Winner of The Recipe You Want to be Remembered For

Congratulations to cookinginvictoria, whose Sunday Pork Ragu won this week's contest for The Recipe You Want to be Remembered Forearning her a handsome set of Le Creuset Enameled Stoneware Canisters from Williams-Sonoma, plus big prizes from VikingOXO and Tiny Prints, and a spot in the next food52 cookbook!


cookinginvictoria with familySunday Pork Ragu

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Q&A with cookinginvictoria

  • Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking. 
  • As a child, I realized that my family loved to cook and eat. I saw my Italian great-grandmother, my Mexican grandmother, and my Irish grandmother prepare the most elaborate, delicious meals in their kitchens and serve their food to loved ones with abundant grace and generosity. At their tables there was much love, laughter, and noisy camaraderie. For my grandmothers, and my mother as well, making food and serving it to the people they cared about was nothing less than a celebration -- a deeply, satisfying emotional experience -- and I think this is what I really responded to. From a young age, I loved being in the kitchen with these women, trying to learn their culinary secrets. They always welcomed my presence. My paternal grandma entrusted me with making her "secret" salad dressing, my maternal grandma let me help her roll out homemade tortillas, and my mom has given me many a lesson in making the perfect pie crust.
  • What's your least favorite food?
  • I will eat pretty much anything, but these days I have a deep aversion to heavily processed, fast food. Although I haven't eaten at McDonald's in years, I will readily admit to liking a really good burger and fries. When I lived in New York City, my husband and I loved dining alfresco at the Shake Shack. That is where my daughter first learned to love French fries!
  • Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
  • I've definitely had my share of kitchen mishaps. The one I remember best happened last year when I was making multiple batches of cupcakes for my daughter's fifth birthday party. I was sure that I had memorized the recipe, and so, as I began the last batch, I didn't bother to consult the ingredients list. Of course, I forgot to add the baking powder. The cupcakes emerged from the oven pretty flat, but it was after midnight, and I didn't have the energy to make another batch. Most of the kids at the birthday party only wanted to eat the icing off the cupcakes anyway, so I added lots and lots of extra layers of frosting and hoped that the cupcakes wouldn't be scrutinized too closely!
  • What is your idea of comfort food?
  • The foods that I grew up eating always make me feel comforted and cherished, especially pasta in any way, shape or form, my maternal grandmother's green chile, and my mother's homemade cinnamon rolls and fruit pies.
  • Daughter picking strawberries  Great Grandmother
  • cookinginvictoria's daughter, Lucy, picking strawberries; her great-grandmother who passed down the winning Sunday Pork Ragu recipe
  • Apron or no apron?
  • No apron, unless I am doing something really messy, such as deep frying or making fresh marinara sauce with vine-ripened tomatoes that need peeling and seeding.
  • What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?
  • The scene in Julie & Julia when Julia Child has just arrived in Paris, and her husband takes her out for lunch, and she tastes Sole Meuniere for the first time. The look of rapture on Meryl Streep's face is unforgettable. After that meal, she is determined to learn and master French cooking. I love that scene because it shows how food can transport us and change our lives and it illustrates how powerful and suffused with emotion a perfect meal can be.
  • If you could make a show-stopping dinner for one person, living or dead, who would it be?
  • There are so many chefs and food writers that I admire, but I don't think that I would feel comfortable cooking for them -- too much pressure! I would love to cook for my great-grandma. She passed away when I was a teenager, and she never really knew how much she influenced me with her food and cooking prowess. I would love to listen to her stories about growing up in Italy and learn how her recipes came to be. It would also be fun to cook for Michelle Obama and talk about school lunches, community gardens, and teaching kids healthy food habits -- all big passions of mine now.
  • You prefer to cook: a. alone, b. with others, c. it depends on your mood
  • In theory I like the idea of cooking with others, but in practice my kitchen is on the small side, so if there is more than one person cooking, we are constantly bumping into each other and getting into one another's way. So I tend to shoo people out of the kitchen and do the actual cooking on my own. However, my husband says that regardless of the size of our kitchen, I can be very territorial when it comes to cooking. I think there's probably some truth to that, too.
  • 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 find it a real challenge to clean as I cook. I admire cooks who are organized enough to do this! On occasion, I will do the dishes after I finish cooking. But more often than not my husband gets saddled with most of them and cheerfully does them without complaining. (He just read that and laughed!) Sadly, our kitchen does not have a dishwasher -- a situation we hope to remedy soon.



