Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking. I didn't have a big interest in cooking until my roommates and I started making food for ourselves in college. We had a copy of "The College Cookbook," probably given to one of us as a gag gift, which we used frequently. I think we cooked every recipe in it. This was when I learned how fun cooking could be -- and how much more affordable it was than eating out all the time.
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What's your least favorite kitchen task? Making a grocery list. I wish I could just go to the store or farmers market and buy things spontaneously. However, as a recipe developer and a food photographer, I have to make an airtight plan as to what I'll be cooking, when I'll be cooking it, and the exact groceries I'll need for each dish. I spend about three times as long making my grocery list and checking my pantry stash as I do actually shopping for ingredients. It's tedious at best.
Your favorite kitchen tool? My dishwasher. I run it more often than I'd like to admit. I do whatever I can to be eco-friendly in other ways so that the guilt of my dishwasher dependence doesn't keep me awake at night.
What is your idea of comfort food? Homemade ice cream. From the unintentionally rock salt-speckled version the ancient wooden machine would churn out when I was a kid, to the less labor-intensive version I make now, homemade ice cream always makes me smile.
What is your greatest kitchen disaster? When I was in culinary school, I needed to practice making hollandaise sauce. However, I didn't want to eat all of the finished batches. The plumber was not pleased when he found out I had poured all of my extra hollandaise sauce down the garbage disposal: My old house, with its original plumbing, couldn't quite handle the egg and fat assault on its pipes. It was ugly.
How do you use avocados? Let us know in the comments!