Flavour Revolution – Strawberry

Decreased Desires

Nothing beats a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries to celebrate a romantic occasion. There’s also a tradition in France of giving strawberries and cream to newly married couples, as an aphrodisiac. Normally, in this case, we’d take a look at aphrodisiacs out there, but I’ve already written an article on that subject. Therefore, we’re going to flip the script and look at the aphrodisiac’s lesser known (and lesser liked) sibling, the anaphrodisiac… translation: things that will kill your mojo!

Graham Crackers – I’ve mentioned in a previous article how Graham crackers were invented by Sylvester Graham, a Presbyterian minister, who believed that the crackers would suppress sexual urges. Then, some genius got the great idea to throw marshmallows and chocolate on top, funkifying them into smores and the rest of campfire loving is history!

Teddy Grahams

Hops – Bad news for IPA beer fans… although I have my doubts about this one, as I know a lot of beer drinkers that don’t really lose their sexual charge after drinking all night. That said, all alcohol can decrease one’s desires, just based on the drug being a depressant. Why hops, in particular, gets such a bad rap is beyond me.

Corn Flakes – If I was to choose a cereal to get down with, it would probably be something along the lines of Cookie Crisp or Count Chocula. Corn Flakes were invented by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg to suppress libido. The good doctor believed that flavourful food led to flamed loins and so he created an incredibly boring product. They should try using this in their advertising material today. That would work real well.

Soy – Used by monks to suppress their naughty feelings – probably a good thing, given their surrounded by only other monks – soy, in large quantities, is said to kill one’s sex drive. I do like using soy in cooking stirfrys and as a sauce for various dishes, but I may have to be cautious with it now. I mean, who wants a sushi outing to not eventually lead to carnal pleasures!

soy-milk

Mint – What’s funny here, is that mints are meant to lead to sexual attraction (or so the ads tell us), as fresh breath is the starting point to any close encounter. Menthol, however, has actually been proven to lower testosterone. Bad breath, it is!

Cilantro – I’ve never been a huge fan of cilantro – if it’s in a dish, fine, but I’m not going to necessarily search it out – and apparently that’s a good thing. It’s ironic that cilantro is used in many exotic dishes and those are the ones the likes of Dr. Kellogg and Minister Graham believed led to unsavoury desires.

Black Licorice – I don’t want to sound like a candy racist, but why do all the worst candies come in the colour black? I’m talking jujubes, jelly beans, licorice, etc. I’ve never been a fan of black licorice, but do like the red variety. I’m just going to pretend that red licorice is a completely separate strain of the plant and is therefore not exempt from the Sip Advisor’s snack drawer.

blacklicorice

Granola – Today’s modern day granola bars, with their phallic shape (don’t forget the optional chocolate covering!), should be changing the way we view granola, but their original intention was much like Corn Flakes and Graham Crackers, meant to keep thoughts pure and wholesome. Then they started adding all the different flavours to the bars and even the cereal and all hell broke loose!

Cheese – I include this one only as a way to shame Mrs. Sip and all her cheese-loving friends. Yes, the Sip Advisor has begun to dabble in some cheese arts, but nowhere near to the degree as my peers. And that’s why the Sip Advisor is the world’s greatest lover… voted this for many consecutive years in popular surveys. It’s all because of the anti-cheese movement, my little sippers.

Flavour Revolution: Thigh High

Thigh High Martini

There’s even a program out there, looking to help folks reduce their sex drive. These monsters believe that they will help users have deeper relationships and a clearer mind. Where’s the joy in all of that!?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
There are Strawberry Liqueur recipes called Chocolate-Covered Strawberry and Aphrodisiac, but those seemed too easy to use in this post. Therefore, I chose a drink that gets the Sip Advisor’s mojo rising! This martini was a little sweeter than either Mrs. Sip or me would prefer, but it was very tasty and would be perfect as a dessert cocktail and for those in your life that enjoy the sweeter things in life!

Japan – Sake Bomb

Rolling Along

Japanese culture has actually offered us so many things. Narrowing down what I was going to cover for the country wasn’t easy and I considered writing about everything from manga comics to game shows to freakin’ origami! There is one Japanese export that has grown more popular than Godzilla and frenemies and that’s sushi. So, grab you chopsticks and join the Sip Advisor for a fine dining experience:

Well, let’s drop a bomb from the start: sushi didn’t originate in Japan. Although we all recognize it as coming from the land of the rising sun and that is in fact where the rolls and cones we enjoy today originated, the act of combining fish with rice (meant to preserve the meat) was invented in Southeast Asia and came to Japan in the 8th century. Sushi in Japan began as a fast food, served at stalls on the street before moving into restaurants and bars.

