Inspired by Ed Levine's New York Eats blog entry...
If I had to pick just five favorite foods to wind up with me when I was stranded on a deserted island, I wonder what they would be...
1. Chocolate. I’m afraid I wouldn’t last long on Survivor without a ready supply of chocolate in some form or other. I love hot chocolate, chocolate truffles, brownies, chocolate mousse and all sorts of other chocolate creations. Oh, and I’m quite happy to just nibble on a nice dark chocolate bar.
2. Bread. There is really nothing like a really delicious, crusty loaf of bread. You can eat it straight, toast it, spread with all sorts of things, make sandwiches, crostini and bruschetta out of it, put it into soups (think French onion soup and ribollita), and when it it’s finally too stale to do anything else with it, grind it up in your food processor for bread crumbs.
3. Pasta. I’d really like to pick all of Italian regional cooking as one of my choices, but that doesn’t seem fair, so I’ll pick one of my favorite elements of Italian cooking, the ubiquitous pasta. There are only about a zillion different pasta dishes, so I’m probably still cheating, but who could choose only one type of pasta? Probably one of my favorite types of pasta is ravioli filled with butternut squash or pumpkin with a sage butter sauce. Yeah, I could live on that.
4. Ginger. Beyond simply having a wonderful flavor, ginger is medicinal. Ginger has been used for stomach upsets, motion sickness, circulation problems and the common cold. Ginger tea is one of my favorite beverages. I love desserts with ginger: gingerbread, candied ginger (especially dipped into chocolate), gingersnaps. And then ginger has that whole culinary side to it, flavoring savory dishes such as carrot soup, curries and all sorts of Asian dishes.
5. Gelato. Like the perfect finish to a meal, I’m going to have to finish my list off with gelato. I don’t have a favorite flavor. It’s usually the last one that I ordered. But I have to say that a dish of vanilla or cream gelato topped with a shot of espresso is pretty near perfection. The Italians call it “affogato,” which means “drowned.” And for me it’s the perfect marriage of coffee and dessert.
I am sure this list is completely unrealistic as a list of survival foods. I mean, how would I make a lovely curry dinner with just ginger alone? Perhaps my island is well stocked with vegetables, rice paddies and some wild chickens running about. Oh, and it would be nice to have a kitchen stocked with all the other ingredients needed to compliment my favorite foods, sort of like the pantry on Top Chef. Let's hope so.