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One of the finalists in our recent Thanksgiving Photo Challenge, AntoniaJames is a relative newcomer to food52, but she has already made an impression. A lawyer from California, she bakes her own bread and is an avid canner. Recipes like "Ten Ways" Fennel in Champagne Vinegar with Fines Herbes and Roasted Pumpkin and Red Lentil Soup reflect her penchant for making the most of local, seasonal ingredients. See AntoniaJames' profile and fan her here.

  • Here is her profile Q&A:
  • What is the strangest food you have ever eaten?
    Ox tongue . . . not bad, really, to eat when prepared artfully, but when raw, it's a bit startling to those of us who don't slaughter and butcher our own meat
  • What do you cook when home alone?
    Well, this isn't exactly cooking, but I really like sardines or herring (packed in mustard sauce), or if we don't have that, my homemade pluot or nectarine jam with thin layer of crunchy unsalted peanut butter, over rice cakes, steamed cruciferous veggies or roasted carrots with whatever vinaigrette is in my pantry, and fruit with cheese
  • Your most treasured kitchen possession:
    The Meyer lemon tree 10 steps from my kitchen . . . it's about as tall as I am (all told), it's in a gorgeous pot, and it's bearing beautifully now. I feel like a de' Medici.
  • Your ideal meal:
    Well, this varies from day to day . . . today, it would be anything prepared by either or both of my sons, served with a generous side of laughter.
  • Something you'd like a chance to eat or cook:
    Pork from a family-farmed hog that's been on a spit all day
  • The number of bottles of wine you own:
  • The ideal number of guests for a dinner party is:
    It depends on what game or other activity is planned for after dinner. Sometimes the number is 4, sometimes it's 6, sometimes it's 8. More than that and any games would most likely be outside, so that could be up to 20 or 24. It's all about the games.
  • Kitchen pet peeve:
    None (Life is too short . . . . .)
  • Your favorite cookbook:
    For what? For recipes and inspiration, this site. For perspective and a good read, Laurie Colwin's "Home Cooking" and "More Home Cooking." I'm enjoying Bill Neal's "Biscuits, Spoonbread, and Sweet Potato Pie" now; I like the lore as much as the recipes. For a comprehensive collection of classic recipes, "The Gourmet Cookbook." (If I could have but one cookbook, this set would be it.)


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