Culinary Confessions

I often cook pasta in not enough water.

I wash mushrooms.

I don’t grind my own coffee beans.

I melt chocolate in a bowl set in, not over, simmering water.

I hate soup as a first course.

I buy store-brand butter for baking.

I try to use as few pots and pans when I cooking as I can.

I lift the lid when cooking rice to see how it’s doing.

I don’t like trying to pull off that stubborn and tough little dangling thing on the bottom of the meat on a chicken leg, either before or after it’s cooked.

I don’t know anything about tea.

If I had to choose between a fancy Michelin 3-star restaurant and a plate of perfectly fried chicken, I would choose the perfectly fried chicken.

I crave chocolate all the time. And I act on it.

Chocolate is the best thing in the world.
So is foie gras, Sevruga caviar, stale candy corn, Château Y’quem, dead-ripe figs, warm sour cherrie pie, hot corned beef on rye with mustard, Comté cheese, fleur de sel, Italian espresso, Korean barbequed pork ribs, any and all chocolates from Patrick Roger in Paris, French fries correctly salted, pretzel-croissants from City Bakery in New York, and those toasted-coconut-covered marshmallows with the queen on the bag.

I don’t understand people who don’t like chocolate.

I prefer chunky peanut butter.

I don’t like when I’m staying at someone’s house and they don’t have one decent saucepan or sharp knife.

I don’t like other people using my knifes.

I don’t understand being particular about having, or not having, nuts in your brownies (unless it’s an allergy). Is it really such a big deal?

I don’t like it when people make up food allergies in restaurants. If you don’t want something, just say you don’t want it.

My freezer is crammed with frozen cranberries, forgotten baguette halves, and chicken stock that I neglected to put the date on. And some chocolate chocolate-chip cookie dough and two different batches of espresso granita. One is better than the other.

I refuse to go to restaurants where the reservations person is an asshole on the phone.

Waiters should only be rude to customers if the customers are rude to them first.

I like when the newest, hottest, self-important restaurant closes within two years.

Anything with tentacles is gross.

I don’t like hand-washing silverware.

It’s hard to make money in the culinary business. Leave Emeril alone. Really.

If I have cookies or brownies around, I will eat them before breakfast.

I hate those cheap Turkish dried apricots. They have no taste. And I don’t know why anyone uses them when the California ones are so incredible.

I can’t remember the last time I spent more than 4 euros on a bottle of wine for myself.

I love the idea of organic, but I just can’t bring myself to spend $5 for a beet.

I just spent $18 dollars on a farm-raised chicken this week, which was delicious.

I hate when people don’t toast nuts.

I really don’t like to eat fish, especially when there’s lots of little annoying bones that you have to eat around and pick out of your mouth.

I like getting something extra for free when I go out to eat.

I hate when people grab at free samples of food.

I don’t like Evian water. It’s thick and viscous.

I like filling up on good bread in restaurants.

I refuse to eat standing up.

I like the process of getting drunk, but I don’t like being drunk.

I hate the tip system in restaurants.

I never cook beef at home. It never tastes as good as when you order it in a restaurant.

I prefer my own cooking to most of what I get in restaurants.

I crave bitter, wilted, sautéed greens with olive oil, salt, and perhaps some garlic.

I never count how many eggs I eat in a week.

I read food blogs while I eat.

I floss every night.

Ok those are some of mine…and yours?

40 comments

  • I often tell my waiter I’m allergic to cheese, because I get an unbelieving blink and stare act any time I say I just don’t like it.

  • I don´t like wine and I hate people trying to convince me to keep on trying. I eat ALWAYS with Diet Coke and I’m HAPPY!

  • Yes, why is it that people always want you to eat (or drink) something that you don’t want.

    I mean, what do they care? What’s it to them?

  • David….even though I subletted and lived vicariously (domestically) through you for 6 months, I never realised we had so much in common! However, I’d never pay $18 for chicken. Love your blog!

  • I loved your list! Here are some of mine:

    When I read your line about craving chocolate, I got up and got me some chocolate before I read the rest of your list.

    I don’t like mayo.

    I’m not crazy about hard-boiled eggs.

    I rarely make dessert, even though I have a sweet tooth.

    I eat peanut butter and jam (or honey) on saltine crackers at least once a week.

    I eat foie gras without guilt.

    I am inordinately fond of offal and things with tentacles.

    I love fat – there are containers of rendered chicken, duck and pork fat in my freezer right now.

    I almost never drink cocktails – I’d rather have a glass of wine or bubbly.

