Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
I was raised on a farm in the Midwest by parents and grandparents who love to garden and cook, surrounded by proof of the connection between food and its source. In the garden, I would follow a few steps behind my grandpa to drop seeds into his freshly dug trenches. He would plant enough tomatoes and sweet corn to feed the entire community. My mom and I foraged the roadsides for asparagus in the spring. We donned long-sleeved shirts and jeans in the sticky June heat to pick wild black raspberries for pie or jam.
What's your least favorite food?
I’ve never understood a well-done steak.
What is the best thing you've made so far this year?
A strawberry-rhubarb crumble pie I made about a month ago.
Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
The first time my husband and I hosted my family for Thanksgiving dinner in our new home, I shoved the peels from five pounds of potatoes down the garbage disposal without even thinking. Within minutes, we had a broken garbage disposal and a clogged sink sitting half-full of water. Dirty dishes piled up everywhere until we got it fixed the next day.
What is your idea of comfort food?
I love beef bourguignon, in particular Julia Child’s version from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, with mashed potatoes or buttered egg noodles.
Apron or no apron?
What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?
I smile when the curmudgeonly food critic in Disney’s Ratatouille tastes Remy’s ratatouille for the first time. It’s such a sweet scene.
If you could make a show-stopping dinner for one person, living or dead, who would it be?
I wish I could pull out all of the stops and make my late mother-in-law, who passed away this February, an amazing meal. Her genuine love for food and good company made cooking for her a joy, and some of my most memorable meals were shared with her and my husband around our dining room table.
You prefer to cook: a. alone, b. with others, c. it depends on your mood
My kitchen is small, so most often I prefer to cook alone. I do like the company of my husband and 18-month old sous chef who likes to busy himself with a whisk and empty mixing bowl.
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.
Either A or B. I’ve definitely been known to leave a disaster in my culinary wake.