I’ve been tagged a couple of times by fellow bloggers, and until today, this blog has probably been earning a reputation as the place where tags go to die. But I’m going to try to crawl my way out of that reputation, beginning right now.
Last month, Lauren over at Pretending to Farm (best photos of llamas you’re ever gonna’ see. The woman’s animals have personality) tagged me with a “Five Things” post. I like the idea, since I GET TO TALK ABOUT MYSELF (me! My favorite subject!). Since this is a food blog, though, I’m going to try to keep the focus on food. I’m going to try. So here goes with Five (Somewhat) Food Related Things About Me.
1. I Was an Egg-in-the-Hole Prodigy. To my memory, the first thing I ever learned to cook was an egg-in-the-hole. I like to believe I was making them before I could walk, but my mom would probably say that’s not exactly true. I still occasionally make them, though it’s pretty much always for Merrie these days.
Recipe: take a piece of bread. Place it on the counter, take a smallish drinking glass, and press the glass into the bread until you have successfully cut out a perfectly round hole. Heat up butter in a pan. Place bread in pan. Crack an egg into the hole. Cook like you’re cooking a fried egg. You can either discard the round piece of bread that you cut out, or just grill it slightly in the butter as the egg is cooking. Depends how hungry you are. When you’re done, you’ve got an egg-in-the-hole.
It’s fun to say, too. Egg-in-the-hole. Egg-in-the-hole. Egg-in-the-hole. Egg-in-the-hole. Actually, when you repeat it often enough, it starts to sound sort of dirty.
2. I Can’t Get Even One Fact Right. Okay, now I’m going to contradict fact #1. Maybe. Depends on what you call cooking. The first thing that I recall making in the kitchen was in fact what my cousin Kevin and I called “cookie dough.” In fact, it was butter and sugar. Yes, folks, when I was a kid, I used to mix up a stick of butter with a big pile of white sugar, and then spoon it, all of it, directly into my mouth from the bowl. I can even remember the bowl: a big 70s-style bowl, with brown stripes running around the side. Yeah. Butter and sugar. Thinking about that, about how satisfying it was then, even though it’s gross now, makes me think that kids may just actually require a boatload more fuel than any of us realize. Fatty, carb-ridden fuel.
3. I Can Be a Bad Influence, But I Do Keep Promises. I used to convince Jenn, over at Breed ‘em and Weep (come back, Jenn. Come back from your sabbatical. We are lost without your words, dear. Simply lost.), to skip class by promising her brownies. But only if she skipped class. I always delivered, too. Ask her. Oh, the knowledge she missed while chowing down on my made-from-scratch-but-easy-as-a-mix brownies. Want the recipe? Here goes (I’ll confess: it’s from the back of the Bakers chocolate box, but it’s still the best combination of easy/tasty that I’ve tried):
4 squares Unsweetened Chocolate
3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) butter or
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (optional)
Heat oven to 350 F (325 F for glass baking dish). Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan, or line pan with foil extending over edges to form handles and grease foil. Melt chocolate and butter together (either in large microwavable bowl on until butter is melted, stirring until chocolate melts) or in a pan. Box now says microwave, but I used to use a big saucepan.
Whatever. Just make sure you keep heat on low if you’re using a saucepan.
Stir sugar into chocolate mixture until well blended. Mix in eggs and vanilla until well blended. Stir in flour and nuts until well blended. Spread in prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out with fudgy crumbs. Do NOT overbake. Cool in pan. Lift foil out of pan onto cutting board. Cut into squares.
Makes about 24 brownies
4. One of My Dirty Little Secrets: I have a thing for sour candies. Especially Sour Patch Kids. Even though there’s something sort of creepy about them (eating children! What monstrous candy executive came up with that idea? And yet I feel strangely compelled to eat them. I can’t help it. I just love the pucker).
5. In the Don’t Try This At Home Category: I once kicked a guy’s rear-end in a donut-hole Hour of Power. The rules: eat a donut hole a minute until you drop. I’ve had other Hours of Power, the drinking kind, back in my day. But this one was all donut holes. These weren’t moist chocolate-glazed Munchkins, either. They were enormous, dry, bready things from an Iowa supermarket – each one, like a stale, crumbling mini-loaf, and we realized that the hole-a-minute rules were going to have to bend when neither of us had finished chewing our first one long after the first 60 seconds had passed by. My opponent stopped at 18. I believe I got to 36, and then regretted it. Another guy came along and downed an impressive fifty in the second half hour. The whole thing was really quite gross. My opponent and I later dated, although that turned out to be something of a Don’t Try This At Home experience, as well. Because it turns out we continued competing, through the whole darned relationship. Though never again with stale, bready Hy-Vee brand donut holes. I learned my lesson that night.
You know what? I’m enjoying this. I LOVE TALKING ABOUT MYSELF. So I’m going to throw a few more in there, just for good luck:
- Fondest food memories come from my grandmother’s garden. Shucking fresh corn, shelling peas in the height of summer. My grandmother (whom we called Om, because she was into yoga, decades before it became popular) whipped up delightful things with her harvest, and I believe that it was her influence that was my first stop on my good-food-is-really-good journey.
- I vomited the first time I ate hummus. Apparently I expected it to be cake frosting.
- I consider anchovies the most divine pizza topping, though I rarely find anyone willing to share this kind of pizza with me. I live with this. Just don’t ever ask me to share a pineapple and Canadian bacon pizza with you. The thought makes me feel like my five-year-old-self just got my first taste o’ hummus.
- If I could eat only one thing forever, it might just be in-season tomatoes. Or maybe fresh baked brownies. It’s a toss up.
- I love dining alone in a restaurant. I just love it. Have always loved it. Almost never do it. If you see me dining alone, do not feel sorry for me. Wave, and say “lucky you!”
Now, with your permission, I’d like to tag some folks whom I don’t think have done this kind of thing, probably because they’re just not the tagging types. That’s okay, karmically speaking, I’d prefer that tags die on their blogs than on mine. Anyhow, to the following, I say “you’re it.”: Vikki (because she’s funny and she wears short pants), Amy (who’s lovely daughter will be in Merrie’s class next year, and it’d be nice to move past the small talk quickly), Matt (because I know he lives in Iowa, appreciates good food, reads great books, and gardens, but I don’t know much more), and — in a desperate plea to get her to return to blogging, but allso beause after 18 year of friendship, I’m curious about what there is that I don’t know — the aforementioned Jenn.