Choosy Beggar Bonanza #1: Comfort Zones
Well, we’ve been waiting a long time to do this, and we’re pleased to kick off our very first Choosy Beggar Bonanza contest with an offer of not one, but a bundle of cookbooks for your reading pleasure.
If you’ve never heard of Julie Le Clerc, then you’re missing out — she’s the greatest thing to come out of New Zealand since Flight of the Conchords, and just as unique. The product of a successful career as a food stylist and caterer, she’s also a contributor to Cuisine magazine and a successful author of beautiful, useful cookbooks.
Three of which, incidentally, we have ready for the winner of our inaugural challenge. But first, a quick sideline into my personal food journeys as part of this website.
Since we launched Choosy Beggars, I have handled sheep’s intestines to ensure that the raw pork I was grinding would flow properly into a sausage casing. How many of you out there would have bet that, at any point in your life, those were twenty-one words that would ever come out of your mouths? And yet here I am.
Since we launched Choosy Beggars, I have eaten meat that has tasted like butter, I have smelled cheese that had the scent of decaying flesh, and I have eaten fruit that has had the flavor of decaying flesh. Just about the only thing that I haven’t done is eaten decaying flesh itself, but I haven’t seen what we have on tap for the weekend. I should probably be staggering around in a torn shirt and bawling out for brains, BRAINS, BRAAAINNNS. And yet, here I am.
Since we launched Choosy Beggars, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so many animals with tentacles as appendages, nor have I approved of the use of tofu so frequently in any kind of cuisine. I don’t know which throws me into sharper cognitive dissonance, with colliding ideas threatening to shred my very mental integrity — and yet, here I am.
Adventure in food has been one of the most rewarding parts of this undertaking, and I wish I could take even a heartbeat’s credit for it. But Tina’s been so creative, dedicated and downright appetizing in her rewards for luring me out of my comfort zone that I can’t help but enjoy myself.
Which is why Julie Le Clerc is such an appropriate reward for this competition. Her recipes take the comfortable and commonplace, and transport them into new places through creative ingredients, novel preparations and fundamental twists on familiar foods. Beautifully presented, simply prepared and delightful, they’re a wonderful way to travel just beyond the well-known.
So! On to:
Tell us in the comments what your most adventurous, novel, bizarre, terrifying and/or rewarding venture outside of your culinary comfort zone you’ve taken — anything qualifies, from breakfast to dinner, from meats to desserts. Details gets you consideration, and emotions win you sympathy… but pain wins you points.
Three volumes of Julie Le Clerc’s cookbooks:
Shipped to your home with our regards, respect and admiration for your take of gastronomic courage!
Ways to earn a bonus entry
Follow Tina on Twitter after you’ve submitted your story, and pass along our contest using the non-crappy retweet function!
Our bonanza will run until Sunday, November 15th! Winners will be selected according to a panel decision of Choosy Beggars and be announced Monday, November 16th! This contest is null and void where prohibited! Because that kind of legalese needs exclamation!