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Twenty Questions about Food

So. I happened to pick up this interminable list of food questions from fauxklore’s lj, and I wound up answering all of them. The thing is, I am not in any way a foodie. I suspect that the list of questions is more interesting for somebody who thinks about food more often (and more variously); to the extent that mine is interesting at all, it is interesting because my answers are so boring. If you know what I mean. Because I don’t cook very often, or very well, or eat at a variety of restaurants, my answers to these questions highlight the paucity of my gustatory imagination. Which, I hope, makes them worth reading.

  1. What’s the last thing you ate? A brownie. One of my co-workers brought in brownies and I had to be polite, didn’t I?
  2. What’s your favorite cheese? Gouda. It’s gouda and it’s gouda for you!
  3. What’s your favorite fish? I like salmon a lot. I’ve had wonderful swordfish, and that was probably the best fish dish I’ve had, but salmon is very likely to be tasty.
  4. What’s your favorite fruit? Apple.
  5. When, if ever, did you start liking olives? If I remember correctly, it was just about the time that hell froze over.
  6. When, if ever, did you start liking beer? I don’t like beer. I did start drinking cider when I was in England and looking for something to drink in a pub, and I discovered that I really like cider, so I drink a lot of that. This summer, late in the summer, I drank a lot of that lemonade-flavored beer as well.
  7. When, if ever, did you start liking shellfish? I don’t remember not liking shrimp, but I ate it only very rarely growing up. I discovered that I like scallops around, oh, 1994 or 1995 or so? I had lobster for the first time around then as well, and discovered that I liked it OK, although it wasn’t worth the effort.
  8. What was the best thing your parent/s used to make? My mother’s famous candied yams. I have the recipe (not really a recipe, more of an instruction manual) and it’s my bring-along dish for festive occasions.
  9. What’s the native specialty of your home town? Phoenix, Arizona? Specialty dish? Er, um. I know! Cactus jelly!
  10. What’s your comfort food? Potato chips. Although it is probably worth mentioning that the absence of tea means the absence of comfort, so to that extent, the answer is tea.
  11. What’s your favorite type of chocolate? Probably good hot chocolate, very rich.
  12. How do you like your steak? Cut from a lamb or a pig.
  13. How do you like your burger? My Best Reader combines ground meats, including lamb and turkey and pork, in some mystic combination, with breadcrumbs and spices and egg and whatnot. So good. But of course they need to be well-cooked.
  14. How do you like your eggs? In a sandwich: English muffin, egg and sausage. Or swimming-pool eggs, where you fry the egg in the hole in a slice of bread. Either way, they have to be over hard (or at least fairly hard) or it doesn’t work.
  15. How do you like your potatoes? Sliced very thin and fried crispy. Or mushed into a slurry with salt and whatever the hell else is in a Pringle and molded into that Pringle shape.
  16. How do you take your coffee? Right over to my Best Reader.
  17. How do you take your tea? Often.
  18. What’s your favorite mug? The mug I drink from the most often is a lightweight grey travel mug. It used to have a logo on it from an educational institution that employed me, but the shield has worn off and the lettering has nearly worn off. It now says EDY RNM. I also have two mugs that I drink from at home (alternately, not simultaneously) that were a gift from my father-in-law from Las Vegas New York. But my favorite mug is the mug I got from the Alumni Office of my alma mater that has the school logo and the words ‘I was mugged by the Alumni Office’. But there’s a story there.
  19. What’s your cookie of choice? Chocolate chip. Medium size, medium soft. No nuts. Second choice would be a really chewy molasses cookie.
  20. What’s your ideal breakfast? A great big cup of really good hot tea. An excellent newspaper. My Best Reader (not to eat, to converse with). Probably an egg sandwich, with sausage or bacon.
  21. What’s your ideal sandwich? Now I’m thinking about an egg sandwich, and it sounds pretty darn good to me. With really crisp bacon? Mmm. Other than that, good maple ham and provolone and brown mustard on ciabatta, pressed hot.
  22. What’s your ideal pizza (topping and base)? Thick crust (Sicilian), sweet garlicky sauce, lots of cheese, pepperoni. But I’m happy with a plain cheese pizza.
  23. What’s your ideal pie (sweet or savory)? Apple. Just out of curiosity, would Boston Cream Pie count in this category, or is it a cake?
  24. What’s your ideal salad? Chicken Caesar, with lots of parmesan shavings and small crunchy croutons.
  25. What food do you always like to have in the fridge? Cold cuts and baby carrots. Also, I keep water chilled in the fridge.
  26. What food do you always like to have in the freezer? Ice cream, frozen veggies, sausage of some kind (hot dog, kielbasa, breakfast sausage, chicken-apple), bad frozen pizza.
  27. What food do you always like to have in the cupboard? Noodles, tomato sauce, potato chips. Also wine, but that’s a different cupboard.
  28. What spices can you not live without? I could probably live without the whole rack, if I had to. But if I don’t have oregano, pepper and garlic, it’s hard for me to cook with the rest of the rack.
  29. What sauces can you not live without? Is mustard a sauce? What about honey? Otherwise, if there were no barbecue sauce in the world, I would be all sad and stuff.
  30. Where do you buy most of your food? Well, my Best Reader buys most of our food, mostly at the nearest supermarket, a Shaw’s. That’s probably where I buy more food than anywhere else, although I also shop at the corner market (called Hall’s Market), the A&P, a kosher market and the CostCo.
  31. How often do you go food shopping? Probably between us we make a stop three times a week. Maybe more.
  32. What’s the most you’ve spent on a single food item? I have no idea. We did buy one of those Box O’Meat deals this summer, but that’s not a single food item. A leg of lamb?
  33. What’s the most expensive piece of kitchen equipment you own? Not counting the range and the fridge? We have one of those sandwich presses; that’s probably the most expensive. We have some lovely knives that would probably be expensive, but we didn’t pay for them.
