Kim Aaron of The White Trash Gourmet recently took some time out from demonstrating fabulous kitchen skills and hilarious wit to answers nine questions from yours truly. I defy anyone reading the interview that follows to do so without smiling (as I never fail to do when visiting her site) if not over her honest thoughts on the taste of tripe and the implications of the phrase “corn smut,” then at what may possibly be the best food lover’s memoir title I’ve encountered in the history of this interview series. I’ve probably said too much, though. So just read the interview and let it take its rightful place among the list of your favorite things.
Flavorful World: Tell us about the most recent restaurant meal to which you looked forward for days or weeks beforehand. What did you order? What made that dining out experience such an anticipated event?
Kim Aaron: Nine-Ten in La Jolla. My boyfriend took me there for my 40th birthday, and between the tuna tartar, Jamaican jerk pork belly, braised short ribs, lamb osso bucco and wine parings, there really couldn’t have been a better way to celebrate. I knew the place was run by Iron Chef America challenger, Jason Knibb, and I was dying to see what he would shove down my gullet.
FW: It was recently announced that chef David Chang of Momofuku is planning to add several mold- and bacteria-focused dishes to his menu. What are your thoughts on this innovation, and does knowing about it affect your willingness to taste any of the creations?
KA: One of the best things I’ve ever eaten is corn smut (insert prison joke here), which my equally adventurous brother-in-law introduced me to. He mixed it into a salsa-type creation, and it was brilliant. Plus, what is cheese even about if not bacteria and mold? I’m a big believer in stink ratios—the more it smells like feet, the better.
FW: What do you consider to be the three best seafoods for grilling, and what makes them so?
KA: Shrimp, scallops and halibut (or any firm white fish). All three cook up fast, marry well with veggies and absorb other flavors brilliantly. Their versatility transcends cultures, and can be used in almost any type of cuisine.
FW: Select a favorite dish from a culture other than your own and tell us why it is your favorite. Select a dish that you dislike from a culture other than your own and tell us why it is offputting.
KA: Vietnamese Bun Thit Nuong is my new obsession. It’s everything I love about pho, but served cold—perfect for light, summery dining. But it doesn’t matter the culture… I abhor tripe. It tastes exactly like what it is: the place in an animal where shit is made.
FW: What is a dish you have yet to attempt making, but are excited about trying? What attracts you to this dish?
KA: Authentic fried chicken. Coming from a big Baptist family with deep Southern origins, I think it’s incumbent upon me to at least try and live up to my namesake. I’ve avoided making it for the obvious health reasons, but hey, everything just comes down to moderation, right?
FW: Name a restaurant currently lacking Michelin stars that you feel is most deserving of one, and tell why you think so.
KA: Beast in Portland, Oregon. It has the most genius arrangement I’ve ever seen in a contemporary restaurant: two prix fixe dinners per night, fixed menu and an open kitchen with communal seating. No substitutions, but the food is so perfect, none are necessary.
FW: I have a mixture of chopped green onions, lemongrass, and fresh garlic. What seafood or cut of meat would this blend best complement? What other ingredients would you add to create a great entrée?
KA: I would mix the scallions, lemongrass and garlic with shrimp or chicken in a broth made from coconut milk, cilantro and lime. A perfect Thai soup.
FW: 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?
KA: “The Splendiferous Misadventures of a Practically Perfect Food Bitch”
FW: When you aren’t cooking and/or eating delicious foods, how do you most enjoy spending your time?
KA: Reading absolutely everything (books, blog, magazine, etc.), foodie porn (i.e. cooking shows), traveling (when I have money) and going to the movies (the more gruesome, the better).
*Note to readers: You can and should follow The White Trash Gourmet on Twitter @theWTgourmet or visit copious amounts of ‘Like’ upon her Facebook page. I’d suggest doing both now and then making her food blog a regular hangout just like I have.