What could you make for dinner from your current contents if, say, the in-laws show up unexpectedly? Barbecue chicken. I’d grill it over charcoal the cowboy way. Charcoal lends a certain flavor; gas is not real barbecue! I’d also make charred broccoli salad with pickles, bacon, onions, and Sprout Creek Farm’s smoked Ouray, and a cold panzanella salad using fresh mozzarella and tomato from A&S in Port Chester.
Anything in there really old? [The interview was done June 11, 2014.] Shriveled carrots, Cindy’s Kitchen Kimchi Salad Dressing (best used by 5/28/14), and Coffee-mate coffee creamer (best used by 1/25/14)!
Rate your fridge from 1 (an ungodly mess) to 10 (I may have OCD). An 8. I’m pretty neat in general. The house is always clean, too; bed is always made, et cetera…though by my girlfriend does it, as I leave earlier than she does.
Any embarrassing fake foods—that is, Cool Whip or Cheez Whiz, et cetera? Reddi-wip—I don’t know where it came from. Didn’t buy it. [The only other person living in the house is girlfriend Jennifer so…]
Fussy about any staple being organic, fair trade, et cetera? I buy Horizon Organic milk. I drink a lot and prefer the taste of whole milk but do worry about fat, so generally I get 2-percent. Love cereal; I have a bowl every night watching movies. Golden Grahams, Cap’n Crunch, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Lucky Charms are my favorites. There’s a Walgreens that’s open 24 hours within walking distance of my home in Danbury, Connecticut, so I’m never without.
Anything not allowed in your fridge? I recommend not eating butter substitutes like “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” and Country Crock. There’s no replacement for butter. But they like to make their way into my fridge. [Hmm…Jennifer?]
You’ve lived with your girlfriend for more than two years now. What changes have you seen in your fridge? Jennifer’s background is Ecuadorian, so there are many more Latin ingredients than from when I lived alone. We’ll make sancocho [a Latin American thick soup/stew] or empanadas—chickpea-flour dough for the wrapper, ham and Sprout Creek Farm cheese inside, and citrus habanero hot sauce and salsa verde for dipping. I actually now serve them at the restaurant. Her mom also comes over and will cook great things—encebollado, a fish stew, for example. It’s a magical hangover cure.
Random/unusual items in the door shelves? Lots of hot sauces for tacos, eggs, burgers, whatever, including Cholula, Yucatan Habanero, and Mama Tere Aji Extra Picante.
Carnivore or Herbivore? Probably more carnivore as I’m looking at Chinese spare ribs, strip steaks, a whole cut-up chicken, and bacon. But I also have scallions, ramps, poblano peppers, red onions, cilantro, and green cabbage.
What if you get thirsty? There’s Vita Coco coconut water, Tropicana OJ, and Pellegrino Limonata. Also, a bottle of cheap white wine for cooking. Jennifer recently marinated mahi-mahi in the wine with garlic, olive oil, and salt before I grilled the fish for tacos.
Sweets/snacks? Lucky Charms does it for me.
Let’s talk the really cold stuff, as in 32°F and below. Thin mint cookies for me, Haagen-Dazs mango sorbet for Jennifer.
What’s your favorite item hanging on the refrigerator? In 2012, we went to Six Flags and bought a photo of ourselves coming down the steep drop on the Kingda Ka rollercoaster. I’m laughing; she looks scared!