The Weakerthans Jason Tait

Jason Tait Is What He Eats: Rolling Tundra

In the monthly feature "You Are What You Eat" I talk to Toronto personalities, musicians, artists and other interesting folks about where, how and what they eat. After all, food is the window to the soul.

In this installment, I sat down with The Weakerthans' drummer Jason Tait, right before they geared up for the Rolling Tundra Tour with Guelph rockers the Constantines.

Tait has been living in Toronto for the past six years but originally hails from Winnipeg where The Weakerthans first started in 1997. A dear and colourful piece of the patchwork of my Canadian soul, The Weakerthans have seen me through adolescence and into adulthood over the last 12 years, and I look forward to catching the first of three nights in Toronto at the Phoenix.

blogTO: What is your favourite breakfast spot in the city?

Jason Tait: Home. I don't really eat breakfast out all that often. When in Montreal, I always have to visit Chez JosĂŠ for crepes, whenever we're in town we always go there. Coffee's really good too. But in Toronto I mostly do breakfast/brunch at home.

What's your most guilty food pleasure?

Wine. I'll sometimes spend way too much on a bottle of wine, then drink it, and then think about all the poverty in the world. Then the guilt really comes flying in - I just drank a $65 bottle of wine... that's ridiculous. That's probably what I feel most guilty about, I don't really care about caloric intake or fat content or anything like that.

What's one warm & fuzzy, and one really bad food memory from your childhood?

For a warm and fuzzy memory, my mom on New Year's Eve would always make Chicken Kiev, and it was a big process for her to pound out all the chicken, bread it and deep fry it. It was awesome. I loved it. It was really buttery. That's a really good memory.

For a bad memory... I was a super picky eater growing up, and I just lived off hot dogs and Kraft Dinner for my entire youth until I actually moved out of the house. I was a really bad, picky eater.

What would you request as your last meal?

The heart of my captor. Or maybe a VJ's burger (that's Winnipeg though). Winnipeg has its own style of burger that you can't find anywhere else in the world. There are some similarities with Fat Burger in LA. In Winnipeg there's this chili sauce they put on them and it's really unique. All the burger shops are run by Greek immigrants and the hamburgers are incredible. I miss them dearly living in Toronto.

Are you a coffee drinker? If so, how many cups per day and what's your go-to coffee joint?

I usually drink 2 cups of coffee a day. Two lattes usually. I have a Rancilio espresso machine, so I'm working my latte art. If I do go out for coffee, I'll go to Manic. They have a Clover machine, and I think Starbucks has bought the copyright for that machine now, so they don't sell them anymore. It's a glorified Bodem, but it's cool. I've never had a coffee like that - it's super bright and almost citrus flavoured.

Do you crave salty or sweet?

If I'm drinking, which I usually am in the evening, then it's salted almonds. But if I'm not drinking then I'll tend to go for the sweet.

If I were a food, I would be a BLANK because BLANK.

I am food. Worm food, bear food... shark food if you're really unfortunate. Humans are food.

Weirdest thing you've ever eaten?

Hmmm. I don't know. What's weird to some people is totally normal to others. Eating a horse is weird, but not in France. Eating alligator is strange, but not in Louisiana. Maybe alligator is the weirdest thing I've ever eaten, but cuttlefish look pretty weird, and I've eaten those. Nothing really gross like leeches.

I do have a collection of weird food in cans. Rattlesnake in a can, cheeseburger in a can that I got in Germany at a camping store. I got two of them and got our bass player [Greg Smith] to eat one of them. He can eat anything, but had two bites and had to throw it out. It looked so gross. It's a completely assembled cheeseburger, and you're supposed to boil the can but he just opened it right up and ate it. I have a video of him doing it in the back of the tour bus.

What's your favourite meal of the day? Why?

Dinner. I have a pretty bad diet where I usually skip breakfast, eat something in the late afternoon and then eat dinner late in the evening. Dinner is usually my one real meal of the day.

If you had to pair a song with food, like pairing a wine with food, what two would you choose?

I like listening to things like Lionel Hampton or Richard "Groove" Holmes when I am making Barbecue. So I would say smoked ribs, with coleslaw and cornbread with Richard Groove Holmes' The Red Onion.

Do you have any staples while on the road?

It doesn't matter what band you're in, every band seems to have hummus on the rider. Every f#&*!ing band I've toured with has hummus on the rider. You can tell you've haven't toured in quite a while when you actually go out and buy it when you're at home, or make it when you're home. I actually banned hummus from the Weakerthans' rider and it lasted for a while, we switched to baba ghanoush, and then it got switched back for some reason. Hummus is always there haunting me. I'm totally sick of it, but it's delicious.

The Weakerthans and Constantines are in Toronto at the Phoenix for three nights (March 31-April 2, 2009) as part of the Rolling Tundra Tour.

Photo by Jarrod Wilson

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