Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
The one that always comes to mind is cooking breakfast with my grandma Mary. She always told me that there's no wrong way to cook; you should always just make what you like. She helped me feel comfortable in the kitchen.
What's your least favorite food?
I find offal...awful.
What is the best thing you've made so far this year?
I made a beautiful Iranian beef stew that was really delicious. I love the mixture of spices and rich, brothy sauces of the Middle East.
Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
The time I set a pan of potatoes on fire under the broiler comes to mind; my Silpat is forever marred. (But still in working order!) I don't think I'll forget the sight of bright orange flames shooting out at my face as I opened the oven door.
What is your idea of comfort food?
Pasta with butter and Parmesan. It was a childhood favorite, and it still is today.
Apron or no apron?
Apron if I'm wearing something worth protecting.
What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?
The lunch scene in The Breakfast Club. I think the stereotypes are so perfectly '80s: sushi for the prissy girl, mounds of food for the jock, a greasy paper bag for the bad boy, Coke and a cereal-pixie sticks sandwich for the weirdo.
If you could make a show-stopping dinner for one person, living or dead, who would it be?
You prefer to cook: a. alone, b. with others, c. it depends on your mood.
It totally depends on my mood whether I want people in the kitchen or not. Sometimes I'm feeling controlling and sometimes I'm a little more laid back. But I usually love when my husband helps out, even if he just stirs something while we chat.
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.
Since my husband does most of the cleaning up, I try to clean as I go...but it kind of depends on what I'm making. The more complicated the meal, the messier I am!