My weight has officially plateaued.
Either I’m going to find something to amputate in order to weigh less, or I’m going to burn some calories smacking around That Man of Mine, who lost another ten pounds without trying.
However, I’m consoling myself with the knowledge that one of my coworkers called me his laugh factory.
I am owning that with all of myself, and I am alleging that I am using those hot dog-flavored chips from 7-11 to power the laugh factory, and a good factory is usually pretty big.
Which brings me right round to the food thingie that I read on The Mom‘s blog, and I am going to do it here, for lack of better subject matter, but without tagging anyone, and in complete sentences, so you can actually read something about me without feeling like I handed you a grocery list.
(Incidentally, I do not write my grocery list in complete sentences. That Man forgets most of the stuff on it even when it’s done in single words without too many syllables.)
Pie. Pie. Me, oh, my.
I got that from the movie Michael, and it was sung by Andie MacDowell, whom the Mom does not like. I had no problem with her, myself, till I saw Ruby Cairo, in which she totally stole Liam Neeson from me.
Okay, she had more of a claim on him than I did or ever will, but I got pouty about it anyway.
The best apple pie (actually, probably the best overall pie, ever, in this universe or any other) is made by the Mom, usually only on holidays. I have no idea exactly what spices she includes, but aside from cinnamon and nutmeg, I believe she adds allspice, and mace (the spice, not the stuff you spray on muggers), and possibly a dash of crack cocaine, because that is some pretty fucking addictive pie, right there.
The best savory pie I ever had, I made myself. It was ground beef, jerk seasoning, golden raisins, soy sauce, and I forget what-all else, with a puff-pastry top crust, in a skillet. I have never been able to duplicate it, but I keep trying, because even the failures are delicious.
Given a choice between any pie in the universe, including pumpkin, and the Mom’s apple pie, we all know which one I would choose. But, given a choice between someone else’s apple pie, and pumpkin pie, I’d go with pumpkin.
That includes my own apple pie, incidentally. I can’t make it like the Mom’s. I usually say “fuck it” and make a cobbler instead.
Okay. Enough about pie. There were more questions in that thing. I’m getting to them.
Not only do I like a variety of ethnic cuisines, I go out of my way to try new ones whenever the opportunity presents itself. I have found that I like Turkish food, Ethiopian food, and Moroccan food this way.
My favorite ethnic food that I can afford to prepare or eat out on a regular basis is Mexican food. My favorite one that has to wait till I have enough money is probably Indian, because I haven’t the patience to make it at home, and ordering it in a restaurant is pricy.
I am a better cook than I am a baker. Cooking allows for mistakes, improvisation, and substitution. Baking is chemistry, and it is, not to put too fine a point upon it, persnickety. Baking wants you to do everything by the book, and if you miss even the tiniest step, you will fail. I have too much failure in my life to invite in some more. I bake when I have to. I cook because I want to.
I have, in my life, bought an empiric fuckload of cookbooks. I read most of them for pleasure, and rarely cook any of the recipes in them. For the most part, when I want to cook something and am not sure of a procedure, I’m more likely to jump onto the internet, look up the recipe, search for the answer to my question, then go back into the kitchen and finish the dish however I feel like. No one’s died so far.
I would adore to have a Kitchenaid® mixer, but I don’t have that kind of money. I have an ancient Sunbeam® mixer whose motor has not yet burned out. It was the Mom’s. I refuse to use it to make cake. The best batters emerged from that steel bowl and evolved into ambrosial cakes under the Mom’s guidance, and I cannot compete. When I decide to make cake instead of going to Retro Bakery, where I belong, I use the hand mixer.
The Mom did not tolerate picky eaters. When I was a tiny kid, I was frightened of food touching other food, but I was obliged to fight through it, so as not to get into trouble. Testing when I was an adult indicated that I have an extremely high-functioning case of Asperger’s syndrome, and I am fortunate, because most Asperger’s kids can’t get over that just ‘cos their moms said to.
Anyway, now I’ll eat just about anything, as evidenced by my arse, which is listed by the Astronomical Society as the primary reason Pluto got demoted to “dwarf planet.”
The fussiest eater in my family, growing up, was my dad, and I always assumed that it was because he was too big to spank. That Man of Mine is a bit of a fussy eater himself, but even though he is bigger than my dad, he’s not too big to spank, and I shall have to do so, since he eats crap and still manages to lose ten pounds, the jerk.
