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Winner of Your Best Vanilla

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Congratulations to Rivka, whose Vanilla Rooibos Tea Cookies won the contest for Your Best Vanilla!

1. Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
For years, I was convinced I hated cucumbers. I thought their seeds looked mushy. I can still remember one evening when I was about 6, perched on a stool beside my mother as she cut some cukes for salad. She looked at me, motioned toward the cucumbers, and said, "I really think you'll like them." I tried one: not bad. Not bad at all. These days there aren't many foods I don't enjoy (though keep the cottage cheese far, far away).

 2. What's your least favorite food?
Oops! Just answered that one. Really, it's a tie between cottage cheese and mayonnaise. 

3. What is the best thing you've made so far this year?
Hmm, tough call. I really loved this simple vietnamese eggplant and leek salad. Had that hot-sour-salty-sweet thing going on.

 4. Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
My most recent almost-disaster was a couple months ago, when I left the sugar out of a cake. Fortunately, I have no self control when it comes to cake batter. After staring down the mixing bowl, I took a swipe with my finger. It was distinctly savory, that cake batter. I hastily grabbed the cake out of the oven 60 seconds into baking, poured it back into the bowl, cleaned the cake pan, and tried again. The cake came out pretty much as good as always: phew.

5.What is your idea of comfort food?
Perfectly cooked spaghetti with San Marzano tomatoes and plenty of chile, and slices of just-out-of-the-oven cake for dessert.

6. Apron or no apron? 
I only throw on the apron after I've gotten something on my clothes. Go figure. 

7. What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?
All the Meryl Streep parts of Julie and Julia. Also, the prisoner pasta scene in Goodfellas.  

8. If you could make a show-stopping dinner for one person, living or dead, who would it be?
I'd love to have had the opportunity to cook for my grandpa, whose love and appreciation for good food shaped my own.

Tags: winner, vanilla, rivka, contest, cookies, tea cookies

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Comments (11)


almost 3 years ago creamtea

Congratulations Rivka! I got a bit misty eyed over your comment about your grandpa.


almost 3 years ago Rivka

He was a special, special guy. I actually wrote an essay about him here: http://www.notderbypie...


almost 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Rivka, I keep trying to congratulate you, and my comment keeps ending up in cyberspace. Congratulations! And I'm so happy adding the sugar at the last minute worked.


almost 3 years ago Rivka

Thanks, drbabs!


almost 3 years ago QueenSashy

QueenSashy is a trusted home cook.

Congrats Rivka, and a special thanks for the disaster tip!


almost 3 years ago Rivka

thanks! and yes - savory cake batter = distinctly undelicious.


almost 3 years ago enbe

Congrats! I tested these and they were delish!


almost 3 years ago Rivka

thanks, enbe!


almost 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Congratulations, Rivka! Can't wait to try your buttery tea cookies.


almost 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congratulations Rivka, your kitchen disaster has happened to me multiple times and seeing that you took that cake out of the oven and added the sugar a minute into baking is great, Next time I will do that now that I know it can be done.


almost 3 years ago Rivka

it can indeed! the cake had...well, caked, a bit on the sides of the pan, but I just wiped that off and proceeded with only a hint of sweat and nerves. all was well.