5@5 - Food writer Melissa Clark
September 7th, 2010
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Melissa Clark, a James Beard award-winning writer, pens the wildly popular “A Good Appetite” column for the New York Times Dining section, as well as articles for magazines including Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and Martha Stewart Living. Her twenty-ninth cookbook, In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite: 150 Recipes and Stories About the Food You Love, is - conveniently enough - out in stores today.

She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, Daniel Gercke, and their young daughter Dahlia - but, for Clark, when the cat (or husband) is away, the mice shall play ... and eat whatever the heck they want.

5 Favorite Things to Eat When No One Is Looking (i.e. When My Hubby is Away and the Baby is Asleep): Melissa Clark

1. A mountain of cheese
"My husband Daniel rolls dairy-free, and the kid isn’t old enough to appreciate the nuances of a sheep’s milk Ossau-Iraty or a 4-year old Gouda. So, if I want to indulge in some of my favorite stinkers, I wait for a chance to go solo. I like my cheeses straight up, no bread or even forks needed. I like to nibble small slivers out of hand - even the oozing washed rinds taste better licked off my digits than off any cracker I know."

2. "Avocado Surprise" (pronounced with a French accent so it sounds sophisticated)
"Halve an avocado and take out the pit (save it to plant, then throw it out a week later when you realize Brooklyn doesn’t have the ideal climate for growing avocado trees). Place the halves on a pretty plate. Drizzle with hot sauce and sprinkle with salt. Crumble some blue cheese into the cavities and top with a small spoonful of mayonnaise. Smoosh with a spoon as you eat, adding more hot sauce as needed. Triscuits are an excellent accompaniment, as is toasted, buttered brioche."

3. Hot, buttered cinnamon toast
"My secret here is using brown sugar in place of the white, and a touch of salt. Toast thin slices of firm but not-too-crusty bread and spread thickly with sweet butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar (or demerara if you want a crunch), cinnamon and a tiny bit of salt and broil until the sugar melts (a toaster oven is ideal for this). Savor with a hot toddy, preferably in bed while reading a novel when no one is around to remind you not to get crumbs on the duvet."

4. Strawberries, sour cream and sugar
"The dessert of my childhood: dip strawberries first into a container of sour cream (admire the pretty red swirls the berries leave, then be grateful your mother lives miles away so she won’t scold you). Now dip the sour cream-swabbed berry directly into the sugar bowl (pink sugar is so much prettier than white sugar; ditto, re: Mom). Eat standing up, and not while wearing your best white shirt."

5. "Lazy Bones" Cocktail
"When hubby is away, there is no one around to make me a proper cocktail, so I fudge it. Pour a shot of rye into a rocks glass. Add one teeny, tiny ice-cube. Drizzle with a teaspoon of the liquid covering the homemade maraschino cherries you, of course, made last July. Eat a cherry, then grab a handful of salted cashews. Call it dinner."

What's your special go-to meal when you're all by your lonesome or think no one is looking?

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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soundoff (466 Responses)
  1. Pharmb750

    Very nice site!

    August 26, 2011 at 12:06 am |
  2. Kathy Wills

    any flavor of chip with "snak-pak" individual choc pudding as a dip. tooooo die for, also crispy bacon strips dipped in choc pudding

    September 18, 2010 at 11:39 pm |
  3. Onlyours40

    when ABSOLUTELY no one is watching or there isn't the slightest chance the doorbell will ring...I eat hot wings...with no napkin! I keep some in the freezer for times such as this...I put my PJ's on with warm fuzzy socks...and find the biggest "Chick Flick" I can possibly watch and go at it...

    September 12, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  4. PostModernSleaze

    Pizza, jalapenos, and hot sauce....massive heart burn but amazingly good!


    September 12, 2010 at 12:21 am |
  5. PostModernSleaze

    Cool ranch Dorittos with cottage-cheese.....AMAZING!

    Chocolate caramel milk...yummerz!!!


    September 12, 2010 at 12:16 am |
  6. Trish

    Meant to say sugar on the French toast....

    September 10, 2010 at 9:20 am |
  7. Patricia Bart

    I know the whole world must have their French toast with syrup, but in my family, we were raised to have French toast buttered, with a good sprinkling of suguar, then squirted with fresh squeezed lemon juice. Absolutely delicious - it's like eating dessert for breakfast!

    September 10, 2010 at 9:00 am |
  8. JH

    Bacon! Crispy crispy crispy..with Heinz ketchup for dipping. I could (and have) eaten a whole package on my own.

