On this episode of “Off the Record with The Sporting Chef and Michelle”, we learn Michelle’s nickname. Only her parents use it. (hint: it’s Mickey). Is Mickey picky? Scott gives her a picky eater’s test and we find out.
Shocker of the week: turns out that cooking is subjective!
Scott reveals that he doesn’t love cooking competition reality TV shows. He says cooking should be celebrated and shared, not turned into a loser-leave-town cage match with three ill-tempered judges pretending to speak for everyone.
You’ll love this open discussion between two friends who love to challenge each other!
Off The Record Podcast – Episode 7 – Transcript
Intro: Good day and welcome to Off The Record. You’ll find us at the intersection of interesting ideas and great pairings. It all tastes good when these two cook it up, so let’s listen in to The Sporting Chef, Scott, and outdoor industry insider, Michelle, as they talk wild game, wine, and anything else that comes to mind. Time to sample and sip our way through the best part of the day as we go Off The Record with The Sporting Chef and Michelle.
Michelle: Alright, welcome back everyone to Off The Record with Scott and Michelle, aka the Sporting Chef and Michelle. I don’t have a nickname. Well, I have a nickname, it’s just my parents only call me by my nickname. [chuckle] My nickname is Mickey, in case everyone wants to know, so…
Scott: Right. Well, we’ll have to… We can work on a new nickname for you too, if you want.
Michelle: Yeah. I tend to have an affinity for Mickey Mouse, although I’m not as fanatic about Mickey Mouse and Disney as some people, that we probably both know. But… [chuckle] So yeah, welcome back to another stellar episode. We’re gonna talk about picky eaters.
Scott: You know, I just spent the weekend, there’s a really good friend of mine who you open the refrigerator at their beach house and there’s…
Michelle: Oh, other beach house, okay.
Scott: Three tubes of garlic. So I’m thinking, “Boy, she cooks with a lot of garlic.” And I know that he… Pardon the expression, is a real pussy when it comes to food. I said, “Okay, I’m gonna make one for you,” and I didn’t put any garlic, tomato, blah, blah, blah. There happened to be a couple of slices of jalapeno in there, and I thought his mouth was on fire. So here’s a guy that he was opening a sports bar, and I know he’ll never listen to this podcast, even though we’re good friends.
Michelle: Yeah, so we can make fun of him appropriately.
Scott: Yeah, we can make fun of him. He’s opening up a sports bar, and so he doesn’t like beef, so he said, “I don’t think we should have a hamburger at our sports bar.”
Michelle: Shut up.
Scott: Right. So when your picky eater habits get in the way of normal… Everything of normalcy, I guess.
Michelle: Or your business, it’s getting in… Yeah.
Scott: Right, you shouldn’t base your own personal preferences…
Michelle: Unless you wanna open a vegan sports bar or a vegetarian sports bar, then call it that then.
Scott: Yeah, that would be a good idea, what do you think?
Scott: Yeah, we’ll call it lettuce.
Michelle: Let us not go there.
Scott: So I’ve got… There’s, BuzzFeed has a picky eaters little survey, and it says…
Michelle: Did you send it to me?
Scott: This test, what? No, we’re gonna do it right now.
Michelle: Oh, you’re gonna give it to me? Oh, oh.
Scott: Yes. So it says, check off all the things you’ve done, and if you’ve done at least 20 to 30 of these, you’re a certified picky eater, so these are all the things you’ve done. Are you ready? We’re gonna blaze through this.
Michelle: Okay. At first, I have to say that I don’t think I’m a picky eater.
Scott: You do have very particular food preferences, does that sound okay?
Michelle: Yeah, but that’s just based on culture and societal…
Scott: And growing up in the Midwest, you probably ate… Although with your dad being a dairy guy, a cow person, you probably… Did you eat it well done? Did we talk about those yet?
Michelle: We talked about this, yeah.
Scott: You do eat on the well done side, right?
Michelle: Yeah, yeah.