Cat Licks Sushi

Let’s keep the game changers rolling along (get it? A sushi pun!) with this doozy: sushi doesn’t necessarily mean raw fish. It actually describes the rice, mixed with vinegar, sugar and salt, to make sticky rice, although actual sticky rice is a completely different creation. Still with me?

If you have aspirations of becoming a sushi chef, you likely want to do it anywhere else than Japan. There, hopeful cooks spend two years learning the ins and outs of making the rice, followed by three years working with the fish before their apprenticeship is passed and they can go to work behind a sushi bar. The honour and traditions don’t stop there. Sushi knives come from legendary samurai swords and the blades are sharpened and reshaped each day.

While westerners recognize sushi as being made up of rolls, the Japanese more commonly equate it to the nigiri pieces. Sashimi, of course, means sliced meat and can come in varieties such as beef, chicken, and various vegetables, to go along with all the seafood choices.

The preparation of octopus for sushi often includes a full-body massage by chefs, while the animal is still alive. This proves, once again, that food lives better than the Sip Advisor does!

How To Use Chopsticks

Although I dislike any ginger or wasabi with my sushi, I may have to reconsider. The ginger acts as an antibacterial for the raw fish, killing parasite which may exist, while also cleansing the palette between pieces. Wasabi, meanwhile, has anti-microbial assets and can decrease the risk of food poisoning. Researchers have even used wasabi as a smoke alarm for the deaf, spraying its vapors into a test room, where subject awoke promptly, much like the effects of smelling salts has on a person. This discovery was awarded with the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

In most western sushi restaurants, the wasabi you are served isn’t actually wasabi at all. It is a combination of horseradish, mustard, and food colouring. Real wasabi powder is quite expensive, ranging from $50-$100 per pound, making it likely that you would only find it in an upscale joint, if you’d find it at all. I’m not a fan of the green stuff, so this has no impact on me whatsoever, but it kind of makes me feel bad for always throwing out the booger-looking lump… it may have intrinsic value!

Nyotaimori is the act of eating sushi and sashimi off of a naked female model, while Nantaimori, refers to the same practice involving males. Models have to be trained to lie still for hours at a time and be made accustomed to the cold food that will sit on their torso. The deed is popular with members of organized crime in Japan. I once asked Mrs. Sip to be my sushi tray… poor girl ended up with soy sauce in her eyes!

For most young westerners, their first experience with sushi may have been the episode of The Simpsons, ‘One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish,’ where Homer is introduced to the Japanese fare and falls for it so hard that he even requests the poisonous fugu (or puffer fish), which must be dissected perfectly in order to not poison the eater. Although the staff believe that Homer ate the poison (12 times stronger than cyanide) and has only hours to live, he survives his brush with death.

Fugu Funny

That happy ending was not shared by Bandō Mitsugorō VIII, a Japanese Kabuki actor and ‘National Treasure,’ who died after consuming four servings of fugu liver, believing that he was immune to the toxin. Each year, a handful of deaths occur after fugu servings and by law, only licensed chefs should prepare the potentially poisonous fish. Even the Emperor is banned from eating fugu.

Even when not taking the fugu challenge, folks should be cautious about their sushi consumption. Large doses of tuna can lead to mercury poisoning and should be avoided by women who are pregnant or planning to be and young kids. The warning makes it sounds like an amusement park ride… one that I want to be on! All raw fish portions come with the inherent risk of parasites, but it’s a risk that must be taken.

Speaking of tuna, it was once very unpopular and was looked down upon in Japan for being bad luck to eat and a lower class food item. Once a sushi chef named Hanaya Yohei began marinating the ‘chicken of the sea’ in soy sauce, it became a popular menu option.

Today, many places around the world have contributed a roll to the sushi lexicon, including Alaska, British Columbia (hey, that’s where the Sip Advisor gets his sushi!), California, Philadelphia, Seattle, Michigan, Hawaii, etc. Does it say something about the eater depending on which location they choose to order for and represent!?

Nemo Sushi

The seaweed wraps used to bind sushi rolls were originally formed from algae scraped off docks, but nowadays, the element is mass-produced through farming and sold to restaurants in packaged sheets. The seaweed is edible on its own and is sometimes served as a snack closely resembling potato chips, I guess. I mean, I’d much rather have potato chips, given my affinity for the grub, but who am I to criticize.

I absolutely love soy sauce and probably use way too much of it while eating sushi. Interestingly, there is actually soy sauce etiquette… protocols which I have certainly broken and likely offended sushi chefs. First, eaters should only coat the top of their piece with soy sauce, as the condiment is meant to enhance the topping, not the rice. Also, the rice absorbs the sauce quickly and can crumble as a result of getting wet. Finally, sushi prepared with other sauces should not be dunked into soy sauce.

