Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wheatfield's Pretzel Rolls

I love Wheatfield's Bakery. I'm very stingy with my dining dollars, but I never regret spending my hard-earned cash at Wheatfield's. If you're planning a foodie tour of Lawrence, Kansas, it's an essential stop. I've been eating their baked goods since they opened in 1995, but recently I discovered one item on their menu that flew under my gastronomic radar.

Every Friday, they bake pretzel rolls. You have to get there early because they're usually gone by 2:00 or so.

At $1.25 per roll, they're a little overpriced, but a pretzel junkie like myself is willing to ocasionally indulge.
They're light, fluffy rolls. Of course, they go well with some beer.

The next time you're in Lawrence on a Friday swing by Wheatfield's and pick yourself up an afternoon snack.

these pretzels are making me thirsty,


Monday, September 20, 2010

House Band: Mumford & Sons

Once upon a time, the mullet was king, every boy desired a muscle car, and rock 'n' roll meant well, but it couldn't help telling young boys lies***. During this fabled age these lies were delivered via cassette tapes. Today in my digital haze I have trouble remembering this period of my life, but I do remember Def Leppard's album Pyromania booming from my cheap Sparkomatic speakers. I recall playing that tape so much that it began to warp and the music eventually warbled like an eunuch instead of booming with a testosterone.

Today I have a sensible haircut, I drive a minivan, and I don't believe those rock 'n' roll lies. I still love music though, and if I find an album I enjoy, I play the hell out of it. This summer I knew my listening habits were entering obsessive territory with the band Mumford & Sons when I heard my daughter groan and ask, "Could we please listen to something else?"

At that moment I played my daughter some Johnny Cash, and I decided that Mumford & Sons would be my next house band.

After some research, I found that this English band was a perfect fit for The Greasy Skillet. One member occasionally blogs about food. Another posts photographs from the road on a blog. And another member hosts a book club on his blog. In future posts, I hope to share my love of Mumford and Sons with you and few recipes inspired by their music. For now, enjoy the band's acoustic performance in a book shop:


***"Rock 'n' roll means well, but it can't help telling young boys lies" is a great line from the song "Marry Me" by the Drive-By Truckers.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rock Chalk Backgammon

Perpetual Joy: Where I blog about things that amuse me, tickle me, or generally make me feel good, and you scratch your head.

Two weeks ago I attended the KU-North Dakota State football game, where I painfully watched Kansas lose 6-3.

At one point I found it more interesting to survey the crowd than to watch the game, and I observed the following:
This couple busted out the ol' backgammon board and decided to play.

This past week the Jayhawks defeated the #15-ranked Georgia Tech in a well-played game; thus banishing any thoughts of me toting a Scrabble board to future KU games.

However, the thought of the couple playing backgammon still makes me happy.

With pictures of graveside peanuts, and backgammon-playing football fans, you might think I'm staging the photos, but I guarantee all is real. It's my nature to keep my eyes peeled for the strange and unusual, and if you do the same, you too can tramp in perpetual joy.

truth is stranger than fiction,

Friday, September 10, 2010

Unincorporated: Worden

The boy loved maps. He liked to glide his finger along a map. He'd whisper the names along the paths he traced. Nacogdoches. Coushata. Natchez. Picayune. Alabaster. The words were magical incantations that could transform dreams into reality.

As a young man he bought a map, threw it in his car, and began highlighting all the roads he traveled.
He's no longer young, but he still possess an enthusiasm for maps and places.

Now he's decided to document the places that aren't destinations for most. Today he's starting with Worden, Kansas.

imitation is suicide,

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Bacon & Cashew Caramel Popcorn

For a brief time in the 1990's, I lived in a cave with a slab of bacon as my only companion. I'd caress that slab of bacon and call it My Precious. It was a bleak period in my life, but that's the dark power bacon holds over me.

Occasionally, I find a recipe using bacon that plunges me into the murky depths of a culinary Mordor, and I wonder if I'll be able to return home. This was the case with the following recipe from Bon Appetit:

Bacon and Cashew Caramel Popcorn


  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 ounces bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt or coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup

  • Preparation:
    1. Heat popcorn and oil in covered heavy large pot over medium-high heat until kernels begin to pop. Using oven mitts, hold lid on pot and shake pot until popping stops. Pour popcorn into very large bowl.
    2. Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium heat until almost crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain; cool. Add bacon and cashews to bowl with popcorn. Sprinkle with coarse salt and cayenne; toss to coat.
    3. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil; coat with nonstick spray. Coat 2 wooden spoons or heat-resistant spatulas with nonstick spray; set aside.
    4. Stir sugar, 1/4 cup water, and corn syrup in large saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high; boil without stirring until syrup turns deep amber, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with wet pastry brush, about 13 minutes.
    5. Remove from heat and immediately add cream (mixture will bubble up). Stir until blended. Immediately drizzle caramel over popcorn mixture; toss with sprayed spoons until evenly coated. Transfer to sheet.
    6. Place caramel corn in oven and bake at 250 degrees until caramel is shiny and coats popcorn, tossing mixture occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool completely on sheet on rack, tossing occasionally to break up large clumps. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight in refrigerator.
    (Bacon, the star of this production)

    I adapted this recipe slightly. It called for me to steep an oolong teabag in the cream, but I didn't have this tea in my pantry. This recipe rocks without the oolong, but I'm curious about what flavor the tea would add.

    Salty. Sweet. Smokey. Spicey. I must find a slab of bacon and crawl back into my cave.

    all that is gold does not glitter,