1) I’m originally a Southern girl, now living in the beautiful Pacific NorthWest!
2) I have a terrific daughter and granddaughter … who both frequently remind me of me! Genes don’t lie
3) I have a wonderful husband and a wonderful son-in-law, who both–as I often tell them–couldn’t be better if I’d made them myself!
4) Despite all that terrific and wonderful stuff going on, we ALL annoy each other on occasion *chuckles* … but that’s okay! We’re still keeping each other!
5) Unfortunately, we live 3,000 miles away from our kids … but we still try to see them at least once or twice a year, plus we talk daily. Electronic communications aren’t the same as being face-to-face, but they work when you’re not!
6) My first experience with International Food was in the 60s, through my mother’s Hamburger Chop suey. It was as disgustingly American as it sounds. Brown a pound of burger meat, pour in a can of La Choy Chop Suey vegetables, some corn starch, and some soy sauce. Pour over white rice, and top with some of those crunchy fried noodles out of a can.
7) My second experience with International Food was through my first boyfriend at college. I was seventeen, and he was an engineering graduate student from Iran. For dinner one evening, he made things with names I couldn’t pronounce … that absolutely ROCKED my little SouthEast Georgia world! He layered spiced lamb patties with sliced tomatoes and onions, all in a crock pot, then let them cook low and slow all day. When he fixed my plate, he put a mound of deep yellow saffron rice down first, then–instead of ladling some of that rich lamb/tomato/onion juice over it (like we did down south)–he cracked a raw egg into it! Then he dropped a big plop of this white stuff on the side of my plate: my first experience with yogurt, too. It was freaky … but I’ve never regretted taking that first bite! It put me on the road to where I am today
8) I’ve eaten snails, and loved them!
8a) I just accidentally learned that if you combine the number eight with a right bracket/paren “)” … you get a cool smiley wearing sunglasses … like this: 8)
9) I’ve eaten sweet potatoes, and hated them!
10) I don’t believe in reincarnation, but–if it’s true–then in one of my previous lives … I lived in either the Middle East, or the Indian/Pakistani part of Asia … because I absolutely adore the food from those parts of the world.
11) Not only have I eaten durian (a spiky, football-sized South Asian fruit many describe by saying it tastes like strawberries & cream … and smells like an open sewer) … I really LIKE durian!
12) Every time I order a durian smoothie in a Vietnamese restaurant–which is every time I walk into a Vietnamese restaurant where they serve durian smoothies–invariably, the wait-person asks if I really want that? I guess I don’t look like the people who normally order them
13) If I go more than about a month without a visit to our favorite Korean BBQ, life just doesn’t feel right!
14) I started college when I was barely 17, but then I took a little 20-year break between my freshman and sophomore years … that began when I met a rock & roll drummer. I spent the first five years traveling on the road with bands and working in recording studios.
15) Once I went back to college, however, I didn’t stop until I’d finished my MFA.
16) One of my favorite foods on the planet is okra! I especially like it stuffed with crabmeat dressing, dipped in egg, dredged in cornmeal, and deep fried … a la Justin Wilson!
17) I joined the Million Mile Club (meaning, I’d traveled more than one million miles by car) by the time I was 35! I’m ALWAYS ready to throw a few things in a suitcase … and GO!
18) My husband and I lived in Austin, TX for three and a half years. We ate at 22 different ethnicities of restaurant while we were there.
19) I’ll drive past 15 different Applebees and Olive Gardens … just to eat at some family-run hole in the wall. They’re almost always better.
20) W.C. Field said “Never eat at a place called Mom’s, but if the only other place in town has a sign that says Eats, go back to Moms.” That mirrors my own experience.
21) I’ve been to parties down South where the food theme was: Exotic Wine and Food Pairings.
22) I’ve been to other parties down South where the food theme was: Critters on the Grill!
23) I recently discovered that uncooked papadoms (made from lentil flour, which has a high protein content) make excellent noodles in soup! Just break them up and drop them into boiling broth. Bonus points: they come either plain, or studded with things like cracked black pepper, cumin, or fenugreek. Egg noodles can’t say that.