The most expensive sushi ever served was five pieces of nigiri garnished with diamonds and wrapped in 24-karat gold leaf. It was made but chef Angelito Araneta, Jr. in the Phillipines and came in at a whopping price of nearly $2,000 US. Araneta has gained a reputation as the ‘Karat Chef,’ for his lavish creations.

Beginning your meal with a nice hot bowl of Miso Soup seems common, but the Japanese actually end their feast with this dish, as it aids in digestion. Now, enough of this talk about food. Let’s get to some drinking, while we wait for our order to be served!

Japan: Sake Bomb

May 5

  • 1.5 oz Sake
  • 1 Sapporo Beer
  • Garnish with Lime Wheel

Sushi combos have grown in leaps and bounds as the western world latches onto the fad. I once had a chicken strip roll that was drizzled with honey mustard sauce and was spectacular. There are also known recipes for mac and cheese, hamburger, beef, and chicken rolls. The Sip Advisor’s favourite sushi order includes the California Roll (especially if it’s deep fried), Dynamite Roll, and Beef Teriyaki Roll. I know, how very North American of me! What’s your preferred sushi choice?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
It should be noted that a Japanese beer like Sapporo or Asahi is preferable for a Sake Bomb to truly bring that taste of Japan to your meal. Simply drop the shot of Sake into your brew and slam that sucka! To be honest, I didn’t even notice the Sake while chugging this drink down. I think it would have been pretty light regardless, but all you really get is the beer.

November 24 – Grasshopper

Big Crunch

While a crunching noise isn’t always a good thing (broken bone, car accident, etc.) for the most part, it is one of the most satisfying sounds in nature. Here are some of the many instances where you may crave that sweet auditory result!

Stepping on a Bug

I’m not one to commit frequent acts of insecticide, but there’s the odd time where even an accidental murder can sound pretty damn satisfying! It’s especially gratifying if the crime is committed on a vile pest: your spiders, silverfish, and roaches of the world. Just when a bug thinks they’ve outsmarted you and avoided your giant crushing abilities, SPLAT… and another one bites the dust!

cat_controls_bugs

Wad of Potato Chips

Picture yourself grapping a fat stack of potato chips, pinching them together and stuffing them into your mouth, ready to deliver an earthquake-like crunch that will completely satisfy all your desires and disturb every other person in your general vicinity. Now picture yourself doing that repeatedly until before you know it the bag of snack food is nothing more than crumbs. Now you’re getting a sad, yet wonderful glimpse of my life.

Head-Splitting Chair Shots

While the wrestling chair shot has been relegated to only being used against an opponent’s back (in trying to avoid concussions and all that jazz) we can still look fondly back to some of the greatest steel to skull bashings from the history of sports entertainment. If I had to pick a favourite from years of watching grapplers, I would have to select the time ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin cracked The Rock in the cranium, allowing Mankind to win his first ever WWE World Championship!

Glass-Shattering Body Checks

I perfectly-timed and –executed body check in hockey can bring the fans to their feet and pump up your own squad. But on thaty rare occasion when one player slams another right through a pane of Plexiglas meant to keep the action out of the stands… well, that’s a truly special moment. One of my favourite Vancouver Canucks of all-time, Trevor Linden, did exactly this, driving Jeff Norton into the unsuspecting crowd. Ever the gentleman, at the end of the video, you can see Linden going to check on Norton.

Fried Foods

There’s nothing like taking a massive bite into something deep fried and getting that sweet and satisfying crunching sound to go along with everything your palate is enjoying. Eating, when done properly, should stimulate all five senses: your smelling, seeing, feeling, and tasting the food are all quite obvious, but hearing plays a factor, as well. I’ve found I prefer most anything fried to a crisp. From sushi to chicken to fish and chips, and everything in between!

Playing in Leaves

Stomping around in dry, crunchy fallen leaves shouldn’t just be left to the kiddies. A highlight of each autumn was a spectacularly-choreographed wrestling match between Broski Sip and myself, after we’d huddled together a massive pile of leafs to serve as our mat. It’s the only time we ever really helped Pa Sip with housework around the yard. By the time we were done mucking about, we had to rake everything up again, but it was so totally worth it!

Drink #328: Grasshopper

Grasshopper Cocktail

  • 1 oz Crème de Cacao
  • 0.75 oz Crème de Menthe
  • Top with Milk
  • Garnish with Chocolate Sprinkles

The most satisfying crunch may be the exercise version (not that I’m advocating physical activity… ever!). What’s your favourite crunch-inducing action?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail smelled fantastic and tasted pretty good too. The Crème de Menthe might be a little too similar to a mouthwash and I might sub in Peppermint Schnapps in the future, but then the colour would be changed and I thought it looked neat, especially with the Chocolate Sprinkles as garnish. When making the martini, lean towards adding a little more Crème de Cacao over Crème de Menthe, despite it asking for equal portions.