Get your minds out of the gutters, people. Seriously. Y’all are just eww.
I love hot chocolate, but it does not love me. Double-whammy: chocolate allergy and dairy allergy. Occasionally, I’ll take an antihistamine and drink some anyway, but I have to really want it, because even with preventative measures, I’m still going to get a mild case of hives.
I also love cheese, and I’m fond of trying different ones. Fortunately, the antihistamines do help with that. The only savory preparation I really don’t want cheese with is seafood, and I make exceptions for the Filet-O-Fish® from Mickey-Dee’s. I have no excuse for wanting square fish covered in American cheese and a glop of commercial tartar sauce. You’re just going to have to accept that about me.
I love to eat out, and I’m not picky about where or how. Talkin’ ’bout, if there were a White Castle in town, I’d want to go there on Valentine’s Day, when, rumor has it, couples are served their soggy little sliders on white damask, by candlelight. Fine by me. I am totally a Craver.
I live in Las Vegas. Yes, there’s a massive amount of fine dining here, but most of it is confined to the Strip, and Vegas is also populated by people who work for a living. The most popular food in town is probably Mexican, but Vegas is the Ninth Island, after all, and we’ve got a lot of Hawaiian barbecue as well, including teriyaki restaurants who, invariably, use way too little garlic and ginger in their sauces.
I believe that life is too short to eat boring salads. Yes, I will tolerate a halfhearted handful of iceberg lettuce with a lonely chunk of refrigerated tomato, but I’d prefer microgreens, with olives, and pepperoncini, and even anchovies if you’ve got some. Top it with homemade vinaigrette. And give me my dad’s crouton’s; he doesn’t want them, and will say so by declaring, “No toast on mine,” because he cannot remember the word “crouton” and once embarrassed himself by telling a server to “hold the coupons.”
I’m not sure I have a favorite pizza topping. I will pretty much eat pizza with anything on it except anchovies, which I like everywhere except pizza. The best pizza I ever had, I made myself, with leftovers. It had linguiça, ricotta, caramelized onions, kale, and fried sliced potato. I have never seen one like it in a restaurant, so I can’t exactly order it to go. When we go to Grimaldi’s, I like pepperoni, sausage, and mushrooms, but I usually order just cheese, because toppings are a lot of extra money I don’t actually have.
I make excellent meatloaf. My recipe is related to the Mom’s meatloaf recipe, except that I do glaze mine with ketchup during the last few minutes of baking — a technique the Mom did not practice. I have also been known to wrap a meatloaf in bacon, because hell yes. The Mom does not bring bacon into her home willingly, but let’s just say she is fully aware that the reason pork is forbidden in Judaism is that something as awesome as bacon must also be sinful.
I love me some popcorn, particularly kettle corn, and I also love a plate of fresh from the oven nachos, topped with pico de gallo, guacamole, queso, carne asada, onion, and cilantro. But better than either of these to me is the infamous gas station nacho, which is related to the ballpark nacho, but is more readily available. It’s also related to the movie theater nacho, but far less expensive. Gas station nachos, with their gooey fluorescent orange cheese sauce, are amazingly delicious, and, again, you’re just going to have to accept that about me.
I don’t like all fish. Pickled herring, for instance, is one of the few foods I flat refuse to eat. I’ve never had lutefisk, but I’m betting I won’t like that, either. Most fish, however (raw or cooked), I enjoy thoroughly, and since it’s good for me, I eat it as often as I can get it. I had shrimp with garlic sauce for lunch, and it reminded me of the Mom, who used to eat it at Royal Palace, tears streaming down her face from the hot pepper, and the servers hovering anxiously behind her, refilling her water glass every five seconds. The shrimp I had today weren’t as spicy as that, but it was a fun memory nonetheless.
I really love baked beans now, and I make Boston baked beans from scratch every once in a while, and calico beans as well, which I never saw till I moved out west. This was not always the case, apparently. It is told that, when I was the tiniest of tiny kids, the Mom would make franks and beans, and she would put a little piece of hot dog onto the tray of my high chair, and I would pick it up and eat it happily … but if she put a bean onto the tray, I would inevitably bring my chubby little index finger down and squash the hapless bean mercilessly into flat oblivion. I have no recollection of this habit, so I cannot tell you what I had against beans in those days.
