Jun 9th, 2008 by Marilyn
Jeannette Ordas is a self-professed “30-something, food-obsessed designer” in Vancouver, BC with an embarrassing wealth of talents: she writes, draws, cooks and crafts. Her creative endeavors include Everybody Likes Sandwiches – “an uncomplicated journal about food…not just sandwiches!” – an Etsy shop, The Beautiful Project, and a lovely little blog called The Small Joys. Why was Jeannette an easy pick for Tell Simmer? We both dig Vancouver (but she gets to live there), work chocolate into breakfast, think a lot about food and enjoy messing with granola. What’s not to like?
How often do you think about eating?
I’m almost always thinking about food in general. It’s a pleasant distraction to my work so I’m usually wondering what I’ll make for dinner that day, drooling over someone’s food blog photos or pouring through recipe books. I also shop at the market almost every day so I’m always getting ideas on what I could be eating next!
Oh god yes. A nice strong cup with just enough cream to cut through the bitterness. An americano with a nice crema, a pour of half n’ half and a sprinkle of cinnamon? Perfection.
Favorite hometown food?
Vancouver is a very multi-cultural place, so I’d have to say either sushi or Chinese. You can find a really great sushi lunch for around $5 in this city. At The Clubhouse, my favorite place for sushi and okonomiyaki, you can find cream cheese maki rolls (I know, purists are rolling over in their graves)…delicious! As for Chinese food, I live a block away from one of North America’s largest Chinatown and can find some really great noodles, dumplings and bbq duck by just spinning and pointing.
Ever been served breakfast in bed?
Your absolutely reliable, go-to dish for entertaining is:
I usually don’t make the same things when I entertain, but it’s usually something that doesn’t involve a lot of fuss and can be prepared ahead of time. I like to hang out and drink with my guests so I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen slaving away over a meal. One example of a meal I prepared recently was a butternut and asiago cheese galette served with a green salad that had chopped apples, toasted pecans, feta and was tossed with a balsamic dressing. It was pretty fantastic if I do say so myself!
Food that makes you gag?
I hate bananas and melons and pretty much all tropical fruit (except for pineapples which I love), but I can’t say they’ve made me gag. Mushrooms have tickled my gag reflex on more than a few occasions. Once my aunt shoved a mushroom covered in dip into my mouth…that definitely made me gag and I threw up the whole thing into the toilet, but I was 10 years old at the time.
Worst kitchen disaster:
I’ve burnt water. Well, I’ve boiled water in our teapot dry more than a few times. Luckily our Le Creuset tea pot keeps on ticking. One day I’ll find the whistle so that I”ll be alerted to when the water has actually boiled.
Three things in your refrigerator right now:
1 bottle of Cheerwine soda picked up on our last road trip (a North Carolina cherry soda by way of Pine State Biscuits in Portland, OR), half a block of tamarind that I recently used to make sauce for pad thai and 7 different kinds of mustard.
Your idea of a romantic meal is:
An outdoor picnic in a local park or eating a meal on our balcony at golden hour, just as the sun is setting. A bottle of wine, a couple of beers or some homemade lemonade is necessary in any case!
Secret snack of shame?
When I was little it was yellow mustard spread thinly over buttered toast or margarine mixed with brown sugar to make “frosting” since my parents didn’t keep treats in the house. Now that I’m all grown up, it’s sneaking sips of pickle juice from the jar – actually I did that when I was a kid too! Tarted-up popcorn is another fave. My husband just likes his with butter, so when he’s gone, I go all out and eat a gigantic bowl full topped with salted butter, garlic powder and parmesan cheese. It’s delicious.
Most ambitious effort in the kitchen:
I recently made cinnamon buns and pizza dough with yeast. I’ve never tackled yeast baking before because I was so afraid of it. I’ll try the no-knead bread next since my yeast fears have been conquered. My next ambitious goal is canning….I can only hope that no one will die from botulism with all my efforts!
Best restaurant if you’re not paying:
I’d never call myself a foodie, so I’m not one of those persons who has to try the French Laundry or any other Michelin starred restaurant. I’d also feel guilty about spending lavishly, but if someone other than me or my husband is paying, I’d go anywhere that doesn’t have a super-snob factor.
If you were a cocktail, what would you be?
Well, cocktails are a bit frou-frou and I’m so not (but I love drinking them), so I’d say the all-Canadian cocktail, the Caesar (extra spicy) with an olive and a pickled green bean as garnish. But I’d also go for a beer, a Copacetic IPA from the Amnesia Brewery in Portland, OR–the perfect hoppiness and super refreshing.
Extra Credit: Where is the world’s best pizza?
I’d have to say in London, Ontario where I grew up. Frank & Gus Pizza Restaurant makes a pizza that is definitely not a traditional Italian pie. It’s greasy, it’s cheesy and I’m pretty sure they even use canned mushrooms…but it’s seriously good. It’s been around for 50 years and whenever I go back home I always make sure that we manage to have at least a couple of slices.
Another good thing found in my hometown: panzarotti which is a pizza that has been folded over, deep fried and served with marinara sauce. Tony’s Pizza in London, ON makes a great one. Somehow in health-concious Vancouver, I have yet to see a panzarotti show it’s greasy face on menus around here.