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Congratulations to the winner of our Playa del Carmen, Mexico Sweepstakes, Linda Carpenter! We're sitting down to chat with her about late night snacks, her homemade cookbook, and her love of Italian sausage and apple pie.
Last month, we teamed up with our friends at Travel + Leisure, InStyle, and Panna to give one lucky person the chance to win a trip for two to the Mahekal Beach Resort in Mexico and a $250 gift card to the Shop at Food52. Today, we're introducing you to the winner, an avid home cook and mother.
It's 2 a.m. and you're hungry—what do you reach for?
Chilled sliced turkey from the fridge.
Describe an early food experience that shaped the way you cook and eat.
When I was a small girl, my family had an apple tree in our backyard that I loved to play on. My mother was always in the kitchen cooking and one day she decided that it was about time for me to learn how to bake. I baked my first apple pie that day. By the time I was twelve, I could make really good pies.
What's your go-to winter comfort food?
Pasta with Italian sausage.
What cookbook can you not live without?
Mine, which I have put together over the last 40 years. I have made a lot of my own recipes and recorded them in my cookbook to share with my daughters
What has been your greatest kitchen disaster?
My oldest daughter, Jade, decided to use my kitchen and supplies to make chocolate chip cookies one weekend when I was out of town. I have all my sugars, flours, and other dry ingredients in clear containers. She followed the recipe, but could not get the cookie dough to "form right." After her fifth batch of failed cookies—and a huge mess—she called me.
I told her that she must not be adding flour and she replied that she had added 7 cups of flour and they were still goopy. Finally, it dawned on her that she had been using confectioners' sugar instead of flour. In the end, she used up every single ingredient in the house, and still managed to get the ingredients everywhere except into the finished batch of cookies.
More: Avoid chocolate chip cookie disasters—make the perfect batch every time.
Photo of Linda provided by herself; photo of pie by Mark Weinberg; photo of pasta and chocolate chip cookies by James Ransom; photo of raspberry pie by fiveandspice