food

Q+A VAULT /ย PERSONAL

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My friend told me that it is an English tradition to spend your free time in the pub. She called it “the second living room of the English”. Do you also go to the pub? If yes, do you go alone or do you take your family with you?

I don’t really like pubs, I much prefer trendy bars or restaurants. The only pubs I like are country pubs and the only time to visit them is either to sit in the garden on a hot summers day or by a roaring fire in the depths of winter. If you’re with a load of people it can be fun but Hep and I usually find ourselves saying “What are we doing here drinking warm beer or minuscule amounts of watered-down vodka? Why don’t we go back to our house and sit in our own garden / by our own fire? – it’s much nicer and you can get a decent drink.”

When the Advent comes it is the time to bake biscuits for Christmas. Will you and Hep also bake biscuits with Paris or don’t you do this in England? What are you normally baking for Christmas? Would you like some cookies I made?

I don’t bake anything (apart from the odd potato). We normally go away at Xmas and let a good restaurant take care of us. Traditional family Xmas in England typically consists of church, turkey, mince pies, sherry, aunties, carol singing, Morecombe and Wise re-runs and post Xmas blues…….. Yes, we’d love some of your biscuits. Oh, and I like Stollen ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank you.

At the moment I am searching for a cooking book with English recipes. Do you know one and can you tell me the title and the editor, so I can order it in a German bookshop?

Easily the best books are written by ‘Two Fat Ladies’. Really good traditional English recipes full of unhealthy but delicious things. No good for veggies.


I have a great friend in Newcastle who says that there is nothing else better than ‘real’ cider – do you like it? A friend told me that you can drink just a couple of pints and when you are trying to stand – you fall!

Cider can be really nice and really awful. I would imagine the stuff you’re referring to is commonly termed ‘scrumpy’, tastes like cat-piss and conjures up images of heavily bearded Morris men (traditional English male dancers wearing bells and coloured ribbons) with large collections of Steeleye Span records. It is indeed potent although I like the French country stuff personally – only usually found in a good continental deli.


What’s your opinion on flavoured Vodka? In the US, Stoli make orange, coffee and vanilla flavoured.

I like some of them….lemon, blackcurrant…..


How do you purge the unwanted effects of alcohol out of your body after a hard night of drinking? When I was in high school someone told me to put slices of lemons in my armpit. I remained hung over but received many compliments on how fresh and lemony I smelled.

Actually, the best tonic (that we used a lot on the ‘Devotional’ tour) is an effervescent vitamin B complex called Barroca that’s recommended for people who “drink too much and don’t get enough sleep”. Unfortunately, it’s only available in Australia so we can’t replenish our supplies. Anyone in the Southern Hemisphere who fancies sending me a big parcel of it should contact <info@recoil.co.uk>

I was reading that wine (collecting & consuming I assume) was one of your interests. What are the most prized wines that you currently hold or have held in the past? What do you think about the outrageous price (at least in NYC) for 1st. & 2nd. growths from Bordeaux?

I’m no great wine expert and I can’t seem to collect without consuming apart from the two most hallowed bottles in our wine cellar (which lie below a sign that reads ‘Do not drink this wine under ANY circumstances’ ) – a red and a white nicked from a private box at Giants Stadium, NYC during two World Cup ’94 games that I witnessed. The bottles themselves are embossed with the Statue of Liberty and various footballing motifs. The wine’s probably revolting but I’ve no intention of finding out…


I would quite like to send you a cake! Would you like this or do you not generally accept edible gifts from strangers?

Er, I’m not really a cake man Briony but if you really feel strongly about sending me one, be my guest…. ๐Ÿ˜‰


Not to start a rumble or anything but my Aunt Patty says that Vodka + Grapefruit juice is called ‘Leopard Sweat’, as does the manly bartender down the street. What say you?

As far as I know, ‘Greyhound’ came from the States. If you ask for one in England, they look at you funny and send you off to Walthamstow with a betting slip. Actually, I’ve also heard it called a Salty Dog.


