Winner's Q&A

Winner of Your Best Fair Food

By • August 24, 2011 • 49 Comments

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Congratulations to hardlikearmour, whose State Fair Cream Puffs won this week's contest for Your Best Fair Food, earning her big prizes from VikingOXO and Tiny Prints, and a spot in the next Food52 cookbook!

fishing  State Fair Cream Puffs

Q&A with hardlikearmour

Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
Once I thought the taste of the grilled cheese sandwiches would transfer through the side of the electric frying pan my mom was cooking them in so I licked it. In case you're wondering, the taste does not transfer, but the heat sure does!

What's your least favorite food?
Fishy fish. I have not been able to acquire a taste for it.

What is the best thing you've made so far this year?
I've been seriously hooked on beverages this summer.  I've made numerous drinking vinegars including Blueberry-Tarragon, Pear, and Mango-Apricot.  I also love my Tea Thyme Soda -- it's really refreshing.

Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
I've had the same experience as AntoniaJames. Years ago I somehow thought it would be okay to pour water into a very hot glass baking dish (it was Pyrex after all!)  It was obviously not a good idea, which I figured out the instant the water hit the pan and it shattered into a million tiny bits -- seriously at least a million.  Luckily the mess was contained in the oven, so it was relatively easy to deal with. 

What is your idea of comfort food?
Something cheesy, soft, and warm. A good baked mac & cheese or a bowl of cheesy polenta would do the trick!

Apron or no apron?
I almost always cook without an apron.  

What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?
I really like the scene in The Fantastic Mr. Fox when the Foxes are eating pancakes for breakfast.  

If you could make a show-stopping dinner for one person, living or dead, who would it be?
This is the hardest question. I would love to make a fabulous dinner for Temple Grandin. She is a major force in improving the conditions for food animals, and has tremendous insight into animal behavior.

You prefer to cook: a. alone, b. with others, c. it depends on your mood.
I'm definitely a do-it-yourself kinda gal, but have been more willing to accept help in the kitchen over the past year or so.

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'd love to get pointers on how to clean as you cook. I really lack efficiency!

  • Cake decorating
  • Hardlikearmour's amazing cake-decorating skills. Yes, that's a cake!

 

Jump to Comments (49)

Comments (49)

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Buddhacat

about 3 years ago SKK

You are the best! Adore your recipes! I love to fish, but don't like cleaning them so usually throw them back in. Very lazy of me.

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, SKK! I only fish when my dad comes to visit. He's a very avid fly-fisher, and none of his kids really are. He's always very proud when I catch one, no matter how small it is :)

Me

about 3 years ago wssmom

This is wonderful! Congrats on a well-deserved win and what a great Q&A!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thank you, wssmom!

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about 3 years ago Midge

So thrilled for you hla! Big congrats on a much-deserved win!!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, Midge! I'm still giddy about it this morning!

Lobster_001

about 3 years ago nannydeb

Congratulations! I can't wait to make these cream puffs!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thank you, nannydeb! I hope you give them a try.

Cakes

about 3 years ago Bevi

My sly old dad used to take me trout fishing for the extra allotment he could pack in my creel. But I caught a fish or two. Love your photos.

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

That's funny, Bevi! My casting is pretty abominable, but I do manage to catch a fish on occasion. My dad is an excellent fly-fisher, but he hates to eat fish, too! He'd bring a few home when we were kids for my mom, but for the most part he just releases them.

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about 3 years ago EmilyC

Many congrats HLA! I enjoyed reading your Q&A -- and I always love your recipes!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks much, EmilyC! I love your recipes, too!

Me

about 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I'm a huge fan of Temple Grandin too. I was lucky enough to go to a talk she gave to local farmers and ranchers last fall when she was visiting the Bay Area and she was just amazing. Absolutely amazing. And I loved the movie about her! Congrats again on your win, and your cake is genuinely fabulous. Are you taking orders? Do you ship?