Scott: Well, okay. How about this, you pile the food you don’t like into a corner on your plate, that’s the stuff you’ve ever done. And you’re gonna have to answer faster than that.
Michelle: Yeah, I guess. Okay, probably, alright.
Scott: And sometimes hide it in a napkin so nobody notices.
Michelle: No, for crying out loud.
Scott: You’re a pro at moving food around on your plate so it looks like you’ve eaten more than you really did.
Michelle: No, but my sister does that.
Scott: Well, she’s not taking this one. You fold your plate at family parties so nobody gets offended that you didn’t like it.
Michelle: No. I just don’t eat it.
Scott: Right, or don’t put it on your plate.
Michelle: Or don’t put on my plate, right.
Scott: You’ve become a pro at sneaking to the trash can without anyone noticing to.
Michelle: No. This sounds like these people have a problem actually.
Scott: You always cut the crust off your sandwiches.
Scott: Yeah, this one just seems a little too picky, you pick everything but the pepperoni off combo pizzas.
Scott: And sometimes even the pepperoni too.
Scott: You always check the menu before you go to a restaurant.
Michelle: Nope, don’t care.
Scott: You check the menu again on the ride there. Yeah, see, this is a stupid test.
Michelle: You know what this is? This is a millennial picky eater thing because that’s what millennials do.
Michelle: Those of us who grew up…
Scott: Yeah, how about you hate it when your food touches… Now this is my wife. Her parents always said that her stomach is like a cafeteria plate because it all had different sections that she never lets her food touch.
Michelle: No, that’s a psychological problem she has.
Scott: Well, she married me. She’s got lots of psychological problems.
Michelle: Doesn’t this sound like someone who has a drinking problem would do some of these… You know what I mean? This is psychological, we’re just going too deep.
Scott: Yeah, this is… Let’s see, picky eaters list. There was another one I saw.
Michelle: And it was from BuzzFeed, so let’s just put that out there.
Scott: Yeah, let’s see, let’s check this next one out here, this one… Oh, yeah.
Michelle: I would say my picky eating is based upon culture and societal norms, or just how I grew up.
Scott: Okay, here’s the picky eater test that I gave my friend at the beach.
Michelle: The one with the garlic?
Scott: And he came up with 36 of these. Okay, you’re ready?
Scott: That’s a… You don’t eat it or eat it?
Michelle: Eat it, of course.
Scott: Okay. Mayonnaise?
Michelle: Yes, of course.
Scott: Ranch dressing?
Scott: Soy sauce?
Michelle: Yep. Oh, my god, I grew… I’ve lived in Wisconsin, I mean…
Scott: That’s true. Blue cheese. Same, right?
Michelle: Yeah, yeah. All the cheeses, all the cheeses.
Scott: Raw fish?
Michelle: Nope, we discussed this.
Scott: We got one, cooked fish.
Scott: Canned tuna.
Michelle: Is it weird that I’ll eat snails without oysters?
Michelle: Mm-hmmm. Yep.
Scott: Beef, steak, pork, ham, turkey, bacon, garlic?
Michelle: Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep.
Michelle: It shouldn’t even exist.
Michelle: All the vegetables.
Scott: Cabbage, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, bell pepper, spinach, cucumber, asparagus, celery, eggplant?
Scott: Mushrooms, pickles…
Michelle: No, not mushrooms. Not mushrooms. Yeah.
Scott: Cooked or raw? Does it matter? They’re just bad all around?
Michelle: Bad all around. They’re just bad.
Scott: Pickles, beans, olives, avocado, peas, strawberries, oranges, watermelon, banana, apples, pineapple, grapefruit, grapes, coconut, wheat bread, sourdough bread, eggs, milk, coffee, tea, raisins, peanut butter, dark chocolate, white chocolate, yogurt, Nutella?
Michelle: I’m not a fan of white chocolate, but it has its place.
Scott: You got four, see?
Michelle: Yeah. And your friend had 33.
