October has been a lighter-than-usual month here on Flavorful World. This is due in no small part to ongoing illness that’s prevented me from being around as much as I’d have chosen under normal circumstances. But given that today is not only Halloween, but the anniversary of the day Mrs. Flavorful World accepted my marriage proposal, this month’s interview in our F.A.Q. (Food Adventurer Queries. For those of you just discovering this nifty site) series is none other than Mrs. Flavorful World.
Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking:
“Not since Paul Reubens was arrested in that porno theater has an instance of public masturbation been so furiously and obviously perpetrated.” “Really? Isn’t that a bit like Flavorful World’s right hand interviewing its left?”
To that I offer respective responses of “Yes, really” and “Maybe. But if both hands know their way around a kitchen, then doing so accomplishes two goals: it 1. Lets you get to know us a bit more by offering rare insight into the other person behind our curtain, and 2. Shares some entertaining thoughts about food, cooking, travel, and the delightful wonders of crispy Chinese duck skin.” So now that you know crispy duck skin is involved, click on in and see what’s cooking.
Flavorful World: What’s the single best/worst thing about being married to a food blogger and being referred to throughout the internet by a website’s feminine proper salutation?
Mrs. FW: The single best thing about being married to a food blogger is the simple fact that he loves food enough to want to blog about it. I love that my husband can cook and wants to try new food. That my husband is open to trying new things and seeks them out always makes for that interesting surprise meal. I like that he listens to my suggestions and even tried natto, a food that even Native Japanese think is disgusting. I love that my husband cooks to relax and will make the panang curry twice as often as the other curries bc it is my favorite. I also love, and this is huge, that if we discover a great food at a restaurant he is excited to try and figure out how to break it down and make it at home so that we can have it anytime we want. Of course once he makes it and it is perfect, he can never change the recipe bc I love it too much. I know this frustrates him, and I really don’t mind if he does alters it in the future, but I like teasing him, giving him a hard time how I love the original too much to see it changed.
The worst thing… my husband is a messy cook. But really, this is not a hardship when the result is great food. Cleaning a pot or two is always nice though.
Flavorful World: What is one thing you’d change about the restaurant industry?
Mrs. FW: If any local supplies (seafood, vegetables, fruits, etc.) are available, restaurants would use those in their menu selections instead of outsourcing from miles away. Local farmers win, customers win with the freshness. It’s always nice to see a strawberry shortcake on a menu when strawberries are in season.
Flavorful World: Speaking as a food lover and excellent cook, if you could pursue a full course of culinary studies anywhere in the world, which country would you choose, what school would you attend, and what indigenous recipes/techniques would you most want to master?
Mrs. FW: A full course of culinary study…yikes…! That is a tall order. My first knee jerk would be something Asian, but just Chinese alone would be vast and extensive. Classic French techniques are always translatable to so much as well. If the language barrier was not an issue, I think I would say Chinese for the main dishes, but French for the pastries/desserts. I don’t really have a school preference, just somewhere where the abuse was minimal. As far as techniques, I would love to make a Chinese duck with the crispy skin that some people are just masters at, and the French technique, would be, as boring as it may sound, cake. There are so many ways to make a cake dry and blah tasting, that if you have the technique to make a moist rich cake, you will have many friends and smiles in your future.
Flavorful World: Both in accessibility and variety of cuisine, street food is a steadily evolving phenomenon that has progressed from simple pushcarts to sophisticated multi-staffed mobile kitchens. What changes/innovations would you like to see its next phase produce?
Mrs. FW: Volume. I want more. If you live in a metropolitan city, street food is easier to come by. Not so much in the suburbs. It would be nice to see food festivals with street food or trucks in smaller towns. Of course these vendors need a steady customer stream to survive and I understand the metro appeal, but again, even it if branched out a little bit, people would come. Also, having been to Japan and seeing their street food, I truly selfish wish is that I can get gyoza, yakitori and onigiri down the street from my office.
Flavorful World: What is the best food you’ve ever eaten abroad?
Mrs. FW: The most creamy tuna that just melted in my mouth at a sushi restaurant in Yokohama, Japan. Pure bliss. …and tuna isn’t even my favorite sushi, but this tuna was heavenly.
Flavorful World: Over the past decade or so, television has served us food truck races, Iron Chef challenges, cake and sugar art contests, and any number of elimination-based chef/food celebrity competitions. Describe for us what sort of competition you’d create, if tasked with bringing us the next food- or culinary-related competition.
Mrs. FW: Healthy Welfare! Too many people can’t afford healthy food….or can they? I would give teams a minimal food stamp budget and task them with making healthy, tasty meals for a family of four. Prove you don’t have to eat at McD’s all the time. Teach others how to make lentils and beans that are savory. Learn how to pick produce and fruit and make it stretch. Understand how a slow cooker works and how you can make cheap meat yummy.
Flavorful World: Several metropolitan areas across the U.S. are home to a wide variety of ethnic cuisines from Italian and Mediterranean to Thai and Ethiopian. What cuisine(s) remain the most underrepresented?
Mrs. FW: I would say any cuisine representing a country we are at war with or we don’t understand . Middle Eastern food, any country that is predominately Muslim. I know before I had any kind of Indian food I wasn’t sure what most items were. Uncertainly can make one very shy. Once I had it though, there was no going back and I am so glad that I tried it when I had the chance with friends.
Flavorful World: Excluding the name of any of your pre-existing blogs, websites, or print/online personas, tell us what name you would give to your memoir about your culinary exploits?
Mrs. FW: Honestly, The Simpsons pops into my head and first comes to mind, so either “Can’t Talk, Eating” or “Welcome to Flavor Country.”
Flavorful World: When you aren’t cooking and/or eating delicious foods, how do you most enjoy spending your time?
Mrs. FW: Sleeping. Sweet sweet sleep. Of course, activity is very limited when you are unconscious. When I am awake I would say simply being in the company of my family gives me the most joy. Watching a movie, shopping, even reading, as long as my family is near, I am very content.
*Note to readers: Here is where I’d ordinarily direct you to other culinary projects and online presences you can explore to enjoy further displays of our interviewee’s cooking prowess. Since that would be quite redundant for this month’s interviewee as co-proprietor of this site, and since it is Halloween, I offer you instead, this 8.5-minute video in which Chef Nick Finn schools on how to cook Crispy Skin Duck Breast (betcha thought the only reference to crispy duck skin would be the shout-out in answer #3, didn’t you? Aren’t you glad you hung in there?) and serves it on Caramelized Pear & Wild Rocket salad with Honeyed Balsamic Glaze:
Happy Halloween, Everyone!