What's the last thing you ate? basil tofu and rice at Thai Coast last night on the way to the Kennedy Center.
What's your favorite cheese?. I'm not really a big cheese eater. I sometimes eat those Laughing Cow wedges or some brie en croute or those really bad for you herbed triple cream things (Alouette and the like).
What's your favorite fish? Sushi grade tuna. I like most fish as long as they're prepared well, which mostly means not overcooked and not oversauced.
What's your favorite fruit? Depends on my mood and the season. Pineapple is always good. In summer, I eat a lot of strawberries, with blueberries close behind. I devour cherimoya and rambutan if I'm traveling in the parts of the world where they're available.
When, if ever, did you start liking olives? I started eating the blander ripe black olives when I was in grad school. I've never really grasped why anybody eats green olives.
When, if ever, did you start liking beer? I don't really remember a time when I didn't like beer.
When, if ever, did you start liking shellfish? Again, it's not something I ever remember not liking.
What was the best thing your parent/s used to make? My mother's chopped liver was great.
What's the native specialty of your home town? Some of the best pizza on the planet comes from Island Park, New York.
What's your comfort food? Soup. Hot multi-bean soup in winter, borscht in summer.
What's your favorite type of chocolate? There is a chocolate shop in Brussels called La Maison du Chocolat Artisanal. I give maps to that shop to anyone I know who is going to Belgium. More broadly, and more realistically, I'll eat any reasonably high quality dark chocolate. Well, I'll eat milk chocolate, too, but it won't excite me as much.
How do you like your steak? Just walk the cow past the fire a few times.
How do you like your burger? Made with something other than beef. If I do eat a burger, I'll usually order it medium rare. Onions and possibly sauteed mushrooms are the only acceptable burger toppings.
How do you like your eggs? I'm not a big egg eater, in general. I eat an occasional omelet or fritata, usually with lots of veggies. Mexican omelets are good, since I will eat almost anything if you put enough salsa on it.
How do you like your potatoes? Baked, with just a little butter. They should be baked in an oven, not a microwave, and not wrapped in foil (which steams them rather than bakes them). I do like really good french fries, but they're rare and I detest a lot of what is served instead.
How do you take your coffee? Made from freshly ground Indonesian coffee beans (Sulawesi, ideally, but Sumatra Boenge or Mandheling are acceptable), drunk black. If G-d intended there to be cream or sugar in coffee, the beans would grow that way.
How do you take your tea? Unadulterated with sweeteners, milk, or citrus products, with the possible exception of oil of bergamot since I do sometimes drink Earl Grey tea. I am, however, much less of a tea snob than a coffee snob, despite the constant mockery I receive about my fondness for smoky lapsang souchong.
What's your favorite mug? The one I keep on my desk at work (and, so, use daily) says, "Well behaved women rarely make history."
What's your cookie of choice? While something can be said for certain of Pepperidge Farm's chocolate containing products and my friend, Marcia, makes awesome brownies, I consider Carr's ginger-lemon creams to be the pinnacle of cookiedom.
What's your ideal breakfast? Fruit, yogurt, and a whole grain English muffin is likely to make me reasonably happy. Coffee is essential.
What's your ideal sandwich? I have a weakness for turkey with cole slaw.
What's your ideal pizza (topping and base)? Thin crust pizza with tomato sauce, not too much cheese, and mushrooms.
What's your ideal pie (sweet or savory)? Chocolate cream pie.
What's your ideal salad? Lots of green stuff, maybe some carrots and cucumbers, tossed with oil and vinegar. Simpler is better.
What food do you always like to have in the fridge?About the only stuff I always have in the fridge are condiments and a packet or two of yeast. I often have eggs, surimi, carrots, and salad stuff.
What food do you always like to have in the freezer? Bags of frozen veggies. Containers of soup I've made to heat up on nights when I'm too tired to cook. Similar containers of pasta sauce, as that is most easily made in large quantities.
What food do you always like to have in the cupboard? Pasta, rice, dried beans and lentils, onions.
What spices can you not live without? cayenne, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, cumin
What sauces can you not live without? mustard, tamari, decently spicy salsa
Where do you buy most of your food? I alternate between Giant and Wegman's for most of my grocery shopping, but often pick up a few things at Safeway because it's closer. There are some things I go to Trader Joe's for because they are cheaper and/or better there.
How often do you go food shopping? I try to shop once a week, but often need to pick up something once or twice in between.
What's the most you've spent on a single food item? I have no idea. I know I paid $13 for a buddha's head citron, but that was really ornamental despite being sold as food.
What's the most expensive piece of kitchen equipment you own? I don't own any really expensive kitchen equipment other than the major appliances.
What's the last piece of equipment you bought for your kitchen? It's been a long time. Maybe the flexible cutting board.
What piece of kitchen equipment could you not live without? My coffee grinder.
How many times a week/month do you cook from raw ingredients? If I'm home, I cook at least 2 or 3 times a week. The catch is that I'm not home a lot.
What's the last thing you cooked from raw ingredients? I made matzo ball soup the other night. I didn't make the soup from scratch, but I did make the matzo balls myself.
What's your favorite thing to make for yourself? This depends on the season. Since it is getting decidedly chilly here, there is nothing so pleasant as a bowl of black bean chili with some corn bread.
What meats have you eaten besides cow, pig, chicken and turkey? Duck, lamb, venison, impala, kudu, ostrich, oryx, zebra, alligator, crocodile, kangaroo, elk, caribou.
What's the last time you ate something that had fallen on the floor? Can't remember.
What's the last time you ate something you'd picked in the wild? Far too long ago. The wild blackberries of my childhood were amazing.
Place the following cuisines in order of preference (greatest to least):Thai, Indian, Chinese, sushi, Italian, French.
Place the following boozes in order of preference (greatest to least): rum, gin, vodka, tequila, brandy, whiskey. Good, dark rum is unbeatable. And a g&t is the perfect summer drink.
Place the following flavors in order of preference (greatest to least): ginger, garlic, basil, lime, aniseed. I actually like aniseed, but it ranks lowest because of its limited uses. Ginger, however, can appear in every course and often does.
Place the following fruits in order of preference (greatest to least): Pineapple, orange, apple, cherry, watermelon, banana.
Bread and spread: Italian bread with nutella!
What's your fast food restaurant of choice, and what do you usually order? If I'm forced to eat fast food (due to being in places without real restaurants), a tuna sub from Subway will do. I get it without cheese and with lettuce, onion, and pickle.
What are three of the best dining-out experiences you've had? I had a very memorable meal at the dining room of the Hotel Centrale in Sorrento, Italy. Pasta with eggplant, grilled fish, potatoes, and gelato for dessert. All very simple, but the quality of the ingredients was high. The grilled salmon I had at a lodge on the Kitsap Peninsula (across from Seattle) comes in second. And Robert and I had a pretty amazing (and expensive) dinner at 2941 once.
What's your choice of tipple at the end of a long day? I'm not really much of a drinker but I like a gin and tonic in summer, hot buttered rum in winter.
Favorite cookbook/s? Everything I've ever made from The Vegetarian Epicure has been great. I'm also very fond of Elizabeth David's English Bread and Yeast Cookery, more for the information than for actual recipes.
Got any favorite food blogs? Does Cakewrecks count? I also read Metrocurean regularly.
What's the next thing you'll eat? A blueberry muffin.