Contest Winners

Winner of Your Best Dish You (Intentionally) Set on Fire

April  6, 2011

Congratulations to fiveandspice, whose Flamin' Cajun Shrimp won this week's contest for Your Best Dish You (Intentionally) Set on Fireearning her a handsome Ruffoni Copper Gratin Pan with Acorn Handles from Williams-Sonoma, plus big prizes from VikingOXO and Tiny Prints, and a spot in the next food52 cookbook!


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Q&A with fiveandspice

  • Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking. 
  • I was a really, really picky eater when I was little.  But my mom cleverly bought me some really great children's cookbooks with colorful photos of every stage of making each dish.  I used to sit around and just leaf through those books, poring over every recipe.  Finally, when I was in about 3rd grade, I decided I wanted to cook a fish stew from one of those books for my family for supper.  It turned out great and, ever since then, cooking for others and gathering them around the table to hear their stories has been my favorite thing to do.
  • What's your least favorite food?
  • I just can't seem to learn to like oysters.
  • What is the best thing you've made so far this year?
  • Oh, that's tough.  Well, one of my favorite things every year is the lefse (potato flatbread, see below) that my family makes with our neighbors around Christmas time.  We eat it fresh off the griddle either around a hot dog or slathered with butter and sugar.  It's simply the best thing in the world.  Besides that, well, this is going to sound really silly, but about a month ago I made a grilled cheese sandwich on freshly baked bread with caramelized onions that was really, really amazing, plus it was exactly what I wanted to eat at that moment.  Very simple, but also perfect.
  • Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
  • When my youngest brother was confirmed, my mother enlisted me to make all the desserts for his open house.  I made several cakes and tarts, but one of them -- an apple cake, actually -- I baked in a leaky springform pan with no baking sheet underneath it.  The batter dripped all over the bottom of the oven, then caught fire and caused a conflagration in the oven that we couldn't put out!  We took the charred cake out, and just let the fire burn itself out in the closed oven, oozing black smoke that wafted all through the house just an hour or so before guests were due to arrive.  We had to toss the cake, of course, and tried to air out the house, but it was still pretty smokey at the time the party started.
  • What is your idea of comfort food?
  • I grew up on Norwegian meatballs and fishcakes, so those are my idea of serious comfort food.
  • Apron or no apron?
  • I try to always wear an apron because otherwise I can guarantee that I will spill all over myself!
  • What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?
  • I absolutely love the feast in Babette's Feast, and the way her cooking transforms all those stoic Danes.
  • If you could make a show-stopping dinner for one person, living or dead, who would it be?
  • That's a really hard one.  I think Julia Child would be a blast to eat with. Though maybe I would prefer for her to make a show-stopping meal for me?!  Otherwise, I would also love to cook for Jean Brillat-Savarin and hear his commentary.
  • You prefer to cook: a. alone, b. with others, c. it depends on your mood
  • It depends on my mood.  Sometimes, if you are in no hurry and have a dish with lots of little pieces to delegate, it can be fun to cook with others.  But, for me, cooking tends to be my daily meditation and I like to have the space that doing it in solitude gives me.
  • 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 try to clean as I cook.  However, I've been getting much worse about doing so because my husband is proving himself to be a champion dish doer.


See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Bob Y
    Bob Y
  • ChefJune
  • Blissful Baker
    Blissful Baker
  • Kayb
  • fiveandspice
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (, where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.


Bob Y. April 7, 2011
I was so pleased that fiveandspice mentioned Babette's Feast as her favorite food-related movie. To my mind, although the dinner itself was amazing, the last scene of the film, in which an old man of the fundamentalist sect, staggers, drunk, outdoors in the cold and says, as if he's seen the heavenly host, "Hallelujah." "Feast is perhaps the best food related film I know of - try Netflix if you haven't seen it. Its more than worth the effort. Thanks fiveandspice for finally mentioning this amazing film on this site.
ChefJune April 7, 2011
Congrats, FiveandSpice! Where do you live? I would love to make Lefse with you. I grew up in Andersonville (Chicago) with all those Nordic delights (except you can keep the Lutefisk).

