Now y’all I know after my last gripe slamming Yankees you kinda figured I would not have one in my kitchen sipping my coffee. Well, I sorta feel sorry for the boy and thought I would help him out some.
EJ Knapp is his name and is from Detroit, Michigan. Now you can’t get more Yankee than that.
Now he started out with a right nice life, but EJ took a turn somewhere that led him down the road to driftin’.
Hell, sittin’ in this kitchen listening to him tell the story of his life it’s a wonder the boy survived at all.
Why when in high school shop class he learned how assemble zip guns. Now, I am tellin’ ya, I am glad I did not go to his school. He admitted to me in great confidence that he even took to carrying a 10-inch switchblade, and a bike chain belt. Bless his heart I guess at that time gettin’ your bike a new chain was important to him.
After rumbling around drinkin’ beer and something to do with pettin’ someone real heavy EJ acquired a 1960 Chevy and hit the road. Doing the odd job to get cash EJ has worked as a bagger in a grocery store, a roofer, a forestry ranger trainee. Hell, y’all he even tried being a college student. I guess he quit that cuz he couldn’t find the bike he lost and just had the chain. He has been a Navy Squid; yes, he does have that many arms. Why else would our Navy take someone like him. Some of the other odd jobs he has confessed to are a peer counselor in a street clinic, a drug dealer, an ice cream truck driver, an audio/visual technician, a professional photographer and the IT manager for a San Francisco law firm.
Moving back to his home in Detroit he finally settled down and became a writer. Putting his life experiences to paper, he is the author of the novel Stealing The Marbles, released by Rebel ePublishers in 2010, and Meter Maids Eat Their Young, also published by Rebel ePublishers. He is the author of a book of short stories titled The Dance and Other Love Stories as well as the non-fiction book Secrets of the Golden Gate Bridge. I did ask him what else he was working on and y’all know what he said to me after I was kind enough to give him my coffee? He said, “None of my business, he can’t tell anyone.” Well I never, but I guess his Yankee roots drifted back into my kitchen.
EJ did give a nice interview and I must admit it gave me a chuckle.
1. Earliest memory of your Mothers or Grandmothers kitchen.
Well, I had no mother to speak of and my grandmother was an evil witch so most of my early memories are scary ones. I know now, of course, that the big black cast iron pot that sat on the stove was a dutch oven. At the time, though, I lived in constant fear of the worst parts of the Hansel and Gretel story. I do have one rather fond memory, probably fond because I was half asleep. Going down to the kitchen early in the morning while my dad was having breakfast and getting a very small amount of his coffee loaded with milk and sugar.
2. Do you like to cook?
I love to cook. I especially love baking. I do all the cooking all the time. I love to experiment. I’ve been doing a lot of gluten free, sugar free (stevia) baking lately. My cookies are killer!
3. If not why not? No Answer
4. What recipe of your mother or grandmother do you make that sends you back in time watching (whichever one) in the kitchen?
Well, any time I witness someone cooking meat to the consistency and texture of hardwood flooring or boiling vegetables until they dissolve, I’m instantly transported back to my grandma’s kitchen. I was nearly an adult before I learned you didn’t need a hammer and chisel to cut a steak nor have to chew it until your jaw locked up.
5. What is your favorite herb or spice or both?
I seem to be on a cumin kick of late. Don’t know why. Been trying it in most everything, not always with success. It was coriander before that. I may be going through a middle eastern crisis here.
6. If you could be a ghost in that kitchen and watch yourself as a small child, what would you tell that child today?
Run, would be the first thing that came to mind. Meat can be tender, vegetables crisp, mashed potatoes don’t have to be lumpy. He might like to know that, a little something to look forward to.
7. Outside of your own country/county, which country’s cuisine do you like or prefer?
I love Greek food, and middle eastern dishes. Cook both quite often. I keep telling myself I’m going to start cooking more Indian food. I absolutely love Indian food but have never really attempted cooking it myself.
8. What is your families favorite dish?
Well, back when I actually had a family, I suppose it was my Italian dishes. I used to be real big on Italian. There was one dish everyone loved. I’d cook up a batch of spaghetti, sauce from scratch, mix it all together and let it sit overnight. Then, into a large casserole dish, top it with about an inch of sharp cheddar and into the oven for a half hour/45 minutes. Today, my favorite dish is falafel I make from scratch.
Love that stuff.
9. Since you taught yourself to cook – Of all the kitchen gadgets invented OLD and NEW which OLD and NEW are you favorite?(One old and one new)
Old would have to be the whisk. I have several different kinds and use them all the time. As for new, would a mixer be considered new? As I bake a lot, I couldn’t make half of what I make without a good, high-speed mixer.
10. I have a old fashion pantry.. (larder to you brits)… Do you recommend people start one and what would be the most important thing in that larder..
I don’t really have room for a pantry but if I did, I would keep various kinds of flour and spices in it. I enjoy making things from scratch which requires a lot of different mixes.
11. If you could teach cooking to the high school level students today… what would be the most important and the least important thing to teach them.
Most important would be regulation of heat. Not everything needs to be cooked on high, especially meat, a common error with inexperienced cooks. Least important is following the recipe exactly. A recipe is a guideline. I tend to follow one pretty closely the first time and then start experimenting with it.