Tag Archives: Florida

Food Feuds

Today we’re having a look at two spicy, bitter culinary rivalries. Who was the first to make a dish? Whose is the best? Can we resolve the great Slovenian-Austrian sausage fight? Is Tampa’s bread enough to usurp the Cuban Sandwich throne?

Let’s strap on the ol’ feedbag of information and scarf down some facts.

MIAMI vs. TAMPA: THE CUBAN SANDWICH

Let me begin by saying I have nothing against Tampa. Actually that came out wrong, I have plenty against Tampa. Those smug, highfalutin west coast Floridians are always dumping on us east coast Floridians like we’re all a bunch of second-class citizens, when the reality is that we record a very comparable amount of arrests for drunkenly trying to ride on large aquatic fauna every year.

Tampans (is that what Tampa natives are called? St. Petersburgers?) are rightfully proud of being the hometown of baseball legend Fred McGriff, in addition to above-average theme park Busch Gardens, but for them to challenge Miami on anything related to Cuban food is a step too far.

To make a long story short, Tampans claim that the “Cuban Sandwich” was invented in Tampa in the 1890s. At some point they made the dubious decision to add salami into the mix. There is essentially universal agreement on the sandwich’s other acceptable components: mojo marinated roast pork, ham, pickle, mustard and Swiss cheese, though Tampa’s bread is a bit different.

So Tampa’s claim to the Cuban Sandwich crown is hinging upon decidedly non-Cuban salami, and a slight bread variation, which is easily the least important part of any sandwich anyway. Let’s be honest bread is just a needlessly distracting, superfluous meat-blocking impediment.

I don’t care if NPR recently declared Tampa the winner of this food feud; Miami is the epicenter of the Cuban-American community, and as such shall have the final say on all matters pertaining to comida Cubana.

FEUD WINNER: MIAMI

AUSTRIA vs. SLOVENIA: KRAINER SAUSAGE

Sausage fight! Sausage fight! In this mighty meat melee between Austria and Slovenia, the world hasn’t seen a sausage-heavy confrontation of this magnitude since… I don’t know maybe last week’s Green Bay – Chicago Bears game.

Here’s a breakdown on the situaish…

Slovenia wants the very tasty Kranjska klobasa (or krainer sausage) to be given a protected and official status, as they claim it was invented in (what is now) Slovenia in the 1800s. But Austria has stepped in and made it clear that they do not approve of the Sound of this particular litigious Music, as sausage-eating, sausage-making and boasting about Austria are a few of their favorite things.

Apparently Austria’s claim to the sausage throne consists of the fact that they invented a similar but modified cheese-filled version, the Kaesekrainer*, in the 1980s. They also bemoan the fact that when the sausage was originally invented, the area was just part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and thus cannot be claimed exclusively by Slovenia.

Slovenia continues to push for a ruling stating that only sausages made in Slovenia in accordance with the original recipe would be allowed to be identified with the Kranjska or Krainer moniker. Austrian sausage-sellers wait on edge, as they believe changing the name of their porky product would be bad for business.

And of course there is an immense amount of sausage pride at stake here. That can’t be underestimated.

While the two countries await an official European Union Commission ruling on the matter, The Mighty F is always ready to issue a snap judgment based on little more than emotion, speculation and gut feeling.

FEUD WINNER: SLOVENIA (Sorry Austria, but a tie or a close ruling will probably never go to the country where Hitler was born.)

*A good lesson to all you aspiring inventors out there. If something’s already been invented, just stuff it with cheese, and bam, that’s a new thing.

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Fifteen Favorites From 2013

We did it! We completed another year discussing things that start with F. I thought for sure we’d run out of compelling things to talk about by now, but the letter F continues to yield a rich supply of fascinating, fantastic minutiae.

2013 was another banner year for TMF. I want to thank all of you for your kind and continued support for this incredibly silly endeavor, which hopefully will continue to serve as an enjoyable escape for F enthusiasts — and Indonesian spambots bent on selling me low price fashion design purses — for years to come.

OK enough with the platitudes, let’s have look at fifteen of the finest flashes from the year that was: 15 of our favorite posts (along with choice excerpts) from 2013!

