Food


My lips, this cricket

This is a post designed exactly so that people can weigh in on the most exotic foodstuff they’ve consumed.  It’s going to fall heavily on the side of carnivores, for which I apologize in advance, but if you have tasted fresh rowan from the Himalayas, by all means, speak up.

I’ve dined twice at this restaurant in London, Archipelago, which specializes in exotic cuisine.  The first time I went, I was too embarrassed to take photographs of our meal, because this is desperately uncool.  The second time I had no such compunction and snapped away, as I was truly regretful I had not documented the first time I ate crickets.

While by no means cheap, it is reasonably priced for the quality and rarity on offer, and a great place to bring out-of-towners looking for a bit of a treat.  My first visit, I had the ostrich starter (ostrich is always amazing – thready and flavorful) and the zebra steak.  (more…)

Two weekends ago, I met a friend for late afternoon drinks at a bar across the road.  When I arrived, he’d been soaking up the sun and cider for a couple of hours already, and was sitting with a cheerful group of people I was invited to join.  This included:  Chester from Newcastle; Chester’s Swedish girlfriend, called Em; the bar’s owner, Dave, who is Irish; Dave’s Polish wife; my South African mate, Sean; and their friend, Gary, who is from Edinburgh.  I mention the hodgepodge of nationalities only because this is one of those things I love about London – Sean also lives with a Ghanaian, an Italian, and two Czech lodgers who were all presumably drinking pints in another patch of sun.

As I was a little bit late to the party, the conversation was relaxed and winding.  A popular topic, however, was what substances could be used to spike Gary’s drink without him noticing.  A range of fluids were suggested, with Gary’s enthusiastic participation.  This was mildly amusing, but a bit weird for a bunch of thirty-somethings to be talking about – with two PhDs amongst them, no less.  It was more the stuff of the fifth-grade cafeteria table.  Because four of the group were bartenders, the discussion covered what noxious liquids could be visually disguised in what ranges of seemingly innocuous beverages.  I finally had to pipe up and ask:  What exactly was the deal?

It turned out that one drunken night four months ago, Gary bumped his head getting into a taxi, and suffered a mild brain injury that had left him without a sense of taste or smell.  The loss of smell is called anosmia, but Gary’s principal complaint was that everything tasted of, well, nothing.  Although likely the hundredth time poor Gary was forced to tell the story, we all sat and contemplated this for a while.  (more…)

The Body Fortress Goliath to my standard hotsauce David.

Well, it’s finally happened.  My skinny, indie-band-guitarist-looking boyfriend has brought home a vitamin bottle full of powdered protein bigger than my head and announced his intention to Buff Up.  It’s been a while coming.  His best friend is a highlighted gym bunny, two of their good mates are professional football players with tree-trunk thighs, and another is elite Special Forces with a chest like the side of a barn and the alleged ability to maim with his big toe – not that any of this affects their collective smoking and drinking regime.  The rest of their boy gang are regular blokes with varying degrees of fitness, and Boyfriend has coasted comfortably as the Good-Looking and Sensitive One for years.  He’s got strong legs and more than held his own in the weekly five-a-side, but lost his niche a bit when he left everyone behind and relocated to London to move in with me.

I knew it would all change when we started partnering in hand-to-hand combat class and he discovered I could punch harder than him, as well as tote him across a gym in a fireman’s carry.  Actually, no, he likes these things about me, and since we found out I’m three pounds heavier, he will jokingly accuse me of throwing my weight around whenever I’m being bitchy.  Oh, the fun we have!  It just proves I could save him in a war zone or an emergency.  If I felt like it. (more…)

For some reason, about 10 years ago, in the middle of the no-carbs craze, I stopped eating potatoes, along with most pasta, white bread, etc. I’d have mashed on Christmas and Thanksgiving, but would not order meals in restaurants that featured potatoes. Even if I was eating fast food, I’d order a cheeseburger and onion rings, never fries (how stupid is that, really? Battered onion rings! Smart!!) I rarely cook them, and so my kids don’t clamour for them, and even though I realize my anti-potato bias is pretty dumb, I have had a long prejudice against them.

