Category Archives: Food

Stars/Broken Social Scene’s Amy Millan On Saving Seeds

Amy Millan of Stars/Broken Social Scene

Amy Millan of Stars/Broken Social Scene

Later this week Stars/Broken Social Scene singer Amy Millan will be receiving the Planet In Focus Eco-Hero award for her work in the past year on the USC “I Am A Seed Saver” campaign.

I asked Millan what that’s all about and how she got fellow musicians like Leslie Feist and Sam Roberts to participate.

To read the full story head over to Samaritan Mag by clicking here.

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Things I Ate At The C.N.E. In 2015

CNE food 2015

CNE food 2015

Summer’s almost gone and that means one thing — the Canadian National Exhibition has started in Toronto.

All those discount merchandisers and over-the-hill musical acts are fine, but the real draw in Risky Fuel quarters are the many, many, many weird, wild and wonderful food vendors displaying their wares in the Food Building and in the C.N.E.’s midway.

Once again we tackled some of the most peculiar foods the Ex had on offer, experiencing Jamaican beef patties as a hamburger bun substitutes, the combination of chicken and Frosted Flakes and a whole lot more.

Read below to find out what our eating adventures were like…

Round one, August 21

Bub's Burger's Bad Boy. Spicy cheese, beef burger patty, honey garlic fried chicken filet, pepperjack cheese, wasabi cucumber, hickory stix, tomato sriracha mayo and buttermilk coleslaw all between two Jamaican beef patties.

Bub’s Burger’s Bad Boy. This is this year’s alpha stunt food — spicy cheese beef burger patty, honey garlic fried chicken filet, pepperjack cheese, wasabi cucumber, hickory sticks, tomato sriracha mayo and buttermilk coleslaw all between two Jamaican beef patties instead of traditional burger buns. For such an obvious monstrosity it’s actually… not bad. The honey garlic adds a nice tang, the chicken’s done right and the hickory sticks are a fun dining surprise. What’s wrong with the whole package, however, is its complete, utter and total disregard for structural integrity. There’s a reason why there’s a giant spear through the whole burger, after all. And as anyone who’s read my past CNE reports knows, structural integrity is a big deal. Because without it you end up with mess. And mess means my hands get dirty. And when my hands get dirty with food I get a little bit insane. Which happened as I paced through the Ex midway holding both my hands in the air desperate to find a washroom in which to wash them. 7.1/10

Chicken Waffle On A Stick

Chicken Waffle On A Stick. Dry chicken surrounded by a coating of what seemed similar to the batter used in making fortune cookies. The sauce options — hot sauce, table syrup, and something I can’t remember — were not excellent, so I chose the syrup. I chose wrong. This was an entirely unpleasant food experience. 4.6/10

Deep Fried Red Velvet Oreos

Deep Fried Red Velvet Oreos. Another of the marquee stunt foods this year, some stall in the Food Building had the smart idea to batter Oreos in a red velvet style and sell less of them (three)  for more money than you can buy regular deep fried Oreos (five) at the stands in the midway. Taste-wise they were fine for deep fryer junk food, but I can’t in good conscience recommend them when there’s a virtually identical product with better value available 100 metres away. 6/10

Barq's Root Beer with Vanilla

Barq’s Root Beer with Vanilla. I’ve given up on trying to avoid the long tentacles of the Coca-Cola/CNE Industrial Complex and decided to embrace that funky machine they have that creates like a thousand different flavour combinations. I’ve had the root beer + vanilla before. 5/10

Pickle Pete's Deep Fried Cheesecake

Pickle Pete’s Deep Fried Cheesecake. Another of the dazzler new food entries this year, the deep fried cheesecake combined two of my favourite things: 1) cheesecake, and 2) deep fried-ness. The result was something firmly on the tasty side of things, where the result ends up being vaguely cannoli-ish. It’s solidly good and as a midway deep fry vendor Pickle Pete’s is on point. 7.3/10

Pickle Pete's Deep Fried Green Beans

Pickle Pete’s Deep Fried Green Beans. Green beans are already right up there on the tasty vegetable scale, but batter and deep frying them then serving them with a chipotle mayo concoction bams them up even higher. These were solidly alright and if I was given the option of “deep fried green beans” or “french fries” as my side at a restaurant, I’d very likely take the beans. There was, however, one hitch to eating these: I had them immediately after eating the deep fried cheesecake, which was a very unfair thing to do to my tastebuds. 6.3/10

