Sunday, September 14, 2008
“Tell Me What You Eat…” (part 1)
“Tell me what you eat & I will tell you who you are.” An aphorism, of course, by the great 18th – 19th century French foodie philosophe, Brillat-Savarin—& also the opening of the very wonderful show, “Iron Chef Japan” (in my mind “Iron Chef Japan” is “Iron Chef,” but I guess we need to distinguish it from the U.S. version, which I don’t like). In addition to writing the brilliant Physiology of Taste, Brillat-Savarin also has a cake & a cheese named after him.
The other day I was looking at the fabulous Haphazard Gourmet Girls blog & found the list you’ll see below. The comments below are mine— but the Haphazard’s comments are worth checking out because, like that blog overall, the quips are droll. Haphazard Gourmet Girls is the brainchild of a friend from University of Virginia poebiz days (“daze?”), Eddie Gehman Kohan—her sisters, Meghan Gehman (also a friend from UVA) & Pleasant Gehman contribute too. Eddie’s blog never fails to be informative & witty, whether she’s presenting recipes, restaurant reviews, essays on both highbrow & lowbrow culture, or reportage & info on food policy/safety issues (some of the latter is kinda scary, but well worth knowing). Check out this blog here.
Anyway, this list (or meme) ultimately originates from the Very Good Taste blog, & while I’m not a “foodie” in any strict sense of the term, & while Robert Frost’s Banjo isn’t a foodie site, I thought it was fun & would fit in with some of the other food things that come up from time to time. Of course, it’s hard to conceive of a list of things everyone should eat that doesn’t include any form of barbecue, or French Toast, or pasta dishes. But chacum à son goût; & one fun thing is you may find out about some kinda strange dishes. I’ve provided Wikipedia links for some of the odder ones. In case you’re curious, I’ve looked over the comments at Very Good Taste & while a lot of folks are reporting 70 plus items (up to at least 89), some are reporting as low as in the 20’s, so I didn’t feel too badly as a non-gourmet/non-foodie with a score in the 40’s.
Because this post got really loooong with comments on all 100 items, I’m just posting items 1-50 today; check back tomorrow for 51-100. This isn’t the way the list typically appears on the net, but it seemed the most fun to me.
If anyone else wants to play the Omnivore’s 100, here are the instructions from Very Good Taste:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. (I italicized since Blogger doesn’t like strikethrough)
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.
The Very Good Taste Omnivore’s Hundred:
1. Venison (Lived in Vermont for the first quarter century plus of my life, & have lived in Idaho for the past 10 years plus, so for sure I’ve eaten this; & I like it. Most recently? Venison chili Dani Leone made for Eberle & Dani’s brother Chris & I this summer)
2. Nettle tea (Don’t think so, so I’ll be good & say no—Eberle might have had this for cat allergies? It does sound familiar)
3. Huevos rancheros (Lots of places—both coasts & in between)
4. Steak tartare (At an Ethiopian restaurant around Civic Center, SF, long ago—more recently at a Vietnamese place in the Sunset with Eberle & Dani Leone; see my comment on oysters)
5. Crocodile (just so’s they don’t turn the tables—so to speak—I’ll leave them alone)
6. Black pudding (for someone who’s always on the outskirts of vegetarianism, I must say I love sausage—but haven’t tried this; it sounds a bit extreme)
7. Cheese fondue (I even wrote a poem about it)
8. Carp (one of the very few fish my father—an obsessive fisherman—would throw back)
9. Borscht (had a poebiz pal who was really into this—had it visiting him in NY, NY)
10. Baba ghanoush (Most things involving eggplants are good)
11. Calamari (Last time I remember was my farewell to San Fran party with pals at the Golden Spike—what a great evening & great restaurant)
12. Pho (Lots of great Vietnamese food in San Francisco; I liked the Golden Flower on Jackson for Pho)
13. PB&J sandwich (As a kid, white bread; now, wheat—apparently good for the environment)
14. Aloo gobi (Had this at Madhuban Indian Cuisine in Boise)
15. Hot dog from a street cart (Yes—an east coast thing—& at ballparks on the Left Coast)
16. Epoisses (reading about this cheese—which per Wikipedia has been banned from public transport due to its odor—reminds me of the time in an Oakland office when someone was eating kimchee & another worker came to me with her concerns about a chemical leak….)
