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Here at FOOD52, we like to get our hands dirty. We like to whip up new projects like we would a tray of cookies, to knead ideas like we would a loaf of bread. We like to stretch things and pull things in new directions, then drizzle them in olive oil, then sprinkle them with salt. (Like this!)
Our Associate Editor Kristy Mucci is behind much of this.
You've seen her making mozzarella, organizing Amanda's pantry, updating our Instagram feed, helping out in the test kitchen. She plans parties; she does the books. In short: she's everywhere, offering up a smile and a helping hand, jumping headfirst into new projects and staying on top of older ones. We admire her diligence and dedication both in the kitchen and outside of it, whether it be brainstorming and executing a new idea -- or making her own ricotta, or almond milk, or bread, or tahini...
Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you feel about food and/or cooking.
My grandmother would make extra food for the on-duty police officers on Thanksgiving and Christmas. And they wouldn't just stop by and get food wrapped up to go -- she'd have them sit down and eat at the table, then send them off with neatly packaged leftovers. I loved seeing how appreciative they were, and I admired my grandmother's generosity and thoughtfulness. She's very good at showing love with food (she definitely spoiled me, and still would if I still lived in California). I always hope to be like her in that way.
We know you love to throw dinner parties. Tell us about your favorite one.
Remember when that community cookbook Peko Peko came out? I asked my friends to buy copies. Then we all chose recipes we wanted to cook from it and had a potluck party at my house. There was lots of sparkling sake, which is always fun. A lot of people who had previously been too intimidated to cook Japanese food got a chance to see how simple it could be. We got to test a lot of the recipes in the book, and sticking to the book was an easy way to keep the meal cohesive. All the food was great, and we were supporting a good cause. And did I mention sparkling sake?
What are some of your "food rules"?
Buy directly from farmers as often as possible. Eating out of season generally leads to disappointment, so why bother? Except for avocados -- a ripe avocado is satisfying in any season.
What are your favorite tips for entertaining?
1. Prep as much as possible ahead of time.
2. You can never have enough extra glasses.
3. Always account for unexpected guests -- we always end up with more than expected, which is fun when you're prepared for it.
What are your favorite dishes and/or cuisines to cook?
I'll try cooking anything, though I definitely prefer savory foods.
What's your least favorite food?
I am deeply offended by out-of-season and flavorless tomatoes. Let's not even talk about fast food.
Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
I'd just heated up a pan and added some oil, then the doorbell rang. I ran to the door because I figured it was someone stopping by for one of my housemates (and I was closest to the door). I got wrapped up in conversation, completely forgetting about the stove. It wasn't good. The smoke, the smell, that poor pan!
You never leave the grocery store without...
Lemons. I go through them so quickly.
What's your desert island meal?
Champagne and oysters
What sort of things do you insist on making yourself?
Almond milk, ricotta, stock, jam, pizza dough, hummus, tahini -- I'll make anything I can.
Who are your food heroes?
Farmers. I also happen to work with an impressive, inspiring group of food ladies...