On the subject of wine, have you ever tried Rosemont Shiraz? What do you think of Aussie wines in general?

Yes, I like Rosemont wines. Some of my favourite wines are Australian.


Do you and your family like chocolate?

Hep and I aren’t big chocoholics.


Do you like “Stolic” vodka?

If you mean ‘Stolichnaya’ then yes.


A friend of mine, Dave Some, heard that you can cook and told me she had always clearly imagined you standing in a kitchen in an apron shredding little cabbage – a very organic and pleasing vignette I should say :-). Have you ever done that?

And a little question to Hep: is it a really pleasing and organic vignette, when Wilder is cooking or is it something like Uncle Podger hanging a picture with everything falling down and shouts of “bring me that and that”?

Alan in the kitchen is like a mad tyrant. He makes a terrible mess, leaves all the drawers and cupboards open, a huge pile of washing-up in the sink and then spends the entire evening reminding me of what a great cook he is. It’s the same in the studio. For one so organised, the creative road is littered with debris but the end result is always worth the wait.


Is it ‘Coco Pops’ or boiled egg with soldiers this morning? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Toast with Honey and Coffee

Can you drink Doug under the table?

It seems so. The last time he came to see us, Hep made a lethal cocktail of spirits which we started to drink at 5pm. By 9pm, Douglas had thrown up outside our back door and crashed into bed, fully clothed….


I saw on the site that you like wine. What should I send you – Blanc, Rosรฉ or Rouge? Bordeaux or Cรดte du Rhรดne? Any preferences?

Now you’re talking – thanks very much! I like different wines for different occasions so why don’t you choose something you think I might like.


I am originally from Brittany, France and saw a DM concert in Brest a long time ago. I was wondering whether you had the opportunity to visit Brittany at the time? Do you like breton pancakes and cider?

Absolutely. I love French pancakes and country cider very much but it’s hard to get over here.


I wouldn’t mind sending you a drink. The only problem is, I don’t know what brand of vodka you like! Do you grow grapefruit in your garden?

The only stuff worth drinking – Stolichnaya. Grow grapefruit? – I live in England, not Southern California – it’s far too cold!


The food on Lufthansa is fucking disgusting. Last time I flew, they served this piss-nasty pickled herring. Would food like that make you vomit?

Plane food always makes me feel like that. I hate those squidgy gingerbread cake-things Lufthansa always serve instead of peanuts….and the puddings on every airline are foul – why don’t they just serve fruit or something? What is their fascination with trifle? Apparently on Air India they serve curries – a plane’s the last place I’d want a vindaloo….


If you were a superhero, what would you call yourself and what would be your super powers?

I think I’d be ‘Vodka Man’ with the ability to turn mere water into neat Stoli…


Do you ever think about alcoholism, Mr Vodka-man?

If you’re suggesting that I might be an alcoholic, then I’m not. Actually I just took a 6 week break from drinking with absolutely no problem what-so-ever. Drinking’s fun and life’s too short.


Have you ever been to the Munich Beer Festival / Octoberfest? If so, what did you like the best / least?

I was unfortunate enough to be in Munich during 1997’s Octoberfest – pissed up Germans wearing lederhosen, wandering about in the middle of the road at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, is not a pretty sight. Plus the influx of tourists to the city, meant I was unable to stay in my favourite hotel.


What’s your favourite whiskey?

I don’t drink it enough to have a favourite but I do prefer a smooth Irish whisky to scotch.


Did you first taste vodka and grapefruit juice in the U.S.? Have you tried a ‘Cosmopolitan’? It’s a vodka martini-Vodka (try Skyy–the ‘no hangover vodka’), Triple Sec and a Splash of cranberry served up of course, with a lemon twist. Very lovely.

Probably yes. You always get a decent measure in the States as opposed to the pathetic warm attempt from British pubs. A ‘Seabreeze’ is also nice. Vodka + Grapefruit + Cranberry.