24) I’m a caffiend! We roast our own coffee at home, and each drink about a pot/day.
25) My favorite quote from Flakmagazine, describing Cinnabons: “670 calories. 49 grams of sugar. 34 grams of fat. Why not just shoot drawn butter into your arm?”
26) I learned how to make gravy, dumplings, and rice from masters of the craft. I can make them proud, but I’ll never believe that mine are as good as what they used to make.
27) I have a secret weapon in my kitchen: a phone I can use to call my 80something-year-old aunt, to ask her how to make something.
28) I’ve gained and lost several adult human beings worth of weight in my life, but it was gaining perspective that truly saved me. The concept is simple. Fat happens … and skinny happens … along with every size and shape in between! There’s not a lot most of us can do about where we fall on that spectrum, despite what the multi-billion-dollar diet industry and all those naturally “normal” weight individuals–those middle of the bell curve folks who’ve convinced themselves that they stay “normal” because of all their “hard work” and “deprivation”–try to tell you. You are who you are and you weigh what you weigh … because that’s who you are, and what you’re supposed to weigh. Sure, you should always try to stay active, life-long … but throw away your scale and your obsession with Madison Avenue’s version of the human shape. Inject some realism into your perception. And if you feel the need to discuss someone else’s weight, especially in a derogatory manner … then I’m going to assume it’s because YOU have some kind of problem … not them.
29) I’ve lived in five states and driven through forty-seven: basically all of the continental US … except Nebraska. Yes, I do realize it’s right in the middle of the country, which means that I’ve driven around it several times. It hasn’t been intentional, though. After all, I’ve driven through North Dakota … AND Iowa.
30) I’ve also driven in both Mexico and Canada. Canada smells better, but Mexico has better food and much cheaper shopping
31) I currently have around 350 jars of home-canned food in my house. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I am creative … and very productive!
32) I’d much rather do ALL the work to make something excellent … than skip half the work and make it just good.
33) I’m getting ready to drive across country … again … and–when I do–I’m going to drive through NEBRASKA this time!
34) I was 49 the first time I made my own sausage, and 51 the first time I made my own bacon. I’ll never buy either pre-made again!
35) I currently have two dogs, named Sherlock Holmes and Nero Wolfe. I also have one ferret named Moby, the Great White Ferret!
36) I’m a long-time pet-parent, and I’ve always had a zoo at my house. At my worst, I had a black lab named Pluto, six cats, six hamsters, a one-eyed white Mouse named Danger Mouse, a rabbit named Mr. Pickles, four angel fish, and a 14-foot Bermese python named Rocky! Oh, and I also had a 12-year-old at the same time! I know … I’m either brave or insane!
Here’s one of Rocky’s baby pictures, from when he was only seven-feet long!
37) I love to go shark fishing, but I don’t catch them for sport. I catch them for FOOD! Caught/killed/prepared correctly, shark is one of my favorite meals! The meat is not flaky like fish. It’s more textured like meat: chewy, with a much milder fishy flavor than most things you catch in the ocean. It’s wonderful grilled with salt, pepper and garlic … or pan-fried with a bit of browned butter and green peppercorns drizzled over the top.
38) I learned how to cook for 6+ people at every meal. Because of that, it’s very hard for me to cook for one or two. Leftovers are just a part of life. In fact, it’s leftovers that drove me to try pressure canning for the first time … because that spaghetti sauce was just too good to waste … and I didn’t have room in my freezer!
39) The first time I tried pressure canning something, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I used a pressure cooker–not a pressure canner–with silicone baking mats to separate my jars and keep them off the bottom of the pot. I’ll never forget the smell of melted and burned silicone!
40) My grandmother managed the lunchroom of an elementary school for more than 25 years. She taught me a lot about food … and about managing people, too. She ran a tight ship and was absolutely the boss … but all of the women who worked for her loved her. In fact, I ran into one of them many years later, when I was over 30 years old, and my grandmother had been dead for a few years. I hadn’t seen the woman since I was a child, but she recognized me immediately, hugged me, and went on and on about how much she loved and missed Mz Evie!
