With homage to the top chef F5, here's an early Friday 5 for this week! I love this topic—doubtless I've already mentioned my two all-time favorite jobs were about food, but here I go again: writing restaurant reviews for the local radical broadsheet and later on, my gig as a line chef. I always explain I didn't have the school one needs these days to be a sous chef, but The Executive Chef trusted me sufficiently and thought highly enough of me that I did a lot of sous chef stuff.
1. If you were a food, what would you be?
Something with textures and flavors (colors, too) that vary with every bite, something you sometimes can't get enough of and then realize you're tired of—make me (literally) a fajita burrito. That's what we have every Christmas Eve, and these days it spells freedom and a kind of bittersweet homecoming.
2. What is one of the most memorable meals you ever had? And where?
So very many, but I'll indulge in summer night nostalgia, when way way back when we'd sit on the back steps of the parsonage, drink beer, eat salad and wait for the steak to grill.
3. What is your favorite comfort food from childhood?
First I'll pick the memory of eating sandwiches made with fresh homemade white bread, freshly picked beefsteak tomatoes, freshly ground pepper and Hellmann's/Best Foods mayonnaise with my grandmother at her kitchen table. Then, for a comfort food I can duplicate, among many possibilities I'll go with French Toast.
4. When going to a church potluck, what one recipe from your kitchen is sure to be a hit?
Typically I take 7-layer guacamole, etc. dip that always is a huge hit, or else a multi-ingredient salad. Another favorite is date nut bread made with a cup of strong coffee, but that's been a while now.
5. What’s the strangest thing you ever willingly ate?
My first time was willingly accidental! On Saturday evening of my first interview weekend in High Desert City, my hosts took me, their sons and sons' friends to a small Italian restaurant. We started the meal with individual side salads, and after we finished, my host exclaimed, "This was even better than the last time we were here—the calamari made the salad." At which point I thought, "I did it! I ate calamari and didn't even know it!" And have continued doing so ever since.
Bonus question: What’s your favorite drink to order when looking forward to a great meal?
Mundanely plebeian, in a restaurant I'll have a glass of Heineken or a local brew on draught. In someone's home, any beer or ale, or if they don't do spirits, Diet Coke TM or Diet Pepsi TM or water.