Thursday, May 24, 2012

Short Random Ideas Post

The title is pretty self-explanatory. Please enjoy my insanity while I get some stuff out of my system.

This is a sign that I'd like to see displayed across American fast food restaurants.

A Winnie the Pooh Mr. T.

Barb the French Bean

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Disturbing Searches That Happen When You Have a Fairly Innocent Blog

Warning: Due to the nature of the subject matter, this blog post contains strong language.

I have come to the conclusion that this little blog of ours attracts some rather bizarre search results. While most searches are benign and have often made me laugh despite the improper use of the Apostrophe S--

--there have been moments in which the words that led people to this blog have made me scratch my head. Or have genuinely disturbed me.

Or experience an uncomfortable combination of both.

Ever since I wrote my Having Big Boobs Isn't All It's Cracked Up to Be post, it should have been a no-brainer that it would garner the attention of horny teenagers who don't know how to spell if their lives depended on it.

"A Woman takeing her bra and shirt off shoing her tits with no things what seeing the tits wih out a bras or shirts in the wayrt."

God, that was painful to type. How terrible does your English have to be to even HAVE that as a search result in the first place? (The fact that said anonymous teenager heralded from the U.K. makes me want to weep for Britain and for the English language.)

Perhaps I am being unfair in assuming that only horny teens in the U.K. are guilty of this. In one instance, the blog was even graced by a Canadian woman. Well, based on the question asked, I'm assuming that it was a woman...

"do I need big boobs to be a playboy bunny?"

Answer: I'm not an expert on the matter, but I would assume that having large bazongas would be a pre-requisite to even be welcomed into Hugh Hefner's empire.

Oh, and speaking of Hugh...

...I'm going to need some mental bleach after reading that.

That certainly isn't the end of the boob-related searches, folks.

I don't know which is worse: the prospect of not having any coffee, or the fact that "jugs" was misspelled. 

To my knowledge, this blog is in no way, shape or form a purveyor of pornography, but what would a key word search be without the occasional desire to see male genitalia engaged in sexual acts?

Or, indeed, a photo of two corpses?

I also care to point out that this blog may have been encountered by a pedophile, and that makes me seriously question how on Earth they would have arrived on this blog in the first place.

No. Just...NO, dammit.

It's not always themes of a sexual nature that disturb me. There have also been instances involving murderous intentions and death.

You want advice on the matter? Call me crazy, but I think that there is no need to go biblical on your kids. The best you can do to punish is to not purchase the latest iPhone model for them. Trust me, that deprivation will feel like death to them.

Amid the rather distasteful searches, I am happy to report that not all of them have been negative. Even if the stringent grammarian in me couldn't help but wish that each word had been spaced properly and that the nouns had been capitalized, I admit that I felt giddy after seeing this:

Someone found the blog by searching for "barbthefrenchbean!" That's me! Someone fed my pig-headed ego by actually looking for little old moi!

And what the hell is a "necktie boob"? I'd do a Google search on the matter, but I only feel that it's a case akin to curiosity killing the cat, à la Lemon Party and Blue Waffle.


So, in short, I want to see more of this:

And this:

(Click here for the Zelda-related post.)

And less of the creepy searches that make me lose sleep and faith in humanity.

Barb the French Bean

Friday, May 11, 2012

Cooking Corner: Ratatouille

Much thanks to the lovely Pish Posh for inspiring this post!

What do you think about when you read the word "ratatouille?" Does it conjure in your mind a Pixar animation mouse in Paris that prepares French dishes so delectable that it melts even the most permanent sneer of jaded food critics? 

Because if it does, that is totally understandable. Despite all my years of studying French language and culture, I myself had a vague knowledge of the Provençale dish until that film came out in 2007. 

(Oh, and while I'm on the subject of the film, I will take a moment to add that I was quite indignant when I discovered that the DVD I purchased for a film that is based in France didn't even have French-language audio or subtitle options when The Incredibles did.)

(Call it silly or even irrational, but that has been burning inside of me for years.)

For me, "ratatouille" evokes fond memories of when I spent a few happy weeks under the sunshine and vast azure skies of the South of France with my dear friend Mimi. During one trip, I had the opportunity to shop in the local grocer in the village of Solliès-Pont to buy his fresh produce. His corner of the world had character. Splashes of color were spread among the baskets and stalls. The fragrance of wild strawberries seeped into my nose, awakening my senses and creating a flood in my mouth. Bulbs of garlic hung from the ceiling as dried bouquets of flowers and lavender decorated the ochre walls.

I was fairly miffed that my camera's battery conveniently died during my outing.

Once we made it back to the Provençal retreat, it was then that our friend Lucienne instructed me on how to make what is possibly the best vegetable dish I have eaten to date, one that gladly made me ask for seconds when one bowl would have sufficed. My carefree joy short-lived, I was lucky enough to have had Lucienne pass down her wisdom to me so I could replicate the same recipe when I returned to the States.

Ratatouille à la Lucienne
Can be paired with white rice or enjoyed on its ownAmply serves 4 people...or one ravenous American.