I have a humongous Crock Pot®, and I enjoy using it. There is something so satisfying to me about throwing a bunch of raw stuff into a slow cooker, turning it on the lowest setting, going to work, coming home, having a nap, waking up, and having dinner not just ready, but piping hot and smelling fantastic.
I used to say that the one guilty pleasure that I would never give up was Spaghetti-o’s, but I haven’t had any in some time and I’m not suffering. However, it’s been about a month since I’ve had a cupcake, and I’m feeling sorely deprived.
I don’t really have a favorite flavor of ice cream. I can eat so little of it, even if I drug-up ahead of time, that the tiniest spoonful of vanilla is heavenly to me. Of the big three (chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry), I like chocolate best. However, I prefer any ice cream I eat to have some sort of texture to it. I love mint chip, for instance, but it’s mostly because of the crunchy bits of chocolate. I still am not sure that’s my favorite, though, because I never want that much of any flavor of ice cream before I’m tired of it. While the Mom can eat an entire pint of ice cream in one sitting, I tend to eat it a spoonful per day, and it lasts for ages.
Because of my dairy allergy, the milk I drink most often is soy milk, but before I found out that not everyone gets congested and has throat constriction when they eat dairy, I liked two-percent milk — it tastes less watery than skim, but it’s not as fattening as whole milk.
I don’t eat yogurt anymore, except frozen yogurt, because it makes me sicker than most dairy products. Even when I go out for fro-yo, I tend to take more toppings than yogurt, which fact makes That Man tease the hell out of me. I’m just being sociable. If I must eat something out of a cup with a plastic spoon, I’d just as soon have it be strawberries and cookie pieces, which I know I can tolerate.
I prefer oatmeal to yogurt, but, again, I like texture. I throw walnuts or pecans into my oatmeal, because otherwise, it’s just mush.
I make mashed sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving, because my recipe is bomb, and top secret, and people request them. However, as much as I like them, I’d just as soon have for myself a loaded baked potato, barely visible under a layer of cheddar, bacon, chives, butter, and sour cream.
Chili is one of those foods that, no matter how good anyone else’s is, I am secure in the knowledge that my chili is the best in the world. However, everyone else in the world is secure in the same knowledge. This is why we can never have peace on earth.
I like just about every kind of pickle I’ve ever had. My favorites are cornichons, but I will never not love a deli-style half-sour garlic pickle, the kind that makes your hands stink, but you don’t care, because you had an awesome pickle.
Oreos are one of my favorite cookies, but I steer clear of them. Aside from the chocolate factor, they’re really best dunked in a glass of cold milk.
You may be wondering how I got this fat when I can have so little chocolate or dairy. If you are, just ask yourself how much chocolate and dairy there is in French fries, and Bob’s your uncle.
I like strawberries better than bananas, but bananas are more affordable and slightly more durable. Also, when a banana sits out too long, I can make banana bread. If strawberries sit for too long, I can make penicillin.
I rarely buy fruit in cans anymore, but I do buy those individual servings of fruit cocktail in juice, because they’re a pretty good snack. I also buy those jars of citrus salad, because I cannot make gorgeous sections in a grapefruit half the way my grampa used to. That Man can’t have any. He’s on Lipitor. Did you know you can’t have grapefruit if you’re taking Lipitor? I’m here to help.
I like tuna salad. My favorite is Subway — they use a thicker mayonnaise and it doesn’t drip too much, unless I get a lot of tomato or pickle on it. So it does drip quite a bit, actually, since I also add banana peppers. I’m not exclusive about tuna salad, mind you. I also like salad Niçoise, and seared tuna steaks, and raw tuna at the sushi bar. Sorry, Charlie.
I will always have a soft spot in my heart for roast beef. The first meal I ever prepared, beginning to end, myself, had roast beef as the main course. I was twelve.
I like cabbage: cooked, in soup, stuffed, or in cole slaw. I also like kimchi, and sauerkraut, and that vinegary stuff they put on the plates at Las Pupusas.
I like plums, although I prefer them raw to cooked, and I prefer fresh plums to prunes.
