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josephrileyland’s 20questions, august 2010

August 4, 2010

my life


July was my month of rest. Remember how I told you last month that I was a working fool? Well, in July I took a break and went on a nice week-long vacation to an exotic land… Raleigh, North Carolina. If you haven’t been to Raleigh, go for the BBQ. It’s delicious. Try a Cheerwine if you have never had one. Hit the local “urban winery” that boasts a fairly nice collection of table wines. Go to The Flying Biscuit and get a “country eggs benedict” and eat it with glee. Try Nofo, which has something to do with Piggly Wiggly grocery store, but we never figured it out – and is full of tchotchkes that do not make a lick of sense, but that grilled shrimp BLT was absofreakinlutely ridiculously good. Can you tell we ate a lot? And had cocktails. Some bar… I cannot remember what its name is, but it’s huge and they think they get a nice crowd with their DJ on Saturday nights, but they don’t, was backed by a bartender who spent 8 years in the Caribbean and she made the best rum punch stateside. We like her. Oh, we are my college friends, sans Kiki, who was packing for her move to Chicago. Had we been good friends we would have been in Connecticut helping pack. Instead, we were in a bar in Raleigh, throwing them back. Oh well. When you’ve been friends for more than half your life, helping with The Move is no longer a requirement. So, Felysha, Cynthia and Kim, along with her husband David, and I tried to sample food and beverage from pretty much every facility that had a license. We accomplished a lot.


unpaid commercial break


Simply Apple, from the makers of Simply Orange, is simply delicious. It costs a whole arm and a half a leg at the grocery store by my house, but I saw it in Raleigh for, like $2.50. I almost bought a case and shipped them to Harlem. The juice is so rich and so thick, it’s like taking a bite of an apple.



If you still haven’t started watching True Blood (Kimberly Lynn O’Neal Keith), please rectify that situation immediately. The vampire thing typically isn’t exciting to me, but this show, with it’s collection of werewolves, shapeshifters, telepaths, kings, queens, maenads, orgies, rednecks, abs and, yes, even vampires, is the guiltiest of summer’s pleasures.



don’t waste your time


If you must, just send Holly Robinson Peete and Bret Michaels $1.25 each and save yourself the time of going into the store and looking for their respective bottles of “the best stuff on Earth” from Snapple. Although the two battled it out on a drama-filled season of The Celebrity Apprentice, culminating in a final assignment to create the perfect new flavor of Snapple, when I sampled them, I was highly disappointed. Robinson Peete’s flavor, Compassionberry, which clearly sounded like a winner on the show, has a horrible aftertaste and, well actually, a pretty awful during taste as well. After I tried it, I realized why Michaels’ beverage won (I honestly was assuming he won because of his health condition and Donald Trump is all about the drama)… until I tried his. It was even worse. Labeled as Trop-A-Rocka, it tasted like Christmas mixed with bath water from 1764 and a rotten pear. I didn’t even finish my bottle. The good news is my little adventure today gave me a new column – “don’t waste your time” – in which I will waste mine instead. Because I have plenty of time laying around. Like that lady with the extra minutes in the cell phone commercial.


vomit & throw up


What else is a waste of time, energy and money? Pretzel M&M’s. And the coconut ones. Yuck and double yuck, respectively. I get where they were going, especially with the pretzel version, but the mouth feel is horrible and the crunchy candy shell followed by that hard-ass pretzel is anything but exciting. Unless they’re on clearance, buy 1, get 7 free, don’t do it.




I also watched MasterChef, the new Gordon Ramsay show – this list is getting long; I have decided I really like “don’t waste your time” – and it is a snore-fest. He’s taking “regular” people and turning them into a master chef. How about we just watch Tom and Padma take real chefs and let them do what they do? It’s much more entertaining. And mouth-watering.




I have more. But I will stop for now. I love this section.


josephrileyland’s 20questions


1. Why have my friends started telling me NOT to post things they do/say on twitter/facebook/20questions? Isn’t that part of the fun?


2. We’ve all heard about black men on the down low. It’s been dramatized to epic proportions, which is ridiculous. My friend Randall Brown’s current Facebook status: “‎…wonders if there is such as thing as SISTERS on the DOWN LOW??? (scratches head)” What do you think?


3. I wonder how English punk rockers from back in the 80s feel about their mohawks being hijacked by everyone from David Beckham to 4 year olds in Harlem?



4. In a season where she gets a public pap smear to encourage women to get tested for cervical cancer, held a rally in DC to help repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and then the episode where she really opened up and cried genuine tears over the death of her dog, hasn’t Kathy Griffin transcended the D list and found a way into our hearts?


A video that has nothing to do with Kathy being lovable, but encapsulates her humor perfectly.


5. There’s a 50-something year old woman on Project Runway named Peach. No need for me to ask a question after that statement.



6. What did Hell’s Kitchen do to FOX? They’ve been burning off episodes at the rate of two a week for a month… just so they can air MasterChef? A waste.



7. When I was a kid, I always told my great grandma, Mama Nell, “goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite.” I’m not sure what “sleep tight” means, but I certainly did not know that there really was a monster called a bedbug. Did you? I mean, now I do… but those bastards mock my little rhyme in today’s culture, don’t they?


8. With the recent trial, execution, revival and acquittal of Shirley Sherrod, did anyone learn a lesson about the dangers of a 24/7 news cycle?

