Delicious Days has launched another meme ("meme," that overused word -- sheesh, gives me the screaming meemees). And yet, I'm happy to play. Here goes:
What is your first memory of baking/cooking on your own?
I had a copy of the original spiral-bound Betty Crocker's Cookbook for Boys and Girls, published in 1957. So I must have been about seven. (No! She's GOT to be wrong! She's only 29! OK, now she's lying for sure.) And I remember concocting that stupid Raggedy Ann "salad" made of a canned peach half for the body, some carrot curls for hair (am I remembering this right?) and celery sticks for legs and arms. I can't remember what the head was made from, although I think there were raisins for eyes. Eek. But it was a good book -- I learned a lot.
Who had the most influence on your cooking?
Totally my mom. She was a midwestern innocent catapulted into the exotic world of international cuisine when she married my Navy pilot dad. Early on she acquired a taste for sashimi, avocados, Major Grey's chutney. And as my dad's career increased in diplomatic importance, she was more and more required to host fabulous, drop-dead dinner parties. I became her galley slave, happily peeling, mincing, marinating and broiling .
Do you have an old photo as “evidence” of an early exposure to the culinary world and would you like to share it?
I'm working on it. If my dad can find it and scan it -- well, it's pretty cute. OK, here it is (and yes, that's chocolate -- I remember).
Mageiricophobia - do you suffer from any cooking phobia, a dish that makes your palms sweat?
I love to buy sparkling fresh fish. And then once I get it home, I stash it in the fridge for far too many days. As time wears on, I become dreadfully afraid to cook it at all, and it usually gets chucked.
What would be your most valued or used kitchen gadgets and/or what was the biggest letdown?
I'm wild about my Benriner, a Japanese plastic mandoline. I'm even happier with my butcher's glove, so I can safely shred vegetables while keeping my flesh attached to my hand.
Not so happy with the stupid herb roller: a dumb little device with about six sharp wheels that are supposed to make quick work of a bunch of parsley. All the chopped leaves stuck to the wheels. Bleh.
Name some funny or weird food combinations/dishes you really like - and probably no one else!
I got two for ya:
1) Saltines spread with peanut butter and mayonnaise.
2) Nacho Cheesier Doritos dunked in chive cottage cheese, followed by a bite of Greek peperoncini. Beer chaser mandatory.
What are the three eatables or dishes you simply don’t want to live without?
Oh, gosh. Perfect strawberries. Osetra caviar. Tomatoes. (Can I add olive oil? OK, then, just tomatoes. Wait: Bacon!)
Any question you missed in this meme, that you would have loved to answer? Well then, feel free to add one!
Sure: Do you love truffles? (Pig truffles, not chocolate truffles.)
Your favorite ice-cream…
You will probably never eat…
Your own signature dish…
Y'know... Just about any soup. 'Specially vegetable soups. Cream of vegetable soups.