17. Black truffle (I’m quite a fan of fungi in the form of mushrooms, but have missed this—per Wikipedia, Brillat-Savarin called it "the diamond of the kitchen."
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes (does MD 20/20 count? Actually have had elderberry wine—& dandelion wine—bizarre stuff)
19. Steamed pork buns (Especially in Oakland’s Chinatown—used to work not far from there)
20. Pistachio ice cream (A favorite for both Eberle & me)
21. Heirloom tomatoes (Lots of great ones thanks to Eberle’s garden)
22. Fresh wild berries (One of my first memories is an outing to pick blueberries; have also picked & eaten huckleberries, thimbleberries & blackberries—which I adore—we have a blackberry patch on our property)
23. Foie gras (no—but I’ve watched a lotta foie gras on “Iron Chef Japan”…. The way it’s made is pretty disturbing…)
24. Rice and beans (Obviously, this really should read “Red Beans & Rice;” in reality, though I’ve lived on this—all forms of beans, white or brown rice)
25. Brawn, or head cheese (I will never forget asking my mother about this when I was a kid—it was more traumatizing than the facts of life…)
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper (I love hot peppers, but haven’t gone to this far extreme; do like jerk chicken, & it may be an ingredient I've eaten in this way...)
27. Dulce de leche (Fairly recently even)
28. Oysters (Savannah, GA & Baltimore, MD in the 80’s—loved ‘em; wouldn’t eat ‘em now on a bet)
29. Baklava (A number of places—including, oddly enough, the musicians’ food tent at the Council, ID music festival; also loved the now-defunct Steve the Greek’s on Polk St in San Fran)
30. Bagna cauda (sounds delish, but sadly, I’ve missed this; the garlic, olive oil, etc. sauce bears some relation to versions of Pasta Alio e Olio—which the Leones & I call Pasta Alleluia)
31. Wasabi peas (San Francisco treat)
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl (ditto above—had to take the folks to the Wharf)
33. Salted lassi (Salted Lassie?—no really, this isn’t about a famous TV dog; it’s an Indian drink, & it sounds good—have had salted lemonade in Vietnamese joints)
34. Sauerkraut (The only way to top a polish sausage at Candlestick Park)
35. Root beer float (We had an A&W in the town where I grew up—& have even had one recently at a very teetotaling Fourth of July party)
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (don’t drink anymore—how about long ago Jack Daniels & Phillie Cheroot?)
37. Clotted cream tea (Am at an age where clotted is not necessarily a good word; seriously though, I’ve never been to a real Brit tea party)
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O (Also in a watermelon)
39. Gumbo (Oh, I do love this stuff, though I’m even more fond of good jambalaya)
40. Oxtail (Won’t rule it out, but I’m aware of where an ox’s tail is; I watch our neighbor’s cows lift their tails daily…)
41. Curried goat (Museum Café, Oakland, CA—on more than one occasion—good!)
42. Whole insects (Most folks have swallowed the odd bug here & there)
43. Phaal (Might like to give this a whirl, as I love very hot food)
44. Goat’s milk (Stronger than cow of course)
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more (Have had malt whisky, but not in that price range, even given inflation from the 70’s to the 00’s—I was more of a bourbon & rye feller in my misguided youth, & valued quantity over quality—e.g., Old Crow, Black Velvet, etc.)
46. Fugu (Not into the concept of eating myself either to death or zombification—read “The Serpent & The Rainbow” regarding this one)
47. Chicken tikka masala (Indian cuisine really is #1 in my book)
48. Eel (One time—shamed into it by a gal friend & two other pals at a sushi joint in Japantown, San Francisco. Did not like; it may be hard for people who have read “The Tin Drum”—or have seen the movie—to go for eel…)
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut (But I loved Spudnuts in Charlottesville, VA more)
50. Sea urchin (Maybe—when I get by the ocean for any length of time my fish-eating, seafood-craving doppelganger comes out)
CHECK BACK TOMORROW FOR PART 2!
Pic is “Oysters” by Flemish painter Osias Beert (1610)