To meme, or not to meme . . .

That is the question.

I kill chain mail. On purpose. I go out of my way to stop the crappy forwarding of nonsense. I even threatened to sue my dad when he was forwarding so many stupid email chain jokes. I got a cease and desist order. So when Food Migration tagged me a couple days ago, I said, as my father would say, "Thanks a rot, Cindy."

But here I am. Seems unsporting not to play. And there is a bit of flattery in being tagged. Also, somebody's been bugging me for a mission statement like thing, maybe I can get away with this instead. So:

What is your first memory of baking/cooking on your own?

Actually, with my sister. We were alone for hours, and hungry. We somehow made these little blueberry cheesecake like things. Very small, totally improvised. Now I am proud of this age 10ish adventure. At the time, we got in trouble when mom got home - for potentially wasting food (we didn't, they came out great), and for using the oven unsupervised.

Who had the most influence on your cooking?

My cooking really comes out of a desire to eat well. My desire to eat well was a direct product of going out to dinner with a wealthy family to the L'Hostellerie Bressane in Hillsdale, NY. I think that the restaurant is now closed, but at the time I was about 14, and had never been anywhere fancy at all. The family was grateful to me because I bullied the kids who bullied their son, I was grateful to them for introducing me to a world of food I hadn't known existed. I always loved to eat, but I didn't know there was much beyond well-done meat and potatoes lavished in mayo or butter, with some white-trash mexican thrown in. My mother made me a jumper for the occasion, it was a white on white flower pattern. I was horrified to find I matched the tablecloths and linens, and spent the meal obsessing and worrying everyone would notice. The menu was in French, I naively ordered sweetbreads, and they let me. And I loved the sweetbreads. I loved the food, even more I loved being around people who ate for hours, talking about the food, talking about other great meals while eating a great meal. It was a revelation.

Do you have an old photo as 'evidence' of an early exposure to the culinary world and would you like to share it?


Mageiricophobia - do you suffer from any cooking phobia, a dish that makes your palms sweat?

I get nervous with fish, more because of not cooking it enough to be totally comfortable than anything else.

What would be your most valued or used kitchen gadgets and/or what was the biggest let down?

I love my knives, two Henckles Pros. I also adore the pineapple corer, which B got in his work Yankee Swap. The veggie shredder attachment to the Kitchen Aide was the biggest let down. Too much work for the end result.

Name some funny or weird food combinations/dishes you really like - and probably no one else!

Man, my family is going to be embarrassed by this. I love liverwurst, cream cheese, and peanut butter - together, on white bread. Granma took care of me when I was little, and every day would give me Ritz crackers with one of the above. Pretty soon I had convinced her to give me a variety pack. Then I would scrape the topping together. In all honesty, I haven't had this in years. Besides the fat factor, I don't often have all three in the house at one time. But now that I'm thinking about it, a trip to the grocery store sounds good . . .

What are the three eatables or dishes you simply don't want to live without?

Chicken tikka masala & nan; real heirloom tomatoes in August, warm from the sun, with a little good salt; garlic

(this was the hardest one! the list could go on! oysters! polenta! grits! cheeses (all of them)! really great hamburgers! did I say oysters?)

Any question you missed in this meme, that you would have loved to answer? Well then, feel free to add one!

Your favorite ice-cream...

mint oreo (or rainbow sherbet)

You will probably never eat...

I will never try uni again. Enough said about that experience.

Your own signature dish...

I say its my gumbo, which is mind-blowingly good, and which I learned to make in New Orleans. While many people agree with me, my deviled eggs get me invites. I once pulled up to a barbecue to have two people run up to meet my car, at which time they demanded I hand over the eggs (through the car window), and then they kind of left me there.

A common ingredient you just can't bring yourself to stomach...

I am working hard on learning to love olives. I have achieved tolerance. And like of very good black olives. I don't like bell peppers, though I can stomach them. I am also working hard on pickles. I learned in the past month that I love homemade pickles. A la Jeffrey Steingarten, I really want to like everything.

Which one culture's food would you most like to sample on its home turf?

Mexican. No doubts, no debates, hands-down.

The people I am tagging are:

I thought long and hard about this. I just can't. I can't keep the chain going. If anyone is out there, wishing and hoping and praying to be tagged, please email me. Or tag yourself or something. Otherwise, I'm sorry.


cindym said…
Oh, that wasn't SOO bad, was it? Isn't it kind of fun to have an excuse to talk about yourself?

I promise I'll never do it again. But I liked reading your responses!

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