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Winner of Your Best Brown Bag Lunch

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Congratulations to Waverly, whose Pan Bagnat: Le French Tuna Salad Sandwich won this week's contest for Your Best Brown Bag Lunch -- earning her a $200 gift card from Williams-Sonoma, plus big prizes from Viking and OXO, and a spot in the next food52 cookbook!


   Pan Bagnat

Q & A with Waverly

  • Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
  • I have many memories of family dinners in the house where I grew up. There were not many exceptions. We always sat together to share our dinner. It was the thread that connected us no matter what else was going on (functional or dysfunctional). This is why I cook for my children. Family meals are essential to each family member's well being. The family table is where we connect; where we learn how to treat others; and where we learn to work together to set it up and clean it up. It is also THE place where the family learns about what and how much to eat. In my mind, food is an expression of love, and life is better when you eat together.


  • What's your least favorite food?
  • I do not care for organ meats of any kind or tongues.


  • What is the best thing you've made so far this year?
  • This summer, I seasoned freshly caught red snapper with Creole spices and wrapped it in foil with a dash of white wine. I grilled it and then served it with fresh pico de gallo on top. I call it Snapper Katherine after my friend who introduced me to it. I served frijoles charros and homemade tortillas on the side. (My mouth is watering.)


  • Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
  • I have had many kitchen disasters. The most memorable one was when I made Martha Stewart's Tea Pot cake when my oldest children were 5 and 4. It took me 2 tries and 8 hours, and though it tasted good, the cake looked hideous, the kitchen looked like a bomb had gone off and the children didn't appreciate being ignored all day.


  • What is your idea of comfort food?
  • Comfort food to me is my mother's seafood gumbo. She has always used the same recipe. There is that theme again -- food and love.


  • Apron or no apron?
  • Apron!


  • What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?
  • Sixteen Candles: In the final scene of this quintessential 1980's movie, Jake Ryan, the hottest senior in the high school, brings nice little Molly Ringwald a birthday cake. They are both seated on top of the dining room table; the candles on the cake are lit. It is Molly's 16th birthday and her whole family has forgotten about it. Instead of her family, she gets Jake Ryan, her heart's desire, who has brought the cake and a kiss (Molly's first) to go with it.  


  • If you could make a show-stopping dinner for one person, living or dead, who would it be?
  • Mick Jagger and the Stones, but if I am going to work that hard, they will have to play after dessert. 


  • You prefer to cook: a. alone, b. with others, c. it depends on your mood
  • Alone but with everyone in the kitchen to keep me company.


  • When it comes to tidying up, you usually: a. clean as you cook, b. do all the dishes once you've finished cooking, c. leave the kitchen a shambles for your spouse/roommate/kids to clean.
  • I clean up as I go along.