Tuesday, September 21, 2010

No McDonald's Here, but------------

Grab this related post Widget!
A year and a half ago, during a period of unemployment, I started this blog pretty much just to have something to do. What a hodge-podge it was—satire, recipes, philosophy—basically whatever struck my fancy. Then I went back to work and the blog, no longer having a gap to fill, went silent.

When we decided to move here to Cuenca I thought it would be fun to chronicle the what’s and why’s of our adventure, so eddsaid was resuscitated. Never could I have anticipated that five months later over 1000 people a week in 25 countries (4 in India?) would have any interest in the lives of a couple bumbling their way through a new life in Ecuador. Never.

From the title these musings are not the true subject of this entry, but I mention them as a lead-in to thanking so many of you for the online posts, emails, and even Skype messages supporting Cynthia and I during these recent difficult days. Please know that I have forwarded every kind word to my wife, and she is honestly overwhelmed by the love expressed by folks we in many cases have never met. Damn it, I’m getting teary-eyed writing this.

So let’s talk about those ribs I was looking forward to cooking the other day. I’m a Southern boy and barbeque, especially pork ribs, is important to me. Quite frankly, the ribs I’ve found here suck so bad I won’t even buy them. They’re these little bitty things that look like they were butchered from a cuy (for newer readers that’s guinea pig, a local delicacy).

If I could speak better Spanish I’d ask the butcher, “Where’s the rest of this hog? You hiding it in the back?” But “Where’s the of this you in the?,” my current competency level, doesn’t really get the message across very eloquently, so I have futilely scanned the meat department at the SuperMaxi for months.

Then I found a deli last week that had some awesome looking ribs and I bought a half rack on the spot. They were frozen but I didn’t care. I put them in the newly-relocated refrigerator to thaw and whipped up my favorite homemade barbeque sauce.

Overnight the ribs thawed and the sauce ingredients blended. It was time. I haven’t bought a grill yet, but oven ribs are acceptable in a pinch. So I pulled them out and was immediately puzzled by the limpness of what I was holding. I unwrapped the paper and found a slab of meat in the exact shape of a rack of ribs that had no ribs whatsoever.

Immediately my mind flashed (the synapses still fire rapidly enough to occasionally generate a flash) to the McRib sandwich from, yes, McDonald’s. Don’t say you don’t know what I’m talking about. You’ve had at least one. We all have. That’s why they keep bringing them back for “a limited time only.”

I’d always quietly wondered about McRib sandwiches because in spite of the name you're aware they have no ribs. Or even any McRibs. Since I speak English and McDonald’s is an American company my silence wasn’t due to language barriers like with the ribs here but simply that I didn’t know who to ask. What I’ve wanted to know is, “How did you do that?” We’ve made enormous strides with selective breeding and bioengineering , but it’s really hard to picture a pig trying to stand around, much less hold its organs in place, with no ribs. So I always assumed there was a machine that took a piece of pork and fashioned it into the shape of---------.

And yet-------. And yet, here I was in Cuenca holding in my own hand what appeared to be a slab of McRib non-ribs. I’m thinking, maybe this is where McDonald’s gets that meat. I mean, the “ribs” in the grocery store are pathetic. My rack of ??? has no bones. I could be on to something; some mad Nazi scientists escaped to Ecuador and------------.

Meanwhile back to reality. I’m standing in the kitchen grasping a limp chunk of pork. Only one course of action. Full speed ahead!!

So how did they/it turn out? I’m always gonna tell you the truth, and the truth is---OK at best. You know I love living here but in general the meat leaves a little (all right, sometimes a LOT) to be desired. I guess it’s the price we pay for not ingesting jacked-up, corn-fed, hormone-laden, over-medicated cows and pigs.

But---- my barbeque sauce rocked!


Jack and Claudia said...

Ed, I'am a little behind in reading blogs, so sorry to hear of family health. Wish we were there now to better support you both, but know you are in our thoughts and prayers. See you in November. Keep p the good work!

Sapa Ynca said...

And my wife asks me "Why all the butchering equipment?"! VIVA!

zootenval said...


I have never had a McRib. Here are a few other things I have not done ( and have no plans to do in the future):

1. Visit Disney World
2. See Pulp Fiction
3. Bungee Jump
4. Rollerblade (center of gravity is too high)
5. Try on panty hose ( aplogies to Joe Namath and mell Gibson)
6. Light a fart with a match
7. lick a frozen metal pole in the dead of winter
8. See the Cubs in the world series ( not that I wouldn't go...just don;t think it will happen)
9. Visit a Gentleman's Club, er strip joint ( just when did visiting a strip club become a gentlemanly pursuit?)
10. Shave my head( nothing against baldness...I just think mine would not be a pretty sight)

KIT (keep it together)

Andy Tomlin (zootenval)

isop3 said...

Ok, Ok so I took the easy way out and subscribed.

I am truly sorry to hear of your loss, but felt really good at your blog post celebrating her life and all she shared with you. My condolences.


Edd Staton said...

Andy, I'm 7 out of 10 on your list. I'll share up front to not doing the pole-licking thing--will let you guess the other two.

zootenval said...

Survey says:

Pantyhose & Cubs. Everything else I can see...

Doctor Michael Quadlander said...

Mr. Ed,

Long time listener, first time caller...

Don't you really miss Talk-radio in the US?