41) I won’t have a large chest freezer in my house. I’d love the food storage space–don’t get me wrong–but freezer-burned meat isn’t tasty. I found that out the last time I owned a large freezer. I decided to eat everything out of it before I bought anything else to put in it. By the time I got to the bottom of that freezer it was a year later, and I swore I’d never own a freezer again that was so large we couldn’t eat everything in it inside of a month. I’m too good a shopper. The more freezer I have, the more freezer I fill. I need the restriction of limited freezer space to keep me in line.
42) I love Seattle, but I’m not crazy about the house where we live. It’s small (only 1,100 sq ft), so–needless to say–I have to store creatively. That got more difficult when I started canning, but it’s amazing how much vertical space you can fill if you’re creative.
43) I’m not a Mormon (who stores food because of the dictates of my religion) or some kind of survivalist (who stores food because I’m convinced that everything is going to go to hell one day) … I’m just a realist. I know that things can happen in our lives like illness or unemployment (which happened once before: my husband was out of work for 14 months at one point, thanks to the high tech crash) … or in the country/world at large … things that could make getting food to eat, water to drink, and ways to cook difficult … or even impossible. Therefore, I store a certain amount of survival goods in my house full-time. It’s not paranoia. It’s just common sense and simple preparedness.
44) I absolutely hate greens: mustard, turnips, collards, spinach, kale … I hate them all! I do like cabbage and brussel sprouts … but not those others. And it’s not just a childhood taste holdover either. I’ve tried them again in adulthood. Same reaction!
45) Unlike greens, I absolutely adore my husband. He became the great love of my life from the moment I met him … and I met him in email! Maybe it had something to do with the fact that–unlike so many other people you meet online–he could spell and compose complete, coherent sentences
46) I’m a few years older than my husband, but he’s also a Thursday’s Child. We’re a pair of romantics, on this journey called life together. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to pinch him on occasion … like the time I gushed girlishly … “Where have you been my whole life?” … and he replied “Kindergarten!”
47) My closet–which started life as a small bedroom–contains a total of 20 feet of hanging clothes, four dressers, three hanging shoe racks, and two boot racks. It’s because I live in the land of amazing thrift stores, NOT because I spend all my time at the mall. I have tons of clothes, shoes, coats, boots, etc. that I’ve paid either $0.99 or $1.29 for … shopping on Mondays
48) My pantry–which is spread out over spare walls in five different areas in my house–contains a total of 88 linear feet of shelf space. That shelf space ranges from four inches -to- two feet wide, with six -to- eighteen inches of vertical space above. That’s not counting the food that’s actually in my kitchen!
49) We also have 15,000+ books, over one thousand CDs, and almost 800 DVDs. We’re fans of them all, and we collect. So–yes–every wall in my house is covered in bookshelves.
50) I store creatively! If I didn’t, we’d be buried worse than we are in a house full of stuff. For example, the new headboard I found (on Freecycle.org) for the bed in my guest room doubles as a media storage cabinet. You can’t see the top of it, but it has another level above the one you can see in this pic. It goes to within 18 inches of my ceiling, and a it’s where you’ll now find a fleet of sailboat models. Since this picture was taken, I also covered those broad white spaces on the front of the cabinet with photographs of my husband skydiving, and I now use the corner shelves to display old photo albums and other dustcatchers:
50) When people come to visit us, we always take them to our favorite Korean restaurant! Everyone needs to try it once!
51) I bought my first motorcycle at age 49 … but it wasn’t because I was having a mid-life crisis. It was because I was looking at near $4.00/gallon gasoline … and thinking “Good grief! I can’t afford to drive my van anymore!”
52) However, I do look cute on my scooter 8)
53) Unlike most 40something women who buy scooters … I’m still riding mine two years later. It still gets 97 miles to the gallon, and it’s my primary transportation from the first of March to about Halloween. I love riding it! Unfortunately, though, I have to park it through the cold, wet PNW months. It’s just too doggonned cold for me to ride from November through February. I’d freeze to death, no matter how much I dressed like the Michelin man. And I don’t want to ride something with tires that small anywhere NEAR ice. That’s just asking to test drive my safety gear. I also know what my next bike is gonna be: I want a reverse-trike!
