FOUR HOURS. Fuckity. I could have watched an entire anime series in that time.
Anyway, here it is. Gah.
What's the last thing you ate? What I've had today since waking: Slice of Breadsmith brioche bread. Pre-wrapped serving of extra-sharp white cheddar. Mouthful of cider (spat out into sink because it had gone off). Glass of milk mixed with matcha tea latte concentrate. Buffalo-wing potato chips. Concord Grapes. Banana. Spoonful of almond butter. Two pieces Breadsmith Honey White bread. Date bar. Peanut butter chocolate Lindt truffle. Square of Vosges Goji bar. (It's late afternoon now.)
What's your favorite cheese? Let's start off by saying that cheese IS my favorite food. By itself, accompanied by apples or bread or crackers, melted into pretty much anything. (Yes, I've had Vosges cheese-and-chocolate truffles, and they too are fantastic.) If I had to pick one I'd of course go with the reliability of aged-ten-jillion-years cheddar.
What's your favorite fish? It took me a long time to appreciate that there are differences between fish, and not just differences in the way they're seasoned or prepared. I like cod and scrod, because they're meaty and strongly flavored, and mahi mahi was a favorite once I discovered it. Catfish and tilapia taste muddy to me, but I may still eat them if they're there.
What's your favorite fruit? Once I would have listed exotica like persimmons and cherimoyas, because I still have remnants of an "exotic is best" attitude. I love strawberries but only if they're perfect, and cherries, both tart and sweet, are one of the blisses of summer. But for reliability, give me a wonderful tart apple. Really, really tart. Like, "Oh, don't eat that, Miss, that's only for baking" tart. My current favorite apples are Honeycrisps.
When, if ever, did you start liking olives? I still give dirty looks to people who don't like olives. How dare they diss the beauty that is a brined olive? Sicilian, Greek, Kalamata, fat green Spanish olives...*happy moan* I shudder, though, at those tasteless atrocities known as canned California black olives. They're like eating congealed salted water; there's nothing there.
When, if ever, did you start liking beer? Just this year! I never have liked beer, but wanted to like it as it seems like the sort of beverage that would be perfect to wash down greasy, highly-seasoned food. But I just never liked it. So I started trying to get used to it by starting with non-alcholic beer, so that I could drink it whenever. True anecdote: fabularasa came to visit me, grabbed an NAB out of the fridge, asked, "May I have this?" I said, "Sure. You did notice it's non-alcoholic, right?" She started making gagging noises, asked to know what on earth it was doing in my home. I said, "I'm trying to learn to like beer; I'm starting with non-alchoholic beer." She said, "That's like saying, 'I'm trying to learn to like sex; I'm starting by going out and getting raped.'"
But the end of the story is that I do like beer now! I like it with greasy spicy food. It was my drink of choice when I went to a churrascaria. But I still drink non-alcoholic beer and can't tell the difference between it and other beers, except that the alcoholic ones make me sleepy. Sorry, Fab.
(But I'd still rather have a caffeine-free Diet Coke most of the time. Especially with pizza.)
When, if ever, did you start liking shellfish? I've liked it forever. Lobster, shrimp, mussels...I grew up thinking I didn't like crabmeat because the only crab I had was that stringy spiced crabmeat you find stuffed into flounder, made into sub-par crabcakes and such. Yuck. But then I was in D.C. and was served real crabcakes. They were like lobster cakes. Amazing.
What was the best thing your parent/s used to make? My mom is a really good cook. She's the kind who doesn't use a recipe (while I need a recipe to breathe. I cook like it's a neat new lab experiment, rather than as if I'm trying to get people fed). Everything she makes is well-seasoned. Her type of dinner typically involved a slow-cooked meat dish, a potato, a salad, and some accessory vegetable. Box-mix cake for dessert. No salt or pepper or bread on the dinner table; we had enough without it. She also didn't do casseroles, because my dad didn't care for them. I keep pestering her to remember how she made spaghetti sauce. She didn't use ground beef; there were these giant chunks of slow-cooked meat in her sauce that were so delicious. They'd cut with a fork and oozed fat as you ate 'em. She tells me she can't remember what she used, but that it wasn't very complicated. Argh!