  34. What’s the last piece of equipment you bought for your kitchen? A fine mesh strainer. And there’s a story there, too.
  35. What piece of kitchen equipment could you not live without? Well, if I didn’t have a refrigerator, it would be pretty tough. Other than that, there’s no single thing that I can think of in the absence of which I couldn’t make do with something else. Even a teapot.
  36. How many times a week/month do you cook from raw ingredients? It depends on what is meant, here, but I’m going to say three times a week. I’m counting lunches and breakfasts and I’m counting some things as cooking from raw ingredients that probably shouldn’t count. My Best Reader, on the other hand, cooks from raw ingredients at least half-a-dozen times a week by any definition, and probably a dozen by mine. Not counting baking.
  37. What’s the last thing you cooked from raw ingredients? This is a good example of what I was talking about. I made tortilla pizza with store-bought tortillas and a tomato sauce my Best Reader made with store-bought sausage and a can of tomato sauce and a jar of pre-minced garlic and some other stuff. Is that cooking from raw ingredients? Probably not. If you don’t count that, I made a fry-up recently with potato, egg, cheese and ham. You don’t count that, either? Man, you are tough.
  38. What’s your favorite thing to make for yourself? You know that fry-up thing? That’s probably it. In terms of enjoying the making part.
  39. What meats have you eaten besides cow, pig, chicken and turkey?
  40. Lamb, venison, goat, alligator, buffalo, rattlesnake. Fowls: definitely duck and goose, and ostrich and I’m pretty sure I’ve had game bird, although I can’t remember what: quail or squab or something.
  41. What’s the last time you ate something that had fallen on the floor? 11:40 am.
  42. What’s the last time you ate something you’d picked in the wild? Does a commercial apple orchard count as the wild? If not, I may never have eaten anything picked in the wild. I don’t particularly like berries, which are the only things I remember being with people picking wild and eating. I have sipped honeysuckle from the vine, though.
  43. Place the following cuisines in order of preference (greatest to least): Indian, Chinese, Italian, Thai, French, sushi. Although I get a yen for Chinese the most often of those, but I like Indian more when I do eat it.
  44. Place the following boozes in order of preference (greatest to least): Vodka, rum, brandy, whiskey, gin, tequila. This is mostly based on one or two tastes. I don’t drink strong liquor straight, and I don’t drink mixed drinks very often, either. I may not have had any of those boozes (not counting things cooked with them) in a year or more.
  45. Place the following flavors in order of preference (greatest to least): Garlic, lime, ginger, basil, aniseed. The middle three are close enough together that I could put them in any order.
  46. Place the following fruits in order of preference (greatest to least): Apple, orange, banana, pineapple, watermelon, cherry. A big drop-off after pineapple.
  47. Bread and spread: Just bread and spread? Hm. Crusty Italian and butter. Although a baguette and gouda would be better, if you are big-category in spreads.
  48. What’s your fast food restaurant of choice, and what do you usually order? First would be a local pizza joint, two slices of pepperoni. If I can’t locate one, or the local pizza is inedible, a Quizno’s chicken sandwich.
  49. What are three of the best dining-out experiences you’ve had?OK, here is the difference between me and a foodie. My best dining-out experiences have been about the conversation and the company, not the food. I’ve eaten good food, I’ve eaten things that made me say wow this is the best thing I’ve ever eaten, but I don’t have any memory of it after a few months. So. Three great dining-out experiences. A few years ago, on (or nearly on) my Best Reader’s birthday, we ate in a little restaurant in Boston’s North End called l’Osteria. There was soup with tortellini, and I believe I had a citrusy chicken dish of some kind, and we chatted and had a lovely time, and then went to the New Garden to watch the Beanpot finals. That’s one. Another could be eating at Goat Hill Pizza with my Best Reader and two other Gentle Readers (long before there was a Tohu Bohu) at a sort of all-you-can-eat night where it was a sort of pizza dim sum experience, and we ate so much we staggered back to the bus to ride home in replete silence. Although generally I think a great dining-out experience shouldn’t involve so much regret afterward. And a third one could be—can I count the time we bought an ├ęclair the size of my fucking head from a cart in Camden Town? Or how’s this for what YHB is really like: one of my best dining-out experiences was the first time that the guys at Pinocchio’s saw me come in the door on a busy day, I held up two fingers, and when I got to the front of the line two slices of pepperoni were on the counter waiting.
  50. What’s your choice of tipple at the end of a long day? Port wine.
  51. Favorite cookbook/s? I don’t have one. I’m very fond of the stuff my Best Reader makes out of the Wooden Spoon Bread Book, though.
  52. Got any favorite food blogs? No. I did read Sarahparah’s Cook and Nifty Wench blog for a while, but I guess it’s defunct, now.
  53. What’s the next thing you’ll eat? Does tea count? No? Then I don’t know. I mean, I could make it easy by declaring that I will eat a piece of chocolate, and then doing it, but that doesn’t seem right. No, my Best Reader is preparing some sort of dinner, thank goodness, and I have no idea whatsoever what it might be. If I had to guess… fish?

I wrote most of this yesterday afternoon; the next thing I ate turned out to be the aforementioned lamburgers, some very grainy whole grain grain grain bread (which was technically the first thing I ate, as I had a bite after the blessing), some squash and a very tasty carrot dish with butter, brown sugar and ginger. And a glass of wine. So I should append to this note about me not being a foodie that I eat very well indeed, actually.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
-Vardibidian.

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