Saturday, October 30, 2010

Food, Books, Travel, Love...What else is there?

Carly got tagged this week and then she tagged the Internets... I have no running of note to blog about, and this tag had lots of questions about I'll play.

1. If you could eat anything without any health repercussions, what would it be?
That's a tough one, because I really like good food. Fast food? Meh... I can leave it. But put a really perfectly aged and grilled filet mignon in a bĂ©arnaise sauce, in front of me? And I'm in heaven. I make a really mean bread pudding that has a bourbon sauce that is just to die for. I also make some kick-ass gumbo. I don't make these things very often because both are heart-attacks waiting to happen.

BTW...I've only been to the south twice. Why I love southern cooking so much is a bit of a mystery to me.

2. If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
I'd love to meet Jon Stewart (living) and Mark Twain (dead) because they are/were brilliant satirists. I'd just want to sit and listen and learn.

3. Why did you start blogging and what did you expect when you started?
I've written about this a lot on this blog and elsewhere. I started blogging to capture the adventures of the herd when we training for our first (and only) marathon, but I'd actually been thinking about starting a blog for awhile. I didn't want to start a mommy blog (not that there's anything wrong with that). I thought about starting a blog about adolescent literacy since I have LOTS of opinions about that topic or about teaching, a job with LOTS of stories to tell. Then, when I dropped my first iPhone in a toilet after a training run, I googled "dropped iPhone in toilet" to see if I could salvage it and came across this blog. I thought it was the funniest damn thing I'd read. I loved the voice, the pacing, the meta-commentary, and started to model some of my points after Amalah's style. I've never met her, and she's never (as far as I know) ever read my blog, but I am somewhat indebted to her.

What did I expect? At first, I expected to entertain my friends, although I expected that I'd start blogging and be able to quit my day job and just write all the time. That hasn't really happened yet.

4. What is the one book you could read over and over again?
I teach English, so there are plenty of books I've read over and over again. One of the books that I've taught that I actually enjoyed reading more than once is Barbara Kingsolver's The Bean Trees, just because the main character is a smart ass, and I like that about her.

As for non-teaching book? You are about to discover what a complete and utter geek I am... I've read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy more times than I can tell you about.

5. If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?
One day, I'll travel through Europe...Italy actually. I'd love nothing more than to drink wine, eat pasta, sit in a piazza and people watch people, see great art, and drink wine...for the rest of my life.

6. If you could have a TV show on the food network, what would it be?
I'd love to have a TV show where The Herd and I travel around the country, run some, then eat breakfast and have mimosas at different restaurants, and then let the TV sensors beep out 1/2 of what we actually end up talking and laughing about... wouldn't be great TV, but I'd have fun!

7. What was the best meal you've ever had?
There are two reasons why any meal is "the best meal." One would be because of the person you're with, and the other would be about the food. In my case, it's both. One of the best meals I've ever had was at a restaurant in downtown San Diego called Croce's (it's owned by Ingrid Croce, the late Jim Croce's wife). Walter and I went there for dinner one night. I can't remember now if we were still dating or if we'd just gotten married, but the truth is that we ended up there without a reservation on a Saturday night and somehow they squeezed us in. We ordered mussels and they were just exquisit. We've both claimed, ever since then, that they were the best we'd ever had. In retrospect, I think that we were young, in love, and feeling very lucky that the maitre' de sat us on a busy Saturday night and all THAT is what made the damn mussels so very good because they've never been equaled.

8. Who has been the greatest influence on your love for food and learning to cook?
My mom would occasionally try to get me to learn to cook when I was young, but I just had no interest in it, at all. I mean, I was happy to eat whatever she cooked, but had no interest in cooking it myself. When I first moved out on my own, I once called my mother to ask her how to bake a potato. I remembered that I'd seen her stab it with a fork, but I had no idea why, nor did I have any idea how long, or what temperature, and this was well before the Internet when I could just look it up.

One of my first jobs out of college was at a hotel, and at one point I started working in the catering department (answering phones, handing out menus). There were SO MANY THINGS on the menu that I'd never heard of...bearnaisse sauces, petit fours, pates, filet this, grilled that. We'd have tastings and I decided that I really LIKED food.

Anyway, it was working in those hotels, and learning from a couple of the chefs, when I started becoming more interested in food and cooking. I would watch what they did and think, "I could do that!" that's true Carly fashion. I tag the rest of the Internet who hasn't already been tagged by Carly (as if that's anyone...she's got, like, a gazillion followers)


  1. I like it - and I agree with you about junk food vs. an aged steak hmmmmm. Make sure to stop by the UK on the way to Italy! We can cook you something good, I promise!

  2. Love your observations about food! And, for the record, I think you should pitch your running/drinking mimosas idea to the Food Network. It would be a big improvement over a couple of their shows!

  3. Italy. mmmmm. You must go to Venice and Florence. Gelato. Eating waffles smeared with Nutella on the street. Silk. Art is everywhere. Leather. ohhhh, I want to go back.

  4. For some reason I'm really hungry right now. I love filtet mignon. :)

    Since my blogging has been suck-y, I may have to borrow this meme for fodder. :)

  5. I LOVE bread pudding. I may need your recipe...

  6. My favorite Mark Twain quote:

    "When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in 7 years".

  7. If I could meet one person who is living, it would be any one of the original ABBA members. I need to know why they aren't still recording.

  8. What a great idea for a TV show! "Heffers in Breakfast Heaven". I'd watch!

  9. This is one good post...I enjoyed reading...

  10. I love Croce's, though my best meal was across the street at the old Ole Madrid. I miss that place.