From the Wastebasket of The T-ed

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The T-ed is sometimes a tough guy to work for. I thought this interview with Sebastien Grainger was funny, but I guess it didn’t fit in with the mag. Them’s the breaks, I reckon.

Sebastien Grainger is a guy who likes food. He’s not that different from you or me, but he does subscribe to the make-it-from-scratch school of thought. When he’s not touring in promotion of his solo début (Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains), the Canadian vocalist/drummer of the now-defunct dance duo Death from Above 1979 likes to blog about simmering duck in white wine, and why balsamic chicken should be slow-cooked. What’s lamer than that? The ramen noodles you and I eat for dinner.

In interviewing Sebastien, I learned a few things. First, the reason we think maple syrup is Canada’s most championed foodstuff  isn’t because they don’t eat anything else north of the border, but because the food offerings there are so diverse, maple syrup is the only thing Canadians can agree on. The second lesson I learned is that even a standard breakfast can lead to a wedding vow. In addition, Sebastien and I discussed his personal connection to the Canadian cuisine-hating Harland “Colonel” Sanders. —Peter Madsen

Your food blog “Eat My Dish” has been on hiatus these past few months. Is that the result of your promoting the new album?

Yeah, I wanted start a blog to communicate with people, and I decided I would write about food. But I got really busy with the record. I have a food blog just because I enjoy cooking, and I felt the urge to communicate with people in a trivial kind of way. I’m not a maniacal food buff.

But see, I’ve only prepared questions that have to do with food.

That’s funny. But isn’t this a skateboard magazine?

It is a skateboard magazine. Yeah.

But you guys have gone glossy now. It’s not the same anymore.

What? Glossy?

Nevermind. I’m just fucking with you.

Uh, okay. In your blog you express a great fondness for butter, meats, and carbohydrates. You seem to make your own food because you enjoy the process and the end result, as opposed to wanting to cut back on fatty things.

Well, I eat food to survive. I’ve also been pretty lucky to have always had a pretty svelte figure – I have a pretty active lifestyle. What matters is that it tastes good, and that I can sweat it out on stage. I don’t have any agenda; I’m not trying to make people fat or anything. Also, I’m half-French, so butter comes with the genes, I guess.

Have you heard this scare tactic that vegan people have, where they tell meat-eaters that they have 10-15 pounds of undigested meat in their intestines? Do you put any stock in that?

I have heard that before. I don’t think you could put that much weight on me.

Do you think eating meat is healthy?

Ah, geez. I think the food we eat is fucked all the way up and down. I don’t think you could find a “pure” piece of food in any organic market anywhere. It’s all affected by the way we treat the world. If I could afford to eat a primo, free-range, happy-cow diet, I would. But until that point, I’m just gonna eat according to my financial bracket.

I eat ramen according to my financial bracket.

You know, if you add an egg to ramen, it makes it a little bit more nutritious, and quite a bit more delicious.

That’s actually what I do. I crack a couple eggs into the broth, right after I put the noodles in. I learned it from some Korean friends.

What you can also get is imitation crab meat. It’s pretty cheap, and it’s a good way to add protein to ramen if you want to keep it vegan.

Colonoscopies: have you ever had one?

I haven’t. Should I get one?

I don’t know. I read that you proposed to your now-fiancée over a piece of French Toast. Did you dribble the words “Marry Me?” in maple syrup?

No. I just put the ring down on a piece of toast.

What dishes seem quintessentially Canadian? You know, in the way Philly has its cheese steaks, Buffalo its wings, and San Francisco its burritos…

Canada is a huge country; I don’t think there’s one [touchstone] food. There’s a lot of beef in Alberta, there’s a lot of pork in Ontario and Quebec. There’s a lot of seafood on the coasts. I guess if you had to rule it down to any one thing, it’d be maple syrup.

Now here’s a fun anecdote: In 1957, Harland “Colonel” Sanders was quoted by the CBC as stating that Canadian cuisine is “plumb tasteless.” He dogs on a perceived lack of seasoning, and basically says the only common thread among Canada’s food is a general “blandness.” How do you counter?

I guess Canada was pretty white in the Fifties. Quebec food has some very strong French underpinnings, and it’s by no means bland. They have six different types of meat that they stuff into a pie, and fill it with onions and mushrooms. Maybe if you don’t have a tongue you’d say it had no flavor.

The kicker to this Colonel Sanders anecdote is the fact that he eventually moved to, and died in, your hometown, Mississauga!

He died in my hometown? What was he doing there?

I don’t know. He talked all this shit on Canada, established his KFC franchise, and for some reason he ended up in Mississauga.

Wow, That’s crazy. What year did he die?

He died of pneumonia in 1980, and his family donated money to the Trillium Health Care Centre.

That’s where I was born!

The wing of the building specializing in women’s and children’s care is named after him.

You know, I probably had some sort of procedure done there. I was a very sickly child with tuberculosis and all kinds of medieval shit. This is interesting trivia.

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