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Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
My love of cooking comes from the influence of all the good cooks in my family. My mother, grandmothers, and many aunts (and a few uncles) kept our large and boisterous extended family very well fed. Every family gathering, from the big holiday dinners to summer picnics and cook-outs, included plenty of well-prepared and delicious food. I grew up watching my mother prepare pickles and preserves, bake bread and sweet rolls, and turn out pies galore. My grandmother gave all of her grandchildren handmade, chocolate-dipped candy for Easter. Our entire family has a very rich culinary history; it's one I am trying to pass along to my children through my blog "A Red Binder."
What's your least favorite kitchen task?
My least favorite kitchen task is dishwashing! I like to use lots of utensils and pots and pans when I cook and, I'll admit it, it tends to get a bit untidy.
Your favorite kitchen tool?
My favorite kitchen tool is a sharp knife. I love prep work and it goes much more quickly with good sharp knives. My knife kit from culinary school is one of my prized possessions.
What is your idea of comfort food?
My idea of comfort food tends to be cold-weather favorites. I guess that is a result of growing up in the prairie city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, where winter tends to be the longest season. I love slow-cooked, braised meats, hearty soups, and the occasional indulgent dessert, like chocolate pudding.
What is your greatest kitchen disaster?
My greatest kitchen disaster was a "make your own pizza" party that I hosted a number of years ago. I had prepared all the small pizza crusts, set out an array of toppings on my kitchen island, and then called the guests to get started. The major problem was that I only had one oven! It was all fun until the line-up of hungry people, waiting for their pizza to bake, started to get very long! I was not the best hostess that time around.