Round two, August 25

99 Cent Spaghetti

99 Cent Spaghetti. SWERVE! Just when you thought I was only all about the hyper-new stunt foods I go and try the 99 cent spaghetti from the classic 99 Cent Primo Spaghetti booth. It was my first time ever trying the buck-for-pasta deal (thoroughly acceptable for what it was, btw) and what I found most fascinating was the genius way the booth operates. Sure, you can get spaghetti for 99 cents, but Parmesan cheese is an extra 75 cents, meatballs $1.75, and if you don’t want the small cup of ‘getti, upsizing is $1.89. And when you see other people getting those things you want them, too. It’s classic get them through the door, then get them with the extras. I did not upsize, though, because I am, at my core, a frugal person. 5.5/10

Bentley's Deep Fried Poutine Balls

Bentley’s Deep Fried Poutine Balls. Now this is a brilliant idea. Encase a cheese curd in a ball of mashed potato, deep fry said potato curd ball, then slather with gravy and more cheese curd. It’s a totally effective twist on what’s already one of the greatest foods in the known universe. 6.8/10

Corrado's S&M Burger

Corrado’s S&M Burger. Another one of the marquee stunt foods this year, this one’s a meatball burger on a toasted garlic bun with spicy Havarti cheese, a deep-fried spaghetti patty, hot peppers and tomato sauce. The novelty to this whole thing is the deep-fried spaghetti patty. Its gimmick is the reason why they can charge $14 for the very coyly named S&M burger, but it’s also the most superfluous, useless item on the sandwich, a tasteless lump of… whatever. Compounding my irritation with the S&M was the messy food adventure I had with this one. See, I *knew* this was going to be a super-messy food, and not wanting to have a repeat of the Bad Boy burger episode, I had the server pre-cut the sandwich in half on top of giving me an empty french fry container and utensils. I figured after unpacking and taking a photo of the S&M I’d just transfer it from its packaging into the fry receptacle and knife ‘n’ fork it. Right at the moment I was about to do this, like a message sent straight from the food gods, a brisk wind promptly blew my fry container (and the utensils I had resting in it) off the table into a puddle-y refuse pile. I was left with no defense from the finger-staining, tectonic instability of this mutant. It was not pleasant. Save yourself the stunt and go for the straight meatball sandwich. 5.9/10

Frosted Flakes Chicken On A Stick

Iron Skillet’s Frosted Flakes Chicken On A Stick. Holy shit was this ever grrrrreeaat. You wouldn’t think a gimmick like a Frosted Flakes batter on chicken pieces, on a stick would work so well, but it did. The Flakes added both a textural crunch and just the right level of sweet and the chicken chunks themselves were juicy and delicious. It was basically like eating a radically bammed up souvlaki skewer where Popeye’s chicken engineers have figure out how to capture Tony the Tiger’s soul. 8/10

Fran's PB&J Milkshake

Fran’s PB&J Milkshake. Fran’s CNE food game has been tight since they took over a booth at the Ex for the first time last year. The latest in a series of new items for this year is the PB+J milkshake. I had my doubts — PB&J is more of a Sarah thing — but I was a quick convert one sip in. The consistency is right, the flavour is right and the whole package, complete with its whip cream topping and strawberry syrup drizzle, works very well. 7.4/10

Canada Dry Ginger Ale with Lime

Canada Dry Ginger Ale with Lime. Most of the time when we try this machine whatever the main pop is, that’s what it tastes like. So if you order root beer with a splash of vanilla it’s pretty much root beer. And if you get any does of vanilla in there it’s bonus. That’s not how things went when we decided to lime up some ginger ale. You could taste the lime. And if that’s what you were hoping for out of the experience, well, small victory then. 5.3/10

Round three, September 3
* I made an impromptu third visit to the Ex with this friends this day and (full confession) kinda sampled bits of their food as a cheat, including another pass at the still-awesome Fran’s Thanksgiving Turkey Waffle. Here are the new things I tackled:

Swiss Waffle's & Crepes' Strawberries and Soft Serve On A Deep Fried Waffle.

Swiss Waffle’s & Crepes’ Strawberries and Soft Serve On A Deep Fried Waffle. Yet another of these classic Ex treats, the Swiss Waffle people proudly state they’ve been around since 1968. This, the deep fried waffle-y cruller thing with soft serve vanilla ice cream and strawberries, was simple in its elegance, but also way awesome. At under $5 it also represents a solid value as far as midway treats go. 7/10

Far East Taco's Smore Bao.

Far East Taco’s Smore Bao. Marshmallow, hazelnut, chocolate, Graham cracker crumbs, sweet milk cream. This tastes *exactly* like a Wagon Wheel. 6.1/10

Just Cone It Grilled Chicken Cone.