15. Fourteen Freds“…but the Crime Dog is the best of the bunch. The Tampa native managed to smash 493 career dingers despite his awful swing that looked like an old left-handed man swinging a cane at a mosquito…”

“Another all-time great Fred, Mr. Rogers is still inspiring all of us to be better neighbors. Last year after reading a story about Mr. Rogers, I removed a spiteful cactus wall I’d planted just to anger my neighbor.”

14. FreebirdYou’ve probably heard the song. You most likely know at least some of the words, have cranked it on the radio, and dare I guess, you’ve fervently air guitar’d along with it at some point.  But for those of you in far-flung places like Australia, Belgium, or Ohio, you may not fully appreciate the true meaning – the profound cultural weight – of Freebird.”

13. Frightening Fish“Despite Sebastian the Crab’s misleading portrayal in The Little Mermaid of life under the sea being some sort of delightful Calypso paradise; the reality is not quite so idyllic. The truth is that there are many alarming things lurking under our waters…”

12. 440s – 450s A.D.“Legend has it that during this time, Polynesian bigwig Hawaiiloa and a group of intrepid sailors sailed thousands of miles from their home in the South Pacific and managed to reach Hawaii. (Just another early example of Americans goin’ big, punching limitations in the face, and rockin’ it superpower-style).”

11. Fillmore, Millard“Did he enable a little bit of slavery here and there? You bet. Was he anti-Catholic, anti-Mason and did he generally loathe immigrants? His Know Nothing party affiliation would suggest probably so. Is he almost always rated as one of the worst U.S. presidents of all time? Strike… Either way, it’s redemption time for one of our most obscure, forgotten leaders.”

10. Flossing (Scared Straight)“Y’all just take a seat right over there. I wanna talk about your teeth. I used to be just like you. Cruisin’ through life, not thinking about my teeth. Sure, I knew in the back of my mind it was wrong to not floss; I had seen the commercials and whatnot. Momma always told me it was important. I suppose I knew there would be consequences one day.  But I didn’t care; I was young and invincible, right? <really starts yelling and getting into frightened kids’ faces> Look at me! Look at me now! Y’all don’t wanna be like me! Bleeding gums, needing a prescription mouthwash and a special toothbrush… You think this is funny? Advanced stage gingivitis homey!” Continue reading

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Four Freedoms

We are delighted to welcome back our resident historian and stalwart friend today, Mr. Paul Washington. Please take a few moments to enjoy this timely reflection, and to appreciate all those who have sacrificed on our behalf.

In January of 1941, the United States was just beginning to emerge from the throes of the decade-long Great Depression. We were aware of the burgeoning war that had begun across the Atlantic, but our young men would not be called into full-fledged battle until that terrible attack on Pearl Harbor some 11 months later.

It was against this historical backdrop that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered his State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress and, via radio broadcast, to the citizens of the United States. He closed his speech with the now-famous “Four Freedoms Discourse,” in which he espoused the four freedoms essential to all of humanity: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
President Roosevelt's speech inspired four paintings by Norman Rockwell.  Clockwise from upper-left: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from fear, and freedom from want.

President Roosevelt’s speech inspired four paintings by Norman Rockwell. Clockwise from upper-left: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from fear, and freedom from want.

In light of today being a day set aside to honor our Veterans, we here at The Mighty F would like to take this opportunity to dedicate our little corner of the world wide web to honor those who have fought on our behalf to secure President Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms.  The text of the Four Freedoms Discourse is below:

“In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.”

“The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world.  The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world.  The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor — anywhere in the world.”

“That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called “new order” of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb. To that new order we oppose the greater conception — the moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear. Since the beginning of our American history we have been engaged in change, in a perpetual, peaceful revolution, a revolution which goes on steadily, quietly, adjusting itself to changing conditions without the concentration camp or the quicklime in the ditch. The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society. This nation has placed its destiny in the hands and heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women, and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights and keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose. To that high concept there can be no end save victory.”

*Paul is a proud son of Madison County, Florida, home of WWII hero Capt. Colin P. Kelly, Jr., and location of the Four Freedoms Monument, which was commissioned by President Roosevelt.