    I don’t like Strauss butter.

    Whew! I feel better. If I say ten “Hail Alice”s, will I be forgiven? (Especially after that last one).

  • Hear Hear! I never eat soup as a first course either. As an only course, well….

    And I don’t like to eat desert either, even after spending a few years as a pastry chef, or maybe because of it. I’m not sure.

  • I stubbornly decided as a young teenager that foie gras was disgusting and have yet to try it.

    I hardly ever check to see if I have all the ingredients necessary before starting a recipe. I then proceed to half hazardly subsitute things that should never be swapped. Such as milk + vinegar = buttermilk. Somehow at 18 that made sense to me. Disastrous panna cotta, that.

    I come from a family whose paradigm is that sharing is NECESSARY when dining out. In fact last night my mother grabbed my new husbands drink without asking and decided that it was gross. He sat and didn’t know quite how to respond.

    I often take more gratification out of preparing a meal than eating it.

    When I was 18 hard liquors were the alcohol of choice. These days I’m lucky if I can stand the smell of chick beers (malted fruity so and so’s). I’m sure the two are related.

  • I drink too much coffee, but I don’t care.

    I hate being dismissed in restaurants if I haven’t ordered something alcoholic with my food.

    I love trying all the cookie flavors at a bakery I have never been to before.

    I also love the list, David. Thanks.

  • So many things I agree with on your list! I have worked near City Bakery for nine years and have yet to try the pretzel croissant, so I think I’ll finally do so on Monday.

    Ditto especially on the Evian, such a gross aftertaste and texture.
    I hate dried coconut.
    Laduree’s pain au chocolat et pistaches is the best breakfast pastry in the planet.
    Anchovies are the bacon of the sea world.
    Best things: the veal marrow in an ossobucco, Lagavulin’s 16 year old single malt, Mccann’s oatmeal, Arkansas black beauty apples, Chaource, Foillard’s Cote du Py Morgon, Thomas Keller’s roast chicken recipe in Bouchon, chicken paprikash with dumplings and a cucumber salad, the steak tartare and fries at Le Severo in Paris, the fries at Pommes Frites on 2nd Ave. in NY, the ton katsu at Katsudon in New York, deep fried Mars bars and blanquette de veu.
    I love eggs (especially free range, Aracuna ones) but hate eggs Florentine.
    I can be friends with female vegetarians, but not male vegetarians, unless they’re of Indian descent.

  • I love bacon and use it.

    I hate people feeling sorry for me because I can’t eat sugar.

    I love people being surprised at all the sugarless desserts I can make.

    I don’t like beer, never understood the bitter flavor.

    I love eating nuts, salty, spicy and hot ones while I blog.

    I love this blog

  • I was eating dinner while reading your blog. :|

    Raw nuts are no good? Aw. I can easily eat craploads of raw nuts (mainly almonds and cashews), so toasted/seasoned nuts are like my crack. Desserts and potato chips also fall under my “food crack” category.

    Totally agree with you on the cookies/brownies for breakfast, hence why I can’t keep any around. :( Also agree with the avoidance of Evian water.

    Flossing is a very good thing; my teeth would be completely screwed without it.

    Loved your list. I’m trying to think of a confession… …I hate it when after eating dinner with other people, I’m the only one who wants dessert. And then I get one and feel like a pig while eating it. Oops.

  • Evian spelled backward is “naive.” OK?
    I wash mushrooms too.
    xxxx!

  • I forgot, I also don’t like when people grab food off my plate while I’m eating. Hands off!

  • I wish that I could drink alcohol, sometimes. (I’m allergic to it in the same way some people are allergic to peanuts or shellfish.) I feel like such a child when I go to nice restaurants and have to turn down wine. (I felt especially horrible when I had to do that in Paris! Add to that the mortification when I may have messed up my translation and told the server, “This makes me sick!” rather than something like, “I’d love to, but I’m allergic to it…”)

    I claim to be a chocolate snob, but really, I’ll eat just about any chocolate. I don’t mind instant cocoa mix made with hot water rather than heated milk. I ate the leftover chocolate sauce from my most recent AG Survivor entry with a soup spoon, right out of the saucepan.

    I may not actually be allergic to shellfish… but the Very Bad Experience I had with it has made me afraid to try it, again.

    I love Peeps. Fresh, stale, microwaved, toasted over an open fire… I’ll eat them any time of the year!

    I love the smell of coffee, but I still am not too keen on the taste.

