Monday, March 08, 2010

Day Eight: You Like WHAT?

Just asked my Facebook friends for ideas about "Strange" and "Stranger," and let's just say I have at least a week of posts lined up. Sweet!

But today I'm feeling in need of levity, not to mention in need of you lovely people to do my work for me. I started thinking about how much I enjoyed blogging about "Food" in July 2008, and then I thought "Well, there's no rule that I can't do that again." Hence, today's topic: Strange Things I (But Mostly Other People) Eat.

An obvious place to start is with the cuisine from the land of my Better Half. If "cuisine" is the word for it. Actually, I joke: some of the best food I've ever had was in that beautiful country-that's-also-a-continent. The meat was incredible. The sauces were delish. The produce was fresh. And the dessert...oh, Lamingtons and Flat Whites, how I miss you. (A cube of sponge cake rolled in dark chocolate and dessicated coconut, and some sort of crack-like latte-ish coffee drink, for the unfamiliar.)

Though I am usually skittish about change, I was completely down with the way they serve burgers over there, though I know the presentation would affront many of the sophisticated palates amongst my friends. As commonly as we are offered pickles and tomato, they get pineapple rings and "beetroot" (pickled beets, to us), and sometimes a fried egg. I stopped short of the fried egg experience (though I don't think I would hate it) but the beetroot was genius. It was like a sweeter, tastier version of the pickle. I am all for it.

Ironically, David has always found it disgusting. But he's one to talk, because he can only stomach a grilled cheese (that already perfect, gooey, buttery melange of hot bread and cheese) with a thin layer of Vegemite in between. Yeah, nothing like a dollop of fermented black yeast paste (or whatever the hell is in that jar) to improve on a classic. He tried to brainwash Jarrah from babyhood, but since she was an American citizen 17 seconds after her arrival in L.A., she was inured.

Occasionally, I freak out Sunday morning breakfast companions by ordering turkey sausage (I don't eat pork) and then slathering it with a thick coat of strawberry jam. In fact, if the sausage and jam are good enough, I don't even require any eggs or toast, so satisfying do I find this combo. But I've definitely gotten some comments, and even a couple of shrieks of dismay.

But more commonly, I'm the one getting disgusted by other people's dining quirks. That whole concept of "dunking" cookies/donuts/biscotti into coffee or milk? Literally makes me gag. Just the sight of a partly masticated, partly water-logged baked good forces me to swallow hard and turn away. Why do people want to eat something with the appearance and texture of a toddler's biter biscuit? Do enlighten me.

I have a similar reaction to people stirring up their ice cream until it becomes soup. Um, isn't half the pleasure of ice cream the consistency, the texture, the combined resistance and meltiness against the tongue? Even those places that proliferated for a while where they "smoosh" your lovely ice cream on a slab with various chunks of crapcake made me want to hurl. I stopped just short of begging my companions not to go there.

Hmm, I'm noticing that there are fewer strange things that I eat than strange things that OTHER people eat. I wonder why that is?

And how about you, Readers? What strange stuff do you crave?


Aunt LoLo said...

Heh...oh, the CHINESE stuff, baby! Any kind of "tong yuen". Hard boiled eggs, simmered in sweet black vinegar with ginger and pigs feet. (Totally not your bag, I know...but you can make it with chicken, too!) Hrm...oh, and I ALWAYS eat my breakfast sausage with maple syrup. *grin*

Oh yeah- and every time I'm pregnant, I crave deli meat sandwiches with smooshy white bread, plenty of Miracle Whip, mustard, thick slices of sharp cheddar cheese...and a layer of bread and butter pickle chips. Mmmm. Gives me a canker sore just thinking about it!

miss. chief said...

toast with almond butter and slices of pickle! SOOO GOOD

Jen said...

I lerve Vegemite. Especially spread on saltines with some butter!

Stephanie said...

Pumpernickel spread with whipped cream cheese, sliced tomatoes, kippered herring and lots of fresh cracked pepper, open faced. Yum!