Shirley Sherrod


9. Is it just me or is the Chef Boyardee commercial, “Samples,” the funniest thing on TV this month? Love the mother.



10. Speaking of the Chef Boyardee commercials, wouldn’t the mom fit in perfectly for a family sitcom? Here’s another commercial with her:



11. Is there a smarter promotional campaign than Starbucks’ decision to offer a $2 grande cold beverage after 2PM if you buy something in the morning all summer long? I need one now…



12. Is there anyone who has a better laugh than Julia Roberts? I want to see Eat. Pray. Love. just because of the guffaws in this trailer.



13. When I am home alone and have just enjoyed a good meal that I cooked for myself and I’m laid back on the sofa watching The Closer and I burp and then I say, “excuse me,” who the hell am I asking to excuse me? Am I slightly crazy or just trying to be polite even to myself?


14. Am I a kill-joy for supporting a soda tax?



15. Is there anything worse about living in a city by yourself than the loneliness a holiday brings? Doesn’t matter which one; your family is together and you’re all alone.


16. Is it just me or was Inception a good movie that… really didn’t make sense? Don’t come at me with that “I’m smarter than you are” bullshit I been hearing when people say they don’t fully get the movie. I think people who say they do are the ones full of shit – because they don’t want the stigma associated with not “getting” it.



17. Since I’m handing out commercial love, how about this one for Office Depot with the mom who owns an “… and sons” moving company? I wasn’t prepared for the direction they went. Genius.



18. So… if you are a man who has slept with a man even once since 1977, you are ineligible for life to donate blood? Or bone marrow? Even if someone needs it and you are a match? Interesting.


19. Have you noticed that cell phones are going through a transition – we started out with enormous monsters that gave way to teenie, tiny handhelds that boasted of their sleek design and razor-thin qualities. Now, smart phones are getting bigger, with the EVO and Droid coming out in quick succession with larger phones, with larger screens. Remember when the auto industry went through a compact and sports car phase followed by an SUV phase? Comparisons?



20. Is it just me or is this summer particularly hot? It’s as if we bypassed wife-beater season and went directly to get-as-naked-as-you-can-without-getting-naked season.


Yeah, I used it. What?


for your health


It might not be as funny as watching Kathy Griffin’s mom steal mayonnaise or as informative as the fact that there are four servings of —- in Chef Boyardee’s ravioli, but here are four videos I think you should watch. My sister, Angela, works for the at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She sent me these links – totaling less than 30 minutes – and suggested I share them with you. Again, it might not be as fun as some things I share, but it is certainly educational. I encourage you to bypass The Real Housewives rerun and watch this series of videos discussing personalized medicine and how your genome can determine what medicines will work for you, what won’t, a realistic look at your chances of cancer, and other such health-related topics. I know that I find that health less than exciting, but if ANgela said we should watch it, we watch it. In fact, I am going to watch right now, before I finish telling you you should.



Actually, after watching (especially the 3rd one), I have a better understanding of how the research is done and what its purpose is. Do you know someone who’s child is autistic? I do. And it breaks my heart. Vanderbilt is working to develop drugs that will improve cognitive functions and reverse the problems associated with Autism. They are also working on ways to reverse Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia and severe depression. Thank you, Angela, for telling me to share. I’m serious. If you don’t opt to watch now, come back. I will leave it up until the end of time.


on the stove


Giada, God help her little bobble head-looking self, still seems so out of place in the kitchen to me, even though she’s written several cookbooks and is all over The Food Network. Her recipes, though, are good. Here’s a little something she whipped up the other day that had me salivating.

Baked Orzo with Fontina and Peas
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

Prep Time: 25 min
Inactive Prep Time: —
Cook Time: 30 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 6 to 8 servings

4 cups chicken broth
1 pound orzo pasta
3 tablespoons butter, plus more to grease the baking dish
1 onion, chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 cup Marsala wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces shredded fontina cheese (about 1 cup)
4 ounces diced fresh mozzarella cheese (about 1 cup)
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.
Bring the chicken broth to a boil over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan. Add the orzo and cook until almost tender, about 7 minutes. Pour the orzo and the broth into a large bowl. Set aside.
Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat in a medium skillet. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to saute until the mushrooms are beginning to turn golden around the edges, about 7 minutes. Add the Marsala. Scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan and cook until the Marsala has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the mushroom mixture to the orzo in the large bowl. Add the cream, fontina, mozzarella, peas, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
In a small bowl combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and dried thyme. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on top of the pasta. Bake until golden, about 25 minutes.

Printed from on Mon Jul 05 2010 © 2010 Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

NEXT MONTH: A recipe from very special guest food editor Dr. Sandra Kolka of Sprezzatura, A Kitchen Consultancy. Be ready.




I was raised right – I talk about people behind their backs.
– Kathy Griffin

until next time…
lovepeace&chickengrease –


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4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 6, 2010 8:00 AM

    You are hilarious and I agree with you on everything !

  2. Robley permalink
    August 6, 2010 3:24 PM

    I love the new segment “don’t waste your time”! Your descriptive powers will make me not search out Tropa-Rocka but that is more due to the fact I am still laughing at the taste comparison. Great fun – thanks.

    • August 6, 2010 3:31 PM

      Robley! I didn’t forget about you. I have been meaning to reply to your email. Thanks for staying on the sofa. You’re on one of the originals!

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