Favorite foods

Or, why I will weigh at least 3000 pounds by the time I get tenure.

  • Fresh fruit (eaten in highly nontrivial quantities): grapefruit, watermelon, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, mangoes. Abnormally high tolerance for citrus (will eat plain lemons and limes with no problem).
  • Vegetables: boiled broccoli, corn on the cob, avocado, raw baby carrots, cucumber, mashed potatoes, cherry tomatoes
  • Peanuts, cashews, walnuts
  • Beverages: fruit smoothies (mango, raspberry, banana), sparkling grape juice, coconut juice, iced tea, iced coffee, Hong Kong style bubble tea, fresh OJ, fresh lemonade, beer, champagne. Always looking for new and exotic fruit drinks. Not big on water. Trying to eliminate corn-syrup sodas.
  • Chicken
  • Steak, pot roast, burgers, pastrami
  • Fresh fish of all kinds: salmon, mahi-mahi, halibut, tuna (not shellfish)
  • Lots of soup: chicken-noodle, beef-vegetable, potato, chili…
  • Breakfast: egg-and-cheese sandwich, veggie omelet, french toast, waffles with fresh fruit, Count Chocula (with whole milk, of course)
  • Italian: eggplant parm, spaghetti with meatballs, linguini with salmon, cheese ravioli, garlic bread, pizza with onions and mushrooms (if that counts as Italian)
  • Indian: samosas, garlic naan, numerous variations on lamb & rice, gulab jamun, chai
  • (American) Chinese: egg drop soup, crunchy noodles, mu shu chicken
  • Thai: cashew chicken, mango and sticky rice, Thai iced tea
  • Japanese: edamame, tuna sashimi with wasabi, udon noodles, teriyaki, beef sukiyaki. Also all sorts of junk food (mochi ice cream, Hi-Chew…)
  • Greek and Middle Eastern: falafel, pita with hummus, baklava
  • Jewish: latkes, fried matzo, fried artichokes, gefilte with horseradish (really — it’s good!), bagels with cream cheese and whitefish (not so much lox), beef brisket
  • Russian: borscht, potato pierogies
  • Ethiopian: injera bread (the “edible tablecloth”), Tej honey-wine
  • British:
  • American Thanksgiving dinner: turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie — any time of year.
  • Sweets: candy apples, Jelly Bellys (especially licorice and coconut), Mentos, Tic-Tacs, peppermint patties, Charleston Chew, Peanut Chews (as mentioned earlier), Peanut M&M’s, cherry Starburst, saltwater taffy, fudge, funnel cake, smores, Australian candied apricots, Turkish Delight, Hot Tamales, Mint Milano, soft chocolate-chip cookies, chocolate-dipped strawberries, chocolate pudding, chocolate mousse, warm chocolate cake, chocolate-covered Rice Krispies squares, sugar cubes, pure granulated sugar straight out of the bag… mmmmmmmm….
  • Ice cream (obviously a separate category): Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Breyer’s coffee or mint chocolate chip, ice cream sandwiches, hot fudge sundaes (the hot fudge is crucial — not just chocolate syrup), banana splits, fruit sorbet, gelati (ice cream + water ice), fresh-made gelato, Freeze-Dried Astronaut Ice Cream (found in science museum gift shops)

Go ahead and list your own favorites in the comments section, together with your research area (or line of work if you have a real job). Then we’ll see if there’s any correlation between the two. See, this isn’t procrastination: it’s serious research.

Update (1/23): I finally fixed the time stamps in the comments section. Unfortunately, this will cause comments to appear out-of-order during an 8-hour window.

50 Responses to “Favorite foods”

  1. Greg Kuperberg Says:

    Shorter Scott Aaronson:

    Favorite foods: All of them!

  2. Scott Says:

    Well, there’s a certain dishonesty in only listing one or two favorite foods — if those were really your unique favorites, then why not just eat them all the time? And since when have I ever lied to you on this blog?

  3. Dave Aaronson Says:

    Scott, you’ve finally done something to make me proud.

  4. Scott Says:

    I hesitated to post something so abstruse and intellectual, but if that’s what it takes to earn the respect of my baby brother…

  5. a Says:

    Why is “Hong Kong style” bubble tea better than “Taiwanese style”? I mean, are you claiming a distinction?

  6. Sam C Says:

    Nobody do what he says, you’ll only be enabling his procrastination.

  7. Scott Says:

    Why is “Hong Kong style” bubble tea better than “Taiwanese style”?

    Oh, that’s just what they call it when it’s black tea with milk and honey.