Sam said...

@Lolo: You know, with that chicken substitute...I think I might like! :) And syrup on sausage might sub nicely for the jam. And though I've never been pregnant, give me ANYTHING with bread-and-butter pickles. YUM.

@miss.chief: I seem to have started a great yearning for pickles all around! :)

@Miss J: How can you betray me like this? Eating Vegemite? Et tu?

@Stephanie: You had me at pumpernickel and pepper, lost me at kippered herring (which immediately makes me think "Can we have kippers for breakfast, Mummy dear, Mummy dear?") But I can envision how this is an elegant combo, just like you. :)

EWR2SAN said...

Mark here..
Well lets see. From the land down under take a Tim Tam dark(a rectangular cookie), nibble off both ends, and use it like a straw in hot cocoa. Then when the cookie is saturated(but before it falls apart) you eat it. The Tim-Tam Slam.

The thing I crave from back east is a Fat KoKo. Describing it doesnt do it justice, but it was on man vs. food.

I haven't had one in years..

The Wades said...

Had vegemite two years ago in my daughter's third grade class. Her teacher had recently returned from a drip down under. I thought it was pretty darn disgusting and I am far from a picky eater. I thought it smelled (and maybe tasted) like the baby vitamin drops. Yuck.

Sam, you'll agree with me that it is utterly disgusting that Max takes his cake and puts it in a glass and then pours milk all over it until it's a soupy, drippy, nasty mess? I'm with you--soggy stuff is pretty gross. Sad thing is, he's teaching my children this is a clever way to eat cake. They even pass on the ice cream so they can be like Daddy.

Totally agree about the ice cream. Completely. Order a milk shake if you want it all stirred up like that.

I couldn't live without pork. Judge if you must. If it's wrong, I don't want to be right. ;)

I love you blogging every day.

Oh, and Tim Tams are delish. I just happened to buy them one day out of curiosity. Do they taste anything like actual Tim Tams from Australia?

One more thing--preschool teacher was reading about book about Australia one day. Is it true that the continent is no longer called Australia? She said it now has a new name, one made of of neighboring islands. ?????

The Wades said...

Ignore my Australia continent question. Google search is making me believe the book she was reading was crazy. ????

Joan said...

The trick to dunking is only to dunk very hard biscuits (as understood by Australians) such as gingernuts, very briefly into a hot drink, so that they become chewable rather than tooth-breakingly hard. This is getting more important to me as my teeth become more precious. Ask David to explain what a gingernut is.

For me the strangest American food habits are those in which savoury food is mixed with sweet, such as the sausage and jam or sausage and syrup examples mentioned. I seem to remember you once describing savoury crisps sprinkled with sugar.

My own food habits never seem strange to me but they may be very bizarre to others.

Glad you have fond memories of Australian meat and flat white coffees. However, you might also remember that Australian restaurant serving staff are not nearly as obliging as American staff and that any requested variations to the standard fare on offer is often ignored.

The Wades may have heard the term 'Australasia' which is used to refer to Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa etc. It is a vague geographical rather than political entity.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

Once in a while, when nobody is looking, and, for goodness sake don't tell anyone I'm admitting this hehehe, I like to crack open a can of Underwood Deviled Ham and spread it on squishy white bread with some Best Foods mayo (the original dark blue label) and iceburg lettuce. And about four bites into it, I'm over it for another decade.

Sam said...

@Mark: Okay, that "Fat Koko" video was SHEER GENIUS. I was fascinated! Is that show still on? I love it!

@Michelle: Um, yes, I agree with you. I could barely read about cake eaten like that. UUUUGGGH. And yes, the Tim-Tams here are imported. ;) I don't judge you about the pork.

@Joan: I'm afraid your son has gone over to the dark side...he loves the savory/sweet combos as much as I do! In fact, we first bonded over pineapple pizza. :)

@Cheri: Oh, that sounds so bad it must be good. :) I'm totally telling EVERYONE.


