Open thread — food manners, Super Bowl recipes, or whatever

by Grace aka costofcollege

Today we have an open thread, with hijacks welcome.

Here’s a topic to get you started:

Don’t cut spaghetti, never ‘air butter’ bread and slice bananas on the plate: Expert reveals the correct way to eat the trickiest foods in public (politicians take note!)

I have never noticed anyone using an empty mussel shell to eat mussels.  I’m guilty of air buttering and other infractions.  Do you have perfect food manners?  What do you notice among other diners?  Any pet peeves?  Any embarrassing incidents?

What do you do when you’re a guest and you are served something you don’t/can’t eat or is unappetizing?  I recently ran into food that was too hard to cut with the flatware I was given, so I picked it up with my hand to eat it.  It was a little tough, but edible.

Any good Super Bowl recipes to share?  What else is on your mind today?

Also . . .
I’ve been using these open threads to fill in due to the recent scarcity of submissions. These open posts are fine to free up discussions for timely topics of our choosing, but if you submit more posts we can make sure they don’t become too frequent. As always, your ideas and comments are welcome.


190 thoughts on “Open thread — food manners, Super Bowl recipes, or whatever

  1. We are going to a Super Bowl party for the first time in a few years (we have a friend that always hosts but we’ve skipped it the past few years due to my youngest). I’m not sure if we’re bringing anything but DH has been making these wings lately for the playoffs and they are amazing! They truly taste like fried wings you’d have at a restaurant.

  2. As a person who has no Italian blood, but who has learned to twirl pasta with the best of them, it never ceases to amaze me how other people can’t learn to do that very well. And I just don’t get serving a giant spoon with long pasta! Definitely an American thing…not done in Italy (unless at a restaurant that has 99+% American tourist clientele, maybe).

    And maybe this is like learning a language, but even for the dexterously-challenged (like me) how hard are chopsticks to use? Of course I grew up eating Chinese / Japanese food in the Bay Area and so as a kid thought chopsticks were more fun than regular utensils.

  3. “And I just don’t get serving a giant spoon with long pasta! ”

    But it makes twirling it on my fork so much easier! Some of us are just not as dexterous.

  4. Atlanta — As someone who will only eat CRISPY Buffalo wings, I look forward to trying out your recipe.

  5. CoC – you will love them!

    Fred – I am a terrible chop stick user and it is totally lack of practice. I dread sushi restaurants. I should really practice before the next time I go.

  6. I do not understand the use of chop sticks! What an uncomfortable way to eat. I would rather use my fingers. I can manage to pick up sushi with chopsticks, but I refuse to use them for noodles or rice. I also do not understand people who eat pizza or Indian food with knifes and forks! Those are meant to be eaten with hands people!

    I try and twirl pasta around my fork but oftentimes it’s just way too long and I have to hack it with my knife- more tramp than lady for sure! So in formal setting I always order food that I can properly eat with a knife and fork, which usually ends up being chicken.

  7. “And I just don’t get serving a giant spoon with long pasta! Definitely an American thing…not done in Italy (unless at a restaurant that has 99+% American tourist clientele, maybe).”

    I’m not sure I really notice one way or the other, but this argument seems to reek of criticisms we have previously heard on this board about how one must never wear comfortable shoes when touring European cities because it’s simply NOT done. Really, who cares?

    My pet peeves manifest when I’m a passenger in a car, which fortunately is a rare event. It’s not even the driving so much as what I perceive as the mis-operation of auxiliary equipment. I can’t understand this, but there are apparently a lot of people who think that the best way to operate the climate control is not to slowly tweak the fan and temperature settings to eventually achieve a perfect equilibrium of airflow and heat transfer, but they–get this!–haphazardly and indifferently cycle the entire system on and off, bringing the fan setting all the way to ‘0.’ Even more telling, with the fan set to ‘0,’ they’ll soon get noticeably frustrated with the drifting temperature (let’s say getting cold in the winter) and in exasperated response, will turn the temperature dial further into the red, which of course yields no effect whatsoever when the fan is still at ‘0.’ Wait another minute and they’ll realize that the last adjustment was insufficient, so they’ll manipulate the fan dial up to full blast. It’s maddening. Absolutely maddening. You’re probably wondering why I’m riding with poor people who don’t yet have automatic climate control, but even MIL, whose car has it, refuses to use that mode and prefers to manually cycle the system.

    And then windshield wiper operation is even worse. It’s snowing outside, but nothing is actually sticking to the windshield other than a little bit of residual ice. What’s more, your wiper blades are entirely coated in solid ice, so scraping them across your windshield is doing absolutely nothing save for making a lot of noise. Why have you had them on for the past 45 minutes? And do you even realize that your rear wiper is on, and not even on intermittent, even though intermittent is one of the available options? Also, the rear window is almost totally covered in salt and road grime, so the wiper is not cleaning it so much as smearing it. Either douse it with washer fluid, or turn it off. But back and forth it continues, however futilely.

    These are the things that make me want to scream.

  8. Milo, I agree on cars. When I’m the passenger, other than in DW’s or the kids’ cars, I inevitably find the driver puts the heat too hot (like to 75). In cold weather, especially in the front seat or in minivans/SUVs with rear ceiling vents, 65 keeps me just fine.

    Now, my last 3 cars have all had an “auto” setting, aka an internal thermostat. So when I get in the fan starts very slowly until ~5 mins have passed and the engine is hot enough to provide heat to the passenger compartment at which point the fan blows harder. After a while the fan settles into a mid-low speed to keep things at a consistent temperature. I preset the temp to 65 in the winter and 72 in the summer. (A/c comes on immediately, blasting hard to cool things down quickly, as no engine warm up is needed). So I hardly ever touch the fan speed button.

  9. I am serving bananas at my next gathering just to see what people do.

    I don’t understand cutting pasta. How does that help? Seems like it would make it much more messy.

  10. “How does that help? Seems like it would make it much more messy.”

    Depends on the relative proportion of sauce to pasta, as well as the sauce’s viscosity. If it’s a thicker sauce in sufficient quantity, it binds the cut noodles together, so that a single forkful or spoonful can be picked up and brought to the mouth.

