Friday, December 02, 2005

How did we get here?

It seems that at some point, Seppo and I have accidentally slipped and fallen down the well of foodie-ism (yes, that's the official word, I swear). I am not quite sure how it happened, as we are quite low-brow in almost all other aspect. Heck, even for food, we have no qualms about getting McDonald's or KFC once in a while.

So how did this happen?? I think it all started with Iron Chef. Well, that's not true. The show had always been entertaining, but it never made us want to whip out an apron ourselves and cook. I think the real credit belongs to either The Naked Chef or Pukka Tukka -- I don't remember which we saw. I think we caught our first episode shortly after moving in together. I vaguely have a memory of showing Roopa and her friend Robert an episode on our replayTV at the new house while he was in town, shortly after we discovered Jamie Oliver for ourselves.

His cooking on those shows (unlike Oliver's Twist, which I am not a fan of) really showed you easy, simple, and fast ways to create fantastic dishes. He really made it look so simple that we were able to start thinking beyond Create-A-Meals (shaddap, you!) and start thinking of trying to put together interesting dishes.

At some point, we found Alton Brown. The science of cooking was quite fascinating. That same year, I bought Seppo a copy of On Food and Cooking, which Alton recommends in his books (which we had bought earlier). It really is the reference of all references.

Just over a year ago, I purchased a Cook's Illustrated magazine subscription for Seppo as a part of his Christmas present. I think I heard A_B refer to it enough times that I wanted to try it out. Then shortly after the new year, my then-new TiVo started recording America's Test Kitchen (by the same people who make Cook's Illustrated) on PBS as a TiVo Suggestion. We became hooked and started trying the recipes. The recipes are awesome. We haven't perfected our techniques at all, but the dishes definitely come out far better than anything we could have hoped for with any random recipe.

It's not all tv shows, of course. I think that as we have gotten older, we've been more interested in getting quality rather than quantity. We dine out with friends more often than we used to. As a result, we end up comparing a lot of different places with each other. We've also found a couple of favorite restaurants that never let us down, so going somewhere that is disappointing is a huge contrast now, whereas in previous days, we might have acceptable meh food as the norm.

I think that at some point, large parts of last year and this year were spent obsessively watching different cooking shows. We've had some busy periods, so we spend a lot less time watching tv now. Sometime this summer, we went to Morimoto in Philadelphia and watched Gordon Ramsay on Hell's Kitchen (followed by Kitchen Nightmares and Kitchen Nightmares Revisted on BBCAmerica). That was probably the final, irreversible step for us. Seeing someone so concerned for quality and perfection intrigued us and now we are dying to eat at his restaurant.


Blogger A_B said...

The well into foodie-ism (yes, that's an actual place, I swear), does not have a McDonald's or KFC. Someday, you should stop by though.


8:56 PM  
Blogger ei-nyung said...

I know. I'm really just a visitor.

12:10 PM  
Blogger Angry Chad said...

But shouldn't foodies be able to appreciate all types of food?

I remember watching a David Rosengarten (second time I've typed that name today!) show a few (ok like 8) years ago all about tuna sandwiches. No joke, the man made a tuna sandwich with mayo, wrapped it in foil, then stored it in a paper bag, only to eat it four hours later with a glass of milk. And this guy was the snob of snobs on Food TV back in the day. Oh, I almost forgot, he used Wonder bread.

7:41 AM  
Blogger ei-nyung said...

I love my tuna salad sandwiches. I hate buying tuna salad sandwiches when I'm out though, because it always sucks compared to mine. :D Heh. I'd totally have loved to see that show.

My tuna sandwich:
1 can solid albacore tuna (no chunk!)
2 scallions (ok, I use like 3 or 4, but I don't mind onion breath)
1/4 finely chopped onion (optional, but I really don't mind onion breath), best if soaked in cold water to take out the bite
stone ground mustard
capers (optional if using lemon)
celery (optional, I usually skip it)

I use some random amounts of the rest of the ingredients and break up the tuna into big pieces. The big secret is the lemon (and/or capers) and the stone ground mustard. Yum. Yum. I want some now.

Put on some crusty toasted italian bread and enjoy. Or make a tuna melt. Mmm.

11:57 AM  
Blogger h said...

Careful with the albacore, Ei-Nyung:

3:01 PM  

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