Scott: Thirty-six, I think… I don’t know, it was in the 30s, which makes it really hard when you wanna feed some of these people.
Scott: And I don’t quite understand the…
Michelle: You know what it is? They grew up privileged and spoiled.
Scott: I don’t know if that’s it.
Michelle: No, it is because if you grow up in a food-scarce situation, I guarantee you you’re not a picky eater.
Scott: I remember, and there are probably others that will remember this too, when I was a little kid, I couldn’t eat broccoli. And I remember I was in the dining room for hours after everybody had left the dining room…
Michelle: Oh, ’cause you wouldn’t clean your plate?
Scott: Staring at this piece of broccoli. And my son, the same thing, I remember trying to get him to eat a green bean and I thought he was gonna hurl. And all he did was took one bite of one green bean and I don’t know if it was psychological or what, but he now eats green beans and of course, I eat broccoli now and all that. So I don’t know if it’s a good idea to force people to eat stuff when they don’t want to. What do you think? I don’t know.
Michelle: I agree. I think you learn to figure it out.
Michelle: Your tastes change as you get older, but I also think that parents nowadays are enablers.
Scott: Oh, absolutely, absolutely.
Michelle: And so that’s why I’m saying if you grew up privileged, which means you grow up with the ability to buy anything you want as far as food and groceries and you don’t have to worry about “a grocery budget,” you’re probably a picky eater because then you were given the opportunity to say no. And I wasn’t given the opportunity to say no.
Scott: Right. We work hard for this food.
Michelle: Oh, my god. Oh, my god.
Scott: Damn it, you’re gonna eat, you’re gonna clean your plate.
Michelle: Yeah. Oh, yeah. It was the children in Africa thing. That was the saying, yeah. There’s children starving in Africa.
Michelle: So I grew up with that. [chuckle]
Scott: And so what was Sunday supper? What did you eat at your house growing up?
Michelle: There was a lot of roasts. There was a lot of roasts and mashed potatoes. And we had a huge garden, we did a lot of gardening, we had chickens. I was cutting heads off chickens and doing all that at a very young age. I’d love to get some chickens here. I would love that.
Scott: You wanna have chickens at your house in Minnesota is what you’re saying?
Michelle: Yeah. I wanna have a little coop. I wanna buy it from Williams-Sonoma for $1000, a little coop.
Scott: Well, our buddy Barry Bales from Alison Krauss, if you go to Bales Farms, B-A-L-E-S Farms, in Tennessee, he’s raising these heritage chickens and pigs and all sorts of critters and they’re delivering them. And apparently these heritage chickens, these eight, nine-week-old chickens are a lot better. The average chicken that we eat, they’re about six weeks old, so it’s a different kind of chicken. I think you need to talk to somebody who actually raises chickens before you jump into that. [chuckle]
Michelle: My problem is that I’ll probably become attached to them and I’ll give them names and then I won’t be able to kill ’em.
Scott: Well, when you were growing up and you had to cut the heads off of chickens, were you not attached to them then?
Michelle: I wasn’t attached to ’em, no.
Scott: And you’ve just become a lot more attached to chickens since then?
Michelle: I’ve become a lot more attached to animals. I think having a cat live with you 24/7 does that, I think. Yeah, I’ve become a lot more attached to… But growing up, I showed dairy cattle, beef cattle. The biggest thing people were always saying about the 4H program was that you were tearing that animal away from the 4H-er ’cause as soon as you showed the cow, you sold it for money, for slaughter, and it was like, I never had that experience. I never had any… And I named them. They all had names. We took pictures with them, you slept with them, you cared for them, and then as soon as that was done, you’re like, “Money.”
Scott: Right. [chuckle] Well, and during the pandemic, it would come in handy if you had a couple of edible pets lying around.
Michelle: Well, my dad, who we said he owns a feed… He owns a couple feed lots in Nebraska and he owns a sale barn in South Dakota. This has not been very good for the cattle market and for him, so we’re hoping that he gets federal money, all the farmers. We’re hoping the farmers get federal money, hoping he gets federal money because they’re selling truckloads of animals at a loss of…
Michelle: Per truckload, I think he told me yesterday, is about $15,000-$20,000 per truckload loss.