  11. To think, all my life I’ve been eating ice cream with a spoon like an animal. May I present – the ice cream fork:

  12. Rhett – If you serve with those, like Mr. Burns, you have to refer to it, curiously, as “iceD-cream.”

  13. I was lucky with chopsticks because I learned to use them when I was 3. Our next door neighbors were Japanese, and they had a little boy my age. I ate many, many lunches over there.
    I like using chopsticks, and in the context of an Asian meal they make a ton of sense. In China, you don’t get a big plate with an entree on it. You get a teeny tiny plate, and there are lots of serving plates in the center. The idea is to take a little, briefly rest it on the teeny tiny plate, and eat the little morsels with your chopsticks.

  14. Also when I was a kid, we used to eat at the home of a family from India. I absolutely loved those dinners because we got to sit on the floor, and a lot of the eating was done with ones fingers. I loved the food too.

  15. When I lived in France, I often saw fruit served for dessert, and if it was a restaurant or nice company dinner, people would use knife and fork. The most amazing thing was watching people peel peaches with knife and fork.

  16. So the spork can be considered fancy if used for ice cream? I just returned from a Disney cruise and this thread reminded me that I did not see a single banana while on board. I know that back in the olden days oranges were exotic and expensive. What about bananas? My grandma has reminded me many times of how fantastic getting an orange was, but has never brought up bananas.

  17. “I have never seen a whole banana served as dessert or anyone use a knife and fork to eat one. Where does this happen?”


  18. That article was for Brits. Brits eat pizza with a knife and fork. ‘Nuff said.

    At least here, the done thing is to reverse your chopsticks when you’re helping yourself from the serving bowl, at least once you’ve been using them to eat. Same idea as not double-dipping.

  19. “The most amazing thing was watching people peel peaches with knife and fork.”

    Good Lord, I can barely manage a peach with a paring knife and a hand.

    I didn’t like the tone of the article — came across as the look-down-your-nose at the ignoramus across from you. But he is, alas, right about most things. Though I don’t understand how to avoid “air buttering”: you are not supposed to cut the roll, you are supposed to tear off a bite-sized chunk and butter it separately. Check, do that. So you tear off your chunk and prepare to butter. Now you have a small piece of roll in your left hand and a knife with butter in your right hand — so you are supposed to, what, put the bite back down on the plate, chase it around the plate with the buttered knife until you manage to catch a little bit of it, and then pick it up again and put it in your mouth? Why, when it is so much simpler to *apply the butter while you are still holding the darn thing*???

    Superbowl: we always, always make Chex mix, but with Crispex with extra worcestershire and garlic salt and no pretzels/nuts/etc. And have I mentioned the Velveeta and Ro-Tel? :-) Going upscale this year and picked up some chorizo to cook up with it. And guac. Usually I make chili, but I usually don’t make the queso dip, so I think we will have plenty without it.

  20. We used to have a Super Bowl party every year (this was before kids) and invite only people who didn’t care about sports, like us, so we would ONLY watch the commercials and ignore the game. :) That reminds me that I should make spaghetti casserole and swedish meatballs again soon.

  21. “Depends on the relative proportion of sauce to pasta, as well as the sauce’s viscosity. If it’s a thicker sauce in sufficient quantity, it binds the cut noodles together, so that a single forkful or spoonful can be picked up and brought to the mouth.”

    This reminds me of how spaghetti was served in my elementary school cafeteria. Noodles we cut about 1.5 to 2″ long, and the sauce was thick enough to bind them together.

    Makes sense to me. Imagine the mess (and the complaints from parents) if first graders are given full length spaghetti in a low viscosity sauce.

  22. We, too, used to have a Super Bowl party every year, but this year we are not having one. When I invited people over, I used to limit the party to the first half of the game, as well as half time show and then expect the guests to leave. We all had kids and school/work the next day, so ending the party early made sense to me. DH was uncomfortable with this arrangement, and felt that we were being inhospitable by “kicking people out”. I didn’t want to have people over until 10pm+ on a Sunday night, so, no more Super Bowl parties.

    I’m making a 7 layer dip, enchiladas, and chocolate chip cookies this year. Cannot wait.

  23. noodles we cut about 1.5 to 2″ long, and the sauce was thick enough to bind them together.

    That was probably baked spaghetti.

  24. A half–a-Superbowl party so no one gets to bed late on a school night! That’s hilarious. Houston, you win the golden totebag for today!

  25. Apropos of nothing, I have known people to eat cake with chopsticks (office birthday party, only disposable cutlery around is chopsticks).

  26. Rhett, I inherited one of those and had no idea what it was. So thank you for solving a mystery :)

    Cavendish bananas shipped well so they were a relatively common fruit in the U.S. in the early 1900s, and cheap to boot.

  27. The hosts of the Super Bowl party we go to usually make regional dishes related to the teams playing. I have no idea if they will be able to pull that off this year. I guess they could do barbecue for Carolina, but I’m not sure what Denver specific cuisine is.

  28. “A half–a-Superbowl party so no one gets to bed late on a school night! That’s hilarious. Houston, you win the golden totebag for today!”

    ITA. I mean, I would prefer it, because I couldn’t care less about the game, and I’d love to hang out with the Houstons, but I also like my sleep. But a Half Super Bowl Party is like the Half Cookie. In fact, you should serve everything at the party cut in half. Pour out half a beer, and half a glass of wine.

  29. “That was probably baked spaghetti.”

    Yes, it probably was. I remember it being served from pans, not pots.

    It was also thick enough that it didn’t just slide off the serving spoons.

    “I have known people to eat cake with chopsticks”

    Chopsticks are great for eating Cheetos. Keeps your fingers from turning orange.

  30. With the commercials available to view online ahead of time, there’s not much anticipation to watching them during the game. As far as the halftime show, Beyonce is the main attraction IMO. (Can you tell I’m not much of a football fan?)

  31. “I mean, I would prefer it, because I couldn’t care less about the game, and I’d love to hang out with the Houstons, but I also like my sleep. But a Half Super Bowl Party is like the Half Cookie.”

