For as long as I’ve been a food blogger (more than a decade), I’ve been an open book; sharing major life events as they’ve happened–moving to California, getting engaged–and pretty much treating you, my faithful audience, like a close friend I could trust. Then, sometime around October, something happened that I didn’t feel comfortable putting out there because I didn’t understand what was happening while it was happening and now that it’s happened I still haven’t quite processed it. To make it brief, food blogging as a career (at least for me, but others too) became impossible.
Hey folks, I’m sipping an Angeleno in Venice Beach (I just had lunch with my Uncle Jerry in Santa Monica, so figured: “why not?” Also: I have to return a plant we killed) and would like to take this time to answer YOUR QUESTIONS. Cooking questions, life questions, organic chemistry questions (well maybe not that). So have at it and I’ll tackle your queries in the comments. Don’t be shy!
At last night’s BBQ bonanza (wait, am I allowed to call it a BBQ?) I noticed a funny thing. Craig ate his corn by rotating the cob and leaving his teeth stationary; I ate mine by chomping across and then rotating the cob. So the plate above is Craig’s and you can see how he worked it. Below, you’ll see mine.
The bar was set very low. I wanted to recreate the Olive Garden chocolate cake that we used to get for our non-birthdays, growing up (non-birthdays because my parents would lie and say it was somebody’s birthday so we’d get a free cake) and would keep in our refrigerator for the week. I’d eat it cold with a glass of milk and it always hit the spot. I wanted something simple like that, so I turned to Twitter. A follower suggested I make the chocolate cake on the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa container. I was sold.
What time do you eat dinner?
My grandparents, who live in Delray Beach, Florida, are definite Early Birders. And having spent my teenage years in Boca Raton, I was familiar with the early dinner. My parents usually eat, on weeknights, around 6 o’clock when my dad gets home from work. Craig and I eat later than that, closer to 7:30. Craig has a later lunch than I do so he gets hungrier later than I do. Which is why I can justify a scone or a cookie at 4:30, to keep me full until Craig’s ready for dinner. It’s a survival strategy.
In good stories, a character changes. So, for example, if you’re watching a movie about a guy who’s afraid of heights but his girlfriend is being held hostage at the top of Mount Everest, we expect him to get over his fear in order to save her. If he decides to just leave her there and become a knitting teacher, it probably wouldn’t be a very good movie. (Though, on second thought, maybe it would?)
Thinking of me as your main character, then, consider my post last week about cottage cheese. I find the stuff repulsive. 157 of you disagreed with me in the comments. So yesterday I went to Gelson’s and saw Low-Fat Knudsen’s Cottage Cheese, the kind many of you eat, and decided to challenge myself to make dinner with it. If this were a good story, I’d learn to love it at the end.
When I think “cottage cheese” I think of my grandmother who would greet me, growing up, with an offer of diet chocolate soda (she stocked that stuff like it came from the fountain of youth) and cottage cheese with sugar and cinnamon. The texture of cottage cheese was so foul to me that when choosing a picture for the top of this post, I couldn’t even stomach what came up on Google Images. Somehow, though, I’ve been thinking about cottage cheese lately. Is that just a grandma thing? Has yogurt displaced it? Are there any young people who eat cottage cheese? If so, are you one of them? Please tell me more in the comments.
[Image via DeliverBliss]
Today someone told me the story of a bad restaurant experience that involved a steakhouse with $30 steaks, a totally oblivious staff, dishes gone missing, and steak knives never proffered. Our storyteller, let’s call him Mr. X, grew so frustrated that he finally jumped out of his seat, stormed past the waiters who were watching a hockey game on the bar TV, into the kitchen where tired-looking line cooks were flipping steaks on a grill, and into the manager’s office “where I really let him have it.”
The manager was immediately apologetic–when he emerged from the kitchen, the staff scattered–and he ultimately comped Mr. X’s meal. “When I got home,” said Mr. X, “I really thought about writing a bad review on Yelp, but decided against it.”
This got me thinking: when is it OK to write a bad Yelp review of a restaurant?