    I don’t like to use exact recipes. I like to throw stuff into a bowl and see what comes out.

    I actually like ramen noodles. I have nearly enough recipes that involve ramen noodles to make a cookbook… but sadly, someone’s already come up with that idea. (;

  • i can’t understand this guy i know who will eat anything as long as you tell him it’s chicken – he just doesn’t want to know what’s in the stuff he eats except chicken!

    i like to eat fudge as part of my brekkie so i don’t care for the “you’ll get diabetes” remarks…

    i refuse to eat standing up and on the move.

    i check out dessert menu first before deciding on my starter and main course when i eat out.

    i have so much fun reading this blog – thanks david!

  • I peel button mushrooms

    I eat cold artichokes and dolmas for breakfast

    I love stale Red Vines

    I hate beer

    I am a picky eater

    Once a year I buy a jar of cheap pasta sauce and eat it with a spoon right from the jar

    I love salt

    I microwave chocolate to melt it

    I eat cold rice

    I would drink diet champagne if they made it

    I dont get white chocolate

    I floss daily and see a dentist every six months

    I think everyone who loves lobster should have to eat it without butter and then make that claim

    Gelatin scares me

    I put a lot of food I shouldn’t down the disposal

    I hate cilantro. It’s the devils weed

    Ethiopian food makes me really ill, and I still eat it

    Fried is my favorite food group

    I still think British food is terrible

    I like three bean salad

    Honey to me is the worlds grossest foodstuff

    I love tofu

    I have never had a cup of coffee

    I teach cooking and no one has ever noticed I don’t ever let the students cut anything. Im scared they will slice themselves

    Caviar, champagne and fois gras are perfect.

    Then again, so are fresh bread, dill pickles and peaches (though not all at once)

    If we had beer, we could have beer and pretzels. If we had pretzels.

    Wow, that felt incredibly good to say out loud. Thanks!

    Oh, and one last thing. I love your blog.

  • David,
    This is probably the best blog entry I’ve ever read. How fabulous to know that someone I admire also washes mushrooms and doesn’t count the amount of eggs he eats in a week. And my favorite: you check the rice. I thought I was the only cheater! Cheers and thank you!

  • My list is so close to yours it is scary. I have been deeply ashamed to admit that tentacled creatures are bauseating– even though they taste good, ewww, ick! I live in Italy. If it says di mare it has tentacled creatures in it. erg.

  • This is hilarious. I’m so with you on the rice-checking and flossing, greens and nuts, and the getting but not being drunk. What’s the tip system that you hate in restaurants?

  • The tip system that I dislike is the one used in the US (the only place in the world) where after you are done eating, you add 15-20% to the check total assuming the service was good (although most people feel compelled to leave that regardless, every study has shown.)

    It’s a lousy system that assumes that people will only be nice to you if there’s a tip involved, whereas in most restuarants in the rest of the world (and McDonald’s too..) people usually give good service because that’s their job.
    I dislike those stuipid tip cups at Starbucks, and elsewhere. I mean, why should I tip someone 50 cents to pour coffee into my cup? Isn’t that their job? (I don’t tip them at the Gap to fold my shirt and put it in a bag.) If their services are worth an extra 50 cents per cup, Starbucks should raise the price of their coffee and pay the people who work there more.

    Chez Panisse got rid of the tip system years ago, and Thomas Keller is doing the same at his restaurants.

  • I loathe Evian water too! I thought I was alone in this. I’ve hated it for years and years!

    I’ll eat almost any leftover cold — except maybe rice or mashed potatoes.

    I eat several pieces of chocolate each and every day. I love very expensive dark chocolate from places like La Maison du Chocolat. I also like trashy chocolate bars, especially new products that are marketed to suckers like me with the words “limited edition” (i.e. Kit Kat “dark” chocolate, Hershey’s “Nut Lovers” bar, etc).

    I buy organic milk and cream, farm-raised chickens and organic beef. Once I start getting into vegetables as well, it becomes a choice between rent and food.

    In a strange town, I’ll go to an expensive restaurant once or twice — but my favorite place is always a “find”. In Florence, I loved Cantinetta Antinori — but even more did I love the little working-man’s cafe around the corner from my hotel, where you could eat 2 delectable courses with a vegetable, wine and water for 10 euros…

    I love pate — and also chopped chicken liver. But that’s the only offal I’ll eat — except the occasional exceptional sweetbreads in a very very good restaurant. And I believe that matzo isn’t just for Passover, especially if it’s egg and onion matzo.