    I agree too. I wouldn’t mind the whole Super Bowl party if I had the next day off. I feel traitorous saying this now, that the home team is in the game. The fans are cautiously excited here, gear is flying off the shelves. But having lived in cities that have gone to or won the Super Bowl several times, it doesn’t feel as exciting to me as it should.

  32. Denver-specific cuisine would involve microbrew and green chiles of some sort, no? Denver Dad? RMS?

    I love the idea of the Half-Super-Bowl party. We usually lose interest well before the end of the 1st half anyway.

  33. Here’s a question this group should be able to help with. I am looking for a new place to move my IRAs because I’m not happy with American Century. What do people recommend? I’m looking for someplace with a range of investment options but I specifically want index funds, and minimal fees. Thanks.

  34. Denver: You know what Milo and I will say: Vanguard. I have been very happy with them. We have a variety of investment accounts with them, including 529s, regular accounts, and retirement accounts.

  35. “We all had kids and school/work the next day,”

    Houston, I really do agree with you. Who wants to be cleaning up late Sunday evening before work the next day? (Another advantage of Pacific/Hawaii/Alaska time zones).

    My kids’ MS/HS solved the problem…no school on the Monday after Super Bowl. Supposedly as a reward for achieving the magazine sale goal. One year the new principal tried to take it away by just having the day as a regular school day and the faculty all vetoed him so the holiday was added back in. So the kids, all boys school so probably close to all of them actually care about the game, all got to watch the whole thing (hours of pre-game included), no pressure to get homework done for the next day.

  36. Denver – Houston knows me well. Some time last year I transferred an old IRA (my original, actually) from Schwab into Vanguard, and the process was simple and easy. That’s the account I used to buy shares of their REIT.

  37. We’ll only go to the Super Bowl party until half time. I’ve avoided the party the last few years because of little kid bed times, but really my two year old was rocking out at midnight on NYE so she’ll likely be fine.

  38. I also realized that I don’t own any clothing in the required shade of blue. I felt odd putting on my red coat and lipstick. I saw several women wearing coats in blue but alas blue lipstick would be too much.

  39. Another advantage of Pacific/Hawaii/Alaska time zones

    Yes, it’s an afternoon party here. Or you can skip it and go to Costco . . . it’s the easiest to shop time of the whole year.

  40. Denver, a twist on the Vanguard rec…Fidelity. Their index expense ratios are as low as Vanguard’s and there are investor centers in your area, if you ever want a want a more personal touch.

  41. Investing – you all convinced me to use Vanguard for our 529 (now to open the darn thing)… My 403b is in a vanguard fund and doing quite well…

    Super Bowl – so my friend is doing a bday party for herself that night and calling it a Super Bowl Party… she wants everyone to bring their favorite appetizer. And I’m stumped. She’s supplying a 7 layer dip, salsa and chips. Someone else is bringing cookies. Any suggestions would be amazing right now.

  42. Rhode – bag of frozen Italian-style meatballs, Heinz chili sauce, grape jelly, crock pot. Voila! Toothpicks if you want to be fancy.

  43. Rhode – although there’s likely to be b’day cake, why not bring your recipe from above? Appetizers and desserts are pretty interchangeable from an eating perspective.

  44. Rhode: Go to a store and pick up a pile of chicken wings. They are usually a hit. Other alternatives include a cheese tray and crackers, or deviled eggs.

  45. While I understand the rationale for the Vanguard recommendations, I’m with Schwab because they have a local office and have provided excellent service.

    This brings to mind that I need to move DS’ earnings from last year into his Roth IRA.

  46. Thanks for the quick replies.

    (Another advantage of Pacific/Hawaii/Alaska time zones).

    Mountain time is the perfect time for sports. Night games (Monday night football, etc) start around 6-6:30 (late enough to finish dinner and such) and are done by 9:30-10. I remember staying up past midnight on school nights when the Mets were in the Series in 1986. It was ridiculous.

    I think they should move the super bowl to Saturday. It makes so much more sense. DS and I are going skiing Sunday since we’re not Broncos fans. It will be the easiest drive home ever.

  47. Denver-specific cuisine would involve microbrew and green chiles of some sort, no? Denver Dad? RMS?

    Rocky mountain oysters :) Denver omelettes. Denver cuisine would basically be Mexican with craft beer.

    Honestly, the food in Denver pretty much sucks except for Mexican, and I’m not a big Mexican fan, so I’m out of luck. We’re friends with a couple where the husband is from Long Island, and whenever we get together, he and I bitch about how you can’t get good food here.

  48. And I’m going to say the Shrimp Pico de Gallo combines cuisine from both teams, shrimp from SC and pico de gallo from Denver. :)

  49. I have never gotten this whole Superbowl thing. It seems like a weird, artificial holiday. I guess people are eager to find some reason to have a holiday in the despair of early Feb. We usually end up going to CNY events, which takes care of that urge.

  50. I might try this shrimp dish because it looks great, and it is easy enough for someone like me to be able to make on Sunday. I wish we lived in mountain time zone for sports because it would be so much easier for watching the games. NYC public schools now have a school holiday each year for Lunar New Year. It is very timely this year because NYC schools are closed the Monday after the super bowl. We still haven’t used any snow days this school year, so I wish they could just have one next week. It isn’t looking good….I think it might hit 60 here tomorrow, but it will be a lot of rain instead of snow.

  51. My Italy trip might have to wait a year, but I am still trying to squeeze in a long weekend due to the milestone bday.

    It will be tacked on to the beginning or end of a business trip to London. If you had just three nights, and it was your first time in Italy – would you visit Venice, Florence or Rome? Assume that you will get back there in the near future for a longer trip.

  52. “I have never gotten this whole Superbowl thing. It seems like a weird, artificial holiday.”

    Many people enjoy following professional football. The Golden Totebag has already been handed out for the day.

    It probably helps solidify the Superbowl as a holiday that, unlike in baseball, the championship is decided in a single game rather than a series.

  53. Lauren – I’d choose Venice (as long as it’s not in the summer) because it’s sinking. But I hear that it’s pretty smelly in the summer… not sure if that’s true though..

