Congratulations to wanderash, whose Not-Too-Virtuous Salad with Caramelized Apple Vinaigrette won this week's contest for Your Best Salad with Apples earning her a beautiful from Williams-Sonoma, plus big prizes from Viking, OXO and Tiny Prints, and a spot in the next food52 cookbook!
Q&A with wanderash
- Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
- I’m five years old; my mom is holding my hair back and I am throwing up. She asks me what it was that I ate. I answer, “I think the mushroom soup had a flour thickener in it.”
- My guess is that most five year olds don’t know what a flour thickener is. I was born with celiac sprue disease (gluten intolerance) and at a very young age I began to really think about what I was eating. I learned to identify textures and ingredients in my food. Guessing ingredients was sort of my “stupid human trick” around the lunchroom table.
- What's your least favorite food?
- White pepper and sautéed chicken livers.
- What is the best thing you've made so far this year?
- Thus far, 2011 has been filled with lots of traveling and eating, but not much time spent at the stove…. I think the pork belly curing in my fridge for this month’s Charcutepalooza challenge is going to be the tastiest treat I have made so far.
- Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
- The most recent was the morning of a going-away brunch I was hosting for a friend. I made six quiche crusts the night before; they were baked and ready to fill. I thought I was being clever when I stored the crusts in the oven over night. It was not so clever when I turned the oven on, forgetting about the oven-cum-crust-cabinet and burned all six.
- What is your idea of comfort food?
- When I am sick, it is the soft boiled eggs my mom makes and hot ginger, lemon, honey tea. For the cold, I comfort chilled bones with soups and meaty braises. When I am sad, I reach for creamy, rich ice cream.
Apron or no apron?
Definitely apron. I’m a messy cook.
- What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?
- Oddly, the scene that sticks most vividly in my mind is in Christmas Story when Ralphie’s mom is trying to get Ralphie’s little brother to eat. He has a typical childhood-induced aversion to food. Mom, in a desperate moment, suggests he ditch his utensils and eat like a “little piggy”. Using his mashed potatoes as a landing pad for his face, he begins snorting up his food, giggling happily. How often have I wanted to do that?
- If you could make a show-stopping dinner for one person, living or dead, who would it be?
- I am going to cheat and lump the whole line of the first kitchen I worked in after culinary school (La Toque)?specifically Ken Frank (chef-owner) and Nancy Kaplan (chef de cuisine). They are the people who really taught me to cook, taste and move like a chef?the rhythm of it all. And they would undoubtedly bring spectacular wines!
- You prefer to cook: a. alone, b. with others, c. it depends on your mood
- C. Alone and with friends, it depends on my mood. (Although when other people get involved I can be a little controlling.)
- 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.
- a. I clean as I cook, but inevitably most of the pots and pans are left for my husband. (He would probably call foul on the first part of my answer.)