30 seconds with Archaeological Wunderkind David Proctor
In short, David Proctor is The Man. Aside from being the best-dressed professor alive, this is a man who really knows his history, especially if it has anything to do with the Byzantine Empire. Your hand might hurt from taking notes at the end of his lectures, but David Proctor is so good that the end of his lecture is the only time you will notice any sort of pain; the rest of the time you will simply be engrossed in the material. So, if you have any desire/need to take a history class, anything taught by him is a sure bet. For his European history courses, he even has an optional film series every week, and there is always pizza. This Q&A offers a rare glimpse inside the gastronomic life of David Proctor. Enjoy!
Q: Do you prefer cooking at home, or going out?
A: Cooking at home, probably.
Q: What is your favorite thing to cook at home?
A: I have pretty simple taste so I love hamburgers. Anything you can do with hamburger which means spaghetti sauces, that kind of thing. I also like fish, usually flounder or haddock or some white flaky fish, usually fried, which is not very good for you, but it tastes very good.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Boston and what do you like about it?
A: I think one of my current favorites is Changsho in Mass Ave/Cambridge—Chinese, and I love the General Gao’s chicken. That’s what I get every time I go there. And, I like the atmosphere, too. It has a very relaxing atmosphere, very—not quiet necessarily but very orderly.
Check it out!
1712 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138
Q: What food are you? In other words, what food/beverage most embodies who you are?
A: Probably tea, because it’s simple…yet complex.
Q: Your festiveness is legendary. What is your favorite holiday edible?
A: Well, for Christmas I’d say sugar cookies. I love sugar cookies, especially sugar cookies with some kind of either white chocolate or powdered sugar glaze on them. For Halloween, it’s definitely anything that’s coated in white chocolate. That’s my favorite.
Q: What is your preferred ethnic cuisine?
A: Chinese or Italian—probably Italian actually. Usually, I’ll order something like—I love tortellini in a Bolognese sauce.
Q: Is there a food that, if you were stuck on a desert island with, you would die of starvation rather than eat?
A: Let me think. There are many things I can’t stand, but I’d have so say—tripe, it’s disgusting.
Q: Do you have a favorite celebrity chef or foodie? If so, who is it?
A: I like Emeril Lagasse, because he doesn’t take himself too seriously, he seems to enjoy cooking food, and he’s not overly concerned about making sure it’s all extremely healthy. He’s creative, too.
Q: What is your beverage of choice?
A: Diet coke—non-alcoholic diet coke. There’s something—diet coke and coffee, actually, are probably tied. Well actually there are three: diet coke, coffee, and iced tea. Those are my three beverages of choice. They’re all caffeinated, and diet coke I’ve noticed—pretty much if you’re an educator you’re probably going to drink diet coke. There is something about it—when I taught high school I noticed that virtually every high school teacher I knew drank diet coke.
Q: Imagine you find a time machine, but you only have enough fuel to go to one time and place, eat one meal, and then return to the present. Who would you dine with, when and where would be, and what would you eat?
A: There are so many choices… This is going to sound weird, in a way, but I think I’d want to go back to Constantinople the evening before the fall, so May 28, 1453, and have dinner with Constantine XI, the last Christian emperor of the Byzantine Empire. There probably wouldn’t be a lot of food, and I think we’d be eating—well there would be wine—plenty of wine—there was always wine, even in the last days. Probably some stale bread, and probably still some old overripe fruit. There is just something about drinking the wine out of these very elaborate, golden cups, and eating this really dry, moldy bread off of golden plates…
– Interview by Gabriel Spieler