Scott: So it’s just a matter of minimizing the loss. He’s making nothing, right?
Michelle: Well, and that’s the… The people who don’t understand our food supply chain and don’t understand how it gets to the grocery store are having a problem with farmers slaughtering animals because it’s cheaper to slaughter the animal at home than to take it in and try and sell it.
Scott: Right. Well, and a lot of us don’t understand the same thing with dumping, where they’re dumping gallons and gallons of milk.
Michelle: Right, ’cause it’s cheaper for them. It’s sad, it’s sad to talk about and sad to see, but it financially makes more sense. Oh, my god, I remember growing up and we had to dump milk because we would have a cow that maybe had shots recently. This was in the ’80s, and we didn’t realize that that cow should not have been in that milk supply with the shots in their system. We had to dump the whole night’s worth of milk onto the floor and just… I can still vision all that milk just dumping onto the concrete floor and just knowing that that was money just literally going down the drain.
Scott: Right. Well, and it’s being dumped during the pandemic because nobody wants it. We had all the restaurants that were open and all the institutional packaging where you’ve got a five-gallon tub of sour cream and all that, nobody needs that right now. I’m in Northern California, and we are approaching stage three of our pandemic recovery here.
Michelle: How many stages are there?
Scott: I think there’s four.
Scott: So I’m at the beach south of Santa Cruz last weekend, and the beaches were closed from 11 to 5 when apparently the UV rays are strong and it would kill whatever the pandemic thing is.
Michelle: Yeah, exactly, right?
Scott: And so the lifeguards would drive by and tell everybody, “Get off the beach.” And then at 5 o’clock, the ranger would come by and say, “If you’re sitting down, I’m gonna give you a $1000 ticket. Now, none of that seemed to make sense to me, however, in Santa Cruz, they do have drive-up weed stores and you can get a margarita to go from the Mexican restaurant.
Michelle: Right, right.
Scott: All of that’s okay. I don’t wanna get into the pandemic thing because it’s just such a mess, and I think once we get this sort of…
Michelle: There’s a lot of strong feelings about it.
Scott: Right, and it depends on whose scientists you wanna believe and who you choose to believe. It’s like politics, which it pretty much is anyway, so.
Michelle: Yeah. I can’t even talk to my friends about it, to be honest with you.
Scott: No. No, you’ve got the people that are completely freaked out and then the other ones that are saying, “Let’s just get on with it, we’ll be fine.”
Michelle: And that’s where I’m at. I have a lady coming next week, and I’m not sure when we’re gonna have time to get this podcast up and going, but she’s gonna come in and wallpaper my powder room. I actually had it scheduled for mid-March, literally right before all this shit hit the fan.
Michelle: I know she needs the money, unless she’s getting an appointment, maybe she is, but I wanna get this done. I know she probably needs the money, it’s just her coming into my home, we won’t sit there and hug each other for crying out loud.
Michelle: Let’s just get this done.
Scott: It seems too… And I am by no means a political kind of guy for the most part. People don’t ask my opinion on politics. It seems to me like the more left-leaning people seemed to be a bit more freaked out than those that are more right-leaning. Now, practical…
Michelle: I would agree. And most of my friends are left-leaning, that’s why I can’t talk to them.
Scott: And it’s nuts crazy.
Michelle: To egg them, ’cause two of them own a Tesla, I go, “How do you like Tesla nowadays?”
Scott: Now that they opened, even though they were told not to.
Michelle: Well, and then all of his talk about moving to Texas, and all that, and all… He was saying some pretty right-leaning things about capitalism. And I’m like, “How do you feel about that?” And they’re like, “Well, we don’t like… ” How did she say? She goes, “I don’t like what he’s saying, but I am still glad that he was born and he’s on this earth.”