    Thanks for the ideas… I may steal one, or just go with my original idea and then bring something easy.

  54. Lemon: How was the Disney cruise?

    I love the Super Bowl. Having school aged kids is not conducive to hosting a party, but we’ve also done the half-party. Everyone else had kids as well so it worked out. No plans this year – this is a year I really, really care (we are huge Panthers fans) so I want to be able to watch and yell at the TV in peace without having to play hostess.

  55. I would do Florence. It is one of my favorite cities. Rome is too big to tackle in 3 days and Venice is neat and pretty, but kind of boring after 36 hours.

  56. Rhode: I would bring BBQ sliders in honor of the Panthers, and some craft brews from Denver.

    BBQ sliders are so easy – get a Boston butt, slice a big onion. Salt and pepper well. Put onion slices in bottom of crockpot, butt goes on top, cook on low for 8 hours. Shred the pork, mix in a BBQ sauce from the Carolinas (you might have to hit Whole Foods for this, but there should be one). Put on slider buns. Voila. Serve with the beer and everyone will love you.

  57. “I remember staying up past midnight on school nights when the Mets were in the Series in 1986. It was ridiculous.”

    I can remember watching WS games live on Halloween night while passing out candy. Given the 6 hour time difference, it was way past midnight on the east coast.

  58. Part of the charm of East Coast living is being able to say you made it to the end of a long game (which ended at some ungodly hour) and still made it to school/work the next day.

  59. Having been to them all multiple times I would do Venice, mostly because as far as Italy goes, it’s rather off the beaten path being in the northeastern part of the country and IMO there’s not much else to do around there (compared with Rome where you could stay essentially forever and Florence which makes a good base for day trips to Pisa, Siena, and the other Tuscan Hill towns).

  60. I would go to Venice if I only had 3 days. Then, on your next trip back to Italy you can focus on Rome/Florence/Pisa. Although, if you were planning on spending time in the Italian Alps on your next trip, Venice is a quick jaunt over. Another option would be a weekend in Naples/Sorrento/Capri.

    The Disney cruise was fantastic. This was our second one, but the first 7 nighter. For anyone with small kids that is looking for a relaxing vacation, the premium you pay for Disney is worth it. Not to mention that my kids were able to mingle plenty with princesses and Mickey, and Disney Jr. characters without having to stand in long lines in the sun.

  61. I’ve been to all three cities, and more, on a 2.5-week high school trip all over Italy, and, for the life of me, I couldn’t tell any of them apart now. I guess if I fell into a canal, I would recognize Venice, because that’s built in the style of San Antonio’s riverwalk.

  62. Rhode – black bean corn salsa.

    2 cans corn, drained
    2 cans black beans, drained
    8 plum tomatoes (or your preference) chopped
    1/2-3/4 red onion, diced
    1/2 c cilantro (optional)
    1/4 c lime juice
    1/4 c red wine vinegar
    And I throw in diced red or yellow bell pepper on occasion, which my family does not like

    You can make it a day in advance and it’s even better. I serve it with blue corn tortilla chips, but regular tortilla chips are fine.

  63. “My kids’ MS/HS solved the problem…no school on the Monday after Super Bowl.”
    This is awesome.
    “It seems like a weird, artificial holiday”
    I like to think of it as the one, truly American secular holiday. Everyone can come together and enjoy guacamole and puppy commercials.

  64. “I like to think of it as the one, truly American secular holiday.”

    I think of a holiday as a M-F day when a lot of people have a paid day off work (without having to take leave) and/or kids don’t have school

    So I don’t think of Super Bowl Sunday as a holiday. I don’t think of Easter as a holiday either.

    BTW, at my kids’ school, the Monday after SB is usually a “Professional Development Day,” which means no classes for kids, but it is a workday for faculty and staff. The faculty has things like presentations on the current research into brain development and how that’s being integrated into the curriculum.

    I usually schedule my kids’ dental appointments for that day.

  65. Some of the comments are hilarious today. I could use some totebag help regarding etiquette, actually. I believe that one of the reasons my brother is single in his forties is because of the way he eats. He is handsome, successful, and a very nice guy, but his table manners are poor and I think it turns women off when they go out to eat. He can never get past the first couple of dates, and I think this might be why. Not sure how to tell him, or if I should. But I want him to be happy, and he wants to settle down. Any advice?

  66. GFM,

    I’d tell him. But, do it in that managerial way. Say, I love you, you’re perfect, you’re so amazing at x,y &z. Your table manners are disgusting and that’s why you’re single. Did I mentioned how handsome and successful you are and how we’re all so very proud of you?.

  67. I would tell my brother to cut it out in a kidding way, but we are very direct with each other.

  68. Cat,

    Well, technically the worst is, “You’re disgusting and that’s why you’r single.”

  69. I kind of think that when you soften the message with something positive, it makes the criticism that much worse. Just tell the poor guy to shape up! Kindly and without making it a big deal.

  70. Cat,

    I think the natural response to “shape up!” is to become defensive. “What do you mean, there is nothing wrong with the way I eat!” When you soften, you can reduce the defensiveness blow-back.

  71. He can never get past the first couple of dates, and I think this might be why.

    Uh, I know this is your brother, but it could also be that he’s terrible in bed. I know a couple guys who can’t understand why their relationships don’t last, but when you talk to the women they were dating…

  72. “but his table manners are poor”

    This one time, I saw the way a man in a restaurant was eating and that made me realize that I really did have to teach my DS proper table manners, how to cut food, etc. – it doesn’t just come naturally.

    So depending on your relationship with your parents, blame them and say he needs to learn now since he wasn’t taught. :)

  73. Milo, I get that people who follow football would be into the Superbowl. But so many people who would never watch a game under any other circumstance, and who don’t know the first thing about the game, still do the party or go to a sports bar or something. It is like the National Day of Pub Grub and TV. And yes, it is weird, because it is basically a celebration of one large commercial franchise, the NFL. Even Valentine’s Day isn’t as obviously commercial.

