire-roasted vegetable flavor, but I'm not sure the spinach/feta/olives garnish was a good complement to it. I think there is too much corn in the veggie burger to make it all work. But I was greatly pleased with the chopped spinach; I'm going to have to remember this. It was fun to eat like that -- the flavor was rich and it had a lively texture. The melted feta was of course divine. It was so warm and creamy and ripe. I felt like I needed some olive oil to round things out. A few weeks ago I had discovered a new method for enjoying the old standby: toasted pita bread. It's really good. Plus it's warm. It doesn't matter how old the pita bread is, it always tastes great (as long as it's not moldy). Back at the toaster, I was joined at this point by Murray's, my cat. I think he heard me eating and wanted to join the fun. So I gave him some food. Tonight he is having Precise Feline Growth Formula, which he has every night and morning (he is eight months old). I think it's really cute that he eats the same thing all the time, and I think it's cute the way he crunches his food. He didn't stay long, even though I tried to make his food seem especially enticing and delicious when I shook it out into his bowl.

I arranged the toasted pita bread (burned my hand on the toaster) on my plate and added the oil. I poured it on like syrup on pancakes. I had splurged on a bottle of organic olive oil and it is amazingly good. I like the way the warmth of the pita bread thins the oil slightly. This thicker pita bread from Lunds stays soft in the middle. It is another nice flavor/texture combination. Also, it's pretty. The organic olive oil is richer in color, and the pita bread turns a few shades of golden brown. When the pita bread was gone, I ate the rest of the olive oil off the plate with my finger. I got greasy fingerprints all over the wine glass.