What’s the best “secret sauce”?
the highest man can achieve in the sauce realm is a good ranch dressing. I am very very particular about ranch dressing. I can tell a good ranch just by looking at it. For one thing, anything that is ‘shelf stable’ (meaning it doesn’t have to be refrigerated) is crap. Anything that comes in a packet is shit. in fact, I can’t think of a single ranch dressing you can buy as the kind a like. Wing places always have the best ranch, as does Village Inn. It should be kinda runny, and not mayonnaisey at ALL. It should not have any yellow hue of ANY kind. It needs to be bright white, fairly runny, and sweet.
Of course, this has nothing at all to do with salad. I don’t much like ranch on salad. Too heavy. A nice vinaigrette will always do the trick for me. I am talking about using it to dip friend food into. For the record, in high school, I coined the term ‘Ranch Generation®’***
I think the use and abuse of everything related to ranch is specifically a Gen X thing.
The last meal you had is what you’re going to eat for the rest of your life, what is it?
Either… a spicy and creamy shrimp and pasta dish… or a lightly seasoned filet mignon. I mean, that would be my choice. You are asking what the last thing I ate was? Mac and Cheese. There is a LOT of amazing things you can do with mac and cheese. This was just boxed stuff.
What are some unforgivable sacrileges regular people do all the time when cooking?
Besides overcooking a steak… let’s talk about an eating one, instead. Imagine you made something really good. Like, a lightly seasoned filet mignon. And you serve it to your wife. And then she says the unthinkable… she says something that breaks your heart. She shits down your throat with these words:
I am leaving you!. No… these words I am about to share with you are worse! I am banging your arch enemy! No sir, I have words even worse than that? I just got the call, and your father has died. NO… these words are even worse than that. She says ‘ketchup, please’
What is the most disturbing thing you’ve ever witnessed in a kitchen/restaurant?
In college, I worked delivering Chinese Food. It was a dream job. I got $5 an hour (this was 20 years ago), plus tips. Plus all the Chinese food I wanted. Plus… I didn’t even have a car. I delivered food for a living… with no car. They gave me their car to use… and a gas card!!!! Anyhow, that was a great job. Now, on to the story – the owner worked in the kitchen. No one worked harder than the Chinese. That family was there open to close, 7 days a week. Sorry… the story. Because he worked in the kitchen, doing the prep… he had eyes on all the food coming and going.
If you ordered a dish that had shrimp… and you did not eat all your shrimp… and you sent your dish back with those shrimp on it. The owner, Mr Huang, would take those shrimp and recycle them. This means when you order a shrimp entrée at that restaurant… you may be getting that guy’s shrimp. Thing is… it didn’t bother me at all. Most people seem to find it just horrible, though. I worked in restaurants through my teens. This means I can’t really be disgusted. The food business is beyond disgusting. Being a night person, as I still am, that meant I was always on clean up, as well. Restaurant kitchens are a vile and dark and horrible place.
It’s why I went to college, truly. I realized if I didn’t take a sharp turn now towards my future… I could be stuck in industrial kitchens at 3 in the morning cleaning.
What’s the your favorite kind of cheese?
That is an odd question. Who cares? Since you asked, I will tell you that I almost always prefer white cheeses over orange cheeses. Provolone, Swiss, Mozzarella… etc. Wait… should those have been capitalized? Does cheese count as a proper noun? I could google it, but really… who cares?
*** interesting side note about the ‘Ranch Generation’. I am convinced this is a thing. Turns out it is not. I went to google ‘ranch generation’, hoping to find an article I could like to validate my point. I hit up google, and the only reference I found to ‘ranch generation‘ was me and something I wrote 5 years ago