The Hungry Man Eats

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Calories Consumed < Calories Burned = Weight Loss

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How simple is that?

 

Given the obesity epidemic in America, and really the world, not simple at all.

 

The problem is primarily on the consumption side of the matter, it seems like everything in the world is aligned so that you are going to take in more calories than you burn off, I can’t do justice to that topic here, so I will talk about that in greater depth some other time.

 

Funny to say, but it has never been a better time to be overweight and obese and wanting to lose weight. Why? We are currently in a golden age for fitness tracking and monitoring what we eat thanks to all of the apps and personal fitness wearables that didn’t even exist ten years ago. It took serious effort to track what you ate, the calories and nutrients you consumed with said meals and the calories you burned off by exercising.

 

I use the Lose It! App to track my food and it syncs up with other apps and my Fitbit to track things like sleep and exercise. It bases your daily calorie allotment on the weight you are currently at, your goal weight and how many pounds per week you want to lose. As things stand right now my numbers are as follows: I started tracking my weight at 267 pounds, I am currently 264 pounds. My goal weight is 195 pounds and I want to lose 2 pounds a week. To do this, my app says I need to be eating 2137 calories per day at this weight to lose 2 pounds a week. To keep up that pace of weight loss as you lose weight, your calorie allotment will go down accordingly. 2137 calories is a lot of calories, I looked it up and to maintain my current weight I would need to eat 2836 calories a day, that is an awful lot of calories per day on average that I am apparently consuming. Those 3 pounds lost? That is over a 13 month period, so that speaks volumes to the effort, or apparent lack of it that I have put in.

 

Thing is, I know from what I have been eating that my good days are close to (but above usually) that calorie goal. The problem is that I may have five good days in a typical week, but the bad days undo anything positive from those good days, so the week is a wash, or perhaps even a caloric surplus.

 

Solution: Make the good days better and eliminate those regular bad days.

 

Now I have oversimplified this a bit to make a point. There is a bit more to it than calories in being less than calories out. I haven’t touched on things like exercise, the quality and types of calories you are consuming such as carbs vs protein vs fat based calories. These things can make a difference in how quick and sustainable your weight loss can be. As long as you are consuming fewer calories than you are expending, you will lose weight and good things will happen.

 

What’s that? Starvation mode you say? We will talk about that sometime in the not too distant future in greater detail, but for now I will say about it: It is real, but the drop in metabolism is not significant enough to interfere with your weight loss goals.

 

So many things that I can talk about but so little time, of course I will have even more to talk about once I actually start to lose weight on a consistent basis.

Depression + Weight Loss + Food Blogging = Recipe for Disaster

Sad Pizza :(

So, I just noticed that I have only three blog posts in the past eight months. I also don’t really weigh much less than I did a year ago when I got my bloodwork done for the first time in years, discovered I had sky high blood pressure and started seeing a nutritionist. On top of all that I have been taking anti-depression medications for around 14 months now and I have a hard time discerning how much they have actively helped. Also I am now 40, yay.

 

In retrospect I should have expected something like this, I do a lot of reading on things pertaining to depression and how to get past it (or just live with it as it seems) and one thing I discovered is that depressed people don’t write much while actively depressed. I know why this is, having been this way more often than not these days, when you are depressed you don’t feel like doing much of anything let alone plonking yourself down behind your laptop and writing out 750 or so barely adequate words about the latest restaurant you went to when all you really want to do is say something like “Eat a Beef Wellington or eat Lucky Charms for dinner, I don’t care, because we all die in the end anyway.”