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Fort Lauderdale

The hits keep coming for Florida! In this most recent unwarranted attack, The Onion – America’s ‘finest news source’ – has gone out of its way to heckle the Venice of America, the Bellwether of Broward County, La Suprema Albondiga del sur de la Florida, and the hometown of TMF Founder/Overlord Francis Falkendoodle: Fort Lauderdale.

If you didn’t see the article, don’t worry about it. The premise was that Ft. Lauderdale (FTL) is a soulless, uninspiring place with no redeeming characteristics.

Of course this is a ridiculous accusation. But it does sting to see so many of the inferior 65,000-ish lesser cities in the United States passed over for this ridicule. And it does chafe to see the many wonderful things of FTL ignored.

The Onion does understandably hit some of our soft targets: the yachts, the depravity, the crabby old folks, the vanity, the iguanas, the general lack of civic pride… We are not without blemish. Continue reading

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Florida PR Email Leak

I can only imagine that whoever has the task of doing Public Relations for the state of Florida has, shall we say, a challenging job. Here is a fake “leaked email” that I could see coming from that beleaguered PR office.

Greetings everyone.

Guys, I’m disappointed. This was supposed to be a huge year for us, what with the 500th anniversary of Florida’s discovery, the “Viva Florida” campaign and all the other great initiatives we’ve been working so hard on.

The attention seems to be backfiring. Have you seen all this stuff about Ponce de Leon being a fraud and calling our whole history into question? They’re just using this as one more way to shame us and frame us as “the crazy state.” We need to figure out how to deal with this.

The big question remains of how to engage this attention and unflattering press. Do we embrace the bad boy persona? Do we resist it? Do we ignore it and just keep pounding out uplifting press releases?

Either way we need to get a handle on this. Being a laughingstock is bad for business. We’re about one more idiot trying to ride a manatee away from losing all the progress we’ve made since the Bath Salts Zombie fiasco. Continue reading

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Florida Manatee Fights Forced Ridings

An open letter from a manatee upset with the recent trend of people trying to ride manatees. 

Greetings humans and other land-based creatures. I come to you today with a heavy, four-chamber heart. I want to address a delicate issue that demands the immediate attention of the international community – including those above the water and those under it as well.

We manatees unequivocally condemn and formally denounce all attempts to ride on us, and demand you stop this degrading practice at once.

Is it not enough to mercilessly run us over with your massive boats, hunt us for our precious body parts, or throw tantalizing non-food items at us that look just enough like lettuce to be confusing? Must you humiliate us further with this abhorrent behavior of trying to ride us? We will tolerate this no longer.

Perhaps you are thinking, “What are you gonna do about it manatees? You’re so big and slow we can do whatever we want to you.”

Yes, we are generally speaking a lumbering, peaceable species. But we should not be provoked. We are far more patient than your hot-tempered, destructive race, but we can only be pushed so far.

How will the manatee community respond if this shameful practice continues, you ask? While nature has neglected to give us a substantive means of self-defense in terms of brute force or physical combat, we do have options available to us that we will not hesitate to mobilize, should our hand (we say “flippers” but I’m using your language here for clarity) be forced.

Our serene countenance and adorable looks have endeared us to many of our aquatic brethren; some of whom are quite protective, vengeful and ill-tempered. We have friends who are highly venomous or pointy-billed, and some who have large, sharp teeth. We have developed excellent relations with the infamous candirus of South America, who delight in swimming into human bodies and exiting in shall we say, the most sensitive, painful way you can imagine.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

These are not threats. We manatees have been backed into a corner and pushed to the brink by your hurtful, gross conduct; much of which seems to take place in the region you call “Florida,” but we call “Warm Grass Munch World.” If the attempts to ride or mount us in any unauthorized manner continue, we will respond with swift, immediate action. We will respond with “ocean justice,” which is like your “street justice” or “prison rules,” but much more brutal. Do not be surprised when shark attacks increase, sailfish impalings become more commonplace, or your hospitals begin to fill with wailing, crotch-bandaged candiru victims.

You have been warned.

We are a simple species. We basically just float around and eat vegetation. We’re not hurting anyone. It is true that we produce a shocking amount of horrific gas — but does that make us unworthy of basic respect or decency?

I end with saying we are not so different. I have learned much about your ways. We both wean our young on milk, breathe air and struggle with body image issues, we both enjoy swimming and munching on lettuce – and dare I say we both want generally the same things for our young. Mammal to mammal, I ask for an immediate end to this undignified, uncalled for practice of trying to ride the noble manatee. I assure you we will afford the same respect in return.

