(more than) five things about me

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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.

And as long as we’re on this culinary tour through my past. I’ll mention that when I was just slightly older, I was a big fan of making crepes and chocolate chip cookies. I made crepes after school, and baked Nestle Toll House cookies on Saturday nights. I always made sure that I had the cookies in the oven before Silver Spoons came on the TV. The good girl in my 7th grade self was smitten with Ricky Schroder (don’t you laugh about that one. The kid was dreamy, and you know it. Once I even dreamed that Ricky came to my middle school, and we walked through the cafeteria holding hands, and I felt all warm and proud and love-struck. Of course the bad girl in me was also sort of devilishly taken with Ricky Schroder’s smart aleck best friend, played by Justin Bateman. My bad boy crush later played Michael Bluth on Arrested Development, one of my all time favorite shows. Curse you, Fox Network executives, for canceling that one).

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
3 eggs
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.

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21 Responses to “(more than) five things about me”


  1. 1 Maggie June 14, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    I love reading random details about people. That was beautiful — perfectly integrated you and food.

    I have a friend whose cousin lives next door to Ricky Schroder. She got to hang out with him at Christmas, which was weird for her since she used to bake cookies and watch Silver Spoons, too.

  2. 2 Andrea June 14, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    Okay, the FIRST time you ate hummus, you puked? I take that to mean you’ve since had hummus again. How do you get through eating it that second time, knowing what it did the first time?

    I ask, because of one word: feta. I gagged the first time I tried feta, and I can’t bring myself to try anything that contains it since. But I have friends who love it. I don’t want to think I’m missing out because maybe eating feta in a dorm cafeteria wasn’t the best measuring stick of the taste of feta, but I don’t want to gag/vomit again. Yick.

    Also? Feta smells like feet, so maybe I’m okay with not liking it.

    Yes, COME BACK, JENN!

  3. 3 Vikki June 14, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    I used to love Silver Spoons too but, not surprisingly (knowing what I know about myself now), I had a thing for Kate Summers (played by Erin Gray).

    I have actually never been tagged for one of these things before…I’ll do my best to come up with something interesting.

  4. 4 Vikki June 14, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    I love the picture, by the way!

  5. 5 Amy June 14, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    I love dining alone too – so much so that I had to give it up for a while.

    I owe you a post about the Strolling of the Heifers, but work projects got in the way. And now I owe you a meme! That one tag just wiped out years of being picked last for gym teams, thank you thank you thank you.

  6. 6 leigh June 14, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    hey
    i have never posted on your site before…but i am a consistent visitor to Vikki & Kristin’s blogs..
    oh first of that dishwasher salmon deal was wacky
    i am my mown dishwasher…but maybe i will try this some day with some little friends of mine whose homes have dishwashers…..

    one of my first food memories

    Iowa…
    radish sandwiches
    fresh radishes from grandmas garden
    sliced with a little salt
    on white bread with a little butter
    i have not had one since granma died
    that was 1979….gee i miss my grandma

    thanks for your blog…..
    tell me about your picture?
    peace
    leigh

  7. 7 Lisa C. June 14, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    Can I just say that I adore your blog? I am forever copying the recipes and emailing them to myself. You are both witty and informative. Thanks for writing!!

  8. 8 Dog in the Gondola June 15, 2007 at 1:54 am

    Your older sister here, who ate Egg in the Hole and butter-sugar bowls along with you, adding some food memories:

    1.) Your entire 4-year-old birthday party was devoted to fingerpainting (body painting!) with chocolate pudding.

    2.) To “cure” the hiccups, eat a Peanut Butter Spoon (large glob of creamy Jif served on a large 1970s spoon)

    3.) You and I filled the bathtub with jello to see if it would set (it didn’t)

    4.) We threw food on the ceiling to see it it would “stick” (it did, and stayed there)

    5.) We baked naked dough people, minatures of the people we knew in town, and served them to Mom and Dad (am I allowed to say this)?

