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July 13th, 2005 Johanna Droubay | z-Bite Club
 

STRANGE THINGS AFOOT AT THE CIRCLE K

     
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YOUNG FRANKENSTEINS OF GASTRONOMY: Vicky Traig and Chris Rouser.
We first found ourselves convulsing with laughter over Mini-Mart à la Carte, a cookbook that elegantly explains the steps involved in preparing lowbrow entrees and appetizers like "Poop on a Pringle" and "New England Spam Chowder," when we wrote about fine convenience-store dining in WW's Summer Guide (online at wweek.com). But we totally missed out on the book's key ingredient: Mini-Mart's authors Chris Rouser and Vicky Traig are stationed right here in Portland-and possibly about to serve us our next meal. Both work as servers at local McMenamins outlets.

Before jetting off to the Big Apple to do a few interviews about their saucy, sardonic new tome, the North Portland couple-they live and love together, too-met with WW to discuss daytime TV, fries with ranch and the catalyst for their recipe for off-beat success: disgruntled serving.

WW: Is the book a satire? Is it a joke?

Vicky Traig: The original morsel of the idea was actually based in truth because I was really cooking these things and eating them. But I always assumed that's what everyone did, so it didn't seem like a very good book idea.

Chris Rouser: Vicky started writing down recipes because I have the worst eating habits in the world. She was like, "If you're going to eat exclusively at the mini-mart, then I'm going to make sure you have a well-rounded diet." But it's obvious in the book that not all the recipes are delicious.

Is it a satire of gourmet cookbooks and people who take food seriously?

CR: Yeah. Absolutely.

Where does that contempt for snobbery come from?

CR: Anything I'd satirize, anything I hate about people, my contempt for anything comes from waiting tables. People can be ridiculous. There are people that try to be snobby at McMenamins. It's McMenamins, for Christ's sake! I mean, you can have extra ranch with your fries, but fuckin'-A.

Have your friends tried the recipes?

CR: I would like to say yes, but no.

Have you heard from anyone who has tried them?

CR: They made some of our recipes on The View. Meredith Vieira would taste something and then they'd tell her what was in it, like the Thousand Island Ice Tea [a mixture of rum, vodka, gin, triple sec, a packet of mayo and a packet of ketchup] and she was like, "Oh my God!" They were just ripping on everything.

VT: She called us irresponsible. You know, for putting this food out into the world.

CR: She's a bitch.

Kelly Clarke ditched Bite Club this week to put the finishing touches on FINDER, WW's very first magazine-style guide to Portland. It hits the streets Monday, July 25!


Find Mini-Mart à la Carte ($14.95) at Powell's Books and other local book stores.
 
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