  74. “Mountain time is the perfect time for sports.” ITA. I may miss this even more than I miss green chile.

    Denver cuisine: Bison or wild game with some version of a chile rub, a potato, and a craft beer.

    @Lauren: What do you enjoy? I did not enjoy Venice, because of allllll the tourists, and I don’t eat fish (so the smell really got to me). Florence is one of my favorite cities, because I am a huge fan of both Dante and Giotto, and, hello (although last time I was there there were practically Venice-levels of tourists), but if that’s not your thing, you may not like it as much as I do. Rome is unbelievably awesome for all the ruins, etc. (and I assume the museums, we just didn’t make it there). Food will be awesome anywhere, but better in Rome and Florence (again, because of all of the tourists in Venice).

  75. I think this largely depends on your relationship. The criticism sandwich would make it much worse in my family. What would typically happen is that one of my brothers who has well-developed table manners would punch the one who doesn’t and tell him to stop eating like an animal. Then they would move on quickly and never speak of it again. But all families have different dynamics!

  76. “It is like the National Day of Pub Grub and TV.”

    I know this is the Totebag and all, but that is a pretty awesome holiday. It’s like the anti-Totebag holiday. Sweets! Cheesy dips with processed cheese! Macrobrew beer! Staying up late! Not a dessert tomato in sight!

    I don’t watch the NFL anymore, but I will watch the Super Bowl and eat some trashy snacks. I do watch the commercials, but for professional reasons these days.

    Denver Dad – I’ve been happy with ETrade too just because they have a really wide selection of funds & low fees along with some account type options that Vanguard did not have (e.g., a Coverdell ESA). They also have a local office, which I have never visited except to drop off a rollover check. But if you want to invest in mainly index funds, I think Vanguard or Fidelity would be good too. My 401(k) is currently with Fidelity, and their institutional index funds available in my plan have low fees comparable to Vanguard.

  77. ““Mountain time is the perfect time for sports.” ITA.”

    I beg to differ. With the ubiquity of DVRs, I am now in a better time zone for sports. I can watch most games as early, or late, in the evening as I like, at my convenience, and as quickly (e.g., fast forwarding through huddles in football, or between pitches in baseball) or slowly as I like.

    I can even look up the final score first, to determine if I want to spend my time watching the game. E.g., if I were a Cavs fan, I might not have bothered watching their recent game against the Dubs.

  78. Well, I like pub grub as much as anyone, but why not at least rotate the commercial sports franchise? One year the Superbowl, the next year the Stanley Cup, and Derby Day the next. It is the fact that it is tied to one commercial enterprise that creeps me out. Maybe we should have a national Walmart holiday too?

  79. A lot of folks, like L and Ivy, have captured one big reason the SB is such a big deal these days– it’s one day when it’s OK for people with the full specturm of interest in football, from hating it to casual to DITW (dyed in the wool) to go to the same parties. The increased fascination with the commercials has exacerbated that.

    At the parties, people will often self-segregate, and those in the middle of the spectrum will often move between groups with different levels of interest.

    IME, it’s one time when a lot of the DITW types are much more patient than usual in explaining the game to the totally clueless, IMO because it’s the one time when it’s OK for the clueless to be at a football viewing party (although I have observed DITW guys being patient with good looking females at other time). This also makes it a good time for the clueless to ask clueless questions.

  80. Speaking of pub grub, I listened to a Sporkful podcast the other day while at the gym. It was on poutine, a concoction I have adored for years. I was laughing so hard that I was having trouble staying on the treadmill. Quote on poutine’s role “In Quebec, poutine is for when you are at the end of your date and are drunk. You ask each other, should we have sex or poutine? And trust me, the answer usually is poutine”

  81. “it’s one day when it’s OK for people with the full specturm of interest in football, from hating it to casual to DITW (dyed in the wool) to go to the same parties. ”

    Hmm, I think I will take the CNY parties this weekend instead. I’d rather watch hordes of kids in red sing Gong Xi Gong Xi and eat dumplings. This year we are going to the one on campus, so it will be 18 year olds instead of 6 year olds.

  82. And DD, I’m surprised you think there isn’t any good food in Denver.

    For financial stuff, we switched everything to TIAA CREF. You don’t have to be an academic. They have an office right downtown which is convenient.

  83. LfB
    Thanks for info.

    I am interested in great food and just seeing a few things since I won’t have a lot of time. I’m leaning away from Rome because of the lack of time. There’s so much I want to see there and we would be running around too much.

    The original trip was ten days to Venice, Florence and a coastal resort in Tuscany.

    DH actually wants Lake Como because he’s been to Italy a few times, but he’s never been to that part of the country.

  84. Mooshi,

    I wonder if you’d treat a German or French invite to a World Cup party with equal distain?

  85. @RMS – it seems to me that Denver has perhaps a lot of transplants from elsewhere and there is no good source of food like “back home”. So, the default is Mexican.

  86. I was in Italy one summer when they won the World Cup. The entire city of Naples was inside watching the game. And where we? Outside, enjoying the peace and quiet. Of course, we got stuck overnight in downtown Naples becasue the subways shut down afterwards

  87. Louise, there’s also great Thai and Vietamese food here, and plenty of very decent restaurants with contemporary American cuisine, and a bunch of other stuff.

  88. In any case, you are missing my point. It isn’t whether I love or hate football. It is just that I don’t understand celebrating one corporate entity as a pseudo national holiday. We may as all have Walmart Day or Amazon Day. To me, it is the same. The entire nation is engaging in free marketing for the NFL.

  89. We have a lot of Chinese New Year stuff that goes on here, and it’s fun, if awfully crowded, but it’s really just not the same concept as Superbowl Sunday. You can do either, neither, both, I can’t see one as an interchangeable replacement for the other.

  90. Thanks for the advice, all. My brother is not disgusting. He’s not eating with his hands or anything. It’s just that he doesn’t seem to sense when he has food on his face. So, for example, he’ll have salad dressing on his chin and not wipe it off until the end of the meal. It drives me crazy, and I can see that it would be a turn off. I do sometimes say, “Hey Brother, you’ve got something on your chin,” during meals sometimes, and he’ll wipe his face, but it doesn’t seem to help beyond that instance. Thanks for pointing out the grammar issue, Finn. perhaps I should proofread his profile while I’m at it.

