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Congratulations to Midge, whose Burnt Caramel Pudding won this week's contest for Your Best Pudding, earning her a beautiful Mauviel M365 Copper 0.8-Qt. Double Boiler from Williams-Sonoma, plus big prizes from Viking, OXO and Tiny Prints, and a spot in the next food52 cookbook!
Q&A with Midge
Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
Rolling out dough -- for what I don’t remember -- with my grandmother when I was little. She gave me a kid-sized rolling pin that I still have and sometimes use. I don’t know if that memory has anything to do with it, but I think working with any kind of dough is really grounding. You forget about everything else.
What's your least favorite food?
I’ve never liked broccoli.
What is the best thing you've made so far this year?
Hmm, I made a killer Bolognese with chicken livers a few weeks ago.
Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
It’s a toss-up. Once, when I was processing jars of plum jam in a pot that wasn’t quite tall enough, the water boiled over and fried the digital ‘motherboard’ of the stove in the house where I was housesitting. Those suckers are not cheap.
Then there was the time I attempted to make my own natural starter. After following Nancy Silverton’s instructions for three weeks, which entailed feeding the starter three times a day (which pretty much kept me chained to the house since I lived in a fairly isolated place at the time) the first loaf I baked didn’t rise, or even budge. I ended up tossing the whole frothing mess out in frustration and gave away Silverton’s book, my pizza stone, and assorted bread-making paraphernalia. In retrospect, I should’ve been more patient.
What is your idea of comfort food?
I don’t know why because I didn’t grow up eating it, but borscht always makes me feel better.
Apron or no apron?
For project-type cooking, I wear an apron, but not if I’m just making dinner.
What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?
I love that My Dinner with Andre is one big food scene, though I can’t remember anything they ate.
If you could make a show-stopping dinner for one person, living or dead, who would it be?
My mom is a force of nature in the kitchen and she rarely lets anyone help, much less cook for her. She totally deserves a showstopping dinner, but I’d probably have to chain her to her chair while I cooked.
You prefer to cook: a. alone, b. with others, c. it depends on your mood
Ideally with friends or family who know their way around my kitchen.
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.
I love the idea of leaving the kitchen in a shambles for others to take to care of, but in reality I can’t help cleaning as I cook.