 
So let’s count the problems:
• I just calculated my BMI right before typing this out and it’s 35.4, anything over 30 is classified as obese and anything over 25 is classified as overweight. If I want to get down to 24.9 which is the highest possible measure you can have and not be overweight, I will need to lose 79 pounds.
• What pisses me off? I did this once before. In the fall of 2000 I weighed 272 pounds, but by the spring of 2003 I had dropped over 70 pounds and consistently weighed 197-199 at that time. Even as recently as the spring of 2006 I was briefly below the 200 pound mark. Ten years later, almost all of that work has gone to waste.
• Medications: I used to be proud that I needed no meds, not even a multivitamin because I was healthy. Now, I have to take five different medications, two for depression and three for cholesterol/high blood pressure.
• Moderate sleep apnea, certainly because I am overweight, which means that you need to have a stupid machine blowing air into your nose while you sleep so that your airway stays open properly so you don’t stop breathing.
• Not enough exercise: Although these days experts say that around 80% of a person’s weight loss can be attributed to healthy eating, exercise still plays a bit of a role, and has other health benefits above and beyond losing weight. But it is hard to get your rear in gear and be more active when you are…
• Still depressed: You don’t want to do anything, you don’t have the energy to do anything, and you don’t care that you don’t want to do anything or have the energy to do anything. I could have another whole blogs worth of material on how insidiously crippling and destructive depression can be. Like most people who are battling it, I am never in as good of a mood as I appear to be, and I don’t like to talk about how poorly I actually feel because there is no point in doing so, there is nothing that can be done or said by anyone that will help.

 
This is where I would normally go and have some more bullet points where I point out the good things and what is going right, but there aren’t any. It’s not a total wasteland, I have been working on reducing my carb intake and bumping up my protein intake, not easy with all the sugar out there. The springtime will hopefully bring more opportunities to get active and have more fresh local produce available.
I want to get writing more frequently again, I was something I enjoyed doing in the not too distant past, and I do have ideas rattling around in my head, but the execution of getting something from my brain to the screen is such a challenge these days. I just hope I can post more frequently, and this and life for that matter becomes enjoyable again.

Let’s Ketchup!!!

Lets Ketchup

It’s time to pick up the posting pace, the Hungry Man has fancy plans, and pants to match. I had a follow up visit with my nutritionist just the other day (June 3rd) and I had gained 1.5 pounds since my last visit. This drops my total weight loss since March 10th to only 2 pounds, which is really nothing to brag about as I have been attempting to follow my nutritionist’s advice for nearly three months now.

So what gives with that? Remember a few posts back how I mentioned that I was depressed and was seeing a therapist about it? Therapy alone was just not cutting the mustard, so she recommended a psychiatrist who I now also see who has prescribed medication for the depression. Unfortunately the depression has grown markedly worse over the past 4-6 weeks and I would probably be a good bit worse off but for the medication and therapy that I am already on. Trying to lose weight is challenging enough under regular circumstances, add depression to the mix and I should be ecstatic that I am still down 2 pounds since March 10th. But since I am depressed I am not ecstatic, I am kicking myself for not doing a better job.

This makes an interesting variety of things that I can discuss here in assorted combinations:

  • Food – the usual Hungry Man blog fare
  • Food and losing weight – my attempts to lose weight and the eating/recipes/choices that go along with weight loss
  • Food and depression – how does feeling down all the time affect what I eat, and how do I eat well when I feel down all the time?
  • Weight loss and depression – Now that is a challenge there, how the hell do you successfully eat well, lose weight and be depressed at the same time (especially while I am really struggling with the depression part)?

The unfortunate thing with attempting to lose weight is that people fail more often then they succeed. With weight loss, people who become overweight in the first place have a harder time maintaining a healthy weight after losing the weight than people who are at a healthy weight have to work to maintain their healthy weight.

Not too long ago, I was puttering around the web looking as some assorted weight loss blogs, and one in particular caught my attention. She lost as many as 55 pounds and was about 20-25 pounds away from her goal when things got off track. The next to last post was back in January and she had regained all but 9 of the pounds he had lost. Her last post was January 29th. I am sure her story is continuing to unfold out there in the real world, but the story presented thus far is only one of a failed attempt.

With depression, it can often be a lifelong battle to maintain the upper hand against it through therapy, medication and other measures. I have also seen a number of blogs that detail the ongoing battles that people have had fighting depression and most people never fully recover, they manage their depression and it can flare up or go away for a while, but rarely does it ever go away for good. I thought mine had, I stopped taking medication some time in 1998 or 1999 and seemed to be fine till around 2010 or so, that’s nearly a dozen years that I thought I was in the clear.