  91. Mooshi – that episode of the Sporkful was insanely funny. I was laughing out loud while walking to work & I’m sure I looked ridiculous. You can’t really rotate the sport because the deciding match for other big ones are much less predictable in a Best-of-7 set up. And the winning game is often on a weekday and much later into the night than the SB. College FB and College BB championships are one game, but also on weeknights, later in the evening. Derby Day parties are somewhat popular, but the actual event only lasts a couple of minutes, so it’s a bit anti-climatic.

    RMS – I may hit you up for some restaurant suggestions as I think we may be out there this summer.

  92. Lauren – I don’t know if you mentioned the month you are looking at. Christo (installation artist, famous for the orange gates in Central Park) is doing an exhibition in late June in northern Italy. I think dh and I will abandon the kids and go – the Gates was magical to me and there are unlikely to be more Christo works ever. It is in lake Iseo, near Milan.

  93. RMS – I may hit you up for some restaurant suggestions as I think we may be out there this summer.


  94. Did any of youse guys watch the HBO miniseries “Show Me a Hero”? Recommended? Or too inside-baseball?

  95. The last Downton Abbey episode – the dinner party scene was a shock especially as things are moving along so slowly. I am both sad and glad that it is ending. Poirot too has come to an end. I need to find replacement shows to watch.

  96. Mooshi – I was in New Delhi on the occasion of the first post troubles India-Pakistan ODI (one day international cricket match). The entire country was watching. No business or travel took place. I loved being a part of it. I learned the rules of cricket and rugby as part of doing business in my assigned territory which included India, South Africa and Australia.

  97. Ada, looks great. Thanks for mentioning it. I don’t think the timing will work because it has to be tied to the week of the (already scheduled) meeting in london.

  98. I beg to differ. With the ubiquity of DVRs, I am now in a better time zone for sports. I can watch most games as early, or late, in the evening as I like, at my convenience, and as quickly (e.g., fast forwarding through huddles in football, or between pitches in baseball) or slowly as I like.

    I can even look up the final score first, to determine if I want to spend my time watching the game. E.g., if I were a Cavs fan, I might not have bothered watching their recent game against the Dubs.

    I DVR most games and start watching well into them to skip the commercials. But finding out the score first is blasphemy. There’s no point in watching if I already know who wins. And the big games I’ll watch live wtih DS because they are an event type of thing.

  99. I watch Superbowl for the commercials and half time show

    THe halftime shows have become ridiculous. Just go back to marching bands or Up with People.

  100. Stubens or Sputnik?

    Never been to either one.

    Yes, there’s good food here, but you have to really hunt for it. For example, when I lived in Chicago, it seemed like there was a place on almost every block where you could get a really good gyro. I still have yet to find one here. There was one pretty good Greek restaurant we used to go to, and then they moved to a newly developed area and jacked up their prices. In NJ, you can go to pretty much any local pizzeria and get a good pizza. I’ve a few good pizza places here, but they are few and far between. And don’t get me started on Chinese food – I still haven’t found a place that knows how to make fried rice. They all just take white rice and add stuff to it, they don’t actually fry it. I did find a place that makes decent bagels. Not as good as NY obvioulsy, but the best you’ll get outside of the NY area.

  101. ” And the big games I’ll watch live wtih DS because they are an event type of thing.”

    And we’re perfectly situated for Super Bowl parties. Have time to do stuff in the morning, gather for a late lunch while watching the game, then after the game, hang out and eat dinner before heading home in time to prep for the week, getting to bed at a normal Sunday night bedtime.

  102. @Lauren — Lake Como is *gorgeous*. But not sure I’d spend 3 days there, as it’s more a whole region, with lots of little towns and islands and such, so I’d want to try to do go everywhere and would just end up driving all the time. I like Rome and Florence because I can park myself and just wander. But, again, YMMV.

    Do you like wine? Another option I highly, highly recommend is the town of La Morra, in the Barolo region (about 2 hrs SW of Milan) — very small town, can visit winery after winery after winery, and the whole region is like 5 miles across, with each town cuter than the last, and each sub-region with completely different wines. And you can hike or bike between them if you so choose (we do not). Or what about Cinque Terre or the Amalfi Coast? I think those places are made for a long-weekend-type visit.

    Also, when are you going? If it’s in August, many, many things will be closed, especially around the week of August 15 (Ferragosto — entire towns basically shut down). So if you’re there then, definitely plan on a larger city.

  103. GFM: Your brother just needs to find a person who will put up with his foibles. The salad dressing on the chin doesn’t seem too bad. However, if he chews with his mouth open, that’s a non-starter.

  104. To be clear, there are plenty of good restaurants here, it’s the casual stuff that’s lacking. Like when you are out running errrands and want to make a quick stop for lunch, or you want to order takeout or delivery because you don’t feel like cooking.

  105. “Derby Day parties are somewhat popular, but the actual event only lasts a couple of minutes”

    Horse races are great, you only have to pay attention to the races for a short time for each one (there are races throughout the day) and the rest of the day is about the hats and the food and drink.

  106. “The last Downton Abbey episode – the dinner party scene was a shock”

    everyone knew something was going to happen, but this was completely unexpected

  107. Since I crave good Mexican food, I wouldn’t mind trading it for the limited cuisine choices you all have in Denver. After many years searching, I finally found real Mexican chorizo (passable, but not as good as I used to get in TX) here in NY. (Mexican chorizo is quite different from Spanish chorizo, in case you’re wondering.) For SB I might make some non-Velveeta chile con queso, going old school with roasted poblanos and chorizo.

  108. I was only in Denver recently for a few days for a conference. I was in that area where there are pedestrian streets and a streetcar. My sense of that area at least was that it was dominated by fresh-casual places. We ate in a Yard House one night, which was kind of sad, and had truly horrible pizza another – thus reinforcing my opinion that I should not order pizza outside of the Northeast (or Chicago of course). There were a ton of noodle bowl places where you text message your order in advance. But perhaps that is just the neighborhood?

