For those of you unfamiliar with memes, a brief primer: "Meme" was coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, as a way to describe the transfer of a piece of information from one mind to another - basically it is a thought or idea, that is self replicating and transmits from one person to the next. In the blog world a meme is a theme or idea that passes from blogger to blogger, sometimes on purpose (like this one) and sometimes just by weird coincidence, like the time that Kate at Accidental Hedonist and I ended up posting about cheeses in tandem.
This meme, like many of them, is a way to find out interesting things about different bloggers that, absent the meme, you might not otherwise know.
Now that the boring technical bit is out of the way... on to the Cook Next Door...
What is your first memory of baking/cooking on your own?
When I was very small, no more than three or four, my sister and I would get up really early on Saturday mornings and make ourselves breakfast. Our favourite brekkie consisted of Kaiser buns (which mum kept on the counter so we could reach them) drenched with icing we made. We knew that icing was made from icing sugar, butter, food colouring, a bit of milk to thin it. But we didn't know the proportions, or the order in which to mix it. Mainly we ended up with garish green or blue runny sugary milk with lumps of floating butter in it. But man was it good! We washed it down with juice from the pickle jar drunk from miniature root beer mugs. No wonder kids like Maccas. They'll eat anything as long as there's enough sugar in it.
Who had the most influence on your cooking?
My mum and my Gran. They both are amazing cooks and amazing, strong women. Either of them could cook a gorgeous meal from limited resources in the way that MacGuyver could make a bomb out of a stick of gum, a balloon and some turpentine.
Do you have an old photo as “evidence” of an early exposure to the culinary world and would you like to share it?
After 7 or 8 intercontinental and transcontinental moves in the last ten years, I couldn't find a photo older than 1998!
Mageiricophobia - do you suffer from any cooking phobia, a dish that makes your palms sweat?
Puff pastry. Scares the dickens out of me. Luckily I will never have to face this fear as frozen puff pastry is everywhere! I can avoid the whole problem until the end of time.
What would be your most valued or used kitchen gadgets and/or what was the biggest let down?
My new lavender kitchenaid that Cakes bought for my last birthday. I love that thing and have spent the last 10 years drooling after one. During the first part of that ten years, I couldn't afford one, and in the last part, I never knew how long I would be in any one country and didn't want to purchase one only to move shortly thereafter and run into an electric current conversion problem.
The most useless thing is the cheap plastic scales set I bought in Melbourne. I replaced it recently with flash stainless steel scales that work much more reliably and which are very cute on my counter.
Name some funny or weird food combinations/dishes you really like - and probably no one else!
"Cuisine Chinois", Universite du Chicoutimi style. This tasty travesty was served in the cafeteria of the Ecole Francaise et Culture Quebecoise that I attended the summer between high school and Uni. Basically it's boiled macaroni, stir fried with cut up weiners, frozen green peas and soy sauce. It was comfort food all that summer and nursed me through the perpetual hangover associated with one's first summer away from home in a province where drinking at lunch was encouraged (at least until the local bistro cottoned on to the fact that the lunchtime uni crowd was stealing the plastic beer pitchers). I still make Cuisine Chinois every so often and it totally grosses my husband out... remember folks, this is the man who eats raw pie dough!
What are the three eatables or dishes you simply don’t want to live without?
No question! Morello cherries, olives, cheese.
Any question you missed in this meme, that you would have loved to answer? Well then, feel free to add one!
The quickies section:
Your favourite ice-cream…
You will probably never eat…
Your own signature dish…
Added by Sam of Becks & Posh: A common ingredient you just can't bring yourself to stomach...
Star anise. I hate liquorice.