Congratulations to gingerroot, whose Lentil and Basmati Salad with Tamarind, Coconut, and Cilantro won the contest for Your Best Recipe with Beans!
Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
I was fortunate to grow up learning that food is synonymous with family. My two grandmothers expressed love through cooking and feeding their family and friends, and some of my best childhood memories happened around a dining table. Food was also fun -- as the oldest of four, I remember having pizza-making contests with my dad. The kids would choose a dough and sauce recipe, along with all of our own toppings, while my dad chose his own. Cooking with my siblings remains one of my favorite things to do when we are together.
Left: Gingerroot with her daughter; Right: Gingerroot's son making cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving
What's your favorite kitchen tool?
I have many, but I really love my salad spinner. I know it is easy to wash and dry salad greens by hand, but sometimes I just want it done, and a salad spinner makes it an easy task to delegate to a small child.
What is your idea of comfort food?
While I could live on spicy brothy noodle soup; when it comes to comfort, nothing beats some combination of eggs, greens, and a good starch. The addition of salty cured meat is a bonus.
What is your greatest kitchen disaster?
Luckily, I tend to collect a number of little kitchen disasters rather than any great ones. One that comes to mind happened in my early teen years when I was babysitting my younger siblings. Our microwave was installed above our counters, which meant that in order to use it, we often hopped up on the counter to reach it. Somehow, my younger brother managed to kick in our oven door as he hopped down and the glass shattered everywhere. Okay, maybe that qualifies as a bigger than little kitchen disaster.
Photos of salad by Mark Weinberg; Photo of egg with beet greens by James Ransom; All other photos provided by gingerroot