What's the native specialty of your home town?...I don't know if there is one. Potato chips? Apple cider?
What's your comfort food? Now, see, I don't get that question. Never have. To me, food IS comfort. When I eat, it brings me happiness. Someone define "comfort food" for me in a way we can all agree upon and I'll let you know.
What's your favorite type of chocolate? I'm not a chocolate snob. I love expensive chocolate (and hoard it), sure, but I'm just as thrilled with a handful of M&Ms. Dark is good. Milk is good. White is good sometimes. My favorite might be chocolate that involves almonds or peanut butter, and salt.
How do you like your steak? Bloody. Grilled over a flame. With charred fat lining the edge.
How do you like your burger? Cooked at a restaurant. I can't enjoy a burger made at home. I want the bun buttery and toasty and the burger rare and dripping and no one can seem to recreate that at home. Red Robin's Royal burger delights me, the one with the fried egg and the mayo. I ask them to substitute cheddar for the American cheese and add a slice of red onion, and it's perfect. (I couldn't eat McDonald's burgers at all, growing up--they were grilled on onions, which I couldn't stand back then, and had no mayo. Hadda go to Burger King and get Whopper Jrs.)
How do you like your eggs? Made by me, as opposed to the way I like burgers. My favorite way to eat an egg is to toast a piece of Breadsmith's Honey White bread, butter it while it's hot, rip it into pieces into a bowl, then boil an egg for exactly four minutes, break it in two, scoop out the egg with a spoon and plop it into the bowl, the white softly solid and the yolk runny, and mix the whole thing up and eat with a spoon. If I scramble eggs they must have cheese, lots of it. I make a decent potato frittata, too. I don't trust omelets at most restaurants because they make a little pancake of egg, throw it on a plate and fling cheese and ingredients inside and fold it over and call it an omelet. Gag. The cheese has to be incorporated into the omelet, you doofi! There's one restaurant that makes their omelets the way I like them, and they're huge, with the cheese oozing out of all the pores. I'll order one for carry-out and it makes three meals for me.
How do you like your potatoes? French-fried.
How do you take your coffee?
1. Go to coffeehouse chain.
2. Smell delicious coffee smell.
3. Order milk steamer (most often with almond syrup) and muffin. Do not be seduced by delicious coffee smell into actually ordering coffee. That way lies bitter disappointment.
How do you take your tea? Hot. Plain. If I'm emotionally prepared to drink a pound of sugar, I'll make a pitcher of sweet tea, but I can't drink it without being conscious of how many calories are in it.
What's your favorite mug? The one I got from Café Press, with Friede's Stealing Harry artwork on it.
What's your cookie of choice?Raw. I love cookie dough--chocolate chip, sugar, whatever. My current favorite cookies are three-ingredient peanut butter cookies: a cup of no-sugar peanut butter, a cup of sugar, one egg. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes.
What's your ideal breakfast? Whatever I'm hungry for, eaten whenever I get hungry. Without anyone pestering me, "Aren't you gonna eat something?" or "Oh, are you eating your lunch already?"
What's your ideal sandwich? I've never thought about it. I guess if the bread's good that's the main thing.
What's your ideal pizza (topping and base)? Not fair! Pizza is a food group in itself! I could pick a dozen from a dozen different restaurants that are my favorites, crust- and shape- and texture-wise. I'm perfectly happy with pepperoni and cheese for all of them, though. I guess I'll have to say that my favorite is Brooklyn-style pizza. I didn't know what to call it until just a couple of years ago, and was reduced to asking pizza places, "Do you make a pizza where the crust is, you know, kind of wet, and falls over when you pick up a piece, like you have to roll it up to eat it?" Finally Domino's had a campaign for it and I knew what to call it. (Though I still can't find it locally outside of Domino's.)
