Coming This Weekend: The Amateur Gourmet Goes To Florida!

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go. My Airtran Flight leaves tomorrow afternoon from Hartsfield to West Palm Beach. My parents will be waiting for me at the airport and our weekend of eating will begin. I plan to keep you updated continuously: minute by minute, bite by bite.

Here are some meals for you to look forward to:

– Dinner at Cafe Max in West Palm Beach. Apparently, my mother told the maitre’d that her son (moi) is an important food writer. That should be interesting.

– My parents favorite Boca haunt: New York Prime. A steakhouse that features sizzling steaks and eccentric clientele, including (but not limited to) Don King.

Those are the biggies. Check back here for updates on my weekend of gluttony.

Lisa and Olives: Round Three

I would now like to take the opportunity to reply to Lisa G’s devastating round two victory in the Great Olive Campaign. I have spent these past few days training with an olive coach who has worked me back into shape, throwing kalamata olives at my head and squirting me with olive oil between practice bouts.

And so now, weighing approximately 3000 olives, comes The Amateur Gourmet for Round Three.

Ding Ding Ding!

(Went the trolley…ring ring ring went the bell…shit, I’ve been foiled by the great Judy Garland psyche out. Snap out of it AG!)


Ok, Lisa, here is how you are wrong point by point, olive by olive:

– “I don’t hate olives for the sake of hating olives.” That’s like saying you don’t hate black people for the sake of hating black people. In other words, Lisa G., you are an olive racist. That is particularly inappropriate considering Monday was MLK Day. Do you think MLK hated olives? But seriously, you seem to suggest that your olive-hating is meritorious; that it is a noble pursuit, like Courtney Love hating. Clearly though, despite the 40,000 who “hate olives” on Google, there are plenty of olive lovers in this world. There must be something to it, no?

– “Face it Adam–they are legitimately disgusting….they taste like old socks.” This point is fair but can be likened to both coffee and cheese. With coffee, the taste is bitter at first and requires a cognitive leap from gross to daily ritual. Similarly, many cheeses are off-putting and I will acknowledge my own cheese-phobia, particularly my bleu cheese phobia, and concede that the terms “legitimately disgusting” and “old socks” often come to mind when encountered with a giant chunk of bleau cheese. Yet, the difference is, that I admit that this cheese-phobia is my problem, not a problem with cheese. I know deep in my heart that I am missing out and that slowly edging my way towards cheese acceptance will broaden my palate, increase my tolerance and expose me to many happy meals that I would have otherwise rejected.

– “They aren’t even good for you.¬† Eat too many and you’re sure to grow yourself a spare tire.” Yes, olives are fatty and in large quantities bad for you, but you can say that about many things that are naturally occurring and wonderful–peanuts, for example–and yet would you give up peanuts? What about Peanuts? Charles Schultz is dead, Lisa.

– “Why is it that you encourage their¬†invasion of my salads and pastas and martinis?” Once you have achieved acceptance of the olive–olive Nirvana, perhaps–you will see that their “invasion” is more like a “sacred presence” in salads, pastas, and martinis. Olive lovers grope for olives wherever they see them: plucking them out of other people’s drinks, stacking them on their fingers, and slurping them off like an anteater at an ant farm. Once you hit that point of olive awareness, you will suddenly realize that there’s this whole new element of flavor to enjoy in your daily meal ingestion. I think the nut analogy works well: sure a brownie without nuts tastes fine, but there’s something to be said for the extra component that nuts add to brownies. It’s like a different thing all together and that’s what you’re missing when you heartlessly reject olives.

– “[You] trained yourself to enjoy [olives] so you could be part of the cool (freak) crowd.” I gladly concede this point. I used to be an extreme olive hater; attending olive-hating rallies, participating in olive bashings and gluing a “No Olives” bumper sticker to my car. Then I read this quote in Jeffrey Steingarten’s “The Man Who Ate Everything”: “By design and by destiny, humans are omnivores. Our teeth and digestive systems are all-purpose and ready for anything. Our genes do not dictate what foods we should find tasty or repulsive.” I threw the book across the room, shouted “Eureka!” and ran to my local olive dealer where, after several intense hours, I developed a passion for the olive. It is one of the greatest things I ever did because I began to notice and enjoy olives everywhere. Olive tapenade! Olive paste! Olive deodorant! It was a whole new world.

In conclusion, your olive hatred is self-defeating, sort of like cutting off your nose to spite your face. There are many enjoyable things in life that one must work towards in order to appreciate them: James Joyce, David Lynch, Kelly Rippa. Clearly, your anti-olive campaign is a cop out, and the biggest loser will be yourself. Take this round, for example. Did you lose it? I think so. Who’s the winner? Yours truly, olive eater.

Ding ding ding, went the trolley!!!!

Comment Prompt #2: Favorite Fictional Meal

Ok so from now on comment prompts are purely voluntary, like blood drives, only without the free cookie.

Today I suffered through three hours of class (with two more scheduled from 6 to 8) daydreaming about comment prompts and the like. I found this one to be particularly delicious.



Here are ones that jump immediately to mind:

– The chocolate room in “Willy Wonka.” I always wanted to try that giant mushroom with whipped cream.

– The banquet that the girl has in Europepan Vacation when she’s on the plane and daydreaming and they keep bringing out course after course.

– Oooh, the dinner at the end of “Big Night.” That is such a good movie. And that giant Timpano thingie looks amazing.

Ok, your turn: type away!