    September 10, 2010 at 8:38 am |
  9. Sara

    Where to even start? Cake mix, dry with a huge glass of milk. An entire loaf of garlic cheese bread. Any bread at all, really. Oven roasted garlic potatoes, cookie dough, cupcakes, chocolate frosting with pretzels, Starburst, DoubleStuf Oreos . . . That's the stuff I craved the most when pregnant and am now trying to remove from my hips lol

    September 10, 2010 at 7:55 am |
  10. Katie

    Oreos dunked in peanut butter...mmmmm!!!

    September 10, 2010 at 7:33 am |
  11. mj

    peanut butter mixed with dark karo syrup on plain white bread with tall glass of milk

    September 10, 2010 at 7:32 am |
  12. tenncan

    I wish we had Fluff in TN... *sniff*

    September 10, 2010 at 1:26 am |
  13. J.B.B.

    Marshmallow Fluff right out of the jar! Sweet!

    September 9, 2010 at 10:39 pm |
  14. Brandon

    Nacho Cheese Doritos and cottage cheese for dippin' *drool*

    September 9, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  15. Dawn

    1. Scrapple with cheese eggs
    2. Pretzels dipped in caramel and sprinkled with chocolate chips
    3. Marshmallow fluff and cream cheese dip. Eat with fruit or brownies or straight off the spoon :)

    September 9, 2010 at 9:50 pm |
  16. omnomnom

    Lay's potato chips and Miracle Whip... My dad used to eat this when I was a kid, and I love it!
    Cake mix... dry. I have no idea what it's appeal is, but it's soooo tasty!
    Toasted bagel, cream cheese, and pastrami sandwich.
    Grilled cheese with caramelized onions in the middle, dipped in ketchup.

    September 9, 2010 at 9:23 pm |
  17. Mike

    Artificial bacon bits, right out of the jar. If it was possible to casually snack on bacon, I would do that–but this is close enough.

    September 9, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
    • Jason B.

      Dude...at least go for the real bacon bits! Indulge!

      September 10, 2010 at 7:50 am |
  18. tenncan

    1. rye bread spread with cream cheese, topped with crisp bacon and very thin slices of cucumber
    2. a bowl of buttermilk, sprinkled with pepper, then popcorn on top...eat like cereal.
    3. tuna casserole. no one in my family will eat it

    September 9, 2010 at 8:42 pm |
  19. s-jan

    My brother's favourite- two slices of white bread (the square kind), butter on one, a little mayo on the other, made into a sandwich with salt and vinegar flavoured potato chips as filling. Must be consumed while the chips are still crunchy.

    September 9, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  20. Yum!

    My weakness: Fresh, Warm, Crusty French bread slathered with a mixture of bleu cheese, butter, and hot sauce. *droool*

    Since neither my kids, or my husband like bleu cheese it's a very rare treat for me.

    September 9, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
    • Yum!

      Oh another one is olive oil popped popcorn drowning in melted butter mixed with garlic powder, salt and parmesan cheese.

      The whole family fights over who gets the last pieces.

      September 9, 2010 at 8:57 pm |
  21. PBlover

    Peanut butter and bacon sandwiches!

    September 9, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
    • PBlover

      Oops, someone already mentioned this on toast - OK, second choice is peanut butter and potato chips on yellow egg bun!

      September 9, 2010 at 7:35 pm |
  22. Chips Handon

    Thinly sliced SPAM, pan-fried to crispy perfection, over poached eggs and steamed jasmine rice. Don't knock it until you've tried it!

    September 9, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
    • s-jan

      Try using buckwheat noodles cooked with a little sweet soy sauce instead of the jasmine rice- and cook some sliced pineapple along with the SPAM. Long ago something similar appeared in a women's magazine in Australia and became a favourite Saturday night dinner in my house. I may have to pick up a can of SPAM on the way home this evening.

      September 9, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  23. Lelen

    Chef Boyardee ravioli cold and straight out of the can.

    September 9, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
    • Onlyours40

      I just did that two weeks ago and thought..."what? are you in college?" but it was so delicious!

      September 12, 2010 at 1:03 pm |
  24. Karen

    Asiago pasta salad and any type of soft bread with spinach dip! And pizza, always love the pizza...

    September 9, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  25. Foodjunkie

    1. Tostitos and that awful-for-you cheese sause
    2. Cheese and a baguette
    4. Ice cream covered in hershey's chocolate sauce

    September 9, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  26. deliciousness

    a giant flour tortilla topped with sabra hummus and white cheddar cheese. THE BEST.

    September 9, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
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