Answering Reader Mail

When you operate the most important blog on the internet, it’s important to remember that you’re not the Amateur Gourmet.

When you’re the Amateur Gourmet, it’s important to remember to respect your fans and those who take the time to write you. Because of this, tonight I’m doing some catching up and–much like David Letterman, but without the theme song–I’m answering READER MAIL.

Reader DST (<--names are protected to encourage further READER MAIL) writes: Based on what I’ve read on your site, I’m sure that in

the world of the Amateur Gourmet, it is possible that

you’ll find a cheese to compliment your olive bread

(and will make a movie about it), but I think that the

word you were looking for is “complement”.

Zoiks!

I wish I could blame that on a lack of spellcheck (did you know that I write these entries without spelll cheq? I’mm brillyant!) but “compliment” and “complement” would both slip under the spell check radar. Thus, I attribute the error to my own temporary ignorance and hereby render a scene in which the cheese COMPLIMENTS the olive bread…

Cheese: Why hello Olive Bread.

Olive Bread: Hello cheese.

Cheese: Your olives are looking luscious today.

Olive Bread: Really?

Cheese: Mind if I have a nibble?

Olive Bread: No, go right aheaaaaa….ohhhhhh….eeeeh….yayayayayaya….urght.

Cheese: Cigarette?

We now move on to an e-mail from Matthew H, who writes:

All television chefs never show this dark side of the kitchen: the endless dishes. They wouldn’t arrange all in the ingredients in special mise en place dishes if they had to then clean up. So I wonder, where are all your dishes? Do you have a bevy of busboys off camera to clean up for you? Is the sink overflowing with dishes? Or do you have an impeccable knack for neatness?

There is a dark side to cooking and it is dirty dishes.

Your insight on the matter would be appreciated.

Matthew, allow me to complEment you on your perceptive observation: dirty dishes embody the darkest, ugliest side of cooking. Nothing worse than a stack of gooey, sticky pots and pans in the sink–especially when they’ve been there for weeks, growing colonies of bacteria so vivid that Disney’s using them for their next animated film.

My dad taught me this rule: “Never put off for later what you can accomplish now.”

I usually take that to heart and FORCE myself to clean the dishes immediately after I use them. This actually proves workable: often times something will be baking in the oven, and I’ll use the bake time to clean the mess I just made.

I’ve actually gotten to the point where cleaning dirty dishes becomes a form of domestic yoga. I kind of stare into space, scrubbing away and breathing deeply, daydreaming about Bob Costas in a tube top dancing with Howard Cosell to Kellis’s “Milkshake.”

Or, if you’re rich, get a housekeeper.

Thanks for writing!