  9. 9 Amy June 15, 2007 at 3:06 am

    DitG … #5 is fantastic!

    My list is up.

  10. 10 Meredith June 15, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    Egg in the hole! My g’mother used to make them for me but she called hers One-Eyed Egg.

    Great post!

  11. 11 Vikki June 15, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    My list is up but I have no picture that can possibly compare with yours.

  12. 12 cleanerplateclub June 15, 2007 at 5:54 pm

    Oh, yeah. Those naked people we made. Sure enough. Nipples and testicles and all.

    And that photo of me was from a recent fundraiser for Merrie’s school. A disco bash. Lots of people went in standard fundraiser attire fancy Brooks Brothers blazers and little black dresses. Not the Benjamins. We looked good. Oh did we.

    Andrea: Yes, I now like hummus, and yes, you can like feta. But YOU DO NOT WANT TO START WITH PRE-WRAPPED FETA. Seriously. You can work up to that. But the next time you pass by one of those upscale urban markets that has fancy barrels of quality feta, start there. Start small. But the feta there will be smoother and less stinky and it’s your best shot. I love feta, myself – the salty and the tart and the creamy, all mixed together. Mmmm. Wish you were nearby. I’d bake some greek spinach pie for you.

    Glad you all liked my confessions of Ricky Schroder hubba-hubba lovin.

  13. 13 Niki June 15, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    Love the food memories. Brings many of my own to mind. I wasn’t quite as extreme as butter and sugar – but I would cut lemons in half, squeeze them lightly to get them juicy, immerse them in sugar and then lick it all off. Mmmm. Pregnant me wants to do that right now. Oh – I also ate Tang. With a spoon. And Maggi liquid boullion on rye bread.

    And of course Ricky was lovely. I even liked his stint on NYPD Blue.

  14. 14 Jenn June 16, 2007 at 2:12 am

    I read this and thought, Wow! I had no idea she liked SOUR CANDLES!

    And then I thought, my God, we’ve known each other so long, we’re now getting to the point where WE NEED NEW GLASSES TO READ EACH OTHER’S TYPING.

    You did, you did, you did: You ALWAYS followed through with those damn brownies, and you are the reason I got a B- instead of an A- in German. Because I don’t believe in personal responsibility, so useless, I am hereby draping the fudgey mantle of blame across your fit organic shoulders.

    Crap, now you’re telling me I have to come up with a list? I will need some brownie inspiration, baby.

  15. 15 jenniwd June 16, 2007 at 3:30 am

    Did your father and I know who we were eating?

  16. 16 Shnoodle June 17, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    I love eating alone too! I keep up our weekly date night even when my husband is deployed, and take myself to dinner and a movie all by myself. Marvelous.

  17. 17 the Mater June 18, 2007 at 2:31 am

    I remember the killer brownies and Jenn’s playing hookey. Bad influence. To think she followed you up to the Berkshires too. I’m hopin’ that a chocolate fix will prompt a return from her sabbatical, at least just to reveal her five things. C’mon, Jenn, feel the love.

    I’m way past the deadline for my own tag of seven things given by a quilting friend. Soon.

    I like eggs in the hole. Very creative naked-people cookies. Jello in the bath tub. Food on the ceiling. How many of these venerable traditions are you passing on to your children?

  18. 18 blest June 18, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    I liked Ricky too…but would have dropped him for Jason Bateman (his sister is Justine from Family Ties) in a New York Minute!! I always prefer the smart-aleks… Didn’t marry one though. Drat.

  19. 19 Barb June 19, 2007 at 10:51 am

    My first thought was boy I am so glad the little ones look like Blair!
    Reading on I see you were playing dressup!

  20. 20 Loving Annie June 20, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    My mom makes the best scrambled eggs on the planet in a double boiler, with a little bit of milk, fresh chives, a pinch of seasoned salt and cracked mixed peppercorns right out of the grinder….


  1. 1 5 things plus a bonus one « Fat Guy on a Little Bike Trackback on June 28, 2007 at 3:30 am
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