Oct 17th, 2009 by Marilyn
So many things to love about Calgary-based Julie Van Rosendaal, and they all start and end with personality, as in, “I’m in a hotel room with a bottle of Shiraz, answering your interview! Sick kid so we’re not leaving!” More pluses: recipes from her popular blog Dinner With Julie, like yes-please Pumpkin Stout Gingerbread, her videos at Good Bite and the generous way this food writer, author, stylist and journalist shares her life in the kitchen. Whether she’s on the radio, cooking on TV or describing a poutine buffet (“…fries and cheese curds and coffee-sized carafes of gravy – I never saw so many happy drunk people.”) Julie serves up more than dinner, explained by way of the late Laurie Colwin, whom she quotes: “It is the daily things, like what people eat and how they serve it.”
How often do you think about eating?
Um, all the time? I never understood those people who “forget to eat” – how do you forget to eat? It’s the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I fantasize about before I fall asleep. Probably the reason we only have one child…
I adore coffee, but just as often hate it. I’m not one of those coffee junkies that will drink any cup of Joe served to them. I’m an espresso girl – I love the crema – straight up or in an Americano, and it must have cream, and little or no sugar. Sometimes I get a cheap latte at Starbucks by ordering a tall Americano in a grande cup and then filling it with milk. I’m also a huge fan of coffee ice cream and coffee chocolates, but not so much of coffee breath.
Favorite hometown food?
Fried oatmeal with lemon curd and cream at Diner Deluxe, hot fudge sundaes from Peters Drive-In, lobster poutine from Brava Bistro (although lobster isn’t exactly prairie food..), Vietnamese subs from ThiThi, Jimmy’s A&A chicken shawarmas (eat them in flip-flops), Crave-o-Licious cupcakes
Ever been served breakfast in bed?
Now that you mention it – no. Thanks for pointing out a gaping hole in my romantic life.
Food that makes you gag?
Licorice (black) is the only food that makes me gag – it even makes me gag when other people eat it – I can pick up licorice breath a hundred metres away. Oh wait – and oysters. No can do.
Worst kitchen disaster:
We were taping a cookie show once and someone filled the sugar bowl with salt, so that the chocolate chip cookies we made had a half cup of salt in them. Amazingly they still turned out – they looked great, anyway, but at the end of the show I had to break one open and eat it, and I’m pretty sure my eyeballs jumped right out of my head. Another time, a bunch of friends and I rented a cabin up by Whistler, and we almost burned the place down toasting almonds for a salad. Seriously – shooting flames almost reaching old wooden rafters while all of us stood around it with our glasses of wine, trying to summon up the proper procedure for kitchen fires, until one of my friends thought to pull the old gas stove away from the wall and turn off the gas. It was a New Year’s Eve miracle!
Leftovers in your fridge?
I hope not – we’re out of town right now. My freezer is crammed with leftovers at all times – mostly unlabelled, as I’m always sure I’ll be able to identify them when the time comes. Often we play Russian roulette at dinner – whatever I pull out of the freezer in the morning is what we eat.
Your idea of a romantic meal:
Any meal that doesn’t involve a 4 year old scooping the ice out of my drink with his hands and sucking on it noisily. Or any meal made for me by a man not related to me.
Secret snack of shame?
OK you guys, I’ve never told anyone this, but I love raisins and cheese. Wait, it gets worse. As a kid I loved the combo so much – and of course melty cheese is always better than the cold stuff – that I would melt cheese in a mug in the microwave, then stir in a handful of raisins and eat it with a spoon. And-sometimes I still do. Slightly less disgusting: my mom used to make us cheese sandwiches on raisin bread, and now I make grilled cheese sandwiches on raisin bread. You should try it – especially with old white cheddar or Gouda. Yum.
Best restaurant if you’re not paying:
SoBo in Tofino – wait, that would be the best even if I was picking up the tab! Also Vij’s in Vancouver, Capo, Teatro, Centini, Rouge and River Cafe in Calgary…
If you were a cocktail, what would you be?
I can’t seem to come up with a good answer to this one. Moscato d’Asti is better than prosecco – it’s impossible to drink and not be happy. There’s one kind from Italy that has a blue metal pop top that’s slightly hip, slightly trashy… not really a cocktail, unless you pour it over a teeny scoop of raspberry gelato…
Favorite pizza place?
Extra credit: a great recipe with less than five ingredients:
How to win friends and influence people: take nice, plump medjool dates, pull out the pits (use tweezers) and replace them with pit-sized (or slightly larger) chunks of Parmesan cheese. Wrap in a half or third of a slice of bacon, place them seam-side down on a baking sheet and bake at 400 F until the bacon cooks and shrinkwraps the dates, and the cheese starts to ooze.