I live in New Braunfels, Texas in the Hill country between Austin and San Antonio.

Actually, I just found your blogger-blog yesterday.

The most entertaining of the blogs I found, without a doubt!

The fifty-cent Bus Ride to Hell on ol' #16 was hilarious... :-)

About 70 posts in all since 2008.

I read/listened to ALL your posts and comments yesterday.

Gotta little bit of obsessive-compulsive in me...

There were so many posts that I loaded up the last half of 2010 in my speed reader software to listen to before drifting off to sleep.

Hearing your stories through the voice of Microsoft Mary at 120% speed makes it all the more surreal.

Whenever you wrote 'possible manana' I thought she was saying 'exposed bananas' !

I thought it was gonna be another story about your Don Juan style with some poor wife of a local Ecuadorian... :-)

Estoy su hombre... I'm your man!

Anyway, my wife and I look forward to a visit there soon.

Have investigated enough on the Internet.

We plan to move there in 2011.

I moved to Cancun, Mexico 30 years ago on the spur of the moment.

Cancun and Cuenca, almost the same 6 letters... hmmm...

Jammed up the car and drove for 3 days from Houston to Cancun with my girlfriend at the time and her young daughter.

We stayed for 2 years. I ran a big time nightclub there. Learned a little Spanish...

Even started having dreams in Spanish after a year!

That's a real turning point in the language journey.

Back to the present, I see Cuenca in my family's near future.

As Yogi Berra says, 'Looks like deja-vu all over again...'

Got all 3 time references into those last 2 sentences... kinda made me dizzy for a minute.

I have been a full-time practicing chiropractic doctor in Texas now for 22 years.

Ed, are there any chiropractors in Cuenca?

Gotta run for now...

Your friend in Texas,
Dr. Michael Quadlander

P.S. Even though I don't know you and your family, I still wish to convey my sympathy to your recent family loss.

Vaya con Dios, my friend...

Edd Staton said...

Dr. Michael, first time someone's comment was longer than my blog--how's it feel to be a record setter? Talk radio? One of my favorite philosophers said back in the 70's, "When you've gotten the message, hang up the phone." So, no,all that yammering brings to my mind a cow regurgitating its cud. I've met one chiropractor and I'm sure there are a few more, but it's not like the States where you guys and nail salons compete for space in every strip center. One reason is we don't HAVE strip centers here, thank goodness!!

Doctor Michael Quadlander said...


I spelled your name properly this time... mea culpa.

I guess my disgust for Talk-radio in my previous comment went over 9,000 feet heads.

I sense you thought I was serious about you ex-pats "missing" the political shills of talk-radio and the various other sides of the coin on talk-commentary TV.

When I lived in Mexico 30 years ago there was no satellite TV or Inner-Nets.

What a better quality of life!

I completely missed the US recession of 1982!

Didn't even know it was a big deal.

As far as the 'nail salon and chiro' comment, I was surprised to read that from someone who recently lived here in the States.

Edd, today I just treated the head of Cardiovascular Diagnostics of the major hospital in my city.

In my privately owned clinic... located on a residential street.

Not a strip mall in sight... sorry to disappoint you...

One of the things I learned living in a new culture in Mexico is to not be so cavalier (haughty, disdainful, or supercilious: an arrogant and cavalier attitude toward others.) about others.

Edd, I'm gonna have to straighten you out when we meet and get to know each other.

Yes, the pun WAS intended...
(don't you just hate it when people write or say pun UNINTENDED... bull-caca...)

Okay, Edd, I know my post is another first for your blog... a hissing critique comment of your most excellent writing skills...

I know it won't do any critical damage to someone of your strong character, or I would not have posted it.

Just defending my turf.

After all, I am only a guest on your online home here...

Maybe we can play a little "piece a me" on the #16 bus in Cuenca.

That's what my 5 year old grandson calls our wrestling/kung-fu/football mixture of play that we enjoy each day after I pick him up from school... :-)

Edd, keep up the valuable posts from Cuenca.

Your friend in Texas,
Dr. Q.

Edd Staton said...

Dude, you've gotta understand the backstory. I'm from Atlanta, home of Life College--where they used to crank out new chiropractors like rabbits. I think y'all may have even outnumbered the nail folks there.

Dr. Michael Quadlander said...

SeƱor Edd,

Yes, Dr. Sid Williams had a real cloning/assembly line Syndicate going on there in the Atlanta sub-city of Marietta back in the day...

You might have even moved to the original Syndicate Town of Vegas just to get away from all the Atlanta chiros!

But you will be disappointed, because we are programmed to dominate the world... (picture the multitudes of Zombie-Chiros roaming every dark recess of the planet... ha, ha, ha )

We aren't doing so well, though, are we? Ecuador seems to have escaped saturation point so far.

Med-Heads rule the world, even among all the "natural" ex-hippies.

Take a pill for this, take some meds for that...

The walking and natural foods habits in Cuenca is so refreshing and encouraging to read about.

Haven't read about motorized scooters or handicap stickers in any of the Ecuador blogs so far... Imagine that!

BTW Edd... did you purchase a bicycle in Cuenca, or have it shipped?

And... since I'm from Texas, I had high hopes for this BBQ post of yours when I read the title.

The punch-line of Limp-McRib was downright frightening.

Oh well, back to the drawing board. Problems are opportunities in disguise.

Take care my friend,

Dr. Q in Texas