Just Cone It Grilled Chicken Cone. Chicken, red peppers, onions and cheese. This was very similar to the pizza cones of the Mad Italian (do a Risky Fuel search) and indeed it might even be the same people. This specific cone, however, lacked anything… special. No sauce, no seasoning, nothing to elevate it beyond, “Hey, it’s stuff in a doughy cone.” Which is low novelty in a food building full of stunt edibles. 5.5/10

Fran's Deep Fried Rice Pudding Balls.

Fran’s Deep Fried Rice Pudding Balls. I stole one of these babies from my friend BlanchBot. Having no interest in rice pudding in general, I had low expectations for what deep frying said pudding might do to improve things. And yet, it did. By ballifying the pudding it adds a welcome new textural layer to the whole experience. Throwing in a lemon custard dip also bams things up a notch. Improbably, this one’s a winner. 6.8/10

Fanta Orange Soda.

Fanta Orange Soda. Because I have nostalgic association with the “Fanta” brand. 5/10


Additional reading:

Things I ate at the CNE in 2016. Bug Bistro’s Bug Dog and Fran’s Blueberry Milkshake with a slice of real blueberry pie.

Things I ate at the CNE in 2014. Including Fran’s Thanksgiving Turkey Waffle and Coco’s Fried Chicken Cocoa Chicken.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2013. Including Nutella Jalapeno Poppers and the S’more Dog.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2012. Including the Chocolate Eclair Dog and Bacon Nation Nutella BBBLT.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2011. Including the Krispy Kreme Hamburger and Deep Fried Twix.

Things I ate at the C.N.E. in 2010. Including Deep Fried Butter and Taco In A Bag.


Filed under Food, Recollections

The Complete Guide To Food References On BA Johnston’s ‘Shit Sucks’ Album

BA Johnston in his natural state. Photo cribbed from his Twitter.

BA Johnston in his natural state. Photo cribbed from his Twitter.

Shit Sucks by Hamilton, Ontario-based everyman BA Johnston was perhaps the most divisive album nominated for the 2015 Polaris Music Prize Long List and split critics, fans and Polaris followers into two clear camps.

The haters, of which there were many (including enough Polaris jurors that Shit Sucks failed to make the 10 album Polaris Short List), viewed Johnston’s album as schtick, an unfunny musical comedy by a pizza-obsessed loser.

The lovers, though, saw a lot more to Shit Sucks. To these people Johnston was and is funny. They created a Twitter movement on his behalf. They even enlisted the support of Hitler. For them, Johnston’s confessional songs poked at that same wounded, fragile humanity that made Rodney Dangerfield forever question why he couldn’t get no respect.

There is, however, an overlooked third faction in the Shit Sucks debate — foodies. See, in his own way, Johnston is a food connoisseur, a man who has immortalized t-bone steaks, garlic fingers, english muffins and western sandwiches in song, and who dreams of having a deep fryer in his bedroom.

For these people Shit Sucks reveals many unexpected and often melted cheese-laden delights. We put on our best chili boots and decided to track all the food references on BA Johnston’s Shit Sucks album. The results were… delicious:

“Couch Potato Alright”
* cool ranch
* pocket Cheezees
* double dipped corn chips

“I Remember Skinny Jeans The Last Time Around”
* Foodland

“When Is Trash Day?”
* cat food tins
* pizza boxes
* buffalo wings
* burnt toast

“Pizza Party For One”
* pizza
* Little Caesars, Salvatore’s, Uncle Fatty’s, Cutthroat’s, Chicago Style, Pizza Perfect, Nino’s
* pepperoni

“I Don’t Want To Go To The No Frills”
* Oreos
* butter
* steak
* meat
* Dr. Oetker pizza
* Shreddies
* Faygo soda

“Gonna End Up Working In Fort McMurray”
* Pizza Hut

“Bat In The House”
* Delissio pizza
* pizza

“The Commute”
* Special K
* Tim Horton’s coffee
* McDonald’s coffee

“IKEA Hotdog”
* IKEA hotdogs

“Drinking On My Mom’s Dime”
*Golden Wedding

“Old And Lame”
* food court
* a submarine sandwich he’s too high to eat
* 7/11
* chocolate milk

“Nuke Toronto”
* nothing good to eat

“What A Wonderfully Mediocre Day”
* beers
* no name ruffles
* chip dip
* Foodland
* discounted garlic bread
* garlic
* margarine
* bread

“You Can Love Someone And Hate The Things They Love”
* assorted subs

“Shitty Cat”
* taco meat
* tomato patch

“BK Has A New King”
* Burger King
* Whopper Jr
* Whopper Wednesday
* Big Fish sandwich
* Whopper
* Water
* Soda Pop

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16 Things Morrissey Hates



Former Smiths lead singer Morrissey is a curmudgeon of near-legendary proportions.

