Elegant living on a budget
Every so often, I fling open the doors to Hammer’s Bachelor Kitchen and invite people inside. Living a champagne life on a beer budget is something which comes naturally to me and eating well is part of any cultured life.
Those snobs on the Food Network seem to think that you have to have a lot of money, a bunch of expensive utensils and an unlimited amount of time to enjoy fine cuisine. It is simply not the case.
Take my first recipe, for example, a dish that requires little time to prepare but provides an entire evening’s worth of enjoyment. Assuming you follow the instructions, it should cost no more than $1 for a meal fit for a king.
Ramen à la Hammer
1 package of ramen ($0.10)
3 tbsp peanut butter ($0.35)
1 large egg (optional) ($0.15)
Directions: Cook ramen as directed on package. Drain 75 percent of water; add egg. Mix in peanut butter and salt to taste. Serves one employed person or three homeless people.
The egg adds a special texture to the recipe and counterbalances the starch and the peanut butter quite well. I had a roommate in college who swore by it.
Here’s another recipe from my archives. It’s fun to make and fun to eat and provides 175 percent of your daily sodium, onion and grease content. It’s kind of expensive to make, but sometimes one has to indulge the sensual pleasures life has to offer.
1 whole chicken, raw, gizzards removed ($4)
12 White Castle hamburgers ($5)
1 tsp sage ($0.15)
I cup chopped celery ($0.20)
1 can beer ($0.25-$1)
Sanitize all food preparation surfaces. Remove chicken from package. Open cavity of bird, add celery. Cram as many White Castles into the bird as possible. Eat remaining White Castles. Pour half of beer into bird. Drink remaining beer.
Cook on open fire until charred, or in conventional oven at 350 degrees until your smoke detector goes off.
Remove White Castle mixture from bird; serve separately. Serves three to four people; fewer if they know what is in it.
That dish goes well with instant rice, bagged salad or codeine cough syrup.
The next recipe is not for the faint of heart. But if you know someone whose love for sauerkraut exceeds their gag reflex, it could be exactly the right thing to make.
1 can chilled sauerkraut, drained ($0.50)
Three all-beef hot dogs ($1)
Cook hot dogs in boiling water or in microwave. In a banana split bowl, scoop out three servings of sauerkraut. Place hot dogs, sliced, on either side. For best results, add a dollop of whipped cream and a cherry on top. Good for bulimics, sadists and daredevils. Goes well with Pabst. Serves: an infinite amount of people. You’ll have leftovers for days, if not months.
Of course, the bar is always open at the Bachelor Kitchen. A erudite man such as myself would never ignore libations as a roadmap to a successful evening. You can never go wrong with any wine which comes in a box, since the box itself is a signal of sophistication to your guests. It says that you have no time, nor any need, for a corkscrew. Your busy lifestyle gives you barely enough time to open the box, grab the udder-spout and begin pouring.
On those occasions where boxed wine and Aldi beer isn’t enough, try one of these recipes.
George W. Bush Cocktail
1 bottle peach schnapps
1 bottle gin
1 bottle vodka
1 container of premixed Strawberry Kool-Aid
1 package Pop Rocks
There’s nothing conservative about this pick-me-up named in honor of our 43rd president. Mix all ingredients, except the Pop Rocks, in a large punch bowl. Add ice and stir. For maximum effect, lie to your guests about the ingredients, exaggerate the quality of the brands used and then drink until your family bails you out of jail. The Pop Rocks are for garnishment. When questioned, claim that they are weapons of mass destruction. Serves: one Cabinet. Goes well with: pretzels, formaldehyde.
Here’s another cool summer drink that’s sure to be a favorite at your next party.
1 can Coca-Cola Classic
1 pot coffee
1 can Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
1 bottle Kahlua
Mix three parts Coca-Cola to one part coffee. Add ice. Pour Kahlua into glass until full. Tip back and drink until you see stars. Good for hangovers, early-morning binges, restarting your heart after you die. Goes well with cake, insulin injections.
Alas, it is time to close Hammer’s Bachelor Kitchen for now. Rest assured that my research is never fully done. Just this morning, I heard about a scheme that involves rolling Peeps in powdered caffeine for a maximum morning jolt.
Please feel free to submit your own suggestions to me, c/o this newspaper. Only by working together can we truly achieve culinary excellence.