Ketchup, I hardly Knew Ya

I often comment in this blog about Mercury Retrograde, a time when the planets align to set communications into flux- disrupting computers, messages, phone calls- etc… but never has it actually linked to a food-related story. That has all changed, as Wendy’s now has a Mercury Retrograde menu!

Mercury Retrograde is from April 21st to May 14th and at this time Wendy’s is offering a special menu, where you can get free food items and BOGO’s. There are a couple catches. You need the Wendy’s app to order from and a purchase is required in order to get the free deals. I don’t eat Fast Food often, but when I do, it’s usually Wendy’s (hello Florida Turnpike!). I like their burgers, salads and Frosties. And what other Fast Food place offers a Baked Potato (which is sometimes the perfect lunch) and Chili? I also recently tried (and liked) their Spicy Chicken Sandwich.

I read an article that talked about foods that incorporate four or five of the tastes- sweet, salty, sour bitter and umami. Ketchup is, surprisingly, one of these foods! Ketchup is a good base for certain sauces- such as cocktail and Bar-B-Que but I’ve also seen it used in dishes you wouldn’t expect, like Pad Thai. Who knew ketchup was so sophisticated? Other foods listed were Thai Red Curry, Worcestershire Sauce (it gets its flavor from fermented anchovies) and Tamarind.

I was prepared for a normal week when Tuesday, I woke up with a sore throat; the rest of the week, I was felled by the flu. I survived on Hot Tea and Chicken Noodle Soup from CasaCuba. Nurse Emma suggested I test for Covid, which I did. Negative, but I did feel awful all week. Headache, pressure, sore throat, dripping and a horrible cough.

I have to blame my youngest grandson Phoenix for this, as I slept with him last Thursday and Friday night while his parents were away in St. Augustine and he coughed in my face all night. He’s too big for a crib, but too small for a normal bed so he clung to me all night, like a little rhesus monkey.

Lauren arrived Friday. She’d booked the flight for a wedding that got postponed and we also got a last-minute visit from Christopher, Courtney, Liam and their dog Maggie. Lauren stayed with Emma at her new house, but Chris and Courtney were here and I got to spend some good, quality time with my middle grandson Liam, who is a very happy toddler. He loves the pool, Paw Patrol and trucks. I just wish I had felt better but good news!- Chris and Courtney have another baby on the way, due the end of October. This Gigi is thrilled!

Christopher had never tried our homemade Pizzas on our Ooni, so we made some different ones Friday night, with Publix crust from the Bakery. For Courtney, a veggie, with sauce, mushrooms, peppers, onions, jalapenos and fresh mozzarella. Lauren choose a Pesto pizza with mushrooms and cheese (shredded mozzarella and Parm) and Christopher choose Pepperoni, which he insisted on dousing (1/2) with anchovies. I made a big salad to go with it, but honestly I couldn’t really taste much, due to my cold.

Cooking Pepperoni Pizza with Anchovies on the Ooni. My voice sounds awful!

Saturday night we were home alone, so we made a Hello Fresh Emma had donated to our Empty Nest cause. It was Pork Chops with BBQ seasoning, Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans with Lemon Zest. It was really good and I like how easy Hello Fresh makes it to whip up a healthy dinner. I also like that you get the exact amount of food you need, so there’s no waste. The pork chops had Hot Honey drizzled on top, which is definitely trending.

Sunday, since it was a rainy-ish day, I decided to make my grandmother’s Pasta Sauce and let it simmer on the stove a couple hours. Even with my cold, I appreciated the aroma, which always reminds me of my childhood. The secret to my grandmother’s Pasta Sauce is the Salt Pork and, indeed, she always said you need some type of pork in the sauce to add flavor. I usually use a combination of sweet and hot Italian sausage, but this time, I only had hot. It was a brand I’d never used before and it was really spicy! In fact, it turned my sauce spicy, something that had never happened to me before. But it was still good.

I also made Eggplant Parmesan (a labor of love!), Meatballs with pork and beef, Sauteed Peas and a big Salad. Christopher made Garlic Bread from roasted garlic, butter and Parmesan cheese, which was delicious. Zeke made Foccaccia on the Ooni, with tomato Bruschetta and I had some pickled eggplant, caponata and pepperoncini for appetizers. Dessert was Chocolate Chip Cookies and Ice Cream. My Mom, Bob, Emma, Lauren and Gui joined us for dinner.

Chris and Courtney left Monday. I’m finally feeling better, but still have been subject to erratic coughing fits. If you want to clear a room quickly these days, just start coughing! On the mend now and ready for my next great adventure.

Now that my life is so prearranged, I know that it’s time for a cool change.

Little River Band

Up Next: Big Weekend for the Rice Gals!

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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