Meme Myself and I: The Cook Next Door

A while ago now (June 20th, to be exact, so not THAT long ago) Sarah from The Delicious Life tapped me to contribute to a new food blog meme: “The Cook Next Door.” Since I leave for Europe in less than four days, I must answer it now or lose all my credibility in the food blog community!

What is your first memory of baking/cooking on your own?

This is easy. On my left hand you will notice a scar on the knuckle of my ring finger. When I was very young (5 or 6?) I was making scrambled eggs with my mom and somehow I burnt my knuckle on the very hot pan. I must have really burned it because the scar has lasted my whole life. When they turn my life into a movie starring Cheech Marin, make sure they include this incident. It was quite formative.

Who had the most influence on your cooking?

Since I only started cooking, really, in law school I’d have to say The Food Network. I’d come home after a long day of Torts, Property, or Contracts and pass out in front of Sarah Moulton or Mario Batali. Eventually I decided to attempt what I’d been watching them do on TV for so long. The rest is history!

Do you have an old photo as “evidence” of an early exposure to the culinary world and would you like to share it?

Here I am with my favorite ice cream, aren’t I adorable?

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Seriously, that’s me! I swear! I didn’t pull that image randomly off the internet! (Ok, maybe I did; how many of you actually thought I was black as a baby? Not many, I’m sure. I’ll ask my mom to find a very cute picture of me eating a pickle wearing a yarmulke.)

Mageiricophobia – do you suffer from any cooking phobia, a dish that makes your palms sweat?

A cooking phobia? I’m scared of flipping things over; I’m scared of cutting up a chicken; I’m scared of cooking fish; I’m scared making steak. Basically anything that might kill someone if you mess it up.

What would be your most valued or used kitchen gadgets and/or what was the biggest letdown?

Easy: I love my Kitchenaid free-standing mixer.

Biggest letdown? My son. I adopted a young Norwegian to help me in the kitchen and his potato-peeling is atrocious. He shall be executed on the morn.

Name some funny or weird food combinations/dishes you really like – and probably no one else!

I used to make chocolate covered grapes in high school; most people thought they were gross.

What are the three eatables or dishes you simply don’t want to live without?

1. A really good roast chicken;

2. Dessert! (But if I have to be more specific, I may say Amanda Hesser’s almond cake. It’s that delicious.)

3. I like bagels.

Any question you missed in this meme, that you would have loved to answer? Well then, feel free to add one!

…from Nicky at Delicious Days

Your favorite ice-cream…

The Barefoot Contessa’s Chocolate Pecan Caramel, of course. I also enjoy Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey.

You will probably never eat…

Dead babies. (Live ones, ok.)

Your own signature dish…

Have I mentioned chocolate covered grapes yet?

…from the ChefDoc at A Perfect Pear

Any signs that this passion is going slightly over the edge and may need intervention?

Funny you should ask. I’m starting to notice that when I bend to the side, I’m getting some folding. My face seems a little fuller. In other words, I think I’m gaining weight. More weight than I’d like. The problem is now that my new food ideology–to eat delicious things, to savor life–isn’t always healthy. My friend Himkar called me a “hedonist” a few weeks ago. If that’s true, I may have to pay the price of a hedonist: I’ll be like Julius Caesar, living the life, plumply laying on a hammock, watching an orgy as a minion feeds me grapes. Then those ides of March come and I’m screwed.

…from Clement at A La Cuisine!

Any embarrassing eating habits?

Sometimes I eat jam straight out of the jar. Often times I am a messy eater. (My patch of the tablecloth is always the dirtiest when the waiters clear the plates away.)

…from Sarah, of The Delicious Life

Who would you want to come into your kitchen to cook dinner for you?

After watching her DVDs, no question: Julia Child. She’d be so fun.

from me, Adam, of The Amateur Gourmet:

Who’s your favorite food writer

Me? I’d say Calvin Trillin. I also really like this book called “The Supper of the Lamb” and I enjoyed Amanda Hesser’s book.

Three people to pass it on to…

Who hasn’t had this meme yet? Let’s try Danny at A Year in Food; David at DavidLebovitz.com, and Alaina at A Full Belly because I’m not sure she does memes, but ya never know. Bon ape-meme!

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