Scott: Oh, whatever. Yeah, whatever.
Scott: Alright, so enough about this quarantine business. I think that’s been… I think we’ve had enough. I did these date night things for Sportsman Channel. You can see the date nights on the Sporting Chef YouTube channel where I did six nights of pandemic cooking, just using whatever was lying around, and you know?
Michelle: Turned out pretty good.
Scott: I actually ate it after we were done because I didn’t have a lot of food on hand. And you know that I… You don’t see me eating my own food on…
Michelle: Why is that?
Scott: I think it’s really annoying to watch people eat on TV. And then I’ve never seen anybody who ate their own food on TV and didn’t just swoon over how great it is. I find it kind of annoying.
Michelle: You’re not gonna take a bit of your own food and be like, “This is shit.”
Michelle: And sometimes it needs adjustment. TV food is meant to look good.
Michelle: Can I ask you a question about cooking?
Michelle: It has to do with salt.
Michelle: So again, going back to how I grew up. Both my parents had high blood pressure for many, many years, and so growing up, high blood pressure was equated to you had to reduce your salt intake.
Michelle: So I started cooking without a lot of salt, so I would reduce the salt in chocolate chip cookies, or if a recipe called for salt in making a meal, I would either A] not add it at all; or B] add very little of it. Until I started watching these cooking shows, and especially the ones on Food Network, and the ones that are like a competition style, I should say. And so they would present their competition food, usually it was like a bakery item. I’m talking about Cupcake Wars or whatever. And the judges would always be like, “You need more salt.” And I’m like, “How the fuck can you tell that this needs more salt?” [laughter] And like, “Who says it needs more salt? And why does it need salt and what is salt doing to that dish that you’re sitting there as a judge saying, ‘This beautiful dish that you created that has all these flavors is not good enough because it needed another teaspoon of salt?'”
Scott: Well, and you’ve noticed that when something is unsalted and you put a little salt on it, it’s a whole different dish, right?
Michelle: But I don’t know if it’s in a good way.
Scott: Well, if it brings out the flavor… If something is underseasoned and you add just a little sprinkling, especially of a good salt, kind of a coarse… A sea salt, something along those lines.
Michelle: Or Hawaiian salt.
Scott: Hawaiian salt. It really does make a difference. I really like textural salt. I like it to be a little chunky as opposed to the table grind.
Michelle: Yeah, I do too.
Scott: And obviously, once you get used to not having salt, when you have salt it really, really screams at you. It’s like when you go low carb and then you go back and you eat something sweet, it’s like, “What? Look how sweet that is.”
Michelle: I think that’s what happened to me.
Scott: And for people that are on a salt-restricted diet, what I always recommend is that they use lots of lemon and lime juice. If you’ve got a piece of fish, even a steak and you put a big squeeze of lime juice on top of that steak, it brings out… It stimulates your palate and brings out the natural flavors, it’s like a natural MSG, so that’s kinda what I do, but…
Michelle: But to say in a cooking competition like this cupcake isn’t good enough because it is missing salt, you didn’t put enough salt in there, and it seems to be very controversial because then they cut away to the baker and they’re like, There’s enough salt in there, there’s plenty of salt in there.
Scott: So it turns out that food is subjective, right?
Michelle: Yeah. [chuckle]
Scott: I’m not surprised, and that’s what I hate about the cooking competition shows. I don’t like ’em, I know they’re really popular. I started watching the MasterChef last night. You’ve got Gordon Ramsay and…
Michelle: Just yelling at you.
Scott: Aarón Sanchez or whatever his name is, and then the annoying, smug asshole Guy and they’re passing judgment on people’s food as if they are the final say and I like to celebrate food. I think ideas should be shared, recipes should be shared. You don’t need to… There are not three people who can decide what’s good and what’s not, so the top chef…
Michelle: Is that why you’ve never gone on those competitions?
