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Solmstea is a self-described policy wonk (aka a doctoral fellow studying water management in Central Asia) living in Santa Monica who started uploading recipes to food52 just over a month ago. She quickly blew our minds when both of the breads she posted to our savory yeast bread contest (with far-flung places of origin -- Tashkent Non from Uzbekistan and Kummelweck from West New York) received rave reviews from our Editors' Pick testers.

In lieu of a blog on her food52 profile, she has posted a link to her flickr account, which we recommend you spend a good deal of time perusing. There you'll find pictures of her travels to places like Uzbekistan, Death Valley and Tasmania; of cool things she's made (a functioning sundial, Ikea furniture upgrades, a Robot Chicken Halloween costume); and her Opa's old family photos, beautifully and hauntingly detailed. Through her twitter account, we also stumbled on this website documenting her road trip from England to Mongolia last summer with three friends, together named the Creeping Blandness Prevention Group.

Solmstea also plays the Turkish fiddle, has a Master's in Physics and is fixing up a motorcycle she calls "Old Smokey," so she might officially be coolest person we've ever (virtually) met. See her profile page and fan her here.

Read solmstea's profile Q&A below:

  • What is the strangest food you have ever eaten?
  • What do you cook when home alone?
    Quinoa and pea shoots, or whatever's lying around
  • Your most treasured kitchen possession:
    My hacked kitchen cart:
  • Your ideal meal:
    Something I don't have to think too much about.
  • The ideal number of guests for a dinner party is:
    6 - 8, though if it's going to be bigger, I'd rather it be way bigger, like 20 - 30
  • Kitchen pet peeve:
    It's not so much a kitchen pet peeve as a recipe pet peeve: The needless dirtying of excessive numbers of dishware. I boycott recipes that call for dirtying more than one or two bowls for a single dish and tend to look for shortcuts to avoid using multiple dishes (like, does the egg REALLY need to be whisked before adding? Do you really have to transfer this dough to a clean bowl? etc.). I find usually the recipes do not suffer.
  • Your favorite cookbook:
    Anything by Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford (particularly Seductions of Rice), or else my South African cookbook, Rainbow Cuisine by Lannice Snyman and Andrzej Sawa

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Comments (18)


over 5 years ago dymnyno

I am impressed at the multitude of interests that you are involved in...not to mention great cooking!


over 5 years ago coffeefoodwritergirl

Love the Santa Monica Farmer's Market on Weds. mornings!


over 5 years ago solmstea

Yes! I'm there first thing every wednesday morning (luckily I work only a few blocks away) and always come away with way too many delicious things. That's the thing I will miss most when I move back to DC this summer :(


over 5 years ago coffeefoodwritergirl

It's a great market -- good strawberries and other fruits!


over 5 years ago MyCommunalTable

Travel feeds the foodies soul.


over 5 years ago WinnieAb

Great spotlight on super cool solmstea!


over 5 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

She *might* (???) officially be the coolest person you've ever met? She IS the coolest person any of us have ever met. You rock, solmstea!! ;o)


over 5 years ago solmstea

Aww, shucks :) I'm just glad to have found such a friendly community of cooks! It's really great to get so many new ideas from everyone! I'm thoroughly enjoying it.


over 5 years ago thirschfeld

just the kind of people I like to have for dinner. So many great things to talk about and I must ask, "what kind of old motorcycle?' because its not like your tashkent non isn't great.


over 5 years ago solmstea

1975 Honda CB360T. Finally got him started without smoking and backfiring (it's nice to have a father who is a one man diagnostic team, even from 3000 miles away). Now just have to figure out how to get him registered! And glad you liked the non; I'll have to try it with poppy seeds next time!


over 5 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Hi solmstea! Your pictures are great! You look exactly like your Opa! Thanks for sharing your recipes with us.


over 5 years ago solmstea

Thanks a lot! Genetics are pretty incredible. I've really been enjoying your orange cardamom macaroons, though I kind of wish people would stop putting up all these delicious cookie recipes...I'm going to have to start running more often...


over 5 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Welcome Solmstea! I fell in love with your breads and your stories when you poted the. Nice to see you here!


over 5 years ago solmstea

Thanks! Glad you managed to wade through the stories. Wish I could have done a little more formatting - they're a bit unwieldy as is, but it can't be perfect, I guess :)


over 5 years ago solmstea

Wow, this is a funny thing to stumble upon this morning! Thanks for the profile!


over 5 years ago monkeymom

Great to see you featured! Have been really enjoying your recipes.


over 5 years ago solmstea

Thanks! And likewise - I just made your Black Rice, White Sauce for dessert...yum.


over 5 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Wow, talk about seriously multi-faceted! Great shout-out - nice to "meet" you Solmstea!