Food bloggers come in all shapes and sizes (and some would say, vast, vast, quantities). But underneath them all is an obsession with food, and I've just discovered it's unnatural.
Recently I ran a trivia night at my place with nine of my nearest and dearest. It came about because it's something we do as a group, just to ensure we get together and knock back a couple of bottles of fizz once a month. For my turn, I'd asked if I could shake it up a bit, and so instead of asking a whole heap of questions about 1980s one-hit-wonders and the capitals of obscure countries, I decided to make mine food and wine themed. So I compiled a list of questions, breaking them into eight rounds of about ten questions each. Let's see how they fared.
Round 1 - picture round. What pasta is that?
Highest score - 6/10. Average: 4/10
Pasta that most of my friends have not heard of: agnolotti, farfalle, pappardelle, orzo, conchiglie.
I had a thin and thick flat pasta in there, and despite accepting pappardelle, fettuccine, linguini or tagliatelle, if they were at least listed according to brevity, none got it right. They fought over question 8, and I finally conceded that Agnolotti could also be called ravioli (it really shouldn't).
Round 2 - Fruit and veggies.
Highest score - 4/10. Average 2.5/10
I have discovered that my friends do not have any idea about potato varieties, what fruit is found in grenadine, what the difference between a herb and a tree is, how to poison someone with a fresh apple, or despite a multiple choice with 3 inane answers, only one of which was a fruit or vegetable, they could not figure out that jack-o-lanterns used to be made out of turnips. They all got The Wiggles lyrics right to "hot potato" however. And the best response? Q 9: What's in vichyssoise? ... A: fishes arse
Round 3 - Dining out.
Highest score - 5/10. Average 4/10
Do they know what napery is? No. What about the glasses different wines should be served in? No, not them either. What about smelly cheeses? No, can't tell the difference between a taleggio and a parmigiano. However, they could remember the jingle of a fast food chain's ad from all the way back in 1974, and tell me exactly what you could find in a Big Mac. Big woop.
Round 4 - Wine.
Highest score - 5/10. Average 2.5/10
Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Now I thought these were pretty easy. What is Spanish sparkling called? Apparently it's "el bubblio". The only wine growing region of NZ they could name was Marlborough, and there was a Waipara Sauvignon Blanc on the table. My husband did however know what TCA was, even if he called it tri-chloro-asinole. Everybody else just put in rude words starting with T, C and A. They didn't know how many Crus or growths you would find in the Medoc (Bordeaux), and couldn't even tell me that doux and demi sec were sweeter than brut when it comes to Champagne.
Round 5 - Guess this wine
Highest score - 3/3. Average - 1.5/3
The only disappointment here was my husband, who poured his wine in a shot glass, and then proudly declared it was Sancerre. I did proffer a more suitable receptacle, which he declined, stating loudly and tapping the side of his nose in Sherlock Holmes fashion "I've had this wine before, I know exactly what it is." He didn't change his answer. It was cheap buttery unwooded chardonnay from South Eastern Australia, not incredibly expensive and pungent Sauvignon Blanc from France.
Round 6 - Spirits and liqueurs
Highest score - 6/10. Average 4/10
What a great improvement here. Yes, they know what 'legs' are in a brandy glass. They could tell me how to make a Pi単a Colada. Only one knew that Frangelico was made with hazelnuts, but nobody had any idea what made the mind trip in Absinthe. When it came to stills, barrels and single malts, everybody utterly fell off the wagon.
Round 7 - Match the drinker to the drink
Highest score - 2/8. Average 1/8
This should have been a process of elimination. Pablo Picasso would definitely need the aid of the green fairy (absinthe) to come up with cubism (most got this). Marilyn Monroe was supposed to have once bathed in 350 bottles of Dom Perignon, and derr, Dean Martin loved Martinis. But no - they thought the Queen of England needed to drink Champagne, leaving Marilyn with the Cosmo, even though it hadn't been invented yet. They gave Madonna a Martini and Dean the Dubonnet, and then even bungled Lara Bingle's H2COCO, despite the fact that most of us are Aussies and she's been pimping it for ages now.
Round 8 - What is this?
Highest score - 3/10. Average - 1.5/10
The only constant was Sopressa, which was correctly confirmed to be a salami. But it seems Chaorce is a vegetable (no -that's Choko), Capon is a chocolate, Ceviche "mmmm... tastes like chicken!", Passito is meat, jaggery is a chilli, and nobody even put an answer for khubz, despite the fact that we all eat them nearly every day. Two out of three knew daikon was a radish, but nobody knew that Cachaca is the spirit used in one of the world's most popular cocktails, the Caipirinha, assuming in fact it is the dance that you perform after you have six of them. Kimchi? Oh, that's Indonesion for "cat on a satay stick" apparently.
By the end of this, my heart had broken, and was dribbling all over the floor like an over-ripe chunk of Chaorce. I thought this would be fun. You know, eating food, drinking wine, talking about food and wine, testing each other, the kind of things I love doing with my food blogger friends. But no, it wasn't at all. My cuisinically challenged friends laughed in mock shame through the fruit and veggie round, and only got very excited when they got to say "two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun", but by the time we got to the spirits, they were groaning, telling me they were too hard. I was embarrassed, wanted to crawl under the table and drink the rest of the Bollinger and gorge on some incredible Salted Caramels someone had brought from Crate and Barrel. Maybe just sob quietly to myself. But we persisted, and by the end, we paid in wine because everyone was drowning their losses in our cellar.
Even my husband, who shares most of my food journeys didn't fare well. At one point, my best Dubai friend looked at me and asked: "Do you know the answers to all these questions, Sarah?", and I do. I only had to google a couple of the celebrity favorite drinks and double check on some barrel sizes for whiskey storage. Oh, and I didn't know what a Capon was until about two weeks ago.
Sometimes its hard to see how people don't get your obsession, and also how they can go through life eating and drinking without knowing the name of things, how they are made, and where they come from. But I guess it's just my personal thing. Luckily I have a big bunch of food-loving friends to share it with in Fooderati Arabia, and now I treasure them more than ever.
The next host of trivia has threatened to make the theme "Middle Eastern Oil Extraction" for next time. Now won't that be exciting...
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