There's no denying that winter is here, and the view outside my window is all covered in powder white:
As a true Vancouverite, I usually need to muster enough courage to brave the flurries and the four centimeter snow cover on the streets. Alas, I was not able to gather the requisite will to step outside and I decided to bask in the winter calm of my apartment and answer this culinary meme that Julie from One Wall Kitchen sent my way.
What is a meme? Wikipedia enlightens as always. In the context of this post, a meme is a Q&A of sorts that ends up being a chain letter.
What were you cooking/baking ten years ago?
Ten years ago, I did not bake. If I did, the results were not what one would call baked "goods." I was a university student then, and my repertoire included pasta and pasta sauces (read: the boxed variety).
What were you cooking/baking one year ago?
Now, we're talking! About a year ago, I was cooking with Madhur Jaffrey, Vikram Vij, and Nancie McDermott. This is the year after Julia, when I turned my culinary gaze from West to the East.
As for baking, the past year was a great learning curve, and I learned from great mentors Sarah Phillips and Martha Stewart - the latter author is slugged by a good few bloggers but I find her Baking Handbook to be incredibly accessible (and a good number of Amazon reviewers seem to agree).
The snack you enjoy the most:
Chewy oatmeal raisin cookies with a glass of warm milk.
A culinary luxury you would indulge in if you were a millionaire:
A Tuscan retreat in Umberto Menghi's villa (cooking lessons included). This CBC article talks about Umberto.
The rest of the money would go to my mortgage.
What do you bake the most?
Five recipes you know by heart:
Chicken and fennel braised in wine, Creamy porcini risotto, (its easy-to-do cousin) Creamy porcini orzo, beef/pork/chicken in red Thai curry sauce, perfectly cooked white rice. The last item is in my blood. What Flip cannot cook rice?!
One thing you cannot/will not eat:
That which Kathleen Turner insinuates to have served as pâté to Michael Douglas in the movie War of the Roses (1989).
Favourite culinary toy:
My Kitchen Aid Artisan 5-quart mixer, primarily because it is "Empire Red." Can you think of a more supercilious name for a colour?
A must on your “last meal” menu:
If I'm in pain during my "last moment", morphine will be a must. Failing this, I'll have twice the chocolate, please.
Happy food memories:
My mom, who had to look after my sister and me by herself, would usually go through great lengths to prepare Christmas Eve dinner. I'll never forget the tourtière she made on my first Canadian Christmas about a decade ago. Of course, she just humbly referred to it as a meat pie. But recalling the ingredients, I know now that it was a true-blue tourtière. Anyhow, more than the food, it was the sight of her busily cooking that I remember most fondly because I know that she was going through such fuss just so we could have the best Christmas notwithstanding everything else....
I'm passing on this (totally optional) meme to LizG, I(dot)J, Chou, and AnneMarie, and inviting anyone else interested to join in.