Random questions from people who are stumbling across this blog, and answers from yours truly.
Have you considered putting up some forums?
No, I haven’t. I know it’s hard to carry on conversations in the comments, and it would be easier to have ongoing discussions (and ask questions of me) in a forum, but for right now, this is what’s available. I’ll consider it, though, as I do get that question pretty regularly.
Can you plan out some menus for me?
I can’t even plan menus to feed my own family, friends, and assorted guests, because schedules are so fluid around here.
Could you do it if I paid you?
That’s flattering, but not at the moment.
What’s your food philosophy for this lowfat menu creation you have going right now?
As you’re aware, family and friends have requested lowfat menus, and of course the challenge is for nutritious menus, which should not be laden with fat. I suppose at its most basic, my intent is to create food that people like, bearing in mind their particular requests as much as I’m able. Right now, that would be lowfat menus that taste good. This is not the same as no fat. If you’ve ever seen that Low Calorie Commando show on FoodTV, you can see the rather extreme substitutions the host goes through to eliminate almost every bit of fat from whatever it is he’s making, and that’s not what interests me. It is perfectly acceptable and reasonable to include small portions of things like real butter in cooking. The things I’m doing are not ultra lowfat, but neither do the menus include entire sticks of butter in their creation. Moderation in this, as in all things, and balance are the keys.
Have you seen that show Top Chef, or Hell’s Kitchen? What’s your “signature dish”?
I’ve seen episodes of both, yes, although I’ve not watched any of the new season of Hell’s Kitchen. I don’t really have a signature dish per se: I like to cook a wide variety of things, and luckily even my experiments turn out well. I don’t lean toward too many fussy type dishes. I mostly like to make food that people could make themselves if they were so inclined.
Would you consider opening a restaurant with the appropriate backing?
Maybe, but I think I’d probably not be an active worker bee in the kitchen. Designing a menu? Sure. Actually working the number of hours in the kitchen a restaurant would require if I were the chef? No. I’m simply not physically able to do it, as much as I hate to actually admit that, and I have no idea when (or if) I ever will be. I would not be averse to doing other things related to a restaurant, though.
Any progress on putting together your own prepackaged food items?
Not at the moment, but I really haven’t put any effort into it right now. My available time is limited, and I do have a primary business to run, so this is playing second banana for now. It would be nice, though, to be able to break into it.
What’s your favorite food to eat?
All time? Good lobster, simply prepared, with drawn butter. These days? Ice cream. In my dreams right now? A double cheeseburger. With fries.
If you could go anywhere and do anything right now, what would it be?
I’d move my family to the Italian countryside, own a small vineyard, grow grapes, make wine, and cook for people.
Have you ever had any formal culinary training? If not, do you plan to?
No and no plans at present. I had given some thought to the latter, but if I were to do that, I’d like to do it right. That would involve leaving town for awhile and would also involve a lot of time, neither of which is practical. I’ll remain self-taught for now.
Last (and certainly least), a question contained in an email from an anonymous person who seems to be one of those random people who thinks everyone else should be as bitter and nasty as they are: What makes you think you’re qualified to give anyone any advice on anything, especially cooking or making menus or how to eat on the cheap and what makes you think anyone would be interested in a book by some amateur like you anyway?
I never claimed any qualification other than being ready, willing, and able to take up the challenge presented to me, with both the rules and my role clearly defined. So I do what I can to take up the reins where others can’t because of their limitations (time, availability, ability) or inclination (because a lot of people read about subjects they would never themselves do). The latter is why books written by amateurs in specific subjects can be interesting and popular: many people will never be able or willing to go live in a 200 year old farmhouse in Provence for a year, but Peter Mayle and his wife did just that and it makes for good reading. Most people would never take on the task of cooking their way through a famous cookbook, but someone else did. Besides, I figure that doing things like this really annoys joyless, humorless people for some reason…