new Things I Ate in Cambodia: some more food surveys

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

some more food surveys

I am not entirely sure why I love doing these so much. In any case, here is a desperate attempt to add some content to this poor abandoned blog.

Favorite food to crunch: Kimchi and Korean cucumbers. Barring that, dried seaweed, papadum, or any kind of fresh, fresh fruit. And of course fresh summer grapes.

Favorite comfort food: Singapore chili crabs, grilled lamb, bulgogi, papaya salad, and the occasional bout of Peking duck. Well, that's what I crave when I feel the world is kicking me around anyway.

Favorite picnic lunch: Krystal burgers with extra mustard. The omni-present cold fried chicken. Cheese with black truffles and cheap butter crackers. I actually don't like picnics much. They usually involve wasps and things being squashed that should not be squashed.

Favorite food scene in movie: I honestly can't think of any. I certainly get drooly when watching Iron Chef and the more salubrious moments on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations.

Favorite food lyrics: Lots of chocolates for me to eat, someone there to rub my feet...oh, wouldn't it be loverly....

Best food smell memory: The smell of my grandfather's grilled salmon coming off the grill when I was very small - served with buttered rice, big yellow pats. Fried grouper, lifted out of my father's dinky little white portable frier, crumbly and with a stark white interior. And of course gumbo that has been sitting and spice-infusing quietly away all afternoon. We're not much for baking, in these parts.

Favorite summer snack: Big, juicy tomato slices with goat cheese and lots of salt and pepper. Heirloom tomato soup, served cold. Fresh briny oysters. Late summer grapes in a million different varieties and flavors, served up like bountiful jewels from wooden crates (I love my California farmers markets.) And of course popsicles: in Red, Orange, Purple, or Green flavors.

Food that reminds me of the ocean: Grouper for my earliest memories, clam chowder for my cliched ones, and delicious dry-chili crabs for Hong Kong and Lamma Island, where they fish them out of a tank and kill them gently all for you, set under flickering little white lightbulbs, asses in plastic chairs.

Favorite winter snack: Root vegetables, caramelized in the oven. Fresh, hot masala chai. Little snappy gingerbread wafers. Cranberries in any variety. Big joints of beef, cooked and falling apart. (Maybe not a snack, but....) And of course pomegranates, give me all the pomegranates you have and will ever have.

Most likely to eat for lunch: Salads composed of anything fresh and left over in the fridge. Rice noodle soups with plenty of vegetables. Idiot-proof stir fries. Edible frozen entrees. In India: tandoori gobi and chicken tikka, just because.

Least likely to eat for lunch: Anything greasy or fast-foodesque. I do not profess to be a saint but I like my food fresh and recognizable as food. I do not like walking around with a recumbent grease slick in my insides.

Makes me gag: Squashy and un-fresh things. To be honest, not much makes me gag anymore. I'm even coming around to bananas and I used to leave the room in protest when people ate bananas.

Food tradition I love: Getting whatever the hell I want for my birthday. My dad's usual summer kick-off BBQ with lots of pork ribs. Standing rib roast with greens and Yorkshire pudding on Christmas, and of course thanksgiving - the turkey is swell but I'm in this for the oyster dressing and cranberry sauce. Super Bowl parties: I always eat until I get sick. And then I eat some more.

Food tradition I loathe: Any gungy canned gloppy American standby. Just because your family enjoys tapioca and jello molds and casseroles that taste of glue does not mean I will. It may be your Aunt Mildred's recipe, but your Aunt Mildred may have shot her taste-buds with nicotine long ago and does not need to inflict her evil on a latter generation.

Favorite wild foods: Wild blackberries, stolen from someone else's bush. (This adds allure and danger.) Tiny, crisp wild strawberries. Freshly caught fish. Grapes from the arbor or growing by the fence. For comedy value: live black ants, which I swear on my life taste like lemon sourballs.

Favorite medicinal food: Jello is medicine in my family but I believe this is voodoo. And I do not like it. I enjoy drinking various elixir-ish teas. And ginger ale cures all ills. And ice cream.

Food that reflects my heritage: Gumbo, pork ribs, okra, cornbread, molasses, peanuts, etouffe, bourbon, hummingbird cake, pepper sauce, crawdads, pulled pork, fried catfish, spicy chili, moon pies, cheerwine, collards collards collards.

Food most like me: Chili crabs: messy, overt, in your face, little gain for the effort!

Favorite raw food smell: I love to stick my head in fresh ozone-filled vegetable gardens and just inhale. I do love the smell of raw corn.

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