This Fall my family has been energetically watching Top Chef on the Bravo channel. My teenage daughter watches with the dream of some day being a chef. My husband watches because he loves reality shows and I mean, really loves them. Plus the whole competition thing really works for him. Me, I love cooking and good food. Every so often I get an idea from this group of talented young chefs who are competing for big money and honors galore.
The winner for this season was Hung. Not the fan favorite, but he won fair and square. In his bio, he says if he were a food "I would be spicy chili - it takes a while to get used to, but once you eat it you always come back for more!" With that in mind, here is this week’s Friday Five.
If you were a food, what would you be?
I want to say cherry pie or a Fudgesicle, but I hope I have more substance than either of those. Maybe an onion, because I have lots of layers (so it takes a while to get to know me) and a few people find me indigestible--but some consider me an essential ingredient. But I hope I don't make anyone cry. Yeah, that's too silly, I'll stop now.
What is one of the most memorable meals you ever had? And where?
For spring break during my sophomore year in college, a small group of us (gals and guys, all "just friends") drove from Memphis to Orlando and camped out at Fort Wilderness in Walt Disney World. In those ancient pre-Epcot days, WDW had two hotels, the Contemporary Resort and another I've forgotten. One night we all cleaned up (as well as we could, in the campground) and went to the Contemporary Resort to eat at the fancy-schmancy Gulf Coast Room. We were 19 or 20 years old, with little experience of "fine dining" ; the staff treated us like grownups, and we had a marvelous evening. I don't remember what I ate, but I do remember how sophisticated we felt. And I remember the tuxedoed waiter bringing butter to the table, because each pat of butter was precisely stamped with--you guessed it--mouse ears.
What is your favorite comfort food from childhood?
My dad made the best soft scrambled eggs, hamburger steak, and chocolate milk shakes in the universe. I have mastered the eggs and the milkshake, but have never quite gotten the hamburger steak right. But any of the above is an ideal comfort food.
When going to a church potluck, what one recipe from your kitchen is sure to be a hit?
My cheddar spinach quiche is very easy to make, and disappears quickly, as does my spinach lasagna.
What’s the strangest thing you ever willingly ate?
I think that would be a toss-up between the baby octopus leg and the chocolate-covered grasshopper. Once was enough for those.
Bonus question: What’s your favorite drink to order when looking forward to a great meal?
This is specific to one particular restaurant, a cool and casual place that serves Italian food exactly like what we ate in Italy. Their signature cocktail is a blood orange prosecco; imagine a mimosa made with prosecco (Italian sparkling wine) instead of the usual champagne, and blood orange juice instead of regular orange juice. Very festive, and delicious!