Lately I have limited myself to fifteen minutes of news including the weather before I start my day. More than that and I might go back to bed. Last week I lingered a bit longer, fascinated by a story about “man aisles” becoming a new trend for some larger chain stores. Hmmm.
With more men assuming household responsibilities previously left to their wives, girlfriends, mothers, and whoever else, stores are looking at ways to make shopping less painful for them. To achieve this goal, highly compensated marketing groups huddled in corporate conference rooms came up with the idea of creating an aisle specifically for the testosterone set stocked with items determined to be “male oriented” products.
Truthfully I have seen some of these poor guys in the market aisles, looking like they’d rather sign up to host a Tupperware party than be carrying a crumpled grocery list their other half has supplied them with. Particularly the pale looking guys with sweat circles forming under their arms, ball caps pulled down to hide their faces frantically scanning the shelves in the aisles marked “female products”. Pitiful.
Television monitors are even provided in some stores to help them select the appropriate products for brushing their teeth, preventing those sweat circles, and shaving that manly stubble. Really? This is a task they perceive men are unable to perform without assistance? I think that leans on the insulting. Do they perceive this man aisle looking something like this? Beer (eye level in case you’ve had too many to either reach up or bend down effectively), a pork rind and beef jerky kiosk with chips, dip, and an assortment of processed cheese products. A bank of frozen foods requiring only a push of a microwave button to have a three course dinner steaming on the old TV tray in the blink of a commercial. Condoms, deodorant, shaving products, toilet paper, paper plates and utensils, charcoal, charcoal lighter, big cuts of meat and ice cream. Think that just about covers it, except perhaps a very attractive young woman passing out samples of chili cheeseburgers and imported brews dressed in a cheerleader outfit. Sound about right? Did I miss anything?
Coincidentally, not long afterwards I also found an article on the same subject. In it, the author represented men as bargain shoppers, somehow connecting this with their hunting instincts. A majority of them, again in the writer’s view, will search for deals even if it takes longer to find one, but conversely do not want to spend any more time then necessary in the store. To me, I would think this to indicate that men would opt to visit the store more often for small amounts than going once every week or two for the whole list like I prefer to do.
During my dating years (Yes, I found time in between standing at the altar. That’s how I kept finding myself standing there.), I found most men I dated maintained a fairly spare larder, if you will. One man I dated for about six months only had beer, catsup, pickles, mayonnaise, soy sauce and mustard. These items, I was told, were only kept on hand to supplement his fast food purchases. If the condition of the refrigerator was any indication of how old these items were, the best by dates probably hadn’t been checked since since Queen Elizabeth took the throne.
While we were going out, he would provide a minimal wine stash for his lady as well, but if I required a glass to pour it in I was on my own. I, in fact, did provide my own after I discovered his labrador retriever not only drank out of the glassware, such as it was, but after humans were done eating, their plates were placed on the floor for him to lick off the leftovers. Knowing firsthand that Kiwi (apparently he was purchased from an Australian couple) made frequent visits to the toilet bowl if left open, to quench his thirst, I provided my own everything when I ate over which was rarely. Once I commented on the odd pattern in the butter on the table. It looked like thin lines had been drawn there with a fine tool. After inspecting it more closely it was determined that indeed these were whisker tracks. It seemed his Siamese cat, Jeremiah, was harboring a rather serious butter addiction and apparently had needed a fix. Exit stage right.
Another man I dated had two roommates, Messy and Messier. Their idea of doing laundry was to place it under the bed and wait for the laundry fairy to retrieve it, and, in the event of company of the female persuasion all dirty dishes (which on most days accounted for every one available on the premises) were placed in the bathtub and the shower curtain drawn. This only presented a problem if someone was actually wanting something to eat, naturally.
I’m certainly not saying all men are messy. Some, I think, don’t see the mess, but rather are totally oblivious to its existence My other half is very neat, but I do have to say that the majority of the men I have associated with seem to have adopted, shall we say, a more casual approach to the state of their surroundings then I might. I’m just saying. Rick says I chose to date the wrong men before I met him, and he has probably got something going on with that train of thought.
In the end it doesn’t really much matter, other than health wise perhaps, whether your dust bunnies are multiplying at an alarming rate or your venetian blinds have enough dust on them to fill a king sized mattress, but for me I function better without chaos around me. Just for me.
Anyhow, I find the man aisle an interesting concept. Let me know what you think. I can hear the men out there already.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 rotisserie (garlic if possible) chicken, shredded (2 cups)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup crumbled queso fresco (Mexican white cheese)
2 cups chicken broth
12 (6-inch) white corn tortillas
Oil for frying
You will need: Sour cream, salsa, guacamole, toothpicks
Heat olive oil over med. heat in a large skillet. Saute onion until translucent about 5 mins. Add chicken broth, chicken garlic, jalapeno, cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Mix well and cook 10 mins. longer, until fragrant and broth has reduced. Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro. Set aside.
Bring chicken broth to a simmer in a small skillet. Dip tortillas one by one just to soften about 2-3 secs. Stack one on top of the other on working surface. Spread 2-3 Tbsp. chicken mixture over bottom third of each tortilla. Top with a Tbsp. of cheese and roll like a cigar. Secure with toothpick.
Heat 1 1/2″ of oil in large skillet (3″ deep). When oil reaches about 350 degrees place taquitos in batches (do not crowd) in oil, seam side down, and brown on both sides.
Remove from oil with tongs and allow to drain vertically on paper towels. I place an inverted meatloaf pan behind them covered with paper towels.
Healthier baking instructions: 425 degrees
Place seam side down on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Spray or brush tortillas lightly with oil and bake until crisp and lightly browned, 12-15 mins. Serve immediately with guacamole, sour cream and salsa.
1 lb. dried pinto beans
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. chili powder
3 slices bacon (fat only)
Wash and pick over beans. Place in large pot and cover with 8 cups of water. Cover and let sit overnight. Drain beans and rinse pot. Return beans to pot. Add 7 cups of water. Add remaining ingredients except bacon and bring to boil over med-high heat. Reduce heat and cover (leaving cover ajar) and continue cooking for 3 hours stirring regularly.
Water should be just above layer of beans at this point with beans showing through. If not, remove cover and continue cooking until reduced, but don’t dry out.
With potato masher mash beans until chunky and thickened. In large skillet heat 1 1/2 Tbsp. of bacon grease over med. heat until shimmering. Add beans and cook for 8-10 mins. until beans are thickened, pushing with a spatula across bottom of the pan regularly to keep from sticking. If desired sprinkle with cheese and adjust seasoning before serving.