    OTOH, even in just a couple of days in Portland, I could see that the restaurant scene was thriving and varied. Same for Seattle and Vancouver.

  109. Fred, I have a basic recipe that uses cheddar and sour cream, which, I suppose, is a roundabout way of making homemade Velveeta.

    I knew something was coming with Lord Grantham’s constant indigestion, but I didn’t expect him to erupt like a blood-spewing volcano. I think they invited Quentin Tarantino as guest director for that episode.

  110. Mooshi, the 16th Street Mall, which is where you were, is not where the good restaurants are.

  111. I didn’t expect him to erupt like a blood-spewing volcano.

    Some of us haven’t watched it yet…

  112. Today’s WSJ has an article on Chipotle. It mentions that they imported their beef from Australia. I was surprised. If they insisted on local fresh ingredients could not they have gotten similar organic, grass fed etc beef in the U.S. ? The source of the continuation was not found but beef was on the list of suspected items.

  113. “non-Velveeta chile con queso…what do you use? queso fresco?”

    No. IIRC, queso fresco does not melt. Asadero or similar Mexican cheese is best, but Monterrey Jack, cheddar, and/or Muenster works also.

    MM – I have been to the Red Hook food field, and I like their Latin cuisine. It’s near the Brooklyn Ikea, so I have visited both at the same time. But it’s a haul, and really only pleasant in warmer weather. There are a few good Mexican restaurants in Manhattan, but overall I’d just like more choices that are closer.

    Actually, a pretty good source for Mexican ingredients is in New Rochelle, which is where I finally found the chorizo.

  114. “Some of us haven’t watched it yet…”

    Spoilers are allowed 48 hours after broadcast, according to Emily Post.

  115. CoC, what is your opinion of the Port Chester Mexican food scene? We lived near that area temporarily when our house was having its work done. Our then-babysitter was very impressed, but she was Honduran not Mexican. She said she had no idea that there were so many Hondurans and Hispanic businesses in one area outside of the Bronx.

  116. Yeah, I figured I was in a tourist/convention part of Denver. Man, I had never seen so many fresh casual noodle bowl places before.

  117. I didn’t realize the Red Hook ballfield scene was near an IKEA. Probably a better choice than the Swedish meatballs!!!

  118. I really want some proper clam chowder and pasta with marinara sauce that I would have for lunch in Boston. None to be found here and I haven’t got round to having gumbo as a replacement.

  119. Sunday’s Downton was the only of the “shocking” episodes I was able to watch in real time and not have ruined by spoilers, some of my fb friends immediately posted when main characters died in the past, grr

  120. “Then I defer to Ms. Post.”

    I made up that part, but it seemed reasonable, and it’s probably something she should weigh in on.

  121. rhett, have you seen any episodes from this season yet? if yes, probably knew that something was coming related to that story line.

    Since this is still the open post, I need to vent about ConEd. I am not sure how your electric/gas utilities company operate, but this one is the pits!!!! Several of us smelled gas yesterday and notified Con Ed. They actually refused to come until one of my neighbors called the fire department and then Con Ed finally showed up. They worked all night, and left around midnight.

    I pulled back into my driveway this morning after dropping off at school. I was doing stuff in my house, so I was home and I didn’t realize that ConEd returned to my street. They blocked off the entire road, and it is dug up. impassable right now by any car. I asked the guys if they knocked on any doors or even tried to let people know to move their cars. There are only five homes that are blocked. He jut shrugged, and he was SMOKING! The road is a dead end, so I can’t get out. I am thinking about asking another neighbor to pick me up, and take me to the train station o get DH car. so frustrated by how Coned can just do whatever they want and leave the road a mess after the work is done.

  122. MM — I like Port Chester restaurants, but I don’t think I’ve been to a Mexican one. I’ve had Guatemalan food there, and recently I had a great meal at a Peruvian restaurant. I was impressed with the vitality of the nightlife. There was a Grateful Dead semi-reunion show that night at the Capitol Theatre, and Dead Heads were all over. There are many more restaurants I’d like to try.

    Apparently it’s a happening place.

    Now, the village has become a destination for restaurants, shopping and entertainment. New apartment buildings have risen downtown, which also has a Metro North train station.
    “Over the past five years millennials have been moving into Port Chester from the outer boroughs of New York City and also the surrounding communities,” Mr. Pilla said. He added, “Many like the diversity we have and they like the vibe of a cosmopolitan downtown and the quietness of the bedroom communities.”

  123. Lauren, I’m very surprised about the delay since the recent gas explosions seemed to have raised awareness about reporting gas smells. I seem to remember receiving something from Con Ed about the importance of reporting any smells, but I wonder if the protocol is to inform the FD first? Your experience sounds dangerous and inconvenient!

    About a month ago a generic truck came to my front yard and some workers started hacking away at a big fir tree in my front yard. When I went out, they told me it was Con Ed trimming trees near electric lines. There had been a general notice about this in my bill, but it would have been nice for them to have knocked on my door.

  124. They actually said that it wasn’t close enough to a home since it was in the middle of the road.
    i just spoke to them because they are trying to dig up more, and they didn’t even know that the gas thing that they are looking for is under some snow. They dug it up last year when they worked on the same exact problem. It definitely doesn’t make me feel very safe, so I did call ConEd and i asked for a supervisor to call me back.

    There are a lot of great restaurants now in Portchester. We don’t get there as much in the winter, but we spend a lot of time there during the summer when DD is away. The food at bartaco is great, and they have locations all over Fairfield county now too. There is a place with authentic Mexican ice pops in an old store front across from Q barbecue. Q is great too.
    There is a tiny Mexican place in New Ro that is supposed to be authentic, but I haven’t tried it yet.

  125. Lauren, in my town, the bored fire department is the go-to for gas leaks. My next door neighbor called them when she smelled gas about 2 months ago, and we had 3 trucks on the scene within 2 minutes. About 3 years ago, my car, which was pretty ancient, started leaking gasoline all over the driveway, and I got nervous about it. I called them, simply to ask if this could be dangerous – and again, I had 2 trucks out in front before I could even put the phone down.

