Derrick Schneider is an Oakland-based programmer, puzzle designer, and writer who created one of the first food blogs ever, An Obsession With Food, which I credit for giving me the blogging bug back in the day. Derrick is a regular contributor to the Art of Eating, among other publications, and his passion for wine has led him to teach wine tasting classes. He’s also developed a meal planning application for the iPhone called Mise en Place.
Here he tells us about cooking a birthday dinner in Paris, whether or not to travel with your own wine vinegar, and panzanella.
Did you take a vacation this summer, and did you have a chance to cook while there?
We just got back from a road trip to Southern California and Big Sur, but it was all hotels and restaurants. Other than that, alas, we have nothing planned for the summer.
Are there utensils or ingredients you always take with you when you go on vacation? If so, what are they? If not, what do you unfailingly regret not taking?
My chef’s knife is a frequent stowaway in my luggage, of course, but I also bring a good pair of kitchen tongs. When we stayed with my mom and her husband in Provence for a bit, they were at first a bit amused by the tongs. But once they saw how often I used them, they were so delighted that we bought them their own set as a present.
But I do always end up with one regret: not bringing my own wine vinegar. If an apartment has wine vinegar, it’s the wan, pale commercial stuff. But I always think, “Oh, I can get by with regular vinegar for a bit.” I suppose it’s at least a good reminder of how good my own is!