54) Being a scooter-momma doesn’t limit my foodie skills. In fact, my Honda Metropolitan holds two bags of groceries in the trunk, plus I can swing another five or six off the hook underneath the handle bars. As long as I have a place on the deck between my feet to hang my boot heels somewhere around the grocery bags, I’m golden! And–in a pinch–I can always hang more bags off my backpack purse. I wouldn’t look pretty, necessarily … but I’d get home with the deals I found!
55) I was born & raised in the South … so I love deep-fried food with mounds of gravy on it. I don’t need it … but I love it!
56) I’ve been trying to remember what the most bizarre thing I’ve ever eaten is … but it’s a toss between fried grasshoppers and Mexican mealworms!
57) I love cooking shows, aka “food porn.” All the food is beautiful and VERY tempting … don’t get me wrong … but–at the same time–all you get to is look ;(
58) I just got home from my “Food Journey 2010” … a 39-day … 3,000 mile flying/6,156 mile driving adventure, where I finally visited the state of Nebraska. I just have one question: does it always smell like that?
59) I spent 39 nights away from home while I was on my trip, but I only spent five nights in hotel rooms … and that would have been only four if I hadn’t broke down at 10am on my last day home. In other words, I spent 34 nights with various friends and family members, and got to visit with easily twice that many more. I feel amazingly blessed to have that many wonderful people in my life
61) It’s also hard to say what was the best meal I had on my trip. Several spring to mind: the homemade breakfast sausage at Ole’s Big Game Steakhouse, the fresh-steamed seafood at Sandra’s, and–of course–the pizza at Quonset Hut!
62) This isn’t the longest drive I’ve taken solo. The longest distance I’ve ever driven by myself was 7,750 miles, which I did in 2003 … about three months after driving 2,500 miles solo. Have car … will travel
63) Even in the Winter, I find interesting things to can. Summers are for fresh fruits and veggies. Winter is for meats, soups, and jams made from interesting items.
64) When I lived in Texas–and, thanks to the Central Market chain–I attended cooking classes in Argentinian, Lebanese, Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Thai cuisines … among others. The classes weren’t necessarily cheap, but I thoroughly enjoyed every single one of them. I truly wish that a grocery chain here would do the same thing! I’d be there at least once a month.
65) I have someone in my life I call my adopted Persian mother … even though she’s really not that much older than I am. She’s the mother of two of my husband’s best friends growing up, someone who immigrated to this country without speaking English … with her twin sons–mere 2-month-old babies at the time–in her arms. She loves to cook as much as I do. We realized this when we first met, and we’ve shared recipes ever since. In fact, it was one of her recipes (with my tweaking) that helped me win second place in a dessert contest this past year.
66) I’ll spend DAYS or even WEEKS researching/experimenting/perfecting a new recipe … but–often–I can’t be bothered to take five minutes to cook food for myself.
67) I rarely have one project going at a time. It’s more like seven or eight … some in the planning stages, some in the R&D stages, and some that I’m finally making
68) I’m the texture queen. There are a number of things I won’t eat (liver) because of its texture (liver) … but, if the texture was different (liver) … I might actually eat it (liver).
69) Texture aside, there aren’t many things I wouldn’t try … at least once.
70) I’ve eaten roasted goat in a Mexican restaurant, goat stew in a Caribbean restaurant, and curried goat in the back of a Pakistani Grocery store … all in the same year. This isn’t as surprising as it may seem for someone who wasn’t raised on a farm, or in an area of the country where they didn’t really eat a lot of goat. However, friends of my family growing up cooked BBQ goat every year for their mother’s birthday. It was her favorite, and I can understand why. It’s a dark, almost oily meat that’s so rich and lush … it reminds me of duck, only more tender.
Phew! That was tougher than I thought it would be! It’s taken me quite a while to finish these … but there you go … it’s me!