Monday, July 04, 2005

What are you eating today?

Happy 4th. Today we’re having our traditional celebratory meal. Chili dogs, potato salad, baked beans and chips. Regular potato chips. Not my favorite b-b-q flavored ones. I only eat the plain ones when I eat hot dogs. Why? ‘cause I love to dip them in the chili-ketchup-mustard mixture. Strange, huh?

There are several weird food combos that I love. I know, most people have a few. And in the New Orleans area – where we regularly serve odd vegetables and seafood (in and out of the shells) in a variety of ways, it’s pretty difficult to find a dish that is truly unusual.

The other day I met a very nice lady. An incredibly thin lady. She is not from here. Not that we don’t have thin folks in this area of the US, but we this year we do rank #7 in the cities with the highest rate of obesity among adults. And that’s mostly because the food is so damn good.

The thin lady claims that she “doesn’t live to eat. (She eats) to live.” Boy is she missing out. Not that I really live to eat either, it’s just that when I do eat, I want to enjoy it.

Savor the blend of flavors. Appreciate the combinations of textures and temperatures.

I think that if I lived somewhere else, or with, as my mom says “Yankee cooking”, I’d be thin too. And you know you’re a New Orleanian when most topics of conversation when you go out to eat are meals that you have had in the past and meals that you plan to have in the future.

So anyway, it made me think about other strange, weird, food blends.

Unlike most people, I do not add sugar and cinnamon to my baked sweet potatoes. Blech. I like just a little butter and a lot of fresh, minced garlic. Yummmmmmm.

I enjoy a little sweet with my salt and salt with my sweet. To popcorn I add – M&M's or Reese's Pieces Candy. Similarly, I sometimes dip Cheetos in my hot chocolate. The more stale, the better. Oh and I add a tablespoon of peanut butter to my scoop of chocolate ice cream. Even ~K~ likes that one. In high school, the fad was to dip your fries into your chocolate shake or even better – your Frosty. We still do that.

But I’m not alone in my gastronomical oddities. When I was little, I would eat mayonnaise sandwiches, however, my sister would eat mayo and Frito sandwiches. I have a friend who eats her french fries the European way – dipped in mayo. My dad likes ketchup on his fried eggs, and to this day I love that smell. I also like ketchup on macaroni & cheese and on rice dishes.

My French sister-in-law introduced me to my favorite tuna salad – with cold rice, onions and vinegar. Oh so tasty. Now the French – they have some strange tastes and recipes. I’ve come home to lift lid of the pot only to find HUGE Cow Tongues staring at me, taste buds and all. And tripe? And sweetbreads? Don’t get me started on the oddity of French foods.

At the various school fairs, I’ve seen the deep fried candy bars, like Snickers or Oreos, although I’ve not been able to bring myself to try one. We have deep-fried turkey for Thanksgiving every year - so some foods aren't that odd to us. Similary I've seen the various Po-Boys that others are loathe to try such as the "French fry po-boy with gravy". Or how about topping your hot sandwich with "hogshead cheese".

When I was pregnant I could barely eat at all much less weird cravings like pickles and ice cream that most expectant women are purported to have. And when I had Bell's Palsy I lost my sense of taste. But that didn't matter because it was too difficult to eat anyway. I suppose those are the types of situations where one actually eats only for survival.

I prefer to eat for pleasure.

Bon Appétit!


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