Do you really like vodka with grapefruit juice? Is this a typical British mixture? I mean everybody knows that the British don’t have good ‘cuisine’ ๐Ÿ˜‰

Well, we’re not big on cabbage and bratwurst, but who is?….The idea that the British can’t cook has long since been disproved – London is acknowledged as having the best selection of restaurants (many with English chefs and traditional cuisine) in the world – bar none.

And yes, I really DO like Vodka and Grapefruit juice.

Do you like chocolate or chips? Do you eat lots of them?

If we’re talking chips chips then yes I like them. If we’re talking crisps chips then I prefer chips. I rarely eat either. I’m not a chocoholic, wine is my poison.

I’ve now read several times that you drink coffee. Isn’t this very untypical for an Englishman – especially when you think of British coffee! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Do you have coffee for breakfast or do you prefer the typical British breakfast with tea and orange marmalade?

Hey, as a nation, our coffee making skills have come a long way in the last few years and we make a damn fine cup of coffee in the Wilder residence! Anyway, German coffee is absolutely revolting so I wouldn’t go on about it, if I were you ๐Ÿ˜‰

I very, very rarely eat anything remotely like a full English breakfast – eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, beans, fried tomatoes, fried bread ‘n’ drippin’ (bread soaked in cows fat), black puddin’ (pigs blood), fried potatoes, toast, marmalade, jam and a cuppa tea – because I think the cholesterol content would probably kill me. Just thinking about it makes me feel sick. There is one member of Depeche Mode however, who could never start the day without this and would demand it no matter what part of the world we were in…….


Indian or Mexican cuisine?

I prefer Indian to Mexican although I avoid both most of the time – they’re too heavy.


What is your favourite type of wine/lager/bitter- in that order!!?

It’s impossible to have one favourite type of wine – I like different wines from all over the world, depending on the occasion. I’m not a big lager drinker – a good European pilsner is about as far as I get. I don’t drink bitter but on occasion I do like a good Belgian beer or German Weisbier.

I seem to remember reading in another Alan Wilder page that you are a keen cook and fond of Indian cuisine. What is your favourite Indian meal either to cook or to eat in a restaurant?

A medium Lamb Passanda or Korma always goes down well with plenty of poppadoms, cucumber raita and mango chutney on the side. However, I rarely go out for Indian food these days because it’s too heavy. I can knock up a good curry at home though.


Do you try to eat breakfast everyday and are you a person who usually works on his music all night and wakes up late? Since you have no 9-5 schedule, do you make a set routine?

I have very strong coffee for breakfast which normally occurs soon after Paris has poked me in the eye and jumped on my head – so no chance of a lie-in. My working hours depend on when I can get my arse in the studio and whether I get on a roll or not.


Hangover-free Russian Vodka. Have you heard of it ? If so, what’s it called and where can we get it?

No – never heard of it. That’s a well kept secret isn’t it?


Is Absinthe legal in England? I heard it’s not in the U.S. Have you ever had any? Was it any good?

No, it’s illegal here too – as far as I know. I’ve never had it but I think Hep tried it. I wouldn’t mind if you wanted to send me a bottle…


Snickers? ButterFinger? Peanut M&M’s? Reece’s Cups? Skittles?

Bar 6, Pacers, Breakaway, Toffos, Caramac, Spangles.


If you want to know names of TAPAS, I specially recommend you:

-“Una de patatas bravas” (potatoes). Try this, please.
-“Pinchito de tortilla” (do you know what is tortilla?).
-“Una de queso” (cheese).
-“Una de aceitunas” (olives, more or less).

And if you don’t want to be vegetarian for more time, try ” jamรณn de jabugo”.

Er, I think you may have somewhat missed our point regarding the Tapas, Carlos. Thank you anyway for the translations.


If Miller is the champagne of beers, what’s the Beer of Champagnes?

Must be Tescos special.

Side note: I’m a happy man! Tescos have gone on-line in our area. No more queuing behind the blue rinse mob….


I work for quite a large brewery in Canada. Have you ever tried Molsons, if so what kind and did you like it – if not, why not?

