Sunday, June 25, 2006


Hey there, FoodFriends. Let's rock a toid.

When was the last time you ate an entire, full-size candy bar? What kind of candy bar was it?

I consumed my last entire, full-size candy bar sometime during fall 2004, and it was almost certainly a Butterfinger purchased from the Rite-Aid at Sunset and Fairfax at some irresistably discounted price. However, Suebell astutely points out that until around eight months ago, I routinely concluded my supper by gnawing on a giant slab of Ghirardelli dark chocolate. This irregularly shaped delight typically lasted me 2-3 weeks, at the end of which I'd have worn it down into a golf-ball-sized brown hunk covered in bite marks and dried saliva. Sadly, the choco-slab era ended abruptly when our old house became infested with rats, and I became unable to determine with 100% accuracy that the bite marks and saliva were my own.

What is a food you ate all the time as a kid, but which now disgusts you?

About once a week when I was growing up, my mom would get tired of cooking delicious meals and instead buy each of us a Healthy Choice fettucini-alfredo-with-chicken-and-broccoli dinner. I thought they were great. So it saddened me a little when I bought one at Ralph's a few weeks ago, only to find it watery and gross. Then again, I still thought these were delicious as recently as two months ago, so maybe I microwaved it too long, or not long enough, or just badly.

What is a recent food impulse buy which you regretted? Which you were delighted by?

Like many of you, I enjoy sampling unfamiliar products, and so, on my last visit to the market, I picked up an innocent-looking bag of Trader Joe's Black Bean Chips. Unfortunately, I failed to notice the word "Jalapeno," which was sneakily scrawled in hard-to-make-out yellow cursive lettering between "Trader Joe's Black Bean" and "Chips." I'm no fan of jalapenos, and it took a downright excessive amount of Trader Joe's Guacamole -- a delightful impulse buy from some weeks ago that has become one of my like six dietary staples -- to mask the unpleasant hint of those hateful peppers. Still, Liz and I ate practically the entire bag in one sitting.

What was the most satisfying meal you ever prepared for yourself and ate while totally drunk?

I'm not sure I've ever managed to prepare a remotely satisfying meal while even partially drunk, but I have been a helpful associate in others' food-making endeavors. The best and probably only example is the night Cort and I went to some bar on Vine and, on our way home, foolishly passed up $2 hot dogs from a late-night street vendor. Realizing our mistake as soon as we got home, Cort fired up the skillet and began grilling a pair of frozen sausages, while I filled a pot of water and began boiling a packet of Minute Rice. The meal was terrific, and it inspired me to write a standup comedy routine about the actual amount of time it takes Minute Rice to finish cooking. It's significantly longer than a minute!

If you had to have one of the FoodFriends design your diet for a week, whom would you select?

She-Hubbs. I'm always extremely skeptical when she claims to have cooked something poorly.

What are the shows you watch the most on Food Network? What are your thoughts on: Rachael Rae, Alton Brown, Nigella Lawson?

Since the month I spent living on Yank and Junior's couch, when I must have watched at least 25 episodes of Unwrapped, I've barely seen any Food Network programming. I did receive a copy of "Guy Food: Rachael Ray's Top 30 30-Minute Meals" for Christmas, but it's been sitting for months, unopened, on our kitchen counter, unceremoniously stacked under a pile of Jeff's CDs, directly below my (signed) copy of Josh Lambert's guide to cooking for college students.

What food staple would it be most difficult for you remove from your diet?

Pasta. I actually did remove it from my diet during the aforementioned rat infestation, when I refused to store food, cook, and whenever possible, be in our old kitchen. Unfortunately, after deciding to dine out whenever possible (in lieu, it should go without saying, of actually trying to get rid of the vermin with which I was sharing my living quarters), I was unable to ignore a sage bit of advice my dad passed along one night when I was about 12, after I'd asked my parents if we could eat at the newly opened Spaghetti Warehouse in downtown Greenville. I don't recall his exact words, but they were something like, "Only idiots eat pasta in restaurants." Only years later, when I began to factor such things as unit prices into my dining aspirations, did I recognize the pearl of wisdom in his oyster of curmudgeonliness.

Anyway, the day we moved into our new house, I ate a goddamn pasta feast.

