Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
My older brother tells the story about how he taught me, when I was a young adolescent, to make chicken stir-fry since he was going away to college and wouldn't be around to do most of the cooking as he usually did. I made that chicken stir-fry over and over and over again, until finally my younger sister, unable to stomach yet another stir-fry chicken dinner, called my brother and pleaded, "Teach her beef!" I like to think this is a cautionary tale about getting into a cooking rut.
What's your least favorite kitchen task?
I always dread having to wash my sheet pans in my small kitchen sink.
Your favorite kitchen tool?
Oh, there are so many! I couldn't function without my knives. I use my kitchen scale frequently. I find silicone spatulas and scrapers indispensable. And I sure do love a good mixing bowl, which is why I have several, and by "several" I mean I'm a bowl hoarder.
What is your idea of comfort food?
Whatever it is I'm craving at the moment. Sometimes it's chocolate cake; sometimes it's shots of pickle juice. Often it involves cheese and carbs.
What is your greatest kitchen disaster?
I wish there were just one. Add to the list the chocolate crater I made just a couple of weeks ago: It was supposed to be a chocolate birthday cake, but it came out of the oven sunken deeper than the Great Depression. It tasted fine but would have required a small vat of frosting to spackle it into shape. So I made another cake, the upshot being that I got to lick the spoon and bowl twice that night.