Not sure if I’ve ever tried it. I’m not much of a beer drinker – got to watch that girth.


When you and Doug recorded, what were your drinks of choice? I can’t imagine you guys having beer or wine. Are you fond of single-malt whiskey?

Wine or vodka mainly.I don’t drink whiskey, nor does Doug unless there is nothing else left in which case white sprit or lighter fuel wouldn’t be out of the question.


Have you ever tried any Arabic foods like falafil, shwarma or tabuleh?

Yes, I do. I eat tabuleh quite often and falafel’s are a favourite.

Have you ever tried the Arabic alcohol drink called Arak? If so, do you like it? It tastes like liquorish.

Never tried it but like Ricard and Pernod, so I suspect I’d like it.

I heard somewhere that you were a vegetarian and read in your Food and Drink Q+A archive that you’ve had some Indian dish with lamb in it. Are you a vegetarian or do you just watch what you eat?

No, Hep and I aren’t veggies.

Do you like sushi?

Yes, although I prefer sashimi.


Did you try those wines I suggested? If so, were they any good at all? Take care and tell Paris I said “Yo!”.

Not yet Peter. I’ll say “Hello” to Paris from you – we live in West Sussex, not West L.A. ๐Ÿ˜‰


I drank Vodka yesterday and after 4 shots, 60 min later I threw up my whole dinner. I kind of like the high though – I see everything funny and I feel tickly. When was the last time you threw up?

Inspired question. I have a constitution of steel as it happens – comes with practice.


So Hep got a cocktail recipe book for her birthday. In order for us all to enjoy our Christmas and New Year’s Eves, you simply both must share your favourites.

Here’s a few, not particularly weird but:

Moskow Mule (cracked ice, vodka, fresh lime juice, ginger beer)

Margaritas (cracked ice, tequila, fresh lime juice, cointreau, salt)

Pimms Royale (Ice cubes, Pimms No1 Cup, champagne, slices of orange, lemon + cucumber, sprig of mint.)

Machiata (crushed ice, rum, brown sugar, mint, lime juice )

Classic Dry Martini ( Ice Cubes, gin, dry vermouth, green olives, lemon rind)


Is there a favourite restaurant that you and Hep enjoy? And if I were to go there, what would you recommend?

We are spoilt for choice in London and have loads of favourite eating haunts – ‘Alfred’ in Shaftesbury Avenue would be one of many. Try the Rabbit in Beer.


You have mentioned that you like Japanese food but you wouldn’t eat it every day. Do you also like Korean food?

I’m not big on Korean or Chinese food.


I was reading a news magazine and stumbled upon a trend that is supposedly going on in the London area. It seems people have taken to taking vodka shots through the nose, either via a spoon or the base of a wine glass. Have you heard about this / seen this / contemplated ever doing this / laughed at someone who did this?

My mouth is larger than my nostrils – need I say more?


What’s your fave curry (please don’t say Korma – my opinion of you will forevermore be sullied… : )?

I don’t really have an absolute favourite. Lamb Passanda, Chicken Dopiaza. I like Southern Indian food, like Dosais etc. – seems to be a bit lighter.


What do you put in your sandwiches? Is there meat mixed in? What makes the ultimate sandwich?

Hep makes the best sandwiches in the world and I’m sure her American blood is fundamental in this ๐Ÿ˜‰ Her golden rules are: Never be tight with the mayo and always ensure the filling spreads out over the full edges of the bread. I like all kinds of sandwiches and especially those on ciabatta bread or foccacia. A good steak baguette is wonderful or the simple but very effective bacon sarnie, however, I think it’s hard to beat the taste of the ultimate – a Triple Club sandwich ordered from room service at 4: am when you’ve lost control of most of your faculties. I’m sure hotel staff are trained to understand that “Clahhb San’ich” means “Hello, could you please send me up a Triple Club Sandwich and a side order of French Fries please, my good man.”ย 

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Q+A VAULTย /ย PERSONAL