So long story short, I have two big challenges in front of me, neither of which has a guarantee of success, but it is better to try and fail than to never try at all.

Till next time, stay hungry my friends…

Celebrate a New Beginning With Cake

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The start of a serious effort to lose weight is a serious occasion, you’re eating habits are about to change and many people say that the first week is the toughest as you switch over from eating poorly to eating better. It can be a reckoning of where you have been and where you are about to go, blah blah blah. In my first week what do I encounter?

Cake!

Lots and lots of cake!

Nothing says it’s time to start eating healthy and losing weight like eating lots of cake, and other things too, but we will get there soon enough.

I have a very good excuse, you see, my birthday was on March 9th, which fell on a Monday this year, so I was getting together to see the family the following weekend. Also, my niece happens to share my birthday, so the festivities are not just to celebrate my birthday but to also celebrate my niece’s (let’s be honest though, when it is a five year old girl, the festivities are all about her, you are just lucky to be along for the ride). What comes along with birthdays? Cake of course, the one my mom baked for me and the one that was picked up for my niece. My cake was a celebration of chocolate in its many different forms, while the cake that my niece picked out was a celebration of My Little Pony.

Now I realize we are in late May now and I am recounting things from two months ago. To be specific, my visits with both the doctor and nutritionist were on March 10, but no worries, we will be caught up in the present again soon enough.

Not only was I presented with (and consumed) generous amounts of cake, but there were other foods as well and several meals eating out that, when tracked (using the Lose It! App) racked up way more calories than expected. How many? I consumed five days’ worth of calories in the three days I was in town. Aside from the party food and cake, I made a number of poor choices and the good choices I made did not help the big picture.

The day after I got back in town, I had a follow-up meeting with the doctor to see how my blood pressure was doing. It was better, it measured 142 over 90 something which was actually the lowest it had been since I started my medication (but still too high). My weight was up only 1.5 pounds, which I considered a small victory as I know what all I ate and was certain I would have gained more.

Next post I will be playing catch up to get us to the present…

Course Corrections: Part 3

Sad Pizza :(

Last post I talked about the first set of marching orders I received from my nutritionist and listed an assortment of incorrect things I was doing to get me to this point.

As part of the aforementioned marching orders, I was given several recipes and suggestions to follow for healthy meals and healthier foods to have around. When I first saw the recipes, I was rather pleased as most of them looked delicious and easy to make as well, but at the same time, most of them called for ingredients I did not have lying around my kitchen. So off to the supermarket I went…

Now I wasn’t about to go and overhaul my whole pantry in one fell swoop, and I also neglected to bring any kind of list along either, on top of all this, I was stopping off at the supermarket on my way home from an appointment right before dinner and rather hungry too. I was making every possible misstep you could make before setting foot in the grocery

In the end, it went as well as I could have hoped, I focused on two areas to pick up food: Fish and vegetables.

For the fish, I had two main things I wanted to grab to start things off, tilapia and sardines. My nutritionist told me that tilapia was a good fish to use for a dinner and one of the recipes I was provided with was for a tilapia fillet with an avocado and salsa topping, so I found a bag of frozen tilapia fillets, 40 oz., 10 fillets 4 oz. apiece, the perfect serving size! Sardines also came recommended as they are loaded with nutrients and healthy fats, a tin plus some crackers can make a healthy light meal. I will have to do some research to find out what other interesting things you can do with them. Now on this particular day they were marked down on sale from their normal price of $1.19 a tin to only $1.00 per tin. I decided to pick up eight tins. Now sardines and other fish that come in cans and tins like that have a bit of a reputation of being a questionable culinary selection, probably because of the smell and relatively low price. To throw out some stereotypes, the popular choices amongst hermits and cat ladies, or survivalists for that matter. Yes, that is who I am, a grim survivalist restocking my bomb shelter… I also picked up a fine looking fillet of fresh salmon that was on clearance as its sell by date was today.