 — Grassman the Manatee

Sad manatee photo via manatee.net

Sad manatee photo via manatee.net

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Filed under Flora + Fauna, Florida

Fantastic Floridians

The assault on Florida continues. This is really getting out of hand, guys. It is Threat Level Midnight* in the battle to protect the reputation of our colorful and delightful state. While we wait for the political will and/or bold legislation needed to enact some sort of aptitude test requirement to live here (and/or wait for Georgia to be caught unawares so we can start spiriting weirdos across the border), I think the best thing to do is to continue highlighting Florida’s finer features. With that in mind, TMF presents this list of just a few of Florida’s fantastic folks.

Ron Magill – The mustachioed communications director of Zoo Miami is a genuine national treasure. His weekly appearances on the Dan LeBatard radio show here in South Florida are the stuff of legend. He responds to rapid-fire animal-related phone calls with remarkable patience (Yo Ron, who wins in a gorilla-grizzly bear fight? Etc.), good humor, enlightening insight, and an absolutely encyclopedic knowledge of just about every species known to man.  While some animal advocates come off as annoying, pompous or exceedingly awkward, Ron just seems like a cool guy who wants everyone to learn about and appreciate the world’s fascinating critters. His animal calls are also uncanny.

Zora Neale Hurston – She was a brilliant author and anthropologist who wrote, most notably, Their Eyes Were Watching God. A festival is held in her honor every year in her hometown of Eatonville.

Tom Petty – Originally from Gainesville, TP is rock royalty. The dude’s done it all: He’s written a song that will be played on skydiving videos forevermore, and a track that every stadium in the world plays whenever there’s a stoppage in play… He’s toured the world, formed a supergroup, smashed his hand in a fit of rock rage, lost a band mate to drugs, done a major movie soundtrack (She’s The One kinda sucked, but hey…) and acted in a major movie (The Postman kinda sucked, but hey…).

What else can we say about Tom Petty? It’s good to be king.

Dave Barry – One of the best and most influential humor writers of all time. In addition to his hilarious nationally syndicated Miami Herald column, which led to a Pulitzer Prize in 1988, who could forget such classic works as Boogers are my Beat, or Stay Fit and Healthy Until You’re Dead. He’s also not a bad musician apparently.

Andy Garcia – This son of Cuban immigrants attended high school in Miami, and went on have the best role in the worst Godfather movie, and the worst role in the best Bernie Mac movie.

Osceola – An iconic Native American warrior. He fought to keep his homeland, and for the freedom of all people. He was captured in a cowardly manner and died of malaria in 1836, but his intrepid legacy lives on.

Henry Flagler – Flagler was the visionary who laid the groundwork for making our state the powerhouse it is today. After making boatloads of cash along with John D. Rockefeller at Standard Oil, Flagler started building the infrastructure needed to make Florida the accessible tropical paradise he envisioned. To accommodate and bolster his many acquisitions in the state (hotels, land and such), the Florida East Coast Railway was methodically built; along with accompanying roads and canals which complemented his support for local farms, schools and hospitals. This engineering marvel would stretch all the way to Key West by the early 1900s. Oh yeah he managed to found West Palm Beach and Miami along the way.

He was laid to rest in St. Augustine.

Don Shula – “Here’s what I’m going to do for you, city of Miami. I’m going to raise up your team and your city out of sports obscurity.  With an iron will and fierce determination, I will turn a group of relative unknowns into the greatest football team of all time, win the Super Bowl, then win another one the year after. I’m not done. After I retire as the NFL’s all-time winningest coach, I’m going to make a place where you can enjoy reasonably priced, large hunks of choice, juicy meats.”

– Don Shula (unauthorized paraphrase of life accomplishments)

Thanks coach, we love you always. You will always be “unforgotten” in our eyes.

*Excellent “The Office” reference

**Bonus Fantastic Floridian — Mark Twain, who was born in Florida (Missouri). I feel like he would get a chuckle out of that pun.

*** Apologies to Ernest Hemingway, Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Stetson Kennedy – we ran out of room but you will most definitely be featured in the next round of Fantastic Floridians

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