Category Archives: Misc. Fun

A Tale of Two Hot Sauces

I have endorsed the first dish listed below to — I’m guessing — a dozen co-workers and friends. It’s that good. If you like roasted veggies and a spice with lots of umami, you need to try it. The second is a new discovery, and it is rocking my culinary world …

Siracha Roasted Cauliflower

I’ve posted about it before.

Here’s the recipe, courtesy the Washington Post. I love it so much I multiplied the sauce recipe quantities by 12 and mixed it up in a quart glass jar, so I always have it at hand for a quick, delicious lunch! (Served here with a veggie sausage patty.)

Zhong Sauce

In a recent episode of the podcast Political Gabfest, during the Cocktail Chatter segment toward the end, David Plotz recommended this sauce, by Fly By Jing.

It arrived last week. True to Mr. Plotz’s endorsement, I’ve felt compelled by its amazing combination of flavors to try it on just about everything. The best so far: With the changing of the season, I realized I had not finished that distinctive maroon-colored cylinder of summer sausage. (You can picture the one, right? So familiar to picnic snack trays!) So dinner the other night was slim spears of summer sausage (you knew you could slice them lengthwise, right?) with equally thin wedges of a locally harvested apple. Why everything sliced thin? That offers a higher ratio of surface-area-to-volume, all the better for sauce slathering. Dipped in Zhong sauce — incredible.

For my spicy food friends, I say, You’re welcome and bon appétit!

Pecha Kucha is fun to watch

Pecha Kucha is Japanese for “chit-chat.” It’s a presentation technique that has been described as “the love child of PowerPoint and Twitter.” It’s also a lot of fun to watch!

In a Pecha Kucha, the speaker is restricted to just 20 slides, and only 20 seconds per slide. It’s a 6 minute, 40 second burst of information.

There are “PK Nights” held around the world. I had the honor of being one of a dozen presenters Tuesday night, at Martyrs’ in Chicago. The Chicago chapter has been around for years. I was part of the 53rd edition.

Click to watch the pecha kucha video of Jeff Larche

Here’s the presentation.

My trivial life

Below is an account of my time in Learned League, a surprisingly robust site and community, where people who like trivia compete with each other daily, six question-and write-in-answers at a time. But first, you need to know a little of my home life growing up.

I love to learn new things. When I was a kid, at the dinner table, I would monologue about this fact or that, while my ever-suffering parents and brothers would quietly eat their food. Well, except for one time, when my father lost it. He interrupted to tell me I was “The world’s largest repository of useless information.”

That stung, but I was impressed he remembered a recent vocabulary lesson about the long and storied history of the word repository.

Useless information then perhaps, but not for long.

Revenge of the Nerd

Until recently, and for more than a decade, Thanksgiving evenings in my hometown included a round or two of Trivial Pursuit. My extended family has since switched to other board games. That’s a pity, because my grasp of trivia made me a family celebrity.

I’d always be on the “boy’s” team, of course, in “boys v girls.” And I’d consistently be their MVP — providing Science, Arts & Literature, History and other rarefied pockets of knowledge.

No bother that I’m clueless in Sports & Leisure. That was my teammates’ domain. My deep complementary knowledge was a capstone to a winning strategy. We were unstoppable.

At about the time when we were switching to other holiday board games, I joined Learned League. A client recruited me. I was honored, and also delighted to play in a formal setting.

I was also almost immediately humbled. Man! Those questions were hard!

Do you think you have what it takes to play? Here are sample questions. Take your time. I’ll wait.

Not easy, huh?

Take a look at the results of my latest 25-question rundle, below:

There I am, dead center, with a perfect record of equal wins and losses … as well as 5 ties!

Do you see the shaded area at the top? Those five players were the best of our rundle. They will be promoted to a harder group (harder rundles are A, B, C, and D leagues). Promotion is an important aspect in this competitive field. (A relevant piece of trivia: rundle is a mostly antiquated term for a step in a ladder.)

I was promoted this way twice, and was both times reminded of Lawrence J. Peter’s adage about business promotions. His Peter Principle states that if you do well, in a strict business hierarchy, you’ll eventually be promoted to your level of incompetence.

Needless to say, both times that I was promoted to Rundle D, I failed miserably and was promptly returned to my E compatriots.

Although my dad passed away last year, before his dementia became too bad I was able to point to my mediocre Learned League scores as proof that he was wrong. I am measurably not the world’s largest repository. Not by a long shot!

Referrals are open!

Do you think this sounds like a fun way to spend 20 minutes daily? Find me on Twitter (@thelarch). I’ll fill you in, perhaps refer you, and maybe even give you the sage advice I wish I’d had when I first joined.