Friday, August 15, 2008

The Omnivore's Hundred - part one

This post will be a bit out of the ordinary for me. I came across this meme over at the Very Good Taste blog which I was referred to by a non-food blog I read. VGT is not a cooking blog, like this one, it's an eating blog which is a rather different beast. Still, I like the idea and this blog can get a bit procedural so something about myself but still on-topic might be a good change of pace.

Here's how it works.
"list a hundred interesting foods and:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at linking to your results."

Since this is a cooking blog, I'll add 5) italicize the items you've cooked.

I've discovered that a list of 100 entries, if you comment on every one, is really really long. I'm going to split this into four and post it over the course of a week to make it a bit less tedious. I'd, of course, welcome comments or links to your own Hundred, or e-mails telling me to quit it with the self-indulgent nonsense and get back to the recipes.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison - a standout at the otherwise poor experience I had at the last Coral Gables Wine and Food Festival. I've been convinced that I managed to inerrantly pick the worst and skip the best on offer. Next year I'm going to deliberately go against my instincts and compare the results.
2. Nettle tea - why when there's plenty of real tea about?
3. Huevos rancheros - I did live in San Diego after all.
4. Steak tartare - I'd say it isn't all it's cracked up to be, but I don't think anyone's actually cracking it up.
5. Crocodile - actually alligator, but close enough. I'd like to cook with it, but I've only found frozen meat imported from Louisiana farms. I should be able to find it fresh and locally produced in South Florida, right?
6. Black pudding - both Irish and Columbian varieties. Neither terribly impressive, but I wasn't in either Ireland or Columbia at the time.
7. Cheese fondue - I've made rarebit; that's pretty close.
8. Carp - I don't think it's ever occurred to me that carp is edible. Have any of you tried it? Is it worth seeking out?
9. Borscht - I find that I have nothing interesting to say about borscht.
10. Baba ghanoush - waste of a perfectly good eggplant if you ask me.
11. Calamari - VGT is a British blog; maybe it's more exotic over there.
12. Pho - The key to a good pho is the broth. It's complicated to get right and many places don't bother.
13. PB&J sandwich - I've never understood how this has become a staple as I've always found the flavors of fruit jelly and peanut butter unpleasantly clashing and the texture combination a bit nauseating. I guess that's just me.
14. Aloo gobi - I don't remember having this specifically, but I've had plenty of Indian meals. I must have ordered this at some point.
15. Hot dog from a street cart - To my regret. I've heard this called a New York delicacy but never by New Yorkers. Those in the know prefer Papaya King's dogs.
16. Epoisses - lactose intolerance has stunted my exploration of interesting cheeses but I really ought to make more of an effort now that I've got lactase pills.
17. Black truffle - I few shavings here and there, but not enough to really count, I'd say.
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes - Several at the Mango Festival. They weren't great.
19. Steamed pork buns - My mom used to make these when my parents were going through a serious Chinese food cooking stage. I'll have to ask if she remembers what recipe she used as I'd like to make my own roast pork.
20. Pistachio ice cream - I'm not a particular fan of pistachios in any form.
21. Heirloom tomatoes - Are the tomatoes we got in the CSA heirlooms? I know I picked up plenty when I shopped at the Union Square Farmer's Market in New York. I don't think heirloom is so much worth seeking out as home- or small-farm-grown and vine-ripened is. If you grew heirloom varieties industrially they'd be just as unpleasant as supermarket tomatoes.
22. Fresh wild berries - When I was growing up my house was on the edge of our patch of suburbia. The neighbor's backyard faced an open field and their fence was overgrown with wild blackberry bushes. I still remember what a bad idea a blackberry chocolate milkshake was.
23. Foie gras - A bit here and there but, like truffles, I haven't done enough fine dining to have a dish that really made it count.
24. Rice and beans - I haven't made it the Cuban way but it variations on the there were my staple in my grad student days.
25. Brawn, or head cheese - I really must try it again now that I've developed my taste to the point where I think I really must try it again.

Continued here.

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