  8. ano Says:

    Hmm… Pork is notably absent, unless I missed it, and shellfish is explicitly a no-no… do you have a kosher diet? If so, you need the sky-Dawkins to tell you just how delicious lobsters are.

  9. Greg Kuperberg Says:

    And since when have I ever lied to you on this blog?

    I didn’t think you were lying at all, just in a certain frame of mind. “Don’t feel like writing papers today; maybe I’ll try every restaurant in town.”

  10. Scott Says:

    Hmm… Pork is notably absent, unless I missed it, and shellfish is explicitly a no-no… do you have a kosher diet?

    Not really, but having grown up not eating pork and shellfish, I simply don’t like them (when I do eat them by accident, I gag). And you’re entirely right that, if I were to eat something I didn’t like, it would have to be on direct orders from sky-Dawkins.

  11. Miriam Walker Says:

    Well having read that food list I’m thoroughly looking forward to having you to stay in Auckland. If you can cope with seeing every travel destination as a culinary opportunity then we’ll be having a ball. Hokey pokey ice-cream coming up.

  12. Scott Says:

    Thanks so much, Miriam — I can’t wait to see you! (“Hokey pokey”? Is that some kind of Maori term? :-) )

  13. Still a Bit Heavy Says:

    Actually, you sound like one of those skinny guys who can eat like a 800 pound hog or a professional wrestler and not gain any weight. Meanwhile, I had to give up all gluten-containing grains a year ago and all I lost was a lousy 16 pounds. But I digress…

  14. Scott Says:

    Yeah, I did have extremely high metabolism as a kid, but don’t worry, I’m catchin’ up to ya…

  15. Gefilte Fan Says:

    Why the paranthetical defense after Gefilte Fish with horseradish? Is there even any debate on this issue? I thought it was universally acknowledged as delicious.

  16. Scott Says:

    You need to get out more…

  17. Sam C Says:

    You’re coming to NZ and you’re staying in Auckland? A shame.

  18. Andy Says:

    Greens, if artfully prepared to take the bitter edge off, are what do it for me lately: spanakopita (spinach pie), stir-fried arugula with manchego cheese & oil on a baguette, brocolli rabe on pizza… come to think of it, cheese always helps.

    Why not tell them what kind of candy apples, Scott? The man is a pro, people…

  19. Robin Blume-Kohout Says:

    The following is my candidate for the most pedantic comment ever posted on this blog (yes, the competition is fierce):

    George H. W. Bush’s least favorite vegetable (see 2nd bullet) is spelled with two Cs, but only one L.

    Sorry, I can’t help it. I’m just that guy…

  20. Scott Says:

    Thanks, Robin! I appreciate it. I try to keep my spelling errors below one per year.

  21. Kelly Says:

    This is the kind of food I like: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/index_e.html

    But most of the people don’t seem to like it…

  22. Tyler DiPietro Says:

    I don’t mean to perpetuate a stereotype or anything, but most of anything I’d consider a favorite food is either A.) pasta or B.) a non-pasta food with the typical Italian trappings. The first things that come to mind are grilled chicken fettuccine-alfredo and chicken parmesan (I actually prefer with mozzarella and provolone, but you get the idea).

    And by the way, I love this blog and figured I’d start jumping into discussions. Of course the first would be on food, once again perpetuating Italian stereotypes…

  23. Sean Says:

    Scott, either a glitch in your software has erased the entry under “British:”, or, as we say where I’m from, you’re talking bollocks.

    In case it’s the former, let me help you out. A partial list should include:

    (some) bangers and mash, balti, branston, brown sauce, cheddar, chicken tikka masala, cornish pasty, haggis, hotpot, lob scouse, marmite, phaal, proper mustard, piccalilli, pickled eggs, roast potatoes, roast parsnips, shepherd’s pie, stilton, swede, wenslydale, bara brith, christmas pudding, digestives, eccles cake, flapjacks, rhubarb crumble, safron buns, and trifle.

    I’ve even left off some obvious winners (faggots, white pudding, black pudding, all the other bangers, the rest of the “full english”) that might offend your upbringing, as well as things that we invented but were perfected elsewhere (e.g. the Aussie meat pie, the Jamaican patty) or things that we perfected but were invented elsewhere (e.g. the chicken jalfrezi).

    If it’s the latter, then shame on you! Go to your room, without any spotted dick, and don’t come out until you’ve finished reading Orwell’s wonderful eulogy to our great cuisine!

    Cheers,
    Sean
    (theoretical physics)

  24. Sean Says:

    Here’s the link:

    http://www.orwell.ru/library/articles/cooking/english/e_dec

  25. ano Says:

    Apparently most British food names are terrifying

  26. Rosie Redfield Says:

    Hokey-pokey is an old English term for ice cream sold on the street. Richard Thompson has a song about it.

