1) Describe a recipe you’re still chasing.
That’s easy. Until recently it was the perfect cornbread, but I’ve found that. The other is a muffin. I was traveling by air many years ago and had a layover in Kansas City. The only vendor open for food was a bakery counter. For some reason I remember it as being Marie Callender’s, but I’ve never seen that restaurant in any airport, ever, so I don’t know why I associate MC with that airport. Anyway, I bought a cup of a coffee and muffin. The muffin was Pineapple Coconut. Ordinarily, I never order coconut flavored anything. I love fresh coconut, but artificial coconut flavors or scents are repulsive to me. It’s all they had, however. To my surprise, that muffin was the best muffin I’d ever had. Light, fluffy, airy, with bits of shaved coconut and pineapple. Probably closer to cake than muffin (it had no fatty or greasy taste at all) It was exquisite. I’ve chased that muffin recipe for probably ten years. I’ve never found it, despite countless muffin books. ::sigh::
2) Describe your speciality in the kitchen.
Soups. I am the queen of soups. I do NOT eat canned soup. I’m convinced none of them are good. I did buy a can of cream soup recipe so I can make King Ranch Chicken (because of this blog post I read), but I’d never heat it as soup, ever. Unfortunately, I don’t follow the same recipe every time, and it can be a pain to recreate it and forget important last minute additions. My most repeated "soup style" dish is my Collard Greens. It’s my go-to soup when I’m sick.
3) What would get you kicked out of the foodie community?
Wow, so many things. Here are the top contenders: 1) I love Oscar Meyer bologna, fried until it’s practically black, slapped on plain white bread, with nothing else. 2) I have never made a cake that is as moist and reliable as a boxed cake mix. When I find one, I’ll admit it freely, but until then, I have to admit that I like cake from mixes better than hard, dry, overrated from scratch cakes. Oh! One exception! My favorite cake IS from scratch – oatmeal cake with broiled coconut pecan topping. Nothing is better than that. But otherwise, I make cakes from a box. 3) I've tried very hard over the years to really enjoy wine, but honestly, I can take it or leave it. I love champagne and cocktails, but wine doesn't add to or detract from a good meal for me. 4) I don't like chocolate that much. I think it's overrated. It always tastes like chocolate. Wah hoo. ::yawn:: I prefer vanilla and all its varieties.
4) What was mother’s best and worst dish?
Worst: My mother used to get raves for her Steak Spaghetti. It was just spaghetti with a ragu sauce which had chunks of steak, instead of ground meat. Why everyone raved about it, I have no idea. For one thing, she boiled the noodles to death, and the steak was always tough. She still claims, to this day, that the tomato sauce tenderizes the meat. That may be true for others, but not in her version. I hated that dish. I tell her that frequently to make sure she never, ever, makes it for me.
Best: Soup night. I guess that’s why I’m the soup queen, because I inherited the skill from my mother. Long before soup and salad night was popular, my mother would make a huge pot of navy bean soup, or potato soup, and have fresh, hot bread and butter, salad, and pitchers of iced tea. That was fabulous.
5) What basic, well-known food have you never eaten? Why not?
I’ve never had tripe. I suppose just because it looks so nasty in the packaging. Ditto brains, sweetbreads, and tongue. I love certain pates and liverwurst, but dislike liver generally. Organ meats as a whole, I guess?
6) BONUS ROUND! Dish on a Food Network Star that you love or hate.
I can't stand the way Sandra Lee speaks. I won't bother debating the concept of her semi-homemade recipes. There isn't a thing she does with grocery store ingredients that we have not all done, over time. EVERYONE does what she does, and there is nothing novel about the concept. The few times I've watched the show, I have to turn the channel because of her speech. She has this habit of drawing out several words, and usually the last syllable on most words, until it begs for a fast death. Example:
You and I would say "And then spread the icing on top, like this."
Sandra Lee says: "And thennnnnnn spread the icing on top, like thissssssssssssssssssssssssss"
You and I would say "Swirl it all around in the pan. Doesn't this look good?"
Sandra Lee says: "Swirrrrrrrrl it aroundddddddddddd and aroundddddddd, like thisssssssssssssssssssssss. Oh it looks soooooooooooooo gooooooooooooooooooood."
You watch and pay attention. You'll see what I'm talking about and it will drive you crazy, too.
Those are my Friday Five Foodie Questions (with a bonus round) answers. I'd love to read yours, readers. Comment me with a link to your blog and Friday Five list, please!