Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Newsletter 2, Episode 3, Pantry Lost: McMinnville Oregon

America, I'm Eating Your Pantry!

Wrapping up from Episode 2; we left Jackie, Daniel Boone, and Matt Sugars at the Coldstone Creamery- and at the end of a solid day of junk food eating and hookah smoking. If you’ve been following these McMinnville episodes and Eat Your Pantry! closely, you are probably wondering how I slipped out of the cupboards so quickly. What about the Manifesto of a Pantry Eater? What about Eat Your Pantry, fool! How could a few licks of ice cream trip up this institution? I have a two websites, merchandise, a marketing strategy- plans for the future. Yet in the past two days in McMinnville, I had already spent more money on food than I had in an entire month during Pantry. Where did things go wrong?

I could try to get philosophical about it, but in reality I just don’t know shit from shinola why it all happened, really. One day I was getting thinner, saving hundreds of dollars a month, feeling active and spry; then the next I decided to eat some ice cream in Oregon- and Pantry all but disappears. It is several months later and I am finally reviving the Pantry lifestyle once again, and with a steadfast course I have returned to writing and promoting it. I guess I’ve learned that whatever I do, Pantry is there for me when I need it. During Pantry this past spring, I felt I was becoming Pantry itself. Now I realize the path of things is to work in association with a concept, and not attempt to become it.

So back to Danny & Jackie, Jackie had recruited me to “become it“ in an way I wasn’t expecting for tonight’s outing to the local country bar- by placing an ubber patriotic tattoo on my head.

By this point I was so sugared-out that I was an easy sell for almost anything, but what I didn’t know was that she placed it on my head sideways.

I thought I was going to be cool that night by going back to the bar looking like I belonged there. I had a hat on the night before, so most people thought this fake tattoo was real (yes, the crowd there never changes), but what kind of dork actually puts a flag tattoo on their head sideways? I guess you have to be almost the same type of dork that would get a flag tattoo on your head in the first place. My real issue was that without knowing it, I looked like a different kind of dork than I wanted to.

But of course it didn’t matter to anyone. Nobody wanted to kick my ass for flying the flag sideways or anything like that. And with this temporary tattoo, I couldn’t even touch the real action that was going on in the bar that night (wish I had some pictures). There was a couple in their upper forties that had been going out for almost a year. Over a game of pool with a bunch of other locals, everyone chatting up- the couple realized that they were actually 2nd cousins! Thank God it didn’t seem to faze them though. They just had a good laugh out of it along with everyone else. I was really starting to really like this town.

Jackie belted out some of the best karaoke I’ve ever heard that night,

but with her amazing poise, I never would have guessed that she was totally loaded...

It sure looked like the Boones would be out of steam the next morning. I plotted my breakfast out of their Pantry to call an end to this Frankenfurteresque decline into indulgence. The next morning, Pantry would be the first to rise!

Danny told me that if I would have done this Pantry visit a few months earlier before they moved, that I would have a whole lot more to work with. I’d say that was probably a fair assessment. I estimate that the Boones had approximately 1 week worth of food in their Pantry. There were a number of items there, though many of which would not necessarily sustain life for an extended period of time, such as diet freezer pops, etc.

But apparently with what they did have on hand, the Boones enjoy peanut butter & jelly sandwiches & pancakes as much as I do. An idea was forming…

I would use the Bisquick to fashion the dough for Peanut Butter & Jelly rolls…

I laid them out

Rolled them up!

They came out of the oven a golden brown…

And set them out to cool...

Good morning Daniel & Jackie Boone, Bon Appetite!

Maybe it came a little late in the game, but Pantry again made it’s mark in the lives of another typical American household. The America I’m Eating Your Pantry! Tour is currently on the road, so we’ll see you in 2006.

Have a great New Years!
Signing out, Matt Sugars with “America, I’m Eating Your Pantry!”

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Newsletter 2, Episode 2, Pantry Lost: McMinnville Oregon

America, I'm Eating Your Pantry!

Wrapping up from last week, Daniel Boone and I were stuck somewhere outside of Salem, Oregon - trapped on the wrong side of a river because of a suicide threat on the bridge out of town, and because a lightning storm blasted out an electric ferry further south. Daniel somehow figured out another route that didn’t cross any water (???), and within another hour we were finally at the home of Danny and Jackie.

I was too pooped to even get a look at the Boone’s Pantry when I first arrived, and somehow Pantry didn’t seem to be on the evening’s agenda. Jackie’s mom was a bartender at the local karaoke country bar, so we geared up for the evening out. Once we got to the bar, we hadn’t sat down for more than a minute before the menus were out and we were ordering. Might as well let the evening go and enjoy. I ended the Yakima Pantry tour with ice cream, so I figured I’d do the same in reverse here and start up right quick with a hot fudge sundae and grilled cheese sandwich. I asked for the sundae and sandwich to come separately and later on in the evening. My name was in the hat to sing a song, and I didn’t want both items to arrive while singing. But just as my name was called to sing “Backdoor Man” by The Doors, both items - sure enough - hit our table. After my 5-minute song, I had to tear through the tepid grilled cheese sandwich just to eat the sundae before it would totally melt to slop. But it was already too late; by the end of my set it was sugar soup. Two minutes and eight dollars later, I felt like a sick, played bastard. But the folly only augmented this non-Pantry night at that crazy country bar.

Our next day with the Boones started with a mission. It was the day before Father’s day, and Daniel was trying to figure out what to get his dad. He had seen a pair of Oregon State thongs (his father’s alma matter) at the local Fred Meyer.

But he didn’t feel like the thongs alone were enough of a gift. Somehow the idea came up to turn this gift into a theme, so next we picked up some tongs-

And finally we found a thong to complete the Father’s day gift appropriately.