If I told you that you could only eat one of the following for the rest of your life, but you could always get whatever you chose as fresh and as good as possible, which would you choose? Also, assume that whichever you chose would be seedless: (1) Oranges (2) Clementines (3) Tangerines

Clementines, but only if someone can assure me they're as good for juice-making as oranges. Eating-wise, to me, it's no contest.

Also, do you prefer plastic wrap or aluminum foil?

Plastic wrap is for hippies and communists.

When and how did you learn to cook?

I haven't really learned to cook anything other than pasta and tuna melts, neither of which you've heard the last of. The week before I moved to Los Angeles, my dad taught me how to prepare his "bachelor special" -- shrimp sauteed in butter, garlic, tomato, and onion, served on a bed of yellow rice. It's good and all, but I feel he's going beyond the bounds of logic and reason when he claims, as he does, often, that learning to cook this meal will greatly enhance my ability to meet and romance women.

A quirk of fate leaves you in each of the following cities for long enough to have only one meal. What/where do you eat? Boston, Cambridge, New York, LA.

Boston: Dom's. I order lobster divola and $300 worth of dessert wine.
Cambridge: Boloco. I order a buffalo chicken wrap and a Cape Codder smoothie. Back at the Lampoon, I pour out half of the smoothie and replace it with vodka. The results are disastrous.
New York: Serendipity 3. I order the frozen hot chocolate and maybe a chicken caesar salad. Would it surprise you to learn this is the only restaurant in New York that I am able to name?
L.A.: Yamashiro. I order a bunch of tuna nigiri and edamame and make my friends pay for it, along with the compulsory valet charge. This actually happened once, but it was my birthday, so no one could call bullshit.

Name a fruit, meat, soda, and candy you despise.

Fruit: Cantaloupe. I just don't get it.
Soda: I almost never drank soda as a child, partly because my parents loved me and bought me all manner of healthy juices, partly because it hurt my throat when I swallowed. I'm pretty indifferent to most sodas now, root beer being my least favorite. I actively hate Red Bull.
Candy: I dislike pretty much every fruit candy and love every chocolate one. But despise? That honor goes to Hot Tamales.

I have a teleporter, and can send you anywhere in the world for dinner. Where will you go, what will you have?

I will go to the Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co. in Chicago, and I will order a one-pound Pizza Pot Pie. The Oven Grinder was one of my favorite restaurants when I was a small boy, and I didn't realize how spoiled I was until, after moving to South Carolina, I discovered that most restaurants don't cook pizzas in four-inch-deep bowls, nor do they fill them with what the Web site describes as "doorknob-size, whole, fresh mushrooms," nor, most importantly, do they measure the size of a pizza by its weight in pounds.

Do you have any well-loved or detested cookbooks?

I like Lambert's cookbook, mainly because of the cute illustrations.

Name a food that evokes a strong memory of a particular time and place in your life.

Between the ages of 8 and 10, I had a grilled cheese sandwich and a chocolate milkshake with my dad at an old-timey diner on Central Street in Evanston, IL after all my Saturday morning Little League baseball games. In case you were wondering, this all took place in AMERICA.

Equally notably, altoids evoke what you might possibly maybe oh I don't know call a curiously strong memory of the road trip I took to San Francisco earlier this year with SC, MrDeegs, and FoodRoommate Jeff, during which MrDeegs famously coined the phrase "rock a toid."

What is your relationship to caffeine?

As SC, Suebell, and Yank can attest, I've discovered a way to deploy caffeine strategically so as to induce time-specific pooping. Generally, the lag is exactly 20 minutes, although I can usually adjust my intake speed to suit the schedule at hand. So far, this skill has been entirely useless. Perhaps because I didn't drink much soda growing up, anything more than a small cup of coffee makes me jumpy and agitated, plus, you know, the pooping.

What is the best burger you've ever had?

Jesus, there are so many questions left. I really have no idea about this one.

I have a food replicator from Star Trek Next Generation, what do you order and how do you order it?

That pizza thing from Chicago. My God, it's 3:22 in the morning.

Which comic book character would you most like to cook a meal for you? For which comic book character would you most like to cook a meal?

I would love for Bruce Wayne's butler, Alfred, to cook me a meal. I'd want him to bring it down to me in the Batcave on a silver tray with one of those fancy lids, and I'd go, "Not now, Alfred!" because I'm busy analyzing scale samples from Killer Croc. Then Alfred would pull off the lid, with a silent "ta-da" flourish, and there would be Killer Croc's head on a platter! Alfred and I would laugh and laugh, and then he'd bring out another platter with mac and cheese.

