Best meal I ever ate:
My mom's special occation and holiday meals have always been tops (any meal the same for decades eventually becomes tradition). A favorite is: Chicken chunks with celery, onion, & water chestnuts rolled in crepes (Calidad brand soft taco tortillas pre-heated in a pan work also) covered in cheese sauce. Steamed broccoli (cheese or sauce optional). Home made angel food cake covered in vanilla pudding with bananas stuck to it, with fresh strawberries. My best ever is when got up before daylight forgot to eat breakfast or pack a complete lunch hiked 15 miles on the edge of cliffs up hill in the Columbia Gorge, due to bad planning had only one match while was in the pouring rain able to get a fire going to warm up, and dry out my shoes / socks / feet. Great waterfall view when cooked two burgers on tin foil with salt and pepper. Tossed the smushed-in-backpack soggy bread to watch birds. Forgot all other condiments. Simple burgers tasted so good that day by a warm fire in the rain.
My current drink of choice:
Usually have water with a meal. Sometimes a good glass of wine adds. Away from food sometimes like single barrel american whiskey on the rocks.
I really wish I could:
Somehow be involved in food for work as have always enjoyed it. Open to suggestions. Get great pleasure seeing others devour food I helped prepare. In college helped cater large parties. For many years cooked for the local Fair events. Co-ordinated many huge corporate events for companies including Intel (all over the country). Example assignment: Feed 1000 guests with different tastes from around the globe for a week 24/7 and make sure they leave happy. Great food is fun to make and see enjoyed.
My "Go-to" dinner party dish:
Tamale pie is one: Make Mexican beef stew (mostly meat) slow cooked in chipotle, adobo, honey, tomato, with cumin sauce. Then put it in a baking dish put olives on top of the meat then cheddar cheese on the olives and pour home made corn bread mixture over it (even jiffy corn bread mix works) and bake to set. I also make killer pickles, dips, sauces, salads, and dressings.
My favorite comfort food:
Country fried steak (or some kind of slow cooked meat) under gravy made with stock not water, cranberry sauce, home made pickles, with a couple side dishes of: garlic riced potatoes, broccoli, salad with home made dressing, garlic cheese bread, or home made bisquit with real butter.
My top 5 favorite restaurants:
The London Bar and Grill (Portland, OR) tuxedo served top-shelf pepper steak made tableside later with the bananas foster dessert also made tableside (both flaming in the low light) in the basement of the Benson Hotel (sad to say my #1 favorite closed 1/2/12 with El Gaucho still a steak house in the same building selling quality aged steaks). Sayler's Old Country Kitchen (Portland, OR) great complete steak dinners since 1946 - and home of the 72 oz steak free to those who eat it with trimmings in an hour. Ringside (Portland, OR) a top 10 nationally rated steak place with a house salad dressing that is unique and good (I have them top it with extra blue cheese). Nonna Emilia (Aloha, OR) possibly my favorite Italian place anywhere who has an awesome lunch buffet on Tue-Fri for $8 with Fri adding lasagna Thursday is beef ribs cooked in tomato wine sauce (check website for hours and more specifics). The red french salad dressing is a favorite so now make my own version. Carver Hangar, great jumbo burgers (same as Helvetia Tavern ownership once for about a decade in late 80s early 90s) and love their pizza burgers (Helvetia no longer sells them) - in bar eat peanuts then toss shells on the ground.
My most tattered cookbooks:
"Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book" fourteenth printing of De Luxe Edition 1947 (from my mom's mom). My go to book when need new cooking ideas to break the routine is "The Encyclopedia of Creative Cooking" Edited by Charlotte Turgeon with 2000 recipes and 800 full color photos (the enchiladas, beef burgandy, and beef stew mexican style are awesome starting points). Any recipe is only a guide.