When new bloggers join the Slashfood team, we like to make sure they get a proper introduction to our readers. You've met Mike Pomranz, Annie Scott, Monika Bartyzel, Stefani Pollack and Alanna Kaufman. Now meet the latest addition to our team, Eric Diesel.
Do you have a personal blog?
As of July, 2009, I have a blog called Urban Home Blog.
What is your day job, or rather, what do you do when you're not food blogging?
I'm a writer and a homekeeper.
How long have you been blogging with Slashfood and what is your favorite post?
I just started with Slashfood but I've written a couple of pieces for AOL Food. I still get email from a piece I wrote last autumn about cafeterias, that wound up also being about my grandmother. I guess that, to me, they're linked.
Do you have any non-food-related, non-blogging hobbies?
I love classic films, especially women's pictures from the golden era of Hollywood, 50's melodramas, 30's musicals, exploitation flicks and midnight movies, the French New Wave, and silents. I also love contemporary art and I follow that scene. And I love books, especially Beat literature and anything related to the Beat literary movement.
Not every foodie does, so we have to ask. Do you cook?
Oh, yes. I love to cook almost as much as I love to eat.
What is your most prized utensil/gadget in the kitchen?
My recipe collection.
List three things in your refrigerator right now.
Homemade barbeque sauce, a chocolate sheet cake, and probably ten different bottles of mustard.
You have to impress a date with a meal. What are you going to make?
Cedar-wrapped salmon with olive relish, baby Yukon Gold potatoes roasted with leeks and paprika, an arugula salad, and lemon pound cake. For drinks, I'd serve Lillet Blanc with orange, water, and good coffee with dessert. If he didn't drink white wine or coffee, I'd rethink a second date.
What is the last thing you ate?
Caesar salad and a pomegranate iced tea.
Confession time: what do you eat that will get you banned from Slashfood?
I have a thing for frozen frat boy food. I love frozen pizza. I love frozen burritos and tacos. I love frozen fried chicken. And I love love love frozen jalapeno poppers.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Your Mom makes the best _____.
Nothing. Not the best cook, God love her. My grandmother, on the other hand: wow. I still remember the food she cooked. The best Sunday-after-church pot roast. The best apple pie and apple jelly. The best pumpkin bread. The best blackberry cobbler. The best greens and the best green beans. The best roasted turkey and stuffing.
Which chef would you most like to have come into your kitchen and cook you dinner?
What is your drink of choice?
With some meals (Italian, steak), I prefer a martini, extra olives. In the cold months, I drink a lot of coffee with Kahlua. For special occasions, rather than champagne, if I really want to mark the moment I break out the louching equipment and serve Absinthe. A correctly done Absinthe ceremony never fails to make a memory.
Where was your best restaurant dining experience?
I've had meals at Olives that I still remember. The same for Keens Steakhouse. A small Italian neighborhood place in Greenwich Village is one of my special places. For that matter, so is the Neptune Diner by my apartment.
This might get me hate mail, but any meal where kids are running amok.
Do you want fries with that?
Like cocktails, it depends. With a burger, of course; likewise steak frites. But beyond that, French fries are not my favorite way to eat potatoes: that would be gratin.
What foods do you think should be banished from existence?
I am completely, irretrievably bigoted against stuff-in-fluff. On every special occasion table from my childhood was a big Depression Glass bowl of ambrosia; that thing that's made with flake coconut and mandarin oranges and walnuts and tree bark and gravel in a gelatinous suspension of what I think is spinal fluid. There are any number of versions of ambrosia and additional interpretations of stuff-in-fluff, many of which have their origins in the cooking of the 30's and 40's, and which reached critical mass during the 'quick-&-easy" cuisine of the American suburbs. I have actually been to entire buffets of stuff-in-fluff: lime and cottage cheese molded thingie, orange gelatin and fruit cocktail sour cream mound of something, quivering see-through olive and celery mess with embalmed canned tunafish. I can't eat them. In fact, I hate mush and glop as a rule. I also can't stand beets or mushrooms.
What do you see as the biggest "thing" in food for the coming year?
My grandmother's food was the way it was in part because she was an Oklahoma farm woman who kept a working farm fed – and fed well -- during a depression and two World Wars. These women took whatever was at hand and turned it into something nourishing and artful. It was also regional, which distinctions we are in danger of losing. Working hard for your meal and preparing it well shows your gratitude for the fact that you and your family can eat and is the opposite of entitlement. It also makes you appreciate a nicety like an evening out. I hope that the equivalent aesthetic will emerge from these lean and scary times, and I believe that the result will be as wonderful (ambrosia aside).