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1. Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
I grew up in California, then New Mexico, then Rhode Island, and finally Texas (I use the term “grew up” incredibly loosely -- I should say “grew older”). Living in places with such different regional cuisines really informed my palate and gave me different ideas for what to cook, eat, and mash up. We love to travel, and everywhere we go, the first stop is the local market -- I am always on the lookout for something to try or taste or learn from. My souvenirs are usually food.
2. What's your least favorite kitchen task?
Making tossed green salad. I don't know why because I am happy to make a different kind of salad or a composed salad. It sucks and is also hilarious because we eat a tossed green salad every night, so every night we play a round of “Whose turn is it to make the salad?” I ask for “get out of salad” coupons for Christmas, but I rarely get them. If you ever stay with us and ask what you can do to help well, don't ask -- just make the damn salad.
3. Your favorite kitchen tool?
My salad spinner -- bwahahahahahaha. I can't pick a favorite, the other ninety-seven billion would get their feelings hurt. (It's my bowls. I love my bowls.)
4. What is your idea of comfort food?
That depends. Tired and cranky? Pasta with red sauce. Tired and hungover? Vietnamese hot and sour chicken soup delivered from HaoHao. Feeling like I need to give my poor system a break? Brown rice and some sort of spicy veggies and tofu. Long day at the pool? Anything grilled.
5. What is your greatest kitchen disaster?
I haven't had any really bad ones lately -- all fingers intact, all burns healed. I did have a misstep making a red velvet cake recently (natural dye that was not red; not enough icing; crooked cake), but it led to my crushed velvet cake, which I think is pretty great, and the neighbor kids ate the mistake and cared not one whit that it was ugly.
Photos by James Ransom
This contest was brought to you by Kikkoman.