Stupid Questions I Get Asked All the Time :/
What a request! I'm a hermit that eschews socializing. But here are some questions that are pretty stupid that I get asked when I do venture outside my apartment. A lot of them are from when I lived in St. Louis, which thankfully I don't get here in SF. Thanks @mkz for asking.
- •Where are you from?In San Francisco, this usually means, where did you move here from (totally acceptable and not a stupid question at all). But outside of a metropolitan city, it often means "What ethnicity are you?" Implying that I am a foreigner or a recent immigrant. I was born here in the U.S. Usually I just answer I'm from St. Louis, Missouri. This usually confuses the person.
- •Where are you REALLY from?The non-SF person asking "Where are you from?" usually gets confused and does a follow up "No, but where are you REALLY from?" Which lead me to clarify "Oh yeah, well actually I'm from a western suburb of St. Louis called Chesterfield. But it's just easier to say St. Louis. So where are YOU from?" It's my passive-aggressive way of saying fuck off.
- •Where are your PEOPLE from?This is usually the 3rd question after the above two, if the guy (and it's usually a guy) is really stupid and persistent. Then I finally answer my parents are from Taiwan. Then they usually say something stupid like "Oh! I love Thai food!" And that's when I walk away.
- •Do you speak English?Again, the assumption that I'm foreign and wouldn't speak English. I don't get this as much here in SF but I got it a lot growing up in St. Louis. Especially when I worked retail (at a bookstore in a mall) where I'd get distracted shelving books and not hear a person's initial question to me. I have a degree in English Lit from a school that had one of the U.S. Poet Laureate's in their department. My stock answer to this question was usually "Yes. I do. Probably better than you."
- •Are you mixed race?I am not. Both of my parents are from Taiwan. This doesn't come up often here in SF. But in St. Louis it did. A lot. I don't know why, but apparently I'm not everyone's typical "Asian" looking guy. But I've had people try to convince me that I am. I had one guy tell me "Are you sure? I bet your mom slept with the mailman!" Thanks for that one. No you can't buy me a drink now. Asshole.
- •What do you do?This isn't a stupid question, but it's kind of lazy and boring question so I put it on this list. I never know how to answer. I'm a writer, recipe developer, photographer, designer & art director. I hate rattling it all off. So usually I take stock of the person asking and try to pick an answer that is the least interesting to that person. Because I really hope we don't talk about it further. I pretty much hate talking about myself and my work.
- •What type of photo equipment do you use?When I tell folks I am a photographer (something I do selectively, see above) they sometimes ask about equipment. Do you ask a pastry chef what type of oven they bake in? Or a writer if they use a Mac or a PC to write? Or a doctor what brand of stethoscope they prefer? Come on folks! Use some common sense. Unless you're looking at a photograph I took and want to know the specific details of how I took it, telling you what equipment I use is meaningless.
- •So when are you getting your own TV show?This is usually asked after a person has tasted food that I have made or discovered I write about food. I realize it's suppose to be a compliment, but SO many people ask it earnestly, as if it's THAT easy to get a TV show. My pat response now is "I dunno. Do you know a production company or agent that I can meet with?" Usually that shuts them up.
- •When are you opening up your own bakery?This is a stupid question because if I REALLY wanted to open up my own bakery, trust me I would let you know. I would let EVERYONE know. Because I would want you to go there and buy my baked goods. I've done bakery popups before and they are fun but HARD work. There's no way I would want to do it permanently. So the answer is never. I am never opening up my own bakery.
- •How can you stay so skinny when you're around such amazing food?I get asked this fairly often and I'm sure every food person does. I once saw someone ask Dana Cowin, editor-in-chief of Food & Wine magazine this question. Her eyes roll at the question was epic. The basic answer is just don't eat a lot of food, and try to exercise as much as you can.
- •No really, how do you stay so skinny?People don't believe me with the first answer. So I often have to go into deep explanation. Here's the deal. If you're CONSTANTLY surrounded by good food, you learn to nibble and sample. You don't ask for seconds. And you have self control knowing that you will always have good food offered to you. It's not going away. It's your job. So there's no need to binge. Got it? Also, if you make food all day, the last thing you want is to eat it. I don't really eat my own food.
- •What's your favorite restaurant/bakery/place to eat?When I tell people I write about food they IMMEDIATELY want to know my favorite restaurant. Here's the truth. I don't have one. I love a LOT of restaurants. Narrow it down for me. Ask me my favorite cheap eats or my favorite croissant or my favorite splurge fine dining or my most recent favorite discovery. But if you ask me my favorite place to eat, I'll probably honestly answer my apartment, where I make the best damn fried chicken and mixed berry pie you've ever had.
- •How long did it take you to bake all this?Once a year I host a holiday party here at my tiny apartment. I bake about 20-25 desserts. People always asks me how long it takes. I realize it's not a STUPID question but it's a really annoying one and I hate answering it over and over. So now I put it on my invite that if you ask me that question, I won't invite you back the party. That's stopped most people from asking.
- •This doesn't have any calories does it?Asked by people at my dessert party who think they are HILARIOUSLY CLEVER. Sure, that was funny the first 150 times I heard the joke. Afterwards it gets old. Don't ask stupid rhetorical questions folks.