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Eat Smart

Get food tips from ''Queer Eye'''s Ted -- The makeover show's culinary expert clues you in about dinner dates, utensil placement, and why fat-free cheese is NEVER an option

Ted Allen | THE DISH Know five whites and five reds, use butter liberally, and don't sweat dinner-date details, says Ted
Image credit: Ted Allen: Craig Blackenhorn
THE DISH Know five whites and five reds, use butter liberally, and don't sweat dinner-date details, says Ted

Get food tips from ''Queer Eye'''s Ted

Every straight guy we make over on the show (and everybody who eats, for that matter) has different interests and different skills in the food department, so not every tip suits everybody. That having been said, here are a few guidelines. -- Ted Allen

– If it comes in a spray can, don't eat it.

– Fat-free ''cheese'' is the polyester, double-knit suit of food -- neither has anything to do with taste. Unless your health or the limited offerings in your correctional facility leave you no choice, stick to the real thing.

– The only diet most people will ever need: Eat anything and everything you want, so long as it's natural. Just don't eat so damned much of it.

– The best substitute for butter: giving up food entirely.

– Want an alternative to champagne as an aperitif? Try the bargain-priced Spanish bubbly known as Cava, or the softly fizzy Italian prosecco.

– Nobody knows every wine from every region. You learn about wines one bottle at a time; if you can remember just five whites and five reds that you like and that are readily available, you'll be way ahead of the average Joe trying to navigate a wine list.

– If you DO know every wine from every region, please keep it to yourself. There's nothing worse than a show-off.

– I'm amazed at how many men -- even otherwise sophisticated men -- are still intimidated by fine restaurants. Don't be. If you have questions, ask them. Put the waiter to work for you.

– Nobody cares whether you're using the right fork for each course, but the general rule is to start with the utensils farthest out from the plate and work your way in. If anyone questions your choice of implement, the appropriate response is to stab them in the thigh with it.

– You can't go wrong cooking dinner for a date, even when you DO go wrong. It doesn't matter if your soufflé falls flat as a Calvin Klein model from the '90s; all that matters is the fact that you tried.

– Having an interest in fine food doesn't mean giving up the comfort classics. To wit: There is no shame in a peanut butter sandwich. Especially when it's made with fresh-baked crusty bread, and organic, spreadable mixed berries...oops. Sorry.

Originally posted Jul 30, 2003 Published in issue #722 Aug 08, 2003 Order article reprints