Now it was time for the vegetables. At some point in the future I expect I will be making better use of the fresh veggie section as I get better at planning out my meals (and eating more vegetables), but on this day I made a beeline straight for the frozen food section. Several reasons, the one above as well as frozen vegetable can be just as fresh and nutritious as their fresh counterparts (indeed a number of frozen veggies are frozen within less than a day after being picked (those fresh ones may be several days old by the time they make it to your grocery shelf)) Convenience plays a role too, just grab whatever you need from the bag and pop it back in the freezer, also frozen vegetables will stay good a whole lot longer than fresh.

I picked up several bags, chopped onions, chopped spinach, stir fry blend, ranchero blend (the kidney beans in it must make it “ranchero”) and mixed vegetables (the school lunch blend as I like to call it). These veggies are either going to be used as sides for dinners or as a supplement to something else (the onions and spinach I plan on mixing in with eggs as part of a breakfast recipe).

I didn’t pick up anything “bad” otherwise, though I did pick up a package of olive loaf (we will talk about that another time), and a frozen pizza (we will also talk about that another time).

I now have some food and knowledge, so now the hard part begins…

Course Corrections: Part 2

Sad Pizza :(

In my last post I was talking about some of the issues I have been dealing with recently as well as the new health issues regarding my weight and cholesterol that were discovered when I went and had my first full physical in ages.
I said that I had an appointment with the nutritionist that same day, as it turned out, my appointment with the nutritionist was first, so by the time I saw the doctor, I was already knowing about the changes that I was going to be making to my diet. The news the doctor had for me just reinforced the fact that I needed to get working on these dietary changes right away.
So what did the nutritionist have to say? For those of you who already have been eating healthy or have seen a nutritionist before, nothing that comes next is a surprise:
• More fruits and vegetables
• Less fat and carbs
• More fish consumption (twice a week)
• 2000 calories a day (for me, at 267 pounds this will make me lose weight, however as I do lose weight that number will creep lower)
• No margarine
• Reduce your processed food intake
• Try to make your breakfast bigger and more healthy
• Worth repeating: More fruits and veggies
• Oh yes, and get exercising
She also gave me a sheet that had a guide to the different types of food I should be eating with the appropriate serving size and examples of those foods. It also included the types of servings I should be aiming for at each meal and 2 snacks a day for a 2000 calorie target.
Now everything she discussed with me seemed doable and at first did not seem like it would be a huge adjustment compared to what I had been doing, or was it? After all I would not be overweight and in this situation if I had been doing things right in the past. So what all was I doing wrong?
• If you eat the entire pizza, that would be binge eating
• Skipping/missing meals will make you more likely to eat more at the next meal you do eat
• You made a healthy meal, but you ate enough of it to feed two people, your portion control was your undoing for this meal
• You were proud because you selected a can of soda instead of a bottle to go with your lunch, which was a poor choice, you could have had water instead…
• You thought you had a good day when you made sure you had fruit with your lunch and a vegetable with your dinner, but that’s only 2 servings on the day, not enough fruit and veggies
• Oh yes, and not enough exercise
My bad habits more than outweighed any of the positive steps I would take (when I would take them) and doing things like eating a whole pizza would cause you to take in more than a day’s worth of calories in one sitting, and probably causes more harm to your body than just the caloric surplus.
So now what? Find out what my next steps were tomorrow…

Course Corrections: Part 1

Sad Pizza :(

Do you remember back in the good old days when I used to actually post entries on this blog? I sure do, I was looking over my activity and discovered that I have posted a whopping two entries in the past six months.

So what has been going on to cause such a disruption in the universe of the Hungry Man? You may recall that back in July my dad had a heart attack and died from its complications less than a week later. That takes a while to get over, and I really have not been in the mood to do much of any writing, for this blog or otherwise.