I love green onions, although I always call them “negi-negi,” which I got from a Victor Borge special. (Negi, or ネギ, is Japanese for green onion. Victor Borge said it to the page-turner when he leaned in close, presumably breathing on him.)
I like proper Ramen noodles (you can get them in restaurants), but the ones in the packets always tend to come out tasting overcooked. I use Oodles of Noodles, but I blanch them so they are still al dente, and I season the broth myself, because the little packets of powder they include with the noodles are too salty. I just throw those out. I like to doctor up the Oodles of Noodles: I’ll add peanut butter, soy sauce, vegetables — whatever I have — and make a dish of them.
I love spicy food. I like the slow, long-lasting burn of capsaicin, and the brief bite of mustard, and the holy cow nosebleed WOW of wasabi, and the sharp pop of black pepper, and the warmth of ginger and cloves. In fact, I am now wondering what would happen if I combined all of those into one sauce. I’ll get back to you.
If I’m having something as healthful as salad, I will try not to mess myself up by adding fried chicken to it. If chicken is coming to the party, let it be grilled.
The only way I don’t like eggs is if the white is still runny. Other than that, bring ‘em on … and I would have to say my favorite preparation of eggs is a hard-boiled egg, sliced thinly, on rye bread spread very lightly with mayonnaise and sprinkled with paprika and onion powder. I don’t remember who made me that sandwich first (probably my gramma) but it ruined me for egg salad sandwiches forever.
The most expensive meal I have ever eaten was in October of 2002. I did not pay for it, nor did I see the bill. However, there were several bottles of fine wine served and consumed, and another member of our party said he saw the bill and it had four digits. I venture to say that our host got his money’s worth, because that petit Chablis was to die for, and I also had snapper turtle soup for the first time, and it changed my life.
I like stir fry, and I make it better in this crappy little apartment than in anyplace else I ever lived, possibly because I have a properly working gas stove, and possibly because the altitude is so different. Whatever the case, my stir fry is exceedingly good, if I do say so (and just did).
I make a lot of Brussels sprouts around here. It’s one of those vegetables That Man of Mine is willing to eat if cooked properly. I do not boil or steam them. I toss them in olive oil and roast them off in the oven. I used to sauté them with bacon and onions, but I’m trying to lower That Man’s cholesterol, and not kill him, tempting though that might be.
I use canned San Marzano tomatoes for making spaghetti sauce, but that is the only time I prefer canned tomatoes to fresh. Even if I’m going to be cooking something with tomatoes (lamb chops using the Mom’s recipe, for instance), I slice fresh tomatoes onto mine (That Man does not eat tomatoes except in sauce) rather than using the Mom’s preferred ingredient, Del Monte Stewed Tomatoes.
My cardiologist has restricted me to one cup of coffee a day. He did not say how big the cup could be. If you were a small enough child, playing hide-and-seek, you could hide in my coffee mug. Ollie-ollie-oxen-free.
I like both hot dogs and kielbasa; given a choice, I suppose I’d pick hot dogs, but given permission to think outside the casing, I’d go for red hots, which are like the more delicious, spicy cousin of both the hot dog and kielbasa.
I eat dinner at work. I eat lunch in front of the television, or reading a book. I know it’s not right, and I don’t particularly care.
I really consider rice to be a vehicle to sop up the sauce that drips off my Chinese food. I’d never eat it otherwise, although I’m willing to concede that brown rice, basmati, and jasmine rice have flavor on their own. I don’t dislike rice. It’s just less convenient to prepare than pasta or potatoes, or even quinoa, which is higher in protein and nutrients.
Cottage cheese is another one of the rare foods I won’t eat. When I make homemade blintzes, I substitute ricotta. Cottage cheese is lumps and watery stuff. I refuse to get behind that texture.
I love granola bars because I think they taste good. I make no pretense of believing that all that sugar is actually good for me.
I prefer M&Ms to Hershey Bars, because you can sort them by color and eat them more slowly. However, with my chocolate allergy, I am usually doomed to settle for Skittles.
I don’t think I have an all-time favorite food. When I am eating a food I love, it is my favorite. When I am craving a food I love, that’s my favorite. I will say that I have never met a cupcake I didn’t like.
drinking: ice water
listening to: Alex Day, She Walks Right Through Me
current cupcake craving: red velvet