And yet twice this past month, I have steamed what are known as “new potatoes” — those small, thin-skinned, waxy spuds that are simply the baby versions of mature potatoes. I saw them on display at Trader Joe’s and they looked so sweet and innocent, I couldn’t resist. After steaming them, I tossed them with a bit of butter, chives from my garden and salt and pepper. And OH MY GOD. I have fallen back in love with the lowly potato! When you don’t eat something for the better part of 10 years, it’s quite the revelation to rediscover such simple goodness. They are so delicately flavored and delicious! Last night, I even handed over my piece of salmon to my paramour and just hoovered the lovely little potatoes like I was a freckled redhead named Meaghan O’Riordan from the County Cork eating my first spud since the Potato Famine.  (more…)

Howdy People!

Forgive my absence, I have been traveling.  Specifically, I tortured myself for 10 hours in coach this week (never again!) to cross the seas and visit with my dear friend, Tailfeather.  Say hi, Feather..(Hi!)…she says hello.  We have a fantastic week planned, wherein we are doing a little tour of Europe, with culturally fulfilling stops in Belgium and The Netherlands as well as London.  The Netherlands I have been to before, but not Belgium.  London I haven’t been back to since I was a child, so it’s been fun hanging out here the last couple of days.

Earlier tonight, we went to the store to get some essentials (wine, very essential.  also chocolate.) and I found myself wandering the aisles in an nostalgic daze as I saw all the food stuffs of my youth.

The Bigga peas and Devonshire custard my mother used to have in the pantry when we lived in Ireland, the Pear soap and Fairy liquid my Nanna kept by the sink, the jars of Marmite and Bovril and bottles of Lucozade my Grandfather favored.  And don’t even get me started on the sweets!  Quality Street!  Crunchies!  MALTEASERS!!   (Contented sigh).  Ahh, memories, like the corners of my mind.  Tell me, what products remind you of your childhood?

 

*Oh, the food item above is NOT one of the fond childhood memories, it was just too bizarrely offensive not to share.

 

cooking%20utensilsAre you a fan of casually abusive blogs, in the style of Fuck You, Penguin?  Do you like to cook?  If you were wondering how to combine these two interests, you might enjoy this blog my friend tipped me to, Cooking For Assholes.

The blog is written by a guy who evocatively describes himself as a “dude who can cook.”  His mission statement?  Behold:

You suck at cooking. You fuck up rice. You think Cayenne is that fat bitch from around the way and Old Bay is the piece of shit that keeps calling the cops on you and your boys. Don’t you think you would get some major action if you were able to pull off an edible culinary concoction? Follow these easy recipes and you will be swimming in the sea of love before you know it. Dap!

Sounds good to me.  If I can’t be tormented by a real-life professional chef, I am open to receiving generic belittlement via the internet and staring at flash-intensive photos of Americanized bangers and mash (I am making that this weekend; it looks good).  As far as I can tell, his only qualifications are being interested in cooking and demeaning his readers, who are more than happy to talk shit right back at him.  I am fine with that, and I don’t mind his Portland-Brah style.

I would, however, challenge him to attempt Kadinsky’s Bacon Explosion.  Hopefully he’ll let us know if he does.

SHOWBIZ Craig 1Mmmmmm, I like it when men get objectified as sex objects.  Even better when it’s sex + food, behold!  Del Monte will be selling frozen purple Daniel Craig lollipops this summer, and somewhere Hugh Jackman is crying just a little bit.  How timely, since last night I finally got around to watching Quantum of Solace and it was so bad my VCR could have frozen and I wouldn’t have noticed.

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Tailfeather: we expect a first hand account on whether or not Daniel satisfies your thirst.

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