What else have I been up to given that state of recent affairs? Well, being depressed and eating mostly, though that makes it sound more drastic than it really was. I was still mostly going to work and getting out and about, but my heart was not in it, my heart was into eating though and I probably put on around 20 pounds since last July. That’s not so bad now is it? It is a problem if you are already overweight to begin with to start with…

To start to get to the point here, I got some help for my state of mind and started to see a therapist towards the end of last year, and in March I had my first proper physical since who knows when to find out the state of my body, as it happens I also had an appointment scheduled with a nutritionist that same day at the same office.

The numbers that day and a few days later when I got my blood work back were not good:

  • I weighed 267 pounds (on a 6’1” frame)
  • My blood pressure was 200 over something (I don’t think they ever told me the diastolic number, but they did say that if I was showing any other symptoms or signs of discomfort that I would have been sent straight to the ER)
  • My cholesterol was 276
  • My triglycerides were really high as well
  • And the icing on the cake was that I was pre-diabetic (though at the lowest possible measurement, one digit lower would have had me at the highest end of normal)
  • Also, though not a news flash, I had just turned 39 the day before, so I am no longer young…

This is what a wake up call looks like, though the alarm had been beeping away and I was sleeping through it since July, or for the last few years to be honest.

So, now what? As mentioned before, I also had an appointment with a nutritionist that same day, we will find out what she had to say tomorrow…

Nothing Good Comes From Eating Lots of Food at the Hospital

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     Normally, the Hungry Man is more than happy to eat out, and the chance to eat out at a restaurant multiple times in a row would be a great opportunity to try multiple things on the menu. You know how it is, you find something you like but you also find two or three other dishes that you would have been happy to try out.

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      Unfortunately when the restaurant in question is the junior board café at the hospital, and your reason for eating there repeatedly is because a loved one is in the hospital where said café is located, you would rather be eating anywhere else in the world. Or you would prefer going hungry for that matter as long as it meant you had no reason to need to be there let alone there long enough for 10 meals.
      It all starts off well enough on the first full day, there were some reasons to be optimistic as well as some reasons to be pessimistic, but the morning is brutal and the coffee they served did little to help matters as it only makes you jumpy on top of the tired nervousness you already have. By the time you realize you are hungry and join your mom in the café for the first of the ten meals is has slipped past 11a.m. and it is actually lunch. The ham and cheese wrap (pictured above) tastes good and makes the hunger you felt, but had no appetite to try to resolve go away. You are pleased with the generous side of plain potato chips. About 7 hours later, dinner occurs and the club sandwich is almost as good as the wrap you had for lunch (-1 point for their club sandwiches being “traditional”, and thus lacking cheese).
      Day 2 takes you offsite for lunch with some family friends, the afternoon is beautiful so you eat outside and enjoy one of the best club sandwiches and potato salad combos you have ever had. It probably tastes so good because A: It is a balmy 80 degrees outside rather than the chill 68 at the hospital, and B: it makes you feel like things are normal for about 80 minutes of your life before reality comes crashing back in. The cheeseburger and fries are recommended by your brother, so you do so with the works. You realize that the pickle slices they have been serving with everything are surprisingly delicious.
      Day 3 is starts crappy but ends on a high note, the first conclusive test for whether your dad is going to have a smooth recovery comes back looking poorly, although the body is bouncing back as well as could be expected from the massive heart attack which struck late afternoon on the 4th of July, it appears that the brain has been damaged, possibly badly. Your ham and cheese wrap for lunch is missing the cheese, but it really doesn’t matter. Dinner is another club sandwich (pictured below), this time on wheat in the main cafeteria as your niece insisted on dining there (with lots of chips both meals). Your dinner sits well as it appears that your dad may be responding to basic commands and he has been receiving nutrition.