Cobbler Sex City

Nothing says sex like apple cobbler. The bubbling sticky apple juices; the savory, buttery cobbler topping. Sometimes, when I’m feeling lonely, I break out a bottle of wine, turn up the Barry Manilow and bake myself an apple cobbler. I pour it over my head like Jennifer Beals in Flashdance and scream in agony. Apple cobbler is hot.

Last night, however, my cobbler and I had company. Friends came over to watch “Sex and the City” and, rather grudgingly, I spooned them up heaping portions of sex cobbler with a side of vanilla ice cream. Does this make me a voyeur? Or does this make my friends exhibitionists?

Either way, the recipe I used comes from Saveur magazine which usually contains recipes so exotic and forbidding that you can’t cook anything without a vast supply of squirrel meat and pigeon brains. Luckily, the most exotic cobbler requirement was nutmeg.

Due to time constraints, I am unable to reproduce every minute detail of my cobbler making. Suffice it to say, there were apples:


I was forced to use Granny Smith instead of the suggested Cortland. All Oedipal implications of Granny apples in a sex cobbler shall be stifled.

After coring, peeling and chastizing the apples I sliced them and tossed them in a combination of: granulated sugar, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, freshly grated nutmeg, ground cloves, honey, apple cider and the juice of one lemon. I then baked them for 30 minutes, producing this lovely image:


While they cooled, I sifted together 2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp baking powder:


I then cut in 10 tbsps of cold butter, stirred in 1/2 cup of rolled oats and 6 tbsps of heavy cream. I poured the combo on top and it looked like this:


And then I baked it for 45 minutes in an oven at 375 degrees. People started arriving.

“What smells so good?” they asked, removing articles of clothing.

“People!” I yelled, “This is not Eyes Wide Shut. Put your clothes back on.”

Finally, halfway through “Sex and the City,” the cobbler was done:


At this point, the living room couches were humming with sexual tension.

“BRING US COBBLER!” the guests demanded, breaking out in a communal cobbler sweat.

I served them up sexy bowls:


They snapped them quickly out of my hands and began feeding each other cobbler with such velocity and unbridled energy that several neighbors came over to ask what the fuss was about.

“Sorry,” I said, “It won’t happen again.”

“Is that cobbler?” they asked, and began streaking their way through the apartment.

“All naked neighbors please leave!” I shouted, to no avail.

The following image is just one of many examples of cobbler lust at its worst. In this ribald sex pic, AG reader “Carrie” spoon feeds cobbler to AG model “Andrew.” This is not safe for work!


9 months from now the Children of the Cobbler will be born. Their ravenous cobbler appetites will wreak havoc across all 50 cobbler-serving US states. Cobbler corruption will breed a new race of cobbler eaters; stalking their way across the country thirsting for bubbling apple juices and savory, buttery toppings.

Which is why, in the future, I’ll save my cobbler-making for those magic nights home alone. Just me, Barry Manilow, and 12 simmering apples slathered on my head. What a feeling!

Real Amateur Sexy Foto

I am still punishing you all for not posting 10 replies to my comment prompt, but I had to share this…

One of the features of TypePad (which is what I use to run this site) is that I can click and see where people are accessing my webpage from. Often times, people will have done Google searches that inadvtertently led them to me.

Today, somebody accessed my site after doing an MSN Search. What were the search terms?

“Real Amateur Sexy Foto.”


If you post 2 more comments to other thread I’ll tell you all about my apple cobbler.


The Amateur Gourmet

Comment Prompt #1

I am about to begin my Friday night shennanigans which, thankfully, have nothing to do with Bennigans even though they rhyme.

I would like to encourage readers to post more comments and so as an incentive I would like to ask the following question: (written in all caps for dramatic effect):



To prove how much I want you to participate, I won’t post any more on the main page until there are 10 responses. I’m badass.

Happy Friday Night Fun!


aka The Amateur Gourmet

A Mediocre Tropical Smoothie from The Barefoot Contessa

I have a love/hate relationship with The Barefoot Contessa.

On the one hand, her recipes are wonderful. Of all my cookbooks, hers produce the best and most consistent results: a terrific roast chicken, a great recipe called Pasta, Pesto, Peas that is as heavy on the flavor as it is the alliteration. Her desserts are buttery marvels: buttery in that they all contain 80 sticks of butter, but well worth it: luscious lemon squares, decadent brownies. You get the idea.

On the other hand, my political leanings make her TV show difficult to watch. Driving around the Hamptons in her BMW, chortling with her high-society friends, and flaunting her own unique brand of entitlement (“I always buy my chickens straight from the farm”) the Barefoot Contessa is a noxious hybrid of classism and greed. Case in point, after a shopping spree, her friend says: “Ina, how could you buy so much?” Ina’s response: “That’s what rich husbands are for!”

Which is all to say that earlier this afternoon I followed her recipe for a Tropical Smoothie. I purchased the following items from Whole Foods:

– 1 mango

– 1 papaya

– 1 cup yogurt

– fresh orange juice

– Milk

In addition to the items I already had at home:

– Honey

– Banana

– Cat (just kidding)

I then proceeded to follow her directions (which you can get at, but after reading this you may not want to) and liquified everything in the blender.

Lauren was my taster and she said: “Mm, it’s good.” But not in such a way that suggested conviction.

I tried it myself and shrugged my shoulders.


In Ina’s defense, she says the fruit must be incredibly ripe for this to taste good. My mango was ripe but my papaya was not. I guess that’s what rich husbands are for.

Burrito Song: Take Three

Thanks to my dear friend Josh, you can now download the Burrito song as an mp3. Thus you now have three entirely separate, entirely wonderful “Burrito Song” options. You may want to download all three and play them simultaneously. Just a suggestion.

Download file