After that, we met up with Jackie and headed downtown. We were getting hungry, and a place stuck out to us…

Call us suckers for low-tech Elvis ads, but if he was “here,” we sure as hell had to be “there.” Elvis turned out to be a small monkey living within the greenish murk of a windowed cage far too depressing to photograph, but I enjoyed my gardenburger, onion rings, and shake. Jackie took on some kind of insane hot dog with all kinds of crap on it. You know what they say- ‘when at Alfs…’

Jackie then suggested a visit to the local hookah bar. Not yet another sin against Pantry eating anyway, so I figured why not?

I didn’t quite know what I was doing, but the flavored tobaccos seemed pleasant enough. But somehow I didn’t think I was getting enough of a draw…

But Jackie took control and got the bowl cooking…

Now with a healthy mint and lemon-scented cloud in the air, we were able to relax, enjoy, and catch up a bit.

But after the shisha was all smoked up, it left us craving - - - more ice cream.

It was my very first visit to the Coldstone Creamery. I had their largest offering titled “I Can’t Believe I’m Eating This” or something like that. When I dropped 2 quarters in the tip jar, the poor kids working there sang some dumb song thanking me for the tip. Did they really want to sing me to me? I can just see the guys from Corporate in Chicago coming up with an evil idea like this. I hope karma is real. For what these big wig pimps of over-priced sugar death food get paid, seems like they should have to streak down Times Square while singing a medley of “Feelings,” “We Built This City,” and “Susudio” (in falsetto) for adequate payback.

Yet lost far out in the Coldstone Sea without a lifeboat, I had a moment of clarity remembering how sane my world was back in the land of Pantry. Too late for this trip though, I was lost within the walls of the sugar side.

Stay tuned next week for Episode 3, where Matt Sugars, Daniel Boone & Jackie head out to the country bar once more, and finally after a night of drinking (for Jackie) make their way into the Boone’s pantry!

Don't miss the special holiday Pantry event this Sunday, the 18th!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Newsletter 2, Episode 1, Pantry Lost: McMinnville Oregon

America, I'm Eating Your Pantry!

Welcome to America, I’m Eating Your Pantry! This is the 1st part of a 3 Episode newsletter covering the 2nd stop on my nationwide tour. Preparing for my engagement in McMinnville Oregon, it was brewing in the back of my mind (and I’m sure yours as well) that my Pantry tour to Yakima, Walla Walla, and Zillah, Washington could be a very tough act to follow. Oatmeal Masala, Muddy Chai, & Cherry Pop Pie set the standard for a high power Pantry performance. But blazing up with the frying pans and crock-pots on full tilt, this Pantry soldier will stay the course! Preparing for Pantry’s first tour date out of state, I gathered up my Pantry literature and business cards- set to be a solid showman for Pantry.

That was then, however, and at the time of writing this several months later, I can only wonder what went wrong with Pantry in Oregon. The steely will and military determination that most associate with Pantry has since crumbled into undocumented midnight eating binges featuring Butterfingers, milkshakes, and fried whatever. Photos taken on the McMinnville trip reveal themselves to be more likely items of evidence than Pantry promotionals. I will not sweep this incident under the rug. I must face it head on if I am to grow. So here goes.

It started with a morning train ride from Seattle heading south.

I’ve ridden this line several times in the past, but this is the first time I’ve boarded one of Amtrak’s stately superliners. Most routes between Washington and Oregon (and up to Vancouver BC) run the rails with a somewhat cramped Spanish commuter train, so I was excited for the double-decker cars and leg space outrageously huge even for me. But while it didn’t resemble a Spanish train, it did resemble a Spanish bar.

The observation deck windows were lined with empty bottles; kinda like the proud displays on college dorm windows when the drinking age was 19 back in Ohio. And yes, where there’s smoke, there’s fire- and people were just plain lit. A few so much so that they would stumble all around the moving train, looking for people they could talk to whom wouldn’t talk back. It was a drunk’s wet dream, open container in a public place with captive people. As a reader, you must be wondering what it was like for the people who weren’t drinking. I just described what it was like for me, but I didn’t really find anyone else sober with whom to commiserate. Even the happy granny sitting next to me had a few highballs to pass away the hours. I’m sure it would have been illegal for me to bring my lone bottle of wine from my Pantry. Yet another example of the pervasive Pantry prejudice instituted into our system.

When I arrived in Salem en route to McMinnville, my friend Daniel Boone was there waiting to pick me up.

But we quickly found ourselves in a bind. The bridge leading back to McMinnville was closed with some suffering soul standing at its edge threatening suicide. Danny called his wife Jackie to try to think out another route home. We didn’t want to start off the visit with a deep level downer like this.

Daniel and Jackie came up with a plan to venture south to a small ferry, adding 45 minutes to our drive. So we headed in that direction only to find another line up of cars, this one even longer than for the jumper in Salem. Curious if suicide had become absolutely rampant that day in Oregon, we hailed down a nearby motorist and Danny got the lowdown.

The woman in the car told Daniel that a few hours back, a lightning storm blew out the power in the area, and apparently… this was an electric ferry we were waiting for? That didn’t make much sense to me, but regardless, we either had to wait it out till the power returned, or find yet another plan. What made the lineup for this electric ferry even worse were the many folks, who like us, were avoiding the suicide bridge in Salem.

Stay tuned next week for Episode 2, where Matt Sugars & Daniel Boone make their way back to McMinnville, and head out to the local country bar with wife Jackie for Karaoke singing, grilled cheese, and a hot fudge sundae!

Last chance for shipping in time for Christmas! Eat Your Pantry Web Outlet Store