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Congratulations to primarycookies, whose Heda's Mostly Blackberry Pie with Hazelnut Crumb Crust won the contest for Your Best Berry Recipe!
Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
I have very fond memories of watching my maternal grandmother make her famous caramel cake for special occasions while I was growing up. The cake itself is delicious, but its homemade caramel icing is what really makes the cake so spectacular. Icing the cake involves trying to distribute quickly-hardening caramel over a two-layer yellow cake in way that makes it look somewhat presentable -- a difficult feat that my grandmother has mastered, all the while teaching me that that "the uglier the cake, the better it tastes!"
What's your least favorite kitchen task?
Washing dishes. As a Brooklynite living in a tiny apartment without a dishwasher (or much counter space), my cleaning process has to take place at the same time as my baking process -- and it seems to last forever!
Your favorite kitchen tool?
Probably my OXO cookie scoops -- who knew that having all of your cookies turn out the same size could be so much fun?
More: Here's everything you need to make beautiful homemade cookies.
What is your idea of comfort food?
As a Southern transplant living in New York, my go-to request when I visit home is my mom's version of shrimp and grits. They are so special that I just don't think they would taste the same if I made them in my own kitchen, unless my mom was there to lend a hand.
What is your greatest kitchen disaster?
I am still figuring out how to get yeast to cooperate in my breads. After many fails, I have started to realize that yeast tends to work best when I remember to add it to recipes that require it!
What's your favorite way to eat berries? Tell us in the comments!
Pie photo by Mark Weinberg, cookies and headshot by primarycookies, and all others by James Ransom