    We have these gas meters now that can be read remotely, at least in theory. ConEd has been to my house several times this year because evidently they can’t tell the difference between my meter and the next door neighbors. Each time, they decide that it is inconclusive and leave. It is starting to drive me nuts

  126. I’ve been to Little Mexican Cafe in New Rochelle, which is a nice friendly place to take kids. Where else is good in that town?

  127. That is the place that I know about on Main St. There is a more upscale place in Irvington that I really like – La Chinita Poblana. great authentic food, and I see kids there when I go early.

  128. Lauren – for some reason Atlanta now has 3 Bartacos and I had no idea. I have been to the first one they opened here but I didn’t realize they had opened two others. We thought it was pretty good when we went.

  129. On Red Hook – my kids take karate near that IKEA. Tons of great Mexican and Italian in that neighborhood. And awesome rugelach too. (Parents are not allowed to watch karate, so we entertain ourselves by meandering the neighborhood. Too far to drop off and come back sans car.)

  130. “There had been a general notice about this in my bill.”

    Lots of places do this, I think utilities especially, but I have noticed it with our (private) trash hauler also. Like anyone actually reads all the fine print and the backs of every page! (Yeah, I know…ignorance is no excuse). So they meet the requirement to provide ample advance notice, which of course no one really knows about!

    Rocky – re PG&E…my folks, over the hill from Berkeley, have trees that could fall if the rain keeps coming and would drag the power lines down with them. My mom was going to have a private tree guy trim them, but he told her PG&E would do it at their cost. Bus of course they can’t get there till late March, so they gave her a document theoretically absolving her of any responsibility because she notified them and they can’t do the trimming for a while.

  131. @winemama – I still want to go to the Derby someday. I LOVE both hats and mint juleps!

    @Finn – I recall setting my alarm clock for 6am when I was visiting your state during college football season. I’m not sure if that’s better or worse than having to stay up late for Super Bowl, NCAA tourney, etc.

  132. I have actually thrown Derby parties a couple of times, although I cannot abide mint juleps

  133. Thanks for the suggestions folks!

    I’m going to make my original idea and also add a recipe for either spicy popcorn or bacon bourbon caramel corn.

  134. SWVA, you were apparently at the disadvantage of not having access to a DVR.

    For a game starting at 6am that I wanted to watch (12 noon EST), I’d record it on the DVR and watch when I woke up. If I started watching at 7, and fast forwarded through commercials, halftime, etc., I could probably be watching live by the 4th quarter.

    BTW, anyone here familiar with the Sling Box? That would be one way you might have access to a DVR while traveling.

  135. “I should not order pizza outside of the Northeast (or Chicago of course)”

    I used to live quite near a Pizzeria Uno location, and we went there fairly frequently (by our standards) and enjoyed it, and had tried other locations (e.g., DC) and also enjoyed it. So when we went to Chicago, we made sure to go to the original location. Boy, were we disappointed; it didn’t measure up to any of the other locations we’d been to.

    RMS, are you familiar with Ramona’s, or Jose’s? Jose’s was mostly known for their empanadas, but I really liked their pizza. Unfortunately, the last time I was there, I found out Jose’s had closed.

  136. Sure, I know those, Finn. I think there are better pizza options in the Bay Area than in Denver. Though I still like Mici’s. But if you want Mexican and Salvadoran, Denver’s terrific. I have to say I haven’t 100% warmed up to Salvadoran food, though — it’s kind of bland and everything is deep-fried.

  137. I am not a huge fan of Pizzeria Uno. In Chicago, I get taken to local places by a friend of mine who lives there. I know there can be good individual pizza places outside of the East Coast – there is a great place in Lexington KY – but the probability of hitting them seriously declines, so it isn’t worth taking the chance.

  138. “BTW, anyone here familiar with the Sling Box? That would be one way you might have access to a DVR while traveling.”

    I think I have this option now with Comcast/Xfinity “X1,” but I haven’t bothered to set it up.

  139. “I think I have this option now with Comcast/Xfinity “X1,”” — Ditto with Fios “Quantum” or whatever they call it.

    Currently (without Quantum), I can use the app on my iPad to (i) run my iPad as my remote; (ii) see what I have taped; and (iii) even delete things and generally manage my DVR recordings. But I cannot actually *watch* what I have taped. We need to pull the trigger on the upgrade.

  140. Rocky, Denver – Do you ever go to Salida? DW and I really liked Shallots (restaurant).

    That’s about 3 hours from Denver. We go down there every few years.

    On watching stuff from your DVR remotely, DirecTV has a device called GenieGo that allows you to stream your recordings or you can actually load them on to an ipad or laptop and watch them off-line.

  141. Two of my friends now have commented that their teenage children have played Carnegie Hall. This makes me think two things:

    1. Carnegie Hall’s primary industry must be letting teenagers have concerts there so the parents can brag about it, and
    2. Amy Chua can quit bragging about her kid playing Carnegie Hall.

    It’s not that my friends’ kids aren’t talented; they are. But c’mon.

  142. I used to sing in concerts at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall when I was a kid. I am not sure if this is common now, but it wasn’t so unusual when I was a NYC public school chorus kid.

    My situation went from bad to worse. They decided that the gas leak is some where, but they don’t know where on the road or in our homes. A few of us share a small road off the main road in our development. It is never a good sign when they ask for your names, and every possible contact phone number. They want to come inside. ugh ugh ugh. Time to check my home owners insurance.

  143. DS got something in the mail about being able to pay thousands of dollars to participate in a program that included being part of a performance in Carnegie Hall. It sounded sort of like some of the workshops in which my kids have participated, although at about a tenth of the cost.

    It’s also common for HS bands and orchestras taking trips in which the itinerary includes performances at famous venues, and Carnegie Hall is one such venue. I’m not sure who actually goes to watch those performances besides the chaperones and accompanying family, but I think the point is to give the kids the experience of playing in those venues.

    So yeah, I agree with RMS’ point 2.

    My guess is that Carnegie Hall is quite fully booked.

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