See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • healthierkitchen
  • Waverly
  • melissav
  • Midge
  • cookinginvictoria
In 2009, after living more than twenty years in NYC, my husband, young daughter and I packed up our lives and embarked on a grand adventure, moving to Victoria, B.C. There are many things that we miss about New York (among them ripe, vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh ravioli and New York bagels), but, I have to admit, that living in the Pacific Northwest has been pretty amazing food-wise. Now we have a yard with plum and apple trees, a raspberry and strawberry patch and a Concord grape arbor. I have a vegetable and herb garden, so I can grow at least some of our food. And we have an amazing farmer's market a block from our house. I love cooking (and eating) seasonally and locally. And it's been very rewarding introducing my daughter to cooking and eating, and teaching her where our food comes from.


healthierkitchen May 12, 2011
Congratulations on a great recipe. Look forward to trying it soon!
cookinginvictoria May 15, 2011
Thank you so much, healthierkitchen!
Waverly May 12, 2011
Congratulations on your win - I enjoyed reading about you and the way you grew up associating family and love with food.
cookinginvictoria May 15, 2011
Thank you, waverly! Glad that you enjoyed the Q&A. Yes, for me food and family have been very much intertwined. Your morel crostini recipe looks wonderful, btw. I love, love morels. As soon as they make an appearance at my local green market, I intend to try your recipe.
melissav May 12, 2011
Loved your Q&A. Can't wait to try this dish. PS - so glad that you enjoy the butternut squash.
cookinginvictoria May 15, 2011
Thank you, melissav! If you try the recipe, please let me know what you think. Another recipe of yours that is in the regular rotation in our household is your Vietnam inspired catfish. I especially love your technique of quickly pickling vegetables.
Midge May 12, 2011
Yay civ! Loved reading your Q&A and what great pics of your family.
cookinginvictoria May 15, 2011
Thank you so much, Midge. Looking forward to trying your crab cake recipe!
cookinginvictoria May 12, 2011
Once again, thank you all for the lovely comments, generous words of support and friendship. Today was a really wonderful day. I am still so overwhelmed and ecstatic. I never expected to be a finalist, let alone win a food52 recipe contest, so this has all been such a great ride for me. My daughter too was so excited to see photos of herself on this website. Long live food52!
Jennifer A. May 11, 2011
So fun to read read your q & a - congratulations on the win for your lovely recipe.
cookinginvictoria May 12, 2011
Thank you, Jennifer Ann!
TiggyBee May 11, 2011
Such a lovely family recipe and your new Le Creuset set looks beautiful!! Big congrats to you!!
cookinginvictoria May 12, 2011
Thanks for your sweet comments, Tiggy Bee. So excited to be getting that beautiful canister set!
boulangere May 11, 2011
So clear why you want to be remembered for your lovely creation. Congratulations to you.
cookinginvictoria May 12, 2011
Thank you, boulangere! I am a big fan of yours -- love your recipes and your comments on Food Pickle. Your tips to the cook who wanted to learn how to slice a layer cake properly were wonderful!
boulangere May 12, 2011
You are too sweet!
mrslarkin May 11, 2011
Congratulations!! So nice getting to know you, cookinginvictoria!
cookinginvictoria May 12, 2011
Thanks, mrslarkin. It's been great getting to know you, too! :)
fiveandspice May 11, 2011
Congrats! Great Q&A!
cookinginvictoria May 12, 2011
Thank you fiveandspice!
nannydeb May 11, 2011
cookinginvictoria May 12, 2011
Thanks, nannydeb!
Preta75 May 11, 2011
Congratulations!! I'm looking forward to impressing my future in-laws with this recipe soon. I may have to taste test it first because I can't wait.
cookinginvictoria May 12, 2011
Wow, that is high praise indeed that you would like to make the ragu for your future in laws, Preta75! Hope everyone enjoys it. Would love to hear your feedback after you make this recipe.
Lizthechef May 11, 2011
A terrific recipe with family roots, a winning combo for certain - congratulations!
cookinginvictoria May 12, 2011
Thank you, lizthechef! Sounds like you have been inspired by the recipes from the women in your family as well.
Abra B. May 11, 2011
Congratulations for a lovely recipe!
cookinginvictoria May 12, 2011
Thank you, Abra Bennett!
gingerroot May 11, 2011
Congratulations! Loved reading your Q & A and am looking forward to making your amazing Ragu again soon!
cookinginvictoria May 12, 2011
Thanks, gingerroot! Glad that you liked the Q&A. It was fun to answer the editors' questions. I am so happy that you gave the ragu high marks and that you would like to make it again. That is high praise indeed!
drbabs May 11, 2011
Congratulations! So nice to get to know you!
cookinginvictoria May 12, 2011
Thank you so much, drbabs! I feel like I know you already through your recipes, many of which have been enjoyed by my family. Your Shrimp Gumbo and Chocolate Orange Birthday Cake are high on my list of recipes to try.
wssmom May 11, 2011
Lovely! Congrats again!
cookinginvictoria May 12, 2011
Thank you so much, wssmom!
hardlikearmour May 11, 2011
Congrats! Great to get to "know" you, and this recipe is a beaut!
cookinginvictoria May 12, 2011
Thanks, hla! So glad that you like the sound of this recipe. I am thinking of making your Pan Fried Dandelion Flowers recipe for the children who belong to the Garden Club at my daughter's school. They just learned all about weeds, and it would be great to show them how tasty they are.
lastnightsdinner May 11, 2011
Love your Q&A answers, and your winning recipe - congratulations!
cookinginvictoria May 12, 2011
Thank you so much, lnd!