Mel’s Diner

Sharp Knives, Raw Meat and Fire


I had to link to this post from one of my favorite sites, Ed Levine’s Serious Eats.  This contains two of my favorite cooking things…Cast Iron and Mac and Cheese.


October 3, 2009 Posted by | Main Dish, Opinion, Recipe | Leave a comment


Back at the end of August I posted about canning tomatoes.  I did 16 jars that weekend and another 12 or so I think the a few weeks after, I’m pretty sure I ended up with 28 or so jars.  I commented that it seemed like a lot of work, but I was going to enjoy them during the winter.

And so I have.

Just the other night, I opened one of my last four jars to make Fannie’s Salsa and was blown away how incredible it was to have nearly fresh tomatoes in the middle of March.  Each year, I can more and more and I can’t encourage it enough for everyone with access to fresh veggies in the fall to can and pickle for the winter.

BTW, if you followed the Salsa link, you will see Clearblogs is back from the dead again – for how long, we will see.

March 14, 2009 Posted by | Opinion | Leave a comment


3 frickin’ posts?!?  That all I did in February?  I’m so ashamed, and I mean that.  I had other things to post about, but I didn’t.  I’m just out of the habit.  My best blog buddy Sara (who I haven’t reached out to in weeks) has retired the Weekend Cookbook Challenge and I didn’t even know.  I haven’t posted to that in months!!  I’m such a loser!  I swear to her, I swear to you, I swear to God, I will post more.  My Lenten observance will be to post at least three days a week (notice I didn’t say, “three times” a week, I could do that in one day by splitting a post into three parts).

February 28, 2009 Posted by | Opinion, Random Blather | 4 Comments


Well, I’m from New Hampshire and being so close to Boston, right now, sport is all we have on our minds.  As an avid sport fan, I feel it’s my duty to speak of the what’s happening in the world of sport.


Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, American Competitive Eating champ, Food Phenom and God among men ate 45 slices of pizza in 10 minutes, shattering the previous record of 22 slices.  This, just weeks after winning the Krystal Hamburger contest with 93 burgers in 8 minutes, besting Takeru “The Tsunami” Kobayashi and up-an-coming rival Patrick “Deep Dish” Bertoletti.  Chestnut continues his reign as competitive Eating Champ and American Hero.  And God knows, in trying times like we are in now, the children of America need a hero they can look up to.

October 15, 2008 Posted by | Opinion, Random Blather | 2 Comments


Now, I’m not the biggest fan of McDonald’s, but I don’t have the visceral hatred so many lefties and greenies do, either.  In fact, I enjoy McDonald’s every once in a while and gosh darn it, the Filet-O-Fish is still one of my favorite sandwiches.

I try to recognize the good McDonald’s does in the world.  Yes, it does good every once in a while, you know!  (Especially when I have a Filet-O-Fish in my hands!).  Even in the “bad” things it does, sometimes good, or at least better, comes from it.  Those of you who have read The Omnivore’s Dilemma will remember the parts where people spoke of the Pre-McDonald’s era of slaughterhouses and how much better they are now.  And that piece of biologically created waste of a movie, Super Size Me, infuriates me.  It’s nothing more than a hit piece and Turlock deserved every medical issue he got from that!

Well, OK – I’m back now.  I think I’ve shown I have street creds when it comes to defending McDonald’s.  But if this story is true, then even I am a little disgusted with what happens to a McDonald’s hamburger after 12 years:


I tell, truthfully, the one on the left looks better to me AND THAT’S THE 12 YEAR OLD BURGER!  The one on the right was bought the day the picture was taken.

Thanks to Seriouseats for the hat tip.

October 1, 2008 Posted by | Opinion, Random Blather | 1 Comment


I would be remiss not to mention the highlight of the 2008 Year In Sports, by that I mean the 93rd annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest!

Hopes were high this Independence Day that the sainted Joey “Jaws” Chestnut would retain the Mustard Yellow Belt and keep that treasured object on American soil.  Last year, Chestnut crushed the seemingly unstoppable Takeru “The Tsunami” Kobayashi, consuming 66 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes.  Hearts raced and fears rose that The Tsunami would return this year and take the blessed Belt back to Japan, it’s home for ten terrible years, 1997-2006 (with the exception of the tainted 1999 win by American Steve Keiner).

This year, the contest was returned to the original 10 minute time frame, throwing off the Major League Eaters rhythm, yet the two titans of the tummy rallied, each taking the lead again and again in a see-saw contest the left both with 59 hot dogs eaten at the end of regulation time.  For the first time, the contest went into overtime (or, sudden death, as some have called it), with each contestant (I like to call them “Hero’s”) being given 5 hot dogs and buns and the first to finish would be the winner.  Sensing victory close at hand, but with defeat equally as close, Joey stepped up to the plate (the dinner plate) and pulled one out for the team, eating the five hot dogs in 50 seconds, 7 seconds faster than The Tsunami.