Scott: I have been asked to go on a bunch of ’em. I don’t wanna go. I’m not gonna go on Guy’s Grocery Games and push a freaking grocery cart around with food I don’t like. I don’t think…
Michelle: You can’t go down aisle 4. And Scott’s like, “Fuck it, I’m going down aisle 4.” [chuckle]
Scott: I’m going down to aisle 4, try and stop me. So it’s just not my thing. Now, I understand it’s entertainment, it’s TV, I get it, it’s just not for me. So for those who wanna watch their… Who can eat the worst…
Michelle: Well, they need to watch it because what’s the overhead on Guy’s Grocery Games? That’s a whole grocery store for crying out loud.
Scott: Guy’s Grocery Games, I’m told has… There’s a staff of about 80 people. The whole top of the thing, he’s over in Santa Rosa, it’s not too far from me, and I actually did some stuff at his house a few years ago for Food Network for a tailgate thing, and it’s a big, big, big giant production. And at the end of the shoot, all the food goes to a food bank or something like that too, and Guy Fieri has done a lot for feeding first responders at the fires we had in Paradise, and Guy’s doing well for one of the few Food Network, next Food Network Star people who did well. We’ve got somebody else that was on Food Network Star, that’s on the Sporting Chef, and that’s Susie Jimenez. Susie lost to the Sandwich King, I think that’s his name, who’s a tool. This guy…
Michelle: Did he make anything of himself?
Scott: He’s still kind of there, and they give him little fringe roles and stuff here and there, but…
Michelle: Oh, really?
Scott: But I think he’s a tool, and Susie should have won that, she’s so much more talented. So yeah, Susie Jimenez Season 7 runner-up, we’ve got her, and Food Network doesn’t, so that’s their loss and our gain.
Michelle: Yeah, every time she’s on your show, that stuff she comes up with, I’m just like, How do you do that? [chuckle]
Scott: Well, and a lot of her recipes come from way back, their mom’s recipes and…
Michelle: Yeah, and she just whips it out. That’s a lot of you guys as chefs. You guys are just… I am not quite there yet as a chef cook. I do need to follow a recipe, sometimes I can just whip things out, but for the most part, I need to follow.
Scott: And that’s a matter of confidence too because I’ve always told people, even with the cookbooks and all the recipes that I write and stuff, I said use it as an outline. The only way you’re gonna get better is to just start throwing stuff in a pan and adjust at the end. When people say, “Wait, was that a half teaspoon or three-quarter teaspoon? I go, “Yeah, you’re not really, it’s a matter of personal preference, and when people wanna be really specific about how I cook something, I just assume they’re engineers.”
Michelle: Yeah, well, there’s a lot of type A people out there.
Scott: I’m not one of them.
Michelle: Yeah, I don’t know if you could be type A and B as chef. I’m sure they exist.
Michelle: But, I don’t know. Okay, well, I think we really hammered this home so.
Michelle: And we’re not drinking today because we’re recording this midday, and I, for one, cannot day drink that well and still function for the rest of the day.
Scott: Right. That’s a matter of training and practice. You can get better at it, you just have… You just don’t do it often.
Michelle: But I had this whole quarantine time to do it.
Michelle: Oh, gosh. Okay, alright, Scott, you wanna wrap it up?
Scott: Let’s wrap it up. There’s nothing I like better than a short podcast.
Michelle: [chuckle] Okay, alright. Thanks, folks, for listening. We’ll come back, come on back again.
Outro: Well, time sure flies when you’re loading up on good food, good wine, and great conversation. Find more Scott Leysath at www.sportingchef.com , where you can also nab a free wild game e-book and sign up for his two times a month newsletter, track him on social media, and see how to watch The Sporting Chef airing on Sportsman Channel and Dead Meat on Sportsman Channel and MyOutdoorTV. For more Michelle, check out www.bulletproofcomm.com .She runs her own marketing communications firm, handling PR, social media, and more for some of the biggest names in the outdoors. That’s it for now. We’ll see you next time when, again, we go Off The Record with The Sporting Chef and Michelle.