More Fun with Food: Stagg Chili

Even before we moved to London, my husband made many a reference to Stagg Chili. He still does.

Most of the time, these mentions have come when I am out of town, and he is regaling me with tales of his home alone status and accompanying chili-laden man diet.

I’ve lived in England for over a year now, but even back in New York, I had always assumed that the, “Stagg” in Stagg Chili was actually, “Stag”, and that this was all just a funny reference to some form of bachelor chow. This assumption was further supported by the fact that bachelor party is termed a, “Stag Do” here.

Today, I came home from work, went in the kitchen, and discovered that Stagg/Stag Chili IS real.

I was shocked. There it was on the counter, full of promise, offering an, “Authentic American” recipe, and, “shaped minced beef”.

I don’t know why minced beef would need shaping. It makes me a bit nervous. Still and so, the back of the can claims a legendary taste experience awaits me inside of this can.

Unfortunately, I’m unable to report on how the chili actually tastes. It was made quite clear that it is not for me and that there will be no sharing.


No Saltines means Salticrax!

Recovering from a recent bout of food poisoning, I asked for a box of Saltines or something like what we call Saltines back in the US.

I was presented with a box of Salticrax!

They’re denser than Saltines, which makes them less therapeutic on a very upset stomach; however, the name Salticrax is too funny to go uncredited.

The score is:
Saltines: 1
Salticrax!: 1

Next Houseguest gets a Dalek Cake

That’s right. Next houseguest means a Dalek-shaped cake will be consumed at our house.

It may not be your birthday according to your driver’s license, but it will be here in Southwest London. I can’t promise that there won’t be hats, candles, and a pinata; however, I’ll try to keep it reasonable for your sake.

I spotted this at the M&S right after my birthday. Now we need a good reason to eat it, and, “Wednesday” simply won’t do.

The next birthday in our apartment is the cat’s, and that’s not until the end of March. That’s is just entirely too long for us to wait to have this cake in our living room. Besides, the kitty doesn’t like cake!

I recognize that you could go somewhere warm and sunny, but why would you want to do that when you could come to England in late winter? I can offer you drizzle, overcast skies, and a balmy 13 C. We’ll even throw in an umbrella to shield you from the elements.

Rome II


Sunday was a less ambitious day. We mostly just wandered around to the city.

One of the thngs I like to do most when travelling is to try to get a sense of how people live in the place I’m visiting. Thus, places like supermarkets and pharmacies are always on the agenda, in addition to strolling around some more residential areas.

We started out by heading to the Spanish Steps in search of breakfast

and had a good laugh at the Expensive! store







Then, we wandered over the the Trevi Fountain, which was much bigger than I expected. There are buildings closely built all around it, which made getting a full picture of it difficult, especially as it was surrounded by other tourists. I gave up, concluding that a postcard might be a better way to get a reasonable picture of it.

Then we went to the Trastevere, which is a very popular neighborhood for going out and people watching. We had some delicious pizza, after which we walked along the Tibor River (left).

We pretty much just wandered around for the rest of the day. How else do you think I managed to eat so much gelato?



Our final day kicked off with a trip to No. 3 on the list, the Colosseum. We walked to the Colosseum via the Roman Forum. We didn’t actually go in, we only walked by.

The Colosseum was smaller than I had envisaged. I was surprised to learn that a number of it’s exterior decorations were removed and used for St. Peter’s; that this structure was regarded as junk during the Renaissance.

After our wander around the Colosseum, we had some lunch and did a bit more wandering. Around three, we did what English people do when they have an hour to kill, we went to a pub before meeting our car to the airport.

Snow comes to London

It began with a few flurries, and 19 hours later, the snow is still falling, with occasional breaks.

I haven’t actually been outside in the snow yet; although, the news reports leave me to believe that London may only have one plow, as many things are closed.

There are no trains. When I called my dentist’s to cancel my appointment, there was no answer. I hear my office is empty. The mail never arrived, and while the grocery delivery I scheduled for tonight hasn’t been cancelled yet, I’m not expecting it to make it.

It’s a bit boggling to see a city shut down by 6-8 inches of snow. Then again, it hasn’t snowed this much in 18 years.

Rome I

I’ve been slacking lately, or maybe just working too much. Regardless, this posting is long overdue and is going to be more brief than I would have liked.

Rome is wonderful. It’s a big museum with a population of over 3.5 million.

In deciding what I wanted to see and do (besides eating) on this trip, I kept the list short. The trip was only for three and a half days, and the guidebook made it abundantly clear that it would take me over a month, just to see all of the museums.

The Short List:

1. The Sistine Chapel
2. Raphael’s The School Of Athens at the Vatican Museum’s Raphael Room
3. The Colosseum
…with everything else being gravy.



We arrived in the afternoon and in the evening we mostly focused on the wandering around and eating.

This bridge  (left) is covered in beautiful sculptures.

We also made it to the Pantheon and viewed its ceiling



In the morning, we set off to the Vatican Museum.

The museum, much like an Ikea, is laid out such that visitors must walk through everything, rather than just heading to the items your looking for. In the case of Ikea, it’s to make you think that you really need a furry, white rug (Thanks, Adam!) in a moment of weakness, whereas at the Vatican, it’s unavoidable due to the floorplan.

The Raphael Room and the Sistine Chapel are towards the end of the mighty journey, so we decided to bolt through the entire museum in an effort to beat the crowds some of whom were asking if this room of maps with a painted ceiling was the Sistine Chapel.

This plan worked well. When we finished repeating the cycle on round two, the Sistine Chapel was 3x as packed as it had been an hour earlier. I’ve no pictures of either. Photography is not allowed in the Chapel, and to be fair, it has been thoroughly photographed by people far more skilled with a camera than I.

We wandered around the Vatican afterwards, which is considered a seperate country from Italy. It even has it’s own post office with Vatican-issued stamps.
St. Peter’s was also a good visit. It’s sublime. The sort of faith that leads to the creation of monuments such as this is alien to me.

Following lunch, we headed to the Castello San Angelo. The views from the roof are beautiful and it has a nice cafe from which we enjoyed the sun. I took the first picture on this entry from the roof. (Unfortuantely, I didn’t notice the dirt on my lens until later in the day, so expect to see that spot a bit more.)