    The best thing in the world might be the browned-butter nectarine cake I just invented last weekend, and had to make again this weekend.

    Both my boyfriend and I generally prefer my home cooking to restaurant food.

    And sometimes I even buy two dozen eggs at a time — and we’re a household of only two people. Of course, that’s usually when I know I’m going to be baking.

    Thanks for this, David. What a brilliant post.

  • David, I loathe the tip system. The last thing I want to do after a nice meal and a bottle of wine is math! Plus it’s so demeaning to waiters (and this from someone who’s a self-proclaimed waiter-hater). I wish every restaurant would follow Chez Panisse’s lead on this one.

  • LOL! I love your list. I too find that now I am reading food blogs while I eat.

  • DUDE (yes, I just called you “dude”, it’s a term of endearment) —

    This needs to become a meme. Really. May I pick it up and pass it forward?

  • Funny blog!

    If there’s dessert waiting, I’ll eat my meal all the while thinking about the dessert.

    I buy organic lettuce, milk, apples, peaches & oranges, but not organic garlic or onions.

    I gave up sugar, but I can’t help thinking that God would want us to eat honey, maple syrup & any other natural sugar.

    Tea is wimpy.

    I don’t have a pepper grinder (a mill), or a salt grinder.

    Things to get out of the system about once a year but usually regret: Kraft Dinner, really greasy Chinese food, white flour pancakes with fake syrup, McDonald’s.

    My veggies are usually wilted by the time I get around to cooking them.

    Don’t like beer or seafood.

  • LOL as always when I am here. Great list. Well, all except for the stale candy corn. . . : )

  • I love this game!

    Okay, here’s mine.

    1. Foie gras reminds me of cat vomit. I hate cat vomit.

    2. I love bacon and shrimp eventhough my husband is kosher and will vomit like a cat if I mention the two. So I eat bacon and shrimp out of the house and in private like a 16 year old sneaking cigarrettes.

    3. Sometimes I eat a bit of 70% cacao chocolate for breakfast.

  • So, Bea… what does your husband think of foie gras…? (;

  • My husband would rather step in cat ‘you-know-what’ (word substitution by David here…) first thing in the morning than eat foie gras.

  • Oops! Sorry, I almost forgot this is a food blog! I will save unsavory imagery for the cat blogs from now on… promise.

    Let me change the subject with…

    I have been know to eat a whole bag of candy corn in one sitting, but ouch on the teeth!

  • I have a Coke every morning for breakfast.

    I don’t eat anything that looks like someone else ate it first…cottage cheese, buttermilk…

    I love chicken livers but can’t bring myself to touch them.

    I hate when people say to me (because I’m in the food business) “OH!! I could NEVER cook for you!!” Sure you could.

    I like my red wine slightly chilled.

    I like peanut butter on a BLT sandwich.

    And the most shocking: I like Miracle Whip instead of mayonnaise in tuna salad.

  • The taste of Hops triggers my gag reflex, but I love beer-battered halibut.

    After growing up eating wild game most beef tastes bland to me.

    I do not follow recommended ratios while making hot chocolate, causing my frinds to compare it to mud… and causing me extreme pain the first time I used Dagoba Xocatl cocoa powder.

    I bake, my wife grills.

    I nearly wept when I found out Hersey bought Sharffen-berger.

    It annoys me when people salt their food before tasting it.

    I soak edamame in soy sauce, drain and then eat it as snack food. It makes me my feel guilty like I’ve broken some kosheric law.

    My comfort foods ar sourdough pancakes and sandwiches made with french bread, feta cheese and liverwurst.

    My sourdough starter has been handed down through 4 generations that I know of, and I’m more fond of it then most people I know.

  • Hi David, this is so funny. I love the lists you do they make me think of myself actually.
    Love
    Fanny

  • I could stand to lose weight, but cannot imagine a life without dairy products. Give me cream, butter, those sweet little glass jars of pear yogurt, cheeses runny, milky, brittle and veined…

    *I stopped buying organic milk because of the price.

    *I hated all things alcoholic until a college trip to Reims.

    *Four years later, I discovered the pleasures of beer only because there was nothing else to drink with crabs at the party. An outspoken feminist, I still felt uncomfortable seeing women sip what Daddy drank with the other grown-up men.

    *Now I love red wine, but cannot stand cocktails or any sort of hard liquor.

    *I barely know anything about wine.

    *One of my favorite comfort foods is Boston baked beans doctored with lots of sautéed onions, Dijon mustard and pooled around a blackened (preservative free, all natural beef, but who we fooling) hot dog.

