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1. Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
Our whole lives are full of these, but today I am thinking about my maternal grandparents when they lived in Vista. My grandpa had a citrus grove, and avocado trees, kumquats, and a garden; and grandma would make lemon-limeade with club soda, and a butterscotch cake for every birthday (I wish I had that recipe -- anyone have a great one?). Going to visit them was always so much fun, and everything was fresh and smelled wonderful. Makes me want to do everything fresh and from scratch.
2. What's your least favorite kitchen task?
Making the salad. I complain like a big baby every time it's my turn, and I pawn the task off on every houseguest we have. (You've been warned.)
3. Your favorite kitchen tool?
I use every doo-dad and gadget I own -- and there are a LOT, but I really, really love my millions of bowls (and platters and serving things -- I am obsessed).
4. What is your idea of comfort food?
Noodles, pasta, gnocchi, stuff like that. Preparation depends on the season. Right now it's all about the tomato and its good friend, basil.
5. What is your greatest kitchen disaster?
I will tell you my most recent one: I wanted to make a peach icebox pie for the frozen treat contest. I tried to play with a recipe -- I swapped cream and honey for sweet condensed milk, and used fresh peaches with a gingersnap crust and golden meringue. Sounds promising, right? Well, I started too late (Mr. Bottle Of Rose got me off schedule) but I got the thing baked and it was beautiful out of the oven. Then into the freezer for five hours. When I tried to cut it, the middle hadn't set and came gushing out. Back into the freezer. Tried again the next day and here were the results: yucky, icy-textured non-custard, frozen icy peaches, mushy ginger snaps, and a meringue that was just weird. Epic fail.