1 eggplant/aubergine
2 zucchini/courgettes
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
2 pounds of tomatoes, preferably plum or vine-ripened
1 onion, preferably white
2 tbsp of olive oil
Fresh sprigs of parsley and basil 
Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Equipment
Cutting board
Large sauce pan with lid
Wooden spoon
5 bowls

1) Prep all ingredients by washing the vegetables.

2) Take the vegetables and vent out your frustrations with the knife and cutting board, separating each ingredient in its own bowl

  • Cut the eggplant/aubergine into half-inch cubes and separate it into a bowl
  • Do the same to the zucchini/courgettes
  • Slice the bell peppers, discarding the middle section and cleaning the stray seeds
  • Have a cry and chop the onion
  • Remove the stem end of the tomatoes. Halve and then quarter each section. Do not throw away the seeds.
At this point, you should be ready to cook.

3) Tip the olive oil into the sauce pan and warm the heating element at the medium heat range. Once the oil starts to show signs of bubbling, dump the eggplant/aubergine cubes to brown them. Stir occasionally with the wooden spoon.

4) Once the cubes have been browned, remove the contents from the pan and then add the zucchini/courgette cubes. Cook for five minutes.

5) Stir in the bell peppers to the zucchini/courgette, cooking for 3-5 minutes. (The bell peppers will start to release water.)

6) Re-add the eggplant/aubergine.

7) At this point, you may add the salt and pepper to taste.

8) Layer the vegetable mixture with the chopped onion and then dump the tomato quarters on top. DON'T MIX YET.

9) Lower the temperature to low-medium range.You are now ready to cover the saucepan with the lid to cook for another 30 to 45 minutes.

10) Once the ratatouille has a consistency of chunky soup, stir the concoction and gently throw in the sprigs of parsley and basil. Cook for another 3 minutes.

11) Eat.

Please be conscious that, as it is with anything in life, everyone has their own cooking styles. If I were to try to make a recipe that my mother made, there will always be a lingering twinge of regret that what I've made isn't an exact replica.

I won't fool myself: my ratatouille is never going to taste like the one Lucienne made with her experienced panache.

But it's pretty damn close!

By the way, if you want to check out an awesome site for more veggie-friendly recipes and a humorous take on getting fit (both in the American and British sense of the word), I recommend visiting THE Pish Posh. Not only does she cook well but she also has a bust-a-gut sense of humor.

Go visit her. DO IT.

Barb the French Bean

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Why I Sound Kooky When I Speak

Lately, I've been experiencing all kinds of stress. From going through all kinds of berserk moments to complications in my living situation. Anyone who ever talks to me, will know that I'm the type of girl with all kinds of true crazy stories. I'm the type of girl that makes insane people look normal.

Every so often, I get into situations that makes me wonder if I am secretly being filmed for a sitcom. Kind of like the Truman Show, except more dramatically funny.

Just the other day, I had such experience. One very late night, I was driving to Downtown Disney to pick up some friends that had come to visit me. Since I was stuck at work the whole day, I decided to drop them off at Disney. The plan was to get out of work, pick them up and go back home, but plans never come out as expected.

On my way to pick up my friends, one of my tires blew out. I didn't notice and so I kept driving on the highway until I got to Disney. That's when things got worse...

In Downtown Disney, 10 minutes later....

Of course, it wasn't just a flat tire you could easily repair. In fact, it was irreparable. Luckily, I had a spare tire.

Unfortunately, the tire ended up being the wrong replacement tire for my car. So we decided to ask for help.

We did manage to find a good man, who just so happened to work at the chocolate store to help us out with  the tire, but that was after taking a taxi all the way to Walmart to buy a lug wrench (I didn't have one in my car). Of course there was nothing much to do since the tire was irreparable and it was around 1 a.m. so I couldn't just buy another tire.

Finally, after doing everything possible to fix the car, a man working at Downtown Disney decided to pay a taxi to take us home (I guess they aren't all puppets).

So I got back home with nothing, but the irreparable, flat tire. My car was left in hell Downtown Disney with the puppets security people.

The next morning...

I think some people actually took this as a joke on my FB, but what I had to deal with was much more serious. Especially, since I couldn't find anyone to give me a ride to Downtown Disney and had to take yet another taxi to the tire center. On top of that, rolling the tire on the side of the road, was becoming a little dangerous.

Well, needless to say, we did get to the tire place in a taxi and one of my friends did rescue me from having to spend 100 dollars on a taxi to Downtown Disney. My friends and I were finally able to put the new tire on my car and we were finally able to get back home with the car. Although, it was a horrible experience at the moment, it makes quite a comical story. Especially, if I emphasize the part where I was looking like a hobo carrying a tire down the streets of Orlando.

Of course, it wasn't the only thing that had happened to me, which only makes me sound even more kooky, but I'll leave the rest of the stories for another day.

-Hanny the coffee bean

I'm not sure what I was trying to say, but this also proves that I DO sound kooky when I speak.

I should really consider starting my own 'the shit Hanny says' page.