FB: How would you rate yourself as a cook?
TVW: Well, put it this way … I think my swimming skills far outweigh my cooking skills. I can do a few different pasta dishes, you know … I’m not bad at carbonara. I do a good tuna pasta. And I make a not bad chicken soup. So I think they’re all passable. I really need to have recipes. I’m not very creative. My husband’s fantastic in the kitchen. He loves it. He can look at what we’ve got in the fridge and go “Oh, we’ve got this, this and this, so we’ll make up this.”
FB: What’s your favourite kind of food?
TVW: Look, I’d have to say Italian. That’s because I spent a lot of time over in Italy when I was younger, doing marathon swims. I got to experience the most amazing Italian food in Florence and Sicily and Rome. The pizzas and the pasta and the gelati are just absolutely second to none. I think it must be the quality of the ingredients they use.
FB: Do you like a drink?
TVW: I love a drink. I love a Moscato. I love a sweet wine. That’s sort of my ‘relax’ drink when summer’s nice and we’re sitting outside. Yeah, it’s good to have just a nice glass of wine. I love my coffees as well. Helps kick-start my morning.
FB: Which five people would you most like to invite to dinner?
TVW: Neil Armstrong and (fellow astronaut) Gene Cernan, Julia Roberts, Roger Federer and Leonardo Da Vinci.
FB: Do you have a kitchen tip for us?
TVW: I do, actually. We’ve actually got chickens. I often have to check how fresh the eggs are. There’s a secret to that, even if you buy eggs from the supermarket. Put your egg in a bowl of water. If it sinks, then it’s fresh. But if it floats, then basically it’s past its use-by date. What happens is, the shell’s very porous and, over time, air enters into it, making it lighter.
Recently on the Food Bytes podcast, we discussed the merits of lasagne versus spaghetti Bolognese (or spag bol, as we Aussies like to call it). Days later, our eagle-eyed producer spotted Spag Bol flavoured chips in the chip aisle of his local supermarket. It prompted a heated discussion on ‘trendy’ chip flavours. Do we really want balsamic and red onion flavoured chips? Or macaroni cheese? Or – heaven forbid – a snag and sauce flavoured chip? (and yes, they do exist!) Suggestions for new chip flavours came thick and fast on the Food Bytes Facebook page … Bart would like to see Marathon Dim Sim flavoured chips with Fountain soy sauce. Susie suggested a bacon or carbonara flavoured chip. My favourite idea, though, belongs to Craig, who’d like to see this as a chip variety: corned beef or silverside with mustard sauce. Admittedly, I’m a bit of a chip purist, but that I could probably handle!
Which is more than I can say for our keen taste tester Kevin, who’s verdict on the Spag Bol chips was a big thumbs down. Thanks for taking one for the team, Kevin!