The caustic British 53 year old isn’t shy about voicing his opinions on things, and those opinions usually involve outlandish, withering insults directed at his enemies. For example, a couple weeks ago he teed off against the “blustering jingoism” of the London Olympics with a sideline rant connecting England to Greece and Nazi Germany in 1939.


These tirades have made him more than a few enemies over the years — it’s reached the point where other bands write songs about how much they hate him — but it’s also made him someone who’s always worth paying attention to.

At Spinner we’ve been having a hard time keeping track of all the things the Mozzer has been hating on lately, so we decided we needed to build a list. So here it is… 16 things Morrissey hates:


The Canadian flag

The Canadian flag

In 2006 Morrissey declared he would never play in Canada again until the annual seal hunt that takes place in the country is ended.

Said Morrissey, “We will not include any Canadian dates on our world tour to promote our new album. This is in protest against the barbaric slaughter of over 325,000 baby seals which is now underway.

I fully realise that the absence of any Morrissey concerts in Canada is unlikely to bring the Canadian economy to its knees, but it is our small protest against this horrific slaughter — which is the largest slaughter of marine animal species found anywhere on the planet.

The Canadian Prime Minister says the so-called “cull” is economically and environmentally justified, but this is untrue.

The seal population has looked after itself for thousand of years without human intervention, and, as the world knows, this slaughter is about one thing only: making money. The Canadian government will stream all of the pelts into the fashion industry and this is the reason why the baby seals are killed with spiked clubs that crush their skulls – any damage to their pelts is avoided. The Canadian Prime Minister also states that the slaughter is necessary because it provides jobs for local communities, but this is an ignorant reason for allowing such barbaric and cruel slaughter of beings that are denied life simply because somebody somewhere might want to wear their skin.

Construction of German gas chambers also provided work for someone — this is not a moral or sound reason for allowing suffering.

If you can, please boycott Canadian goods. It WILL make a difference. As things stand, Canada has placed itself alongside China as the cruelest and most self-serving nation.”


Mike Joyce

Mike Joyce

A drummer and one half of the rhythm section of Morrissey’s former band The Smiths (the other half, bassist Andy Rourke, claims Morrissey fired him from The Smiths via postcard), Joyce sued Morrissey and fellow Smiths member Johnny Marr for an equal share of the bands’ royalties in 1989 and won his case… and a one million pound settlement.

Moz had once compared Joyce and Rourke to “session musicians who could be replaced like parts of a lawnmower.”


Natalie Merchant

Natalie Merchant

The band 10,000 Maniacs, featuring prominent mom rocker Natalie Merchant covered Morrissey’s “Every Day is Like Sunday” on their 1993 EP Candy Everybody Wants.

Morrissey hated it.

His response? “Have a Go Merchant,” a b-side to the 1995 single “Boxers.”

The song is notable because he actually went there, and called out her mom rock-ness, singing “A small baby girl cradled in your arms/Your one big contribution.” As far as withering insults go, it was pretty vicious.


Parlophone, one of Morrissey's many record labels

Parlophone, one of Morrissey’s many record labels

The Moz has been on the following labels: HMV, Parlophone, Sire, RCA, Reprise, Mercury, Attack, Sanctuary, Decca, Lost Highway, Major Minor.

And that doesn’t even count co-signs, weird distro deals, etc. Basically, he hopscotches from one label to the next each album because he hates record labels.

“Labels for the most part want to sign new discoveries so that that label alone is seen to be responsible for the rise of the artist,” he told Pitchfork last year. “There are no risks taken with music any more. No social commentary songs, no individualism. This is because everyone is deemed instantly replaceable.”

Maybe they hate him, too?


Meat is murder

Meat is murder

Morrissey’s so militantly vegetarian he probably has an FBI file on him about it. His defining song in this regard is Smiths tune “Meat is Murder” but it’s far from the only time veggie politics has reared its head in his professional life.

One of his favorite threats is to cancel shows if he so much as smells a hot dog and he infamously left the Coachella stage in 2011 after catching a sniff of meat.

His quote: “I can smell burning flesh and I hope to God it’s human.”


British royal family

British royal family

Moz has made numerous attacks on the British royal family over the years and recently got his band to wear ‘We Hate William And Kate’ shirts during a show in Argentina.


