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.