Caroline said...

"Lamingtons and Flat Whites, how I miss you. (A cube of sponge cake rolled in dark chocolate and dessicated coconut, and some sort of crack-like latte-ish coffee drink"

YUM! I need that now, please.

Your sausage and jam thing sounded blecky to me until I started thinking about Chinese food and how much I love orange chicken, sweet & sour chicken, General Tso chicken -- vaguely the same idea. So maybe it's okay. ;)

I'm not one for deviled ham, but I LOVE that stupid chicken spread by the same company. Maybe nostalgia for long car trips where my mom would sit in the backseat and make us sandwiches with that.

My weirdest thing? Probably how I like thinly sliced raw potato sprinkled with a lot of salt. I don't like it as much now as I used to, but I'm still guilty of it.

When I was pregnant, I liked to dip apple slices in the leftover alfredo sauce from my work lunches (usually a frozen Weight Watchers Radiatore Romano, which they don't make anymore).

As for dunking, I don't do it. It's not the soggy pastry that offends me. It's the crumbs in the drink. I'm forty, and I still can't stand to see things like that floating in my drink.

-Caroline B

Sam said...

@Caroline: I know, I think my sausage thing evolved because of my love for Chinese food. Can you believe I didn't have Chinese food until I was 18 years old? What a sheltered childhood! And the first two dishes were Sweet and Sour chicken and General Tzo's chicken. And I was like, "Where has this been all my life???"

Potato thing sounds icky. :) But baby Jarrah loved eating the frozen fries BEFORE I cooked them. ;) Strange child.

I miss that Radiatore Romano!!! :) Loved that one. Mmmm.

And yes, I'm equally disgusted by soggy baked goods and beverages with chunks in them. Ergh.

Jennifer said...

I must admit I am a soupy ice cream eater. Well, not totally soupy, but definitely softish. I heat my ice cream in the microwave for 20 seconds to soften it up. Then I stir it around until it is the consistency of soft serve ice cream. I'm a freak and I can't help it...I just love it that way. :)

I also enjoy mayo and ketchup for dunking my french fries. My poor husband finds it disgusting, but I can't stop myself. I don't do this in public, but for sure do it at home.

EWR2SAN said...

Yes Man Vs. Food is still on. And according to their website in production of new episodes.

There is also a youtube of man Vs. food at ¨Stuff yer face¨ which is another Rutgers food institution (bolis´s, fish bowl drinks, Chimay Beer).

And also on the guilty pleasures of treyf Talor Ham (aka pork roll), on a bagel with egg, cheese, and ketchup.

The wades,

The Tim-tams in the US are slightly smaller dimensionally. I thought I was crazy and just imagining it, but one of my work colleagues from Sydney brought a box for us when he came over for training. Every-things bigger down under :P

Sam said...

@Jennifer: Ssssh, don't tell anyone, because officially I HATE mayo, but when I lived in Utah, they would offer "fry sauce" with the fast food fries and it was a ketchup-mayo mix. I got totally addicted.

@Mark: Pork roll! That explains what he was talking about in the video. And the Tim-Tams thing: that explains why my husband is such a giant. Right? :)

Stephanie said...

When did you live in UT? I was ther in 1985-86.

How about waffles with peanut butter, syrup and raisins? Talk about a toddler's palate, that was my pg fave--no wonder he had allergies as an infant!

Sam said...

@Steph: It was '95. I was teaching there. We must compare notes! :)

I'm noticing that a lot of people blame their weird cravings on being pregnant. I think that may be cheating. ;)

Joan said...

OK! Pineapple pizza is the big exception. Actually I do love ham and pineapple sandwiches made with soft white bread.

Anonymous said...

I'm obsessive about the pork pies they have in England that you can't get anywhere else -- I've been known to smuggle them back in my luggage... About 30 WW points per pie but they're heaven to me...

xx Lix