Birthday cake

Birthday cake

You’ll never truly understand how dark Morrissey is unless you’re the sort of person who listens to the song “Unhappy Birthday” from The Smiths 1987 album Strangeways Here We Come each year.

Sample lyric:

I’ve come to wish you an unhappy birthday
I’ve come to wish you an unhappy birthday
‘Cause you’re evil
And you lie
And if you should die
I may feel slightly sad
(But I won’t cry)


A media press scrum

A media press scrum

People who write about Morrissey are amongst his least favorite people. The subject of numerous salacious biographies in England, his response was the song “Journalists Who Lie” from the 1991 “Our Frank” single.

Says Moz on the topic:
They’re only trying to make their name
By spreading sickening lies
About the ones who’ve made their name
Mate, give us the knife
Give us the knife

He doesn’t like bloggers either.


Rain puddles

Rain puddles

You’re probably all, like, rain? But that’s got to be his third favorite thing next to the dramatic tears of a virgin bride left at the alter and the existential crises of 40 year olds who still have student loans, but no.

Just ask the Swedes who missed out on seeing him because it was raining outside.


Morrissey with dogs

Morrissey with dogs

Dogs? But Morrissey loves animals? Sure… until they attack him.


Katy Perry and Russell Brand

Katy Perry and Russell Brand

When Perry and Brand met Morrissey he had no kind words for their then-impending union.

“I met Morrissey for the first time the other day and we had tea together,” Perry said. “He’s Russell’s mate and he is fascinating, but he was giving us a hard time about getting married. He swooned and sighed, ‘Oh, left hand third finger, don’t do it.’ It was just so eloquent and poetic and like one of his songs.”

Considering the two are now divorced perhaps we’ll just consider him right on this one.


Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul

We’re pretty sure the below lines, from “Sorrow Will Come in the End” of 1997’s Malajusted album, sum up Mr. Mozzer’s feelings on the topic:

Lawyer… liar
Lawyer… liar


Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst

Predictably, Morrissey would have problems with a guy who likes to string up dead animals in a tank and call it “art.”

And, as if on cue… Bam! … “I dislike the ‘use’ of animals in art, such as in the work of Damien Hirst… Do you agree that Hirst’s head should be kept in a bag for the way he’s utilised — and sold — dead animals?”


Noel Gallagher, Russell Brand and Morrissey

Noel Gallagher, Russell Brand and Morrissey

It’s songs like 1992 Your Arsenal gem “We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful” that really cement Morrissey’s status as an A list grump. That said, maybe we give him a little leeway on this one because we’ve all got a couple buddies we’re envious of in some way or another.


A rollercoaster

A rollercoaster

Ask Billy Bragg. Rollercoasters make Morrissey puke. In the actual sense.


Morrissey on the cover of NME

Morrissey on the cover of NME

The NME gets its own category above beyond all the regular journalists because of the weird Batman-Joker thing they’ve had going on with the Moz for decades.

There’ve been good times and bad between the two. Nowadays though, it’s mostly lawyers letters due to libel suits based on the paper calling him racist because he referred to the Chinese as “a subspecies” for being cruel to animals.

This story originally ran August 23, 2012 on Spinner.

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Behind Krispy Kreme’s Free National Doughnut Day Giveaway

Krispy Kreme doughnuts on the production line

Krispy Kreme doughnuts on the production line

Today was National Doughnut Day, which in itself is a cause for celebration.

But the day was made even better because Krispy Kreme Canada was giving away free doughnuts at their stores.

Because free doughnuts are amazing I spoke to Krispy Kreme’s Kelcey Hamaker about why they were doing it.

Giving out doughnuts has an origin that goes back almost a hundred years.

Read the full interview about Krispy Kreme’s National Doughnut Day.

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Neil Young Takes On Starbucks, Monsanto

Neil Young and Promise Of The Real

Neil Young and Promise Of The Real

Neil Young is rather clear on his feelings about Starbucks, Monsanto and genetically modified foods with his new song “A Rock Star Bucks A Coffee Shop.”

He really dislikes them.

I explained a bit about his new song and video and why he feels this way for Samaritan Mag.

To read the story go here.

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Burger King’s Connection To Boxing

Burger King

Burger King

One of the weirdest things to come out of the Mayweather-Pacquaio fight last week was the appearance of the super-creepy Burger King mascot “The Burger King.”

It seemed really peculiar at the time, but it turns out the King of the Whopper’s presence at fighting events isn’t all that strange.

Sarah explained why in an article for Fightland.

To read it, go here.

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