    *Thank g-d mashed potatoes are still “in.”

    *Why do I care what’s “in” or not? I shouldn’t, but suspect I do. I don’t think I’ve had kiwi fruit since 1986.

    *I judge people who like white chocolate. Harshly.

    *Sometimes I offer unsolicited advice at the snooty grocery store, telling fellow shoppers the hours of local farmers markets, or when the item they’re holding is three bucks cheaper at another supermarket.

    *I can’t figure out how to put spaces in between these confessions. Oh well.

  • My favorite dessert combines toasted pecans, toffee and chocolate fresh from the oven, and I endanger very expensive dental work to eat it.

    There’s a pound of pork belly in my freezer I’m afraid to cook.

    I had a traumatic experience involving a giant flopping salmon as a child and haven’t eaten seafood since.

    Raw garlic gives me migraines, but I will eat it when people cook for me to be polite.

    I hate gourmet shops that sell $200 knives but don’t know where you can have them professionally sharpened. I also wish I had a $200 knife, or at least one that could mince lemongrass.

    I used to like lamb until we were welcomed with a beshbarmak (whole sheep, one sitting) in Kyrgyzstan.

    I love going to ethnic grocery stores to wander the aisles and look at ingredients.

    When I lived in Los Angeles, I would map out day trips to eat lunch at restaurants we couldn’t afford for dinner, and then find cool food stores to shop nearby.

    I hate restaurants that seat you badly when the room is empty.

    I miss good Thai restaurants– there’s none in North Carolina. I make it myself, and even grow lemongrass and raise a Kaffir lime tree, but sometimes I get tired of chopping and pounding.

    I have never eaten good spanakopita in a restaurant.

    My husband can hack a Google Map but is afraid to try a new recipe. He has not grasped the definition of “dice”. But the barbecue…

    Our favorite restaurant gave us a comment card to fill out last time we had dinner. We had a really good bottle of wine, I was really drunk, and I wrote a compliment to our waiter on his new tattoo (it was huge, and on his inner forearm!). Now I think maybe it wasn’t new, and I’m embarrassed.

    Oh yeah. I have a low tolerance for alcohol.

  • Absolutely — about the tipping. I usually get into problems with my friends who believe that anything under 20 percent is criminal — regardless of service. One time, we went to brunch where the food took about an hour to come out, the food itself was burnt, and the waiter actually spilled the coffee he was carrying on a friend. Still, they insisted on leaving At Least 15 percent. So, even the assumption that it is to reward good behavior isn’t necessarily true. You’re right too that it’s part of the job (and salaried as such).

    Thinking about it, it’s a little demeaning “tip” over your dollars at the end of a meal.

  • Loved the list, loved reading everyone else’s. Yes, it would make a good meme, and there is probably one being started right now as we ‘speak’.

    Tipping isn’t just an US thing. It’s not usually 15 – 20 %, more like 10; and in Germany, for instance, it’s often just some rounded up figure. It’s supposed to reflect good service (and when you’re happy then you certainly make it 10%), and if the service was bad there definitely won’t be a tip!! The above example sounds absolutely ludicrous!! I agree, it should be srapped ALTOGETHER!!

    As to confessions: I use stock cubes to make meals tastier…

  • I SO agree with you on some of your confessions like the California apricots and untoasted nuts. But I’m guilty of grabbing lots of free samples and adamantly preferring no nuts in brownies. Some of my confessions?

    Hmmm, I avoid shortening, artificial flavors and preservatives like the plague. (which is most packaged foods) They’re unpalatable.

    I pick the salt off pretzels and potato chips because they’re too salty.

    I think Nutella is the greatest condiment ever.

    I hate Hershey’s chocolate: it’s grainy and too sweet.

    I think Hershey’s natural cocoa is better than Nestle’s. But Nestle’s chocolate chips are better than Hershey’s.

    I lick the raw batter off of bowls and beaters.

    I’m adveturous in that I’ll try almost anything (including various organs) or any cuisine, but I’m picky about what tastes good. My general complaint is that foods are too oily, salty or sweet.

  • I posted my own list on my blog, with a link back to the original post. Thanks for the inspiration, David!

    http://tenacity.net/2005/10/culinary-confessions.html

  • As with tons of other people, I love your list and decided to create mine. I posted it on my blog at:

    http://kitchen-blog.blogspot.com/2005/11/culinary-confession-my-turn.html#links