What's your ideal pie (sweet or savory)? Remember in the movie "Michael," where the groom looks at his new bride in the diner and says, "I like cream pie better than fruit pie," and she says, "That's just so wrong"? Yeah, that's me, in the group of the wrong. My favorite pies are shoo fly (I make my own), sweet potato (it MUST be made with lemon extract and nutmeg only; no cinnamon or clove can come anywhere near it; I make my own of that too), chocolate cream (NOT French Silk. Two different animals), and coconut cream. The local deli makes both the perfect chocolate cream and coconut cream pies; how lucky is that. Sometimes when I get carryout from there I can't decide and have to order a slice of both.
What's your ideal salad? It's all in the dressing. You can put plain lettuce in a bowl, and if the dressing's delicious, I can overlook everything else. I have been spoiled by some amazing gourmet salads, and now I crave them, but they're all united in having wonderful dressings--lemon thyme cream, vodka vinaigrette, sesame caesar, ginger miso. There are a few commercial dressings that I love, too, including a modest nationwide chain's creamy blue cheese dressing that I adore.
And it's very hard to f*** up a Greek salad for me. Unless you use California olives. AIE!
What food do you always like to have in the fridge? Kim chi. Eggs. Cheeses (lots). Miso paste. Apples. Lettuce. Butter. Cookie dough. Green onions. Olives. A Trader Joe's packaged Pot Roast. Pickles. Pickle relish. Nineteen different sauces, including salad dressings, lemon juice, mayo, sriracha sauce, Korean spicy red paste, oyster sauce, barbecue sauce, Sarabeth's Orange-Apricot Marmalade (I use it as a dipping sauce for everything). One jar of instant coffee for when my mom visits. I would like to keep a cooked rotisserie chicken in the fridge at all times, throwing out the old after a few days and buying a new one, because it's something I find myself craving frequently when I don't feel like going out shopping, but that seems too wasteful, so, I don't do that.
What food do you always like to have in the freezer? Frozen peas, pre-seasoned fish fillets, Ore-Ida potatoes, Trader Joe's Chocolate Lava Cakes, Trader Joe's Naan, some instant foods like gourmet frozen pizza and egg rolls, ginger root, soups I've bought/made, at least one New York strip steak. Usually ice cream though I will go through periods of rejecting all store-bought tub ice cream (I'm having one of those right now).
What food do you always like to have in the cupboard? Canned tomatoes, chicken broth, beef broth, cannelini beans, coconut milk, tuna, smoked oysters, sundried tomatoes in oil, nut butters, Kraft Easy Mac Extreme Cheese flavor, Turtle Island instant soups, potato chips, Cheez-Its, other crackers or pita chips, Lime Shrimp Chili flavored ramen, chinese noodles, semolina pasta (cavatappi's my current staple), short-grain rice, dry milk, cake mixes, flour, sugar, confectioner's sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, vegetable oil, extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, five different vinegars, maple syrup, head of garlic, teas, instant hot chocolate, nuts, chocolate, non-chocolate candy, caffeine-free Diet Coke, La Croix flavored sparkling water, and another nineteen different bottles of sauces, most of them Asian.
What spices can you not live without? Sea salt, vanilla (extract), garlic, ginger, cayenne, cinnamon.
What sauces can you not live without? Sriracha, Thai Chili Garlic, oyster, A1 Bold and Spicy, mayo, Red Hot, Vietnamese fish. I take soy for granted, so I shouldn't forget it.
Where do you buy most of your food? When in season there's a farmer's market on my way home from work and I try to ge all my fruits and vegetables there. Otherwise it's the chain grocery near my house, with frequent trips to smaller gourmet groceries nearby. And I carry out a lot of dinners.
How often do you go food shopping? Anywhere from "Daily" to "Let's see if we can have fun eating up what's in the house without buying more; it'll be a fun (and frugal) experiment!" which may mean I'll try not to go more than once a week.
What's the most you've spent on a single food item? Hmm. Well, Vosges chocolate makes this dark-chocolate covered charoset, full of dried apple and walnut pieces and cinnamon, and it costs $15.00 for a container that has only five pieces in it--that's a luxury I decided not to deny myself. I've probably bought more expensive cheeses, though. But I can't remember.
What's the most expensive piece of kitchen equipment you own? ...I have a blender? Wait, I have a Cuisinart, but I bought it second-hand. I never use the thing.
