Todd Daniel

Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

The Theory of Fat Relativity

In recipes on July 26, 2010 at 9:14 am

Ego equals More Corpulent friends (squared)

Dear Todd,

Hey, Einstein. I heard about your new theory. The one where you claim that you are only as fat as the company you keep, or something like that.

Please give Mama Cass, Orson Welles, and Babar my best.

Yours in theory,


Todd weighs in: Due to my diet and my recent stint as nursemaid to my elderly in-laws, I find that I’m not only subsisting on carrot sticks and apples, but I’m cooking more fattening food than ever before. It’s actually been enlightening to know that I have the self-control to not devour everything I am creating in the kitchen.

This got me thinking: Maybe my fatness would be less devastating if everyone around me was heavier. So now, while I’m happy to share the details of my weight loss, I’m also going to share a recipe guaranteed to put pounds on those around me. It might be the most horrifically fattening creation I’ve ever made (the nice thing about cooking for old people is that they don’t ask a lot of questions about what went into a dish, and they really don’t give a rat’s fat ass about calories – plus we are trying to err on the heavy side with my in-laws who, together, might actually weigh less than me).

Todd’s Buttery Silver Dollar Pancake Bread Pudding with Caramelized Apples

Calories per serving:  approximately 10,000 (without ice cream)

Aside from the apples, there is no other nutritional information needed for this recipe, since none exists. This recipe serves one, or possibly two people depending on the generosity of the first person.


1  apple, peeled, cored and cut into small thin pieces

Approximately 12 to 14 silver dollar pancakes, regular or whole wheat

1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling on extra empty calories

1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup

2 tablespoons butter, plus more (softened) for extra greasiness

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup heavy cream, half-and-half, or milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dash of nutmeg and a dash of cinnamon

Pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 3-inch deep, 5-inch diameter ramekin or other suitable baking dish. Check your blood pressure.

In a small saucepan over medium high heat, place apples, 1/3 cup sugar, honey (or maple syrup), and 2 tablespoons of butter and stir until sugar and butter are melted. Continue stirring occasionally until apples are softened and mixture has a caramelly (it’s a word) consistency, about 5 minutes. If the mixture seems too thick add a bit of fruit juice or water. Let cool slightly.

Call your doctor and get permission to proceed with this recipe. Hopefully, he or she won’t be in the office and you’ll go ahead without supervision. In a separate bowl, whisk together the beaten egg, cream, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Try not to exert yourself.

In the buttered dish, begin layering the ingredients as follows:

Start with a tablespoon or so of the cooled apple mixture. Lay 3 or 4 pancakes on top of this and pour about 3 tablespoons of the egg mixture over them. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of sugar over the moistened pancakes and begin the layering again, starting with the apple mixture and ending with a sprinkling of sugar. Continue until all of the pancakes have been used, ending with a sprinkling of sugar. Dot the top of the pudding with 1 tablespoon of softened butter.

Place dish on a piece of foil or a baking sheet (I had butter flowing out of the sides during the baking process). Place in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until top is puffed and bubbling and you gain weight just looking at this damn mess that started out as a few leftover pancakes from breakfast.

Let cool (at least slightly) before serving.

Recheck your blood pressure after sampling your creation.


Forbidden Fruit

In exercise on July 20, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Dear Todd,

I have to hand it to you. If this whole dieting thing pans out it will be due to your mental determination. I’ve known you to swerve into a drive-thru at 60 m.p.h. because a double cheeseburger seemed like a reasonable snack at 4:30 in the afternoon. Now, all I ever see you do is eat apples and drink lemon water and green tea.

Your torso still looks like it is melting, but you probably have the healthiest bladder in town.

Keep it up!


Todd weighs in (literally):  I love cheeseburgers. And tacos. I consider fast food a real taste treat. I don’t believe in god, but storywise I think a burger would have been a much more suitable temptation in the garden of Eden than a piece of fruit. Dieting, for me,  is more of a mental process than a physical one. At some point you just have to say to yourself, “Hey, being fat was really a blast, but you are starting to look like a beanbag chair and your arteries are probably none-too-happy with you.” So I changed my eating habits. Just like that. Apples have become my new best friend. They’re okay, and I feel like my  jaw is getting a workout even if the rest of me is still sitting around (I’m mentally working on that).

So now it is time to announce my goal weight and my current weight. I’ve weighed myself on two ancient scales (I believe their combined age is about 107 years) and I’m going with the lesser of the two evils. Let’s say that my current weight is about 212 pounds. Let’s also say that 220 pounds is a remote possibility. I’ll try to get a more accurate reading soon, although it’s hard to quickly strip off all of your clothes when you come across a digital modern scale. Usually, it means I’m a dinner guest using the bathroom in someone else’s house or I’m in the hallway of the doctor’s office.

