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Real name John Costello
Ethicurean name Man of La Muncha
Why’d you pick that? Because I see this venture as a quixotic but worthwhile attempt to change the way people eat, and I like to munch on different foods during the course of the day.
Paying job Techie writer type
Dream job Novelist and vineyard owner
Best meal ever Red beans and rice in a little brick restaurant in the French Quater in New Orleans, late in 2000. There was something so simple and satisfying about that meal that I ate there several times.
Favorite meat Lamb
Favorite fruit Strawberries
Favorite vegetable Potatoes
Vegetables I eat only to be polite Okra and kale.
Favorite dinner growing up Mashed potatoes, green beans from a can, and some kind of meat
Processed crap I can’t manage to live without Ghiradelli’s hot chocolate mix
Sexiest food to me Fresh strawberries
Most embarrassing cooking incident I took a tort from the oven, balanced on one hand, and watched in horror as it flipped over and fell face down on the floor. Fortunately, I had backup dessert for our guests. (The Butter Bitch thinks it was the time I chased her mother out of her mother’s kitchen.)
Most traumatic food experience Eating sea cucumber soup in Vladivostok. My professor glared at me as I sipped at the vile concoction for half an hour. It could have been cucumber soup in fish broth and a bad translation.
Attitude about sell-by dates Don’t get me started on the topic of beer with “freshness dates” and “born on”. Eggs are fine until they smell like rotten eggs, and most other things depend on how they smell.
Has your cooking ever made anyone sick? People used to complain that I put too much cheese in my stuffed pizza. I suppose 5 lbs of cheese is a bit much, but it isn’t my fault that they couldn’t restrain themselves from eating so much cheese. I did make myself sick once with a sauce of syrah, black olives and figs–something in the mixture was just not right.
I currently live in Seattle with Butter Bitch. I am the grandson of Idaho small farmers who left the farm just as industrial agriculture blossomed in the mid-20th century. A food-thoughtful mom and a couple of teenage years spent working at a consumer co-op gave me an appreciation for fresh foods and a critical view toward what I eat. I grew up in a small city with stories of the farm fresh foods and the rigorous farm life experienced by my mother and grandparents.
My interests range from the challenges of cooking locally to the fiscal challenges of buying locally to the effects of growing practices on the food we eat and on the members of the food chain (including humans!). I have it in my head to compare European and U.S. growing practices and contrast them with Cuba’s deindustrialized growing methods, but for now I plan to write about local producers and restaurants and document the challenges of cooking according to the weekly bounty of our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box. I have a 20-plus-year relationship with healthy foods — and a longer relationship with bad foods.