You're going to love that copper gratin pan. I have a Ruffoni copper polenta pan, and I use any excuse to make polenta so I can use it. :)

fiveandspice April 7, 2011
Hi ChefJune! I live up in Boston, and you're more than welcome to come up and visit to make lefse sometime. That goes for any food52 member! I love having people over to cook! (and, I'm very, very excited about the gratin pan. I actually really needed one.)
Blissful B. April 7, 2011
On another thread, I said I was a Thirschfeld groupie (which I am), but the truth is, I'm a fan of so many fabulous cooks on this website, and I'm definitely a Fiveandspice groupie! I've been following your blog as well & I love the variety of your recipes. You make it look so easy to pull together something completely original & delicious. Congratulations on a well-deserved win!
fiveandspice April 7, 2011
Aw, thanks. I'm so flattered!
Kayb April 6, 2011
Congrats! Love the shrimp, but I'm dying to try the lefse. Thanks for posting the recipe!
fiveandspice April 6, 2011
Once again, thank you so, so very much to all of you! I'm just in awe of how wonderful and supportive this community is! It's overwhelming. I also wanted to let you know, I've posted my lefse recipe now, so, feel free to check it out! ( Happy griddling!
TiggyBee April 6, 2011
Congrats fiveandspice on your fantastic shrimp!! : )
Greenstuff April 6, 2011
Just today, I was daydreaming about that favorite movie question and was thinking the same thing, that scene from Babette's Feast is the best. The transformational power of a great dinner!
adamnsvetcooking April 6, 2011
YAY!! :) congrads!
aargersi April 6, 2011
Hurrah for fivenspice! I need to make these shrimp SOON!! Looking forward to the lefse recipe too!!
ALittleZaftig April 6, 2011
Congratulations! I'm from MN, too, and of Norwegian heritage. I made lefse today, actually! (I know, out of season, but I couldn't resist.) Can't wait to try your recipe.
SKK April 6, 2011
Congratulations! I love your food and your family photo! Well deserved win.
Burnt O. April 6, 2011
Well deserved!! I'm very jealous of your gorgeous gratin pan ;-) Love the story about the charred cake. My first serious cooking adventure at age 9 was a NY style cheesecake from a NYT recipe. I didn't latch the springform pan properly and it spilled all over the kitchen table and floor when I tried to pick it up and put it in the oven. I was inconsolable.
hardlikearmour April 6, 2011
Congratulations on your win! Wonderful Q&A, and I'd love to try your lefse - seems like such a good time!
gingerroot April 6, 2011
Congratulations!! Loved reading your Q&A and enjoy your amazing recipes.
inpatskitchen April 6, 2011
Kitchen B. April 6, 2011
Congratulations........what a flamingly great dish......well done.
betteirene April 6, 2011
Congratulations! Great recipe! With all the recipes you've posted on this site, exactly how do you manage to stay so slim? (If you haven't browsed her recipes, fiveandspice has every kind of stuffed dough imaginable--hand pies, empanadas, etc. She's probably a shoo-in for this week's dumpling contest.) Now. . .Is that enough buttering up to get you to post the recipe for lefse? Please?
fiveandspice April 6, 2011
Haha, oh that's so true! I do love pretty much anything stuffed into dough. But I try to walk or bike everywhere I go to make up for it! I will absolutely post my lefse recipe! I'll do it tonight as soon as I have a chunk of free time that is more than 5 minutes. :)
fiveandspice April 6, 2011
Awww, thanks! You guys are the absolute best!!
Panfusine April 6, 2011
Congratulations fiveandspice!!
Midge April 6, 2011
Congrats! A great Q&A. You have me craving that grilled cheese right now..