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       Day 4 erases much of the positivity of the day before, a setback has occurred and there will be no new scan today, sedation is the only activity for the day. The thrill of possibly eating your way through the menu has given way to the comfort of the familiar, a ham and cheese wrap at lunch and a club sandwich for dinner. You are beginning to get tired of all the chips, and even if you combined all of the chips you have consumed so far into one big chip, it would not be as big as the one that is now on your shoulder given your frustration over how things are going. But at least you did not bite off the tip of the plastic sword that held your club sandwich quarter together like you did the night before and have to spit out the whole bite because you could not distinguish the sword tip from the crisp bacon and did not want to make a mess in front of your brother’s in-laws.
       Day 5 was not a good day either as we began to come to terms with the reality that the brain damage was severe as the second EEG showed. At that point my dad’s brain function was in the lowest quartile of activity, and unless the next day showed improvement, there was no waking up from this, either my dad to awareness or me from the nightmare I had been living from 5:27 p.m. July 4th. Ham and cheese wrap for lunch (but you knew that already didn’t you…) and a cheeseburger for dinner, meal number 10 as it was, but this time with bacon added because bacon makes everything better, right?
      Day 6 was unfolding as I was back home for two days to work some and regain some sanity. It became the second worst day of my life as the news was indeed bad, there was no improvement in brain function and basically no hope. Baked four cheese ziti leftovers from the Olive Garden were lunch, my parents had been there the previous week and my mom hates leftovers, they were for my dad to eat, but that was my job now it seemed. A salami and cheese sandwich was dinner as passing out from hunger on the drive back and wrecking would be a lousy way to get back to the hospital to see my dad for the last time ever as palliative care would commence after my visit.
      Day 7, the worst day. There was no meal 11 for lunch, no ham and cheese wrap to be consumed. No chance to review the hospital food with my dad as he recovered as I had hoped. My dad passed away peacefully at 5:56 a.m. Friday July 11th. There will always be an empty place at the dinner table that can never ever be filled.

 

The Year Ahead

Last time I wrote about the year that was on this site and today I will share some of what I hope to do in the year ahead.
• Be more timely and regular with my posts. It goes like this, you stumble across an awesome blog with entries you enjoy reading, then you check back again the next day, nothing new. Ok, then you check back in a few days and still nothing new, I bet if you check a third time and there is still nothing new, you will probably not check back again. I would prefer you come, stay awhile, and visit often. I better have something new to serve you if you do…
• Write more! In addition to being more timely and regular with my posts, I hope to post more often than I have been.
• Be more interesting. There are two types of entries you see a lot on food blogs out there: Recipes and restaurant reviews, both have their place and can be interesting, helpful and delicious, but I hope to provide you with more unique material beyond yet another gluten free brownie recipe or a review for I restaurant I went to but you live 2000 miles away from and will never get to experience.
Ok, great, so you gave us a list of promises that sound a lot like New Year’s resolutions, what types of interesting stuff are you going to post about? I’m glad you asked…
• Food and its impact on society, what are we eating today, what are we eating tomorrow and what kind of an impact is it having on you, you country and the world.
• Vintage recipes, that gluten free brownie recipe tastes pretty good I’m sure but I am far more interested in that 45 year old brownie recipe on page 138 of that Betty Crocker cookbook and the other curiosities that are lurking in its pages.
• Vintage food magazines, I recently acquired an assortment of old Food and Wine magazines from the 1980’s, I already see hours and hours of entertaining analysis and reviews to come.
• Food history and trends in general from discussions as lofty and the rise(and possible fall?) of salmonella in eggs and corn syrup in soda to matters as trivial and entertaining as olive loaf and why you can’t find a bottle of creamy cucumber salad dressing.
I have some ambitious plans for the year ahead, will I bite off more than I can chew or will I find the recipe for success? Let’s find out together…