I'd like to cook for Poison Ivy. Same situation as before, but when I pull the lid off the platter, it's full of plants.

Are there any foods that would receive an f- grade from you?

Sauerkraut. Rice cakes. Salmon loaf. Oki-Dogs.

In my family we often took to calling Ramen Noodles "Trash Noodles." Do you have any cute food nicknames?

My parents and I refer to grated parmesan as "Cheese Salt."

Based on what you've read of the diets of each food reporter, which food reporter would you eat?


Along the lines of "Salt," "Cod," and "History of the World In Six Glasses," what foodstuff would you most like to read a book about?

I've been pretty fascinated by everything SC has told me about the history of pineapple.

Is there any food you are embarrassed about how much you like it?

Scooby's fries. A few months ago, FoodAssociate DC purchased a sizable order of these on our way home from a party, and I proceeded to put virtually all of them into my face between Hollywood Boulevard and my house, which is maybe a three-minute drive, slowing down only to declare them, loudly, "the best fries I've ever had," which I repeated upwards of a dozen times. When we got back to my house, I ran inside, collapsed on the floor, finished the fries, and then yelled at Liz and Jeff about how great the fries had been for around half an hour.

What was your favorite meal in the dining halls of our fair college? How much would you pay to eat this meal tonight? To eat this meal, would you be willing to travel to Staten Island/Encino/a smelly cave in a swamp?

My favorite meal didn't appear until late in my college career, and I believe it was called Red Spice Chicken. Basically, it was boneless chicken with buffalo sauce. I'd pay $5 to eat it tonight, but I wouldn't travel to Encino, as better-tasting and more appealingly named versions of it seem to be widely available.

What are your favorite beers? What are your favorite wines? What are your favorite liquors? What are your favorite cocktails? Do you feel that you have a signature drink? If a FoodFriend ever had to order a drink for you while you were in the restroom, what drink should they order?

I tend not to be very discriminating when it comes to alcohol. The beer I drink most, by far, is Bud Light, which is fine by me. As for wine, you might say I've caught the fev-iogni-er. I'm partial to Honey Moon, which is the only one I've tried. My favorite cocktail may not even be a real cocktail, but I ordered it once at La Poubelle, and it was called the godfather, and I believe it contained equal parts scotch and amaretto, and it was pretty great. Maybe that could be my signature drink, assuming it's real, which, again, no idea. I'd like a FoodFriend to order it for me, if only so they have to deal with explaining to the bartender how to make it, which I had to do the second and only other time I ever ordered it, which was also at La Poubelle.

Have you ever eaten food or consumed a beverage while making love?

No, but if I ever do, I'm 100% sure the food in question won't be the "bachelor special."

Last question: What is your favorite food?

Starbucks Java Chip Ice Cream. You haven't heard the last of that, either.


Blogger Jack said...

Re: Alfred and Poisin Ivy, very compelling, hard to argue with. May I ask if you have in mind the traditional, boring Alfred and Poisin Ivy, or the outrageously awesome Alfred and Poisin Ivy imagined by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini for Batman: The Animated Series? Note: Poisin Ivy is 800% hotter in the latter case.

7:36 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

Wow, I have never misspelled the word "Poison" so many times in one sitting. Jesus Christ. I knew something was going wrong, and I just told myself that "poison" looks funny when you see it written down. Good lord.

7:37 AM  
Blogger doogs said...

I absolutely have in mind the Batman: TAS versions of both characters. Suck an egg, Michael Gough!

Perhaps you had Poison Ivy confused with Hoisin Ivy, a rival female supervillain who plots to slather Gotham in plum sauce and also her favorite band is Operation Ivy.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

There actually is an explanation for my gaffe, it becomes extremely boring for everyone but SC starting now, and even SC is probably going to lose interest. I had not long before writing that (otherwise quite worthy and accurate) observation been tracking down a copy of the lyrics to the traditional Irish tune which is sometimes called "Roisin the Bow," even though in American spelling, "Rosin" would feel more natural. Great tune, though. The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem do a terrific rendition on The First Hurrah! (1964).

9:43 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home