What's the last piece of equipment you bought for your kitchen? Was it the tea ball or the chef's knife? I don't remember, it's been a while.
What piece of kitchen equipment could you not live without? The fridge? The stove? The oven? The knives? The pots and pans? Ah, don't make me choose.
How many times a week/month do you cook from raw ingredients? Would you count chopping a tomato? Or tearing up lettuce leaves or boiling an egg? If so, daily. If not, a couple of times a week, I guess.
What's the last thing you cooked from raw ingredients? Scrambled eggs with tomatoes and cheddar cheese and garlic salt.
What's your favorite thing to make for yourself? Omelets, probably, since I prefer to cook my eggs myself.
What meats have you eaten besides cow, pig, chicken and turkey? Duck, elk, venison, quail, lamb, goat. Might have forgotten one or two.
What's the last time you ate something that had fallen on the floor? Every day. As long as it's my own floor. That doesn't bother me, since I have no pets and don't wear shoes in the house.
What's the last time you ate something you'd picked in the wild? A long time ago. I went strawberrying as a girl once? Oh, wait, there was a berry tree near my apartment in college--were they huckleberries? I never found out. They were purple and shaped like rasperries and were mild and sweet, not tart at all.
Place the following cuisines in order of preference (greatest to least): Chinese, sushi, Indian, Thai, French, Italian, Mexican. I love French cooking but where can you get it without spending $50? I eat much more Asian cuisine. I could eat Chinese every day, and I love sushi, but I like Japanese cuisine beyond sushi and it frustrates me that I can't find it nearby. And where I live, Italian is "default non-ethnic cuisine," where you say, "Let's go out and have plain, American food," and you go to an Italian restaurant. So I take Italian for granted. And I just don't crave Mexican very often; when I do, it's for the guacamole and the cheese and not the spices.
Place the following boozes in order of preference (greatest to least): Tequila, run, vodka, brandy, gin, whiskey. I chose that order because I only like girly mixed drinks, so, I'm most likely to order a margarita or a creamy fruity rum drink. Brandy and whiskey, blech, medicine. (Though brandy does its duty in flaming desserts.)
Place the following flavors in order of preference (greatest to least): Garlic, ginger, lime, basil, aniseed. I like them all, though.
Place the following fruits in order of preference (greatest to least): Cherry, apple, pineapple, watermelon, banana, orange.
Bread and spread: Crusty baguette and butter.
What's your fast food restaurant of choice, and what do you usually order? McDonald's soft-serve vanilla ice cream. Go ahead and laugh; I'm sure the people at the McDonald's drive-through do, every time they see me. "Here comes the lady who only gets an ice cream cone." But it's the most reliable place for vanilla soft-serve in the winter!
If I want an actual fast-food meal, I'll probably hit the combo White Castle/Church's Chicken and buy four White Castles and some onion chips, or maybe a chicken thigh and a biscuit if I'm in that mood instead. Or Burger King for the Whopper Jr. with extra pickles, hold the onion. (And, yes, I have been known to get a Big Mac to go with that vanilla cone.)
What are three of the best dining-out experiences you've had?
1. Bar Harbor, Maine vacation. Lobster every night, clam rolls every noon. Bliss.
2. Pepperoni-mushroom calzones and vanilla-caramel shakes, eaten at 1am while in college from a place that delivered until 4am every day.
3. Salt-jalapeno crispy squid, also discovered during college, and more recently tracked down at a Chinese restaurant 20 mins from where I now live.
What's your choice of tipple at the end of a long day? That's an alien concept to me. I don't unwind with alcohol.
Favorite cookbook/s? What to Cook When You Think There's Nothing In the House to Eat, by Arthur Schwartz. I still make Macaroni in Brodo on a regular basis, though it's been a while since I made the Peanut Butter Soup or the Cheddar Cheese Soup.
Got any favorite food blogs? I just run my flist and save all the interesting recipes you guys post! Made some fantastic dishes, like matociquala's Beef Stroganoff and violetisblue's Yorkshire Pudding.
What's the next thing you'll eat? I might make that Lemon-Tahini Marinated Tofu recipe that I got from someone on lj; can't remember who! Saved it as a text file, way back when.