  27. Cynthia Says:

    Scott, if you’d just list the foods you hate, instead of the foods you love, then you could’ve conveyed the same sorta message without having to list these nonessential kinda tasty trappings. After all, the brevity of distasteful treats always rules! But on second thought, it’s quite nice when a cornucopia of tasty treats can dethrone the brevity of distaste from time to time.;) Best, Cynthia

  28. John Preskill Says:

    What? No cheesecake?

  29. elias Says:

    Okay, an inflated sense of self-importance, fine; you start a blog. But to meticulously list your favorite foods? Come on. This makes me want to stop humoring you on claims like “The physical intractability of NP-hard problems should be taken as a basic physical tenet…” It’s an interesting dinner party conversation, but you’re using it to artificially inflate the importance of some tenuously connected and elementary mathematics.

    Referee #1: He defined two complexity classes that no one cares about, and proved that they’re not the same relative to an oracle.

    Referee #2: Yes, but did you read the colorful, whimsical introduction (written all in the 1st person)? He’s like an irrelevant Brian Greene!

  30. Scott Says:

    What? No cheesecake?

    See, the people who aren’t on my case for listing every food in existence are on my case for leaving something out!

    For the record, the following foods, while perfectly fine, are not among my favorites:

    cheesecake, apple pie, lemon squares, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, almonds, milk (as standalone beverage), pancakes, sucking candies, raisins, apple juice, yogurt, oatmeal, shredded wheat, fruit punch…

    (I could keep listing — my non-favorites really do outnumber my favorites — but I actually want to go to lunch.)

  31. Scott Says:

    elias: Wow, I had no idea that listing my favorite foods was going to affect others’ judgment of my scientific work.

    I’ve never gotten any referee report remotely like your #2. When referees don’t like my papers, they reject them. As for referring to myself in first person — should Scott use third person instead, like Bob Dole?

    Honestly, though, no matter what I say, I have the feeling you still won’t want to be my friend. (sobs softly)

  32. elias Says:

    As for referring to myself in first person — should Scott use third person instead, like Bob Dole?

    Did you see what happened to the Borg when they started using the first person? Do you want that to happen to all of theoretical computer science?

    (Ref: “I, Borg” Star Trek: The Next Generation, stardate 45854.2, airdate May 9, 1992)

  33. Anonymous Says:

    Blueberry pie. Functional analysis.

    In fact, it seems I suffer from a sort of gustatory-mathematical synesthesia:

    Blueberry pie = Functional analysis.
    Cherry pie = real analysis (particularly integration/measure theory)
    Peach pie = complex analysis.
    Apple pie (and apples generally) = algebra.

  34. Scott Says:

    Sean: Let me reprint your list, leaving out chicken tikka masala (which is Indian) and cheddar and roast potatoes (give me a break).

    bangers and mash, balti, branston, brown sauce, cornish pasty, haggis, hotpot, lob scouse, marmite, phaal, proper mustard, piccalilli, pickled eggs, roast parsnips, shepherd’s pie, stilton, swede, wenslydale, bara brith, christmas pudding, digestives, eccles cake, flapjacks, rhubarb crumble, safron buns, and trifle.

    HAHAHAHAHA ROTFL!!! I mean, “cornish pasty” and “lob scouse” might be delicious (whatever they are), but … oh, God … what is that language you speak there? Is it English? :-)

  35. andy Says:

    The 6th year graduate student diet:
    Ho-Ho’s.
    Pepsi.
    Whatever else is in the vending machine.

  36. ano Says:

    “Okay, an inflated sense of self-importance, fine; you start a blog. But to meticulously list your favorite foods? Come on.”

    I’m already basically a troll on this blog. If I say fuck off to this, I guess that would make it official. Troll is a step above crank, though. And I guess saying fuck off would make me a vigilante troll, which might be one step above your average troll. Then again, I’ve never met elias. Fuck off elias.

  37. Johan Richter Says:

    Personally I am surprised that you didn’t use SI units in the undertitle of your post. The fact thaat you didn’t has lowered my respect for TCS as a science.

  38. Sean Says:

    You’re right to pull me up on Chicken Tikka Masala – there is at least some controversy over whether it’s British in origin (though most of the evidence indicates that it is). This is certainly not the case with the Phaal and the Balti, which are unequivocally British creations.

