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Q&A with lapadia
Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
Every August, my Italian grandparents would enter what they grew in their garden to display at the county fair; always blue ribbon winners. One year, I was probably 8 years old, my grandmother says in her Italian accent, “ Ima gonna teacha you the winning cookie to taka to the fair.” So, I learned to make sugar cookies and I won the blue ribbon! Anyway, after that, to this day whenever I cook, I always strive to make a good first impression, because I can still hear my grandmother saying, “the eyesa, they eata first.”
What's your least favorite food?
Lamb and venison, it’s a tie! Also, I am not a fan of arugula, but tolerate it to see if I can prove myself wrong.
What is the best thing you've made so far this year?
All the double crust pies made during the food52 pie contest. Each year I make a blackberry pie (maybe two if I am bribed) and a butternut granny smith pie for Thanksgiving, other than that, I usually shy away from double crust pies.
Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
Hmmm, a disaster… the time my husband made a double batch of meatballs in marinara sauce while I was at work. After getting home I began to set enough sauce and meatballs aside for our dinner, and he began to spoon the remaining into a container to cool. Next, all I remember is him holding up the filled container and asking me if it was ok to use, when all of a sudden the bottom dropped out sending the sauce and meatballs all over the kitchen floor! It was quite spectacular looking and quite a clean-up. Luckily I had some set aside for dinner, because the rest needed to be trashed.
What is your idea of comfort food?
Spaghetti & broccoli with garlic, oil & pecorino cheese.
Apron or no apron?
No apron, even though I have a couple.
What’s your favorite food-related scene in a movie?
Annie Hall… the famous lobster-cooking scene, Annie & Alvy are trying to get the live lobsters into the pot but they are crawling on the floor; Alvy picks up a paddle, trying to get at them, he ends up knocking over dishes and hitting the chandelier, saying maybe we should just call the police, nine-one-one the lobster squad. Later Annie says there’s a big lobster behind the refrigerator, maybe if I put out a little dish of butter sauce with a nutcracker it will run out.
If you could make a show-stopping dinner for one person, living or dead, who would it be?
My 89-year-old mother, who has been living out the rest of her life with Alzheimer’s for a while now.
You prefer to cook: a. alone, b. with others, c. it depends on your mood
I like to cook with others hanging around the kitchen island.
When it comes to tidying up, you usually: a. clean as you cook, b. do all the dishes once you've finished cooking, c. leave the kitchen a shambles for your spouse/roommate/kids to clean.
Both a & b.
- Lapadia's backyard garden, which she calls her "Kitchen with a View"