In adulthood, my lowest weight was 147 pounds (the loincloth year), but that was clearly too thin. I think 170 would be a lovely weight. My clothes would fit. My driver’s license information would be close to the truth. And I could sit on furniture without destroying it (more on that later).

Green Todd(ess) Dressing

In recipes on July 15, 2010 at 7:41 am

Dear Todd,

What is with all of the loincloth photos? We get it. You used to be thin. We believe you. You used to be a gymnast. Enough already. Put a shirt on, for crying out loud. Those days are behind you, and from where I’m standing, there’s a lot more room to hide back there than there used to be.

Get over it.


p.s. Do you need to borrow some pants? I’m sure I have something in a 38″ waist lying around here somewhere.

Todd weighs in:  I’m happy to report that no fried food has entered my system in the last 48 hours. In fact, very little food has entered my system. A turkey sandwich on wheat with dijon and some lightly steamed vegetables with a homemade Greek yogurt green goddess dressing have comprised my meals the last two days, and lemon water has been my drink of choice. Well, my drink, at least. The old me would choose cola. The old me would also have sat on the couch and watched the new me do 50 sit-ups and 20 push-ups. The really old me (a.k.a. skinny me) would have been horrified by those numbers and would have laughed at the grunting and shaking that accompanied them.

On a lighter note, here is my recipe for Green Goddess Dressing:

Todd’s Non-Fat Green Goddess Dressing

Simply place the following ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine:

2 cups non-fat Greek style yogurt

Juice of one lemon

1 tablespoon anchovy paste

A handful of fresh herbs, such as basil, tarragon, dill or cilantro

1 bunch of scallions, green and white parts, coarsely chopped


1 shallot coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Fried and True

In Uncategorized on July 14, 2010 at 7:17 am

Dear Todd,

You are absolutely correct in thinking that the surest way to lose weight and eat healthier is to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet. Eating them raw, blanched, or steamed is a great way to stave off hunger during this crucial part of your adjustment period.

Frying the crap out of them in peanut oil, however, is not one of the American Heart Association’s recommended preparation methods.

You are trying to lose weight, right?

As ever,


Todd weighs in:  Green tomatoes, aside from being impossible to find in July in Phoenix, are also nearly impossible to eat raw. And I’ve just finished reading Fried Green Tomatoes by Fannie Flagg, so shoot me if I wanted to see what the fuss was about (it’s about a really tasty treat, particularly when paired with homemade green goddess dressing). I only had five small slices with a club soda, and made up for it by having a really minuscule dinner of chicken and pasta served on a bread plate.

I’m no nutritionist, but I’m pretty sure this is not a tried and true diet regime.

From Loin Cloth to Pork Loin

In Uncategorized on July 12, 2010 at 10:06 am

Dear Todd,

Ten years ago, at 35 years of age, you danced in the Dale Wasserman world premiere of “A Walk in the Sky.”  You actually had a visible belly button then and wore a piece of fabric the size of a dinner napkin (possibly smaller) that had to be strapped and pinned to keep from slipping off.

Today, on what is officially the first day of your alleged year of living thinner, you ate cake.

Nice work.


Todd weighs in:  In my defense, I had no intention of eating cake today. I was caught off guard by a surprise birthday party thrown in my honor (nothing surprises you more than a birthday party held two weeks after your date of birth). If it’s any consolation, the main course was a lovely salad with a chicken breast perched atop it. Is it my fault that the chicken breast was rolled in a crust of ‘Nilla wafers and then deep fried?* Aside from a few tortilla chips and three leftover slices of chicken breast, that was my complete intake for the day. And I did ten pushups (I would have done more, but it is 3:00 in the morning – ten seems sufficient). A decade ago, I walked in the sky. Tomorrow, my goal is to walk on the ground without causing minor tremors in the Phoenix metropolitan area.

*’Nilla Wafer Chicken is a Robrt Pela original creation. We are anxiously awaiting his much-anticipated Oreo-Encrusted Pork Loin.

Dear Me,

In Uncategorized on July 11, 2010 at 8:55 am

Dear Todd,

I recently saw a photo of you and was shocked to discover that you have become a pear. When did this happen? You used to be a gymnast. I have photos to prove it. Your feet used to be things you could actually see and touch, and not an urban myth. And if matter is never truly created or destroyed in this universe, what poor creature has sacrificed themselves so that you may take up twice the space you should? I want answers. And results. And I want them this year. I know you are in there, Todd. And from the looks of it, you have company.



Todd weighs in:  Five years ago, I used to stand under waterfalls in skimpy swim trunks and feel pretty good about myself. Today, it would take a cascade the size of Niagara to cover my torso, and I would be wearing parachute pants and a tunic as my swimwear.