    I was of course referring to proper roast potatoes(done in goose fat), and proper cheddar (from the Mendips) – perhaps you haven’t experienced these and are confusing them with (doubtless inferior) local imitations. ;-)

    Cornish pasties are a bit like pies, but are a different shape and have a big thick crust along one edge (for the tin miners to hold them by). They are mentioned in Shakespeare (Merry Wives of Windsor, act 1 scene 1: “Come, we have a hot venison pasty to dinner: come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness.”) Does that count as English? If you are visiting Brisbane next week you might be able to find one (though I would recommend going to Cornwall to sample the real thing).

    Lob scouse is a potato, meat and winter vegetable stew that’s so popular in parts of north west England and north Wales that they named a whole dialect of the English language after it. What differentiates it from other stews are two magical ingredients, difficult to source elsewhere in the world: Mancunian tap water, and a dollop of HP sauce.

  39. Scott Says:

    Personally I am surprised that you didn’t use SI units in the undertitle of your post. The fact thaat you didn’t has lowered my respect for TCS as a science.

    Oh, give me a break — all measuring systems are equivalent up to constant factors!

    Besides, “kilogram” just isn’t a funny word. You can say, “the mean for these specimens was found to be 2.84 kilograms, +/- 0.02kg p<0.05.” But “yo’ mamma, she weigh so many kilograms her picture fell off the wall”?

  40. elias Says:

    Then again, I’ve never met elias. Fuck off elias.

    Scott, I think that violent, irrational support from idiotic followers elevates your status from cult hero to demi-god.

  41. Chinmaya Sheth Says:

    Food has the power to bring peace:

    You don’t eat pigs, we don’t eat pigs, it seems like its been that way forever.
    So if you don’t pigs, and we don’t eag pigs, why not, not eat pigs together? Why not, not eat pigs together?

    Not my own creation, heard it on a stand-up comedy show on BBC America; can’t recall the comedian’s name.

  42. Scott Says:

    Why not, not eat pigs together?
    OK!

  43. Joseph Hertzlinger Says:

    SI units are in decimal. On a theoretical computer science blog, we should only use hexadecimals.

    There are 0×10 ounces in a pound…

  44. ano Says:

    Scott,

    they made a movie about your idea!
    “Teeth” just debuted at the Sundance Film Festival.

    From Salon.com:

    “A lurid suburban satire that feels evenly appropriated from David Cronenberg and John Waters, “Teeth” is the saga of Dawn (Jess Weixler), a perky Christian teen who’s the leading chastity cheerleader at her high school. For about the first hour it’s a finely balanced if never subtle picture, with an intriguingly cool visual aesthetic, but after Dawn comes to understand her remarkable genital gift, it’s pretty much one can-you-top-this gross-out scene after another.”

    That’s right…. a movie about a vagina with teeth!

  45. John Doe Says:

    I guess that when you become popular people will attack you on your blog. But you know that you are REALLY popular when people start reporting security holes in you.

  46. Greg Kuperberg Says:

    Not my own creation, heard it on a stand-up comedy show on BBC America; can’t recall the comedian’s name.

    Tim Minchin.

    Google knows everything.

  47. Dave Bacon Says:

    Damn you Scott. I’m on a prewedding crash diet and you post on food. You are certainly out to get me.

  48. Chris W. Says:

    [This comment belongs on your post about your Lecture 9, for which comments are now closed; sorry about straying off-topic here. Feel free to read and delete.]

    See Dave Bacon’s post on William Wootters’ Ph.D. thesis, and the ensuing comments. Anything to say?

  49. Scott Says:

    Anything to say?

    Probably, but I’m in New Zealand now, so I’ll leave others to debate it while I go explore some volcanoes and hot springs!

  50. Jon Tyson Says:

    This is also a bit of a comment on QIP. I’m always amazed that top-notch researchers, such as ones who host QIP conferences in Australia, are obviously out-of-touch with the top-notch researchers in accessible fields such as nutrition. The most-cited researcher in that field is
    Walter Willett, at Harvard.

    Anyway, Prof. Willett has expounded at length on what his favorite foods are, with over 1000 journal publications and the medical school textbook “Nutritional Epidemiology”. (He has such a large number because he’s sitting on the hugest pile of data from the “Nurse’s health study”, which followed over 50,000 nurses for 30 or so years to correlate diet and health.)

    Fortunately, Willett has written some popular books on the subject so that you don’t have to read all of his journal articles, although some of them are well-worth reading.

    His popular books are:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0743266420/sr=8-1/qid=1148923283/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-2232901-1478539?%5Fencoding=UTF8

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1401302491/sr=8-1/qid=1144821398/

    And accessible online sources to him (and other researchers) are

    http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutrition/foodpyramid/ (This is NOT about the USDA pyramid)

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/diet/interviews/willett.html