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thank you, CS! You're lucky to have seen Temple Grandin talk, she is amazing. I don't take orders, or ship, but if you visit Portland, I'd gladly make you a cake!

Kg_in_evanston_cropped

about 3 years ago Fairmount_market

Congratulations hardlikearmour. I love the botanical details on your cake: you're a real naturalist!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, FM! I used cornmeal to add texture to the center of the daisies.

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about 3 years ago Sagegreen

Amazing cake! Congrats on the win.

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, SG!

Lorigoldsby

about 3 years ago lorigoldsby

HLA...I hope you get a chance to share one of your amazing recipes with Temple Grandin! If that ever works out, my daughter and i will do the dishes or mop the floors to get an invite to that dinner ( well really, probably ANY dinner at your place, But until then, we appreciate your contributions each week! Congrats on a well deserved win!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, lori! I doubt I'll ever get to make dinner for her, but I'll let you know if it happens ;)

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about 3 years ago healthierkitchen

congrats! That is one gorgeous cake!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thank you, hk!

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

Really love your Q & A, hardlikearmour!! Cheers to a fabulous cook, baker and all around great person and friend. Your pics are wonderful - what an amazing cake!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, gingerroot! I made the cake for an engagement party.

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about 3 years ago dymnyno

Ha Ha...I loved The Fantastic Mr Fox....they ate like animals!!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

It was awesome! Sometimes I wish I could eat like that.

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about 3 years ago gingerroot

That is a great food scene...I love the sound effects as they eat!

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about 3 years ago Dabblings

Congratulations! And that cake looks amazing!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thank you, Dabblings!

Mrs._larkin_370

about 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Hooray hla! So very happy for you! Stick me in the shattering-pyrex-in-the-oven club. Been there, done that!

Dscn2212

about 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Oh yeah, me too.

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I'm glad I have such esteemed company in that maneuver!

Dscn2212

about 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

If only I'd shattered mine in the oven . . . but noooooooooo.

Grace_marian_astra_madeline_myrtle_jean_in_new_jersey

about 3 years ago TXExpatInBKK

Me too! Only it was a ceramic plate and my brain said, "They use ceramic on the outside of the space shuttle... it'll be FINE..." Doh. Congrats on the win HLA. Love your recipes.

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, tex! It did not take long to realize it was a huge error!

Me

about 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Yep-me too. But instead of doing it in my own kitchen, I did it in culinary school witnessed by half the class. During a cooking exam.

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about 3 years ago lapadia

Love your Q&A and the fun fishing photo! Wondering about the daisies on your amazing cake; are they fondant, too? Oh, and was the cake chocolate, vanilla, carrot, banana ??? It's lovely. Congratulations!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, lapadia. The flowers are gumpaste. The cake was a yellow cake.

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about 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Major congrats, HLA! Love that photo, too!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, drbabs! It's a rather silly photo, but I like it.

Dscn2212

about 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I love the photo of you fishing for non-fishy fish! Your Q&A is fantastic - I'm related to Temple Grandin by marriage, and admire as well her work with food animals. You are a very talented cake designer.

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about 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

LOL, fishing for non fishy fish. Love that photo too!

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Catch and release, ladies! Temple Grandin is amazing. I love making cakes.

Junechamp

about 3 years ago ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congratulations, HLA. Those Cream Puffs are on my "to do" list.

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thank you, ChefJune! I'd be honored if you made my cream puffs.

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about 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Hurrah for HLA! Baker and cook extraordinaire. PERSON extraordinaire. Licker of frying pans. Saver of animals. :-)

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, aargersi! Licking the frying pan was a pure genius move.

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about 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Love the Q&A and I love that you would like to cook a meal for Temple Grandin. BTW, your cake is amazing, how did you do that? The attention to detail is astonishing.

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about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Thanks, sdebrango! The cake is a combo of fondant and gumpaste decoration.