The Proper Martini

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The very first Martini I had was a drink created by the Cheesecake Factory called the Well-Mannered Dirty Martini, it is described as: A dirty Martini with Ketel One Vodka and blue cheese stuffed olives. But first, what makes a Martini a dirty Martini? Well, the answer is the addition of olive juice. And what makes a Martini a Martini for those not in the know? The Martini is a cocktail made with gin and vermouth, and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist.
Well I remember back to that day about 5 ½ years ago, the drink sounded intriguing, the blue cheese olives were what drew me in, I love blue cheese and I love olives, the vodka and vermouth were simply the garnish in this case. The drink was awesome, but because it was the Cheesecake Factory, it was not cheap, I think it may have even been a $10 drink even back in 2007, but it was delicious, it was a true eye opener. I looked the drink up online after the fact and I was like, I can make this one myself rather easily. So I looked up how to make a Martini and I saw that gin, rather than vodka was the traditional liquor of choice for crafting a proper Martini.
At this point in time, gin and I were not friends, the last time I had gin was at a party I was attending at the very beginning of the millennium, I crafted myself a lovely gin and tonic, or what I thought was a lovely gin and tonic with a freshly squeezed lemon wedge floating in the gin and tonic. The problem, was not really with the ratio of gin to tonic, though at this point I really have no idea what ratio I really used(1:1 most likely) the problem was that rather than using some classy highball glass, I was using a large plastic tumbler closer to a Big Gulp in size than a proper highball glass. As you are probably already surmising at this point, the evening ended poorly and my lovely crafted gin and tonic paid me a return visit later that evening. So from approximately the year 2000 to 2007, gin was the devils juice, to be avoided if at all possible.
But then I came across that Cheesecake Factory dirty Martini that delighted me so and in my haste to replicate the drink, I chose gin over vodka as the traditionalist in me won out. Everything else was as described in the description for the drink online, except for the gin in place of the vodka.
So since 2007 I have delighted in making my own at home with gin instead of vodka, but then tonight, after enjoying yet another homemade well-mannered dirty Martini, I thought, “Well, how is it with vodka rather than gin?”
So I whipped myself up another dirty Martini, in my Martini glass using vodka rather than gin.
It was not good.
The problem, apparently, is not in the vodka itself, but in the vodka that I have on hand, much to my regret, the vodka I have on hand is Skol vodka. According to the website vodkabuzz.com, Skol vodka is described as: “Skol is a 40% ABV vodka from the United States. The vodka is produced by J.A. Dougherty’s Sons, Co. The quality is considered to be terrible. The average price is around $10.50 per 750mL. Rated 0 out of 5 based on 4 reviews.” This swill is what I made my vodka Martini from. I do not remember how long ago it was that I bought this bottle, but at this point in time there is only about 10% of the bottle remaining so apparently whenever I have made the decision to drink vodka or vodka with something, I have had a far less than optimal experience. This makes me sad and makes me want to rush out and buy a bottle of decent vodka like Ketel One or something similar. Now the problem with that is that I proceeded to make myself another proper Martini with the gin I had on hand (Gordon’s Gin to be specific, and the gin I have enjoyed the most in my gin consumption so far, even better in my opinion then Beefeater gin, which has been the other primary gin I drink.)
No way in hell at this point can I head out and buy a bottle of Ketel One Vodka, let alone drive (or walk in a straight line for that matter probably) I do have another bottle of vodka on hand, unfortunately it is something called Vladimir Vodka with a very angry looking Russian on the front of the bottle. I can’t imagine it is much of an improvement over Skol, so why bother at this point.
Of course what is the best thing to do after three Martinis? Blog about it of course (THANK GOD FOR SPELLCHECK IN MICROSOFT WORD)
Lessons learned:
• Gin Martini>Vodka Martini
• But you need to use a good vodka to do a proper comparison
• That said, gin imparts a flavor that is unique, but apparently not well loved by the Martini drinking masses
• This experiment must be repeated with a proper vodka
• I obviously need to exhibit a more proper respect for vodka and buy a better brand like I do for my gin, scotch, lunchmeat, tp, etc…
So how do I make my dirty Martini’s?
• 2/3 Gordons gin
• 1/3 Gallo Extra Dry Vermouth
• 2tsp. olive juice
• 2 blue cheese stuffed olives
• All these ingredients are added to a traditional Martini glass filled to the brim
I am well aware that I am heavy on the vermouth compared to what most people prefer, but the traditional blend had more vermouth than most people prefer today, and like I said before, I am a traditionalist when it comes to my beverages…
So what do you think of the gin vs. vodka battle for a martini?

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