Once again I have to say, God bless Joey Chestnut and God Bless the U.S.A.

July 8, 2008 Posted by | Opinion, Random Blather | Leave a comment


Oh, yeah, baby – grass fed beef is it!  In the new Acura commercial for the TSX or something, grass-fed beef finally get’s it’s props:

You know it, “sometimes luxury needs to howl at the moon, find a rare, grass-fed steak in a red leather booth…”

And you all thought I was a crazy with my grass-fed beef…

April 30, 2008 Posted by | Grass fed, Opinion | 3 Comments


Obviously, I love technology.  Duh, I have a website and a blog (my second).  But, I also recognize the negative side of technology.  Roughly, three years ago I was in Florida for some training with my boss and I was waiting at the hotel restaurant for him when I saw this guy wandering around, talking on his Bluetooth phone.  I had a revelation, of sorts…and when my boss came down – I revealed to him, too.  I said, “You know what?  People are too connected.  They are too “in touch”. ”  I went on to surmise that we are all so “involved”, that none of us have a chance to just – think.  So much of our day involves email, texting, on the “celly” – just always connected. 

And that’s just bad. 

I know, the ability to call for assistance at any moment is great.  But, we don’t use it for that. We use it because we’re in the car and we are bored (i.e., my wife).  We are just too connected.  I’m writing this, in my comfy chair, on a wireless laptop.  Easy is the name of the game.  Again, this is bad.

So, where’s the food connection, Mike?  I’ll tell you – it’s with one of my favorite foodies in the world.  A man named Mark Bittman.  Bittman writes for the New York Times and has my favorite food show on PBS, The Best Recipes in the World.  He’s been taking a “secular Sabbath”, a day without cell phones, email, computers, etc., a week.  I’m not sure it involves no TV, but no 21st century stuff we take for granted.  Definitely no Bluetooth. 

And I love it.  I also have been feeling too “connected” lately and I was thinking about doing nothing and just reading a bit. 

March 15, 2008 Posted by | Opinion | Leave a comment


This is another one of Mike’s rants.  This doesn’t have anything to do with cooking, there is no recipe involved, etc.  It’s just Mikey going off.

Bottled water offends me.  Especially, the 20 oz, easy to carry, hand held model.  People – IT’S WATER!!!!  WATER!!!!  Water is the key to life – I know.  Something like 120% of the human body is made up of water.  Blah, blah, blah.  I know all of this, but buying water in bottles is STUPID!  C’mon, water is dirt cheap out of the tap and depending where you live, it’s great!  If you live in one of those places where the water is vary bad, a cheap filter will make it great and still like 2000% cheaper! 

All of us complain about the price of gasoline, but we will spend that much for a gallon of water that comes out of your tap at a 1,000th of the price!  It’s like buying a pet rock.  Go outside, find a rock and name it Rover.  If you want water, go to your freakin’ sink!

March 7, 2008 Posted by | Opinion | 3 Comments


Anybody older than the 30 remembers this Arnold Scwhartzenoggeriggerogger movie that introduced us to a very hot Sharon Stone when she kept her clothes on, legs together and died violently.  It also has to do with the largest meat recall in American history!  143 million (with a “M”) pounds of beef was recalled over a rogue, undercover video showing mis-treated cows, those which the FDA says are potentially very sick and should not be in the “food stream” (that sounds appealing, huh), being put in that same stream.  I saw this on the ole- WWW about a two weeks ago, courtesy of Michael Ruhlman and Chris Cosentino.

You know what?  I wasn’t at all surprised, I was mad, but I had no, “Oh my God, what have I been eating?” moments.  Because, as you all know and anyone who will stand still for a second knows, I don’t eat that garbage.  I buy local, grass-fed, grass-finished beef from a farmer who raises these cows and who I look in the eye.  E-coli stained, mis-treated, nearly killed with corn cows are what other people eat.  I don’t want them to eat it, but cheap meat is what we American’s want and if that’s what they want, then that’s what they get.

Of course, this sounds like the ravings of a madman to a lot of readers (or would, if I had a lot of readers).  But anyone who has read The Omnivore’s Dillema or The Way We Eat knows exactly what I’m talking about.  People, open your eyes, see what goes into your belly!  Then, go to and fill it with “happy meat”.

Happy Cows

February 20, 2008 Posted by | Grass fed, Opinion | Leave a comment