Contest Winners

Winner of Your Best Punch

December  2, 2011

Congratulations to kate, whose Apple Rye Punch won this week's contest for Your Best Punch!

kate  Apple Rye Punch

Q&A with kate

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Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking. 
When I was in middle school, my mom went back to work. To lighten her load around the house, she decided that my younger brother, sister, and I would all need to cook one meal a week. We could cook whatever we wanted as long as it fit within the bounds of her "three colors" rule; each meal needed to include three different colors, and things such as multicolored sprinkles or shades of brown didn't count. None of us kids had done too much cooking on our own before this new rule, but over the next few years, we all taught ourselves to be adept cooks. We each had our own specialities. My sister became the taco night expert, my brother was the grilled gyro burger specialist, and I learned how to make a mean bowl of black beans and rice. Not only did this early cooking experience shape my future interests and jobs, I also learned how to easily concoct balanced meals and still have a hard time eating meals with fewer than three colors.

What's your least favorite food?
Bananas. Something about the mushy texture and sweet chalky flavor makes me shudder. I can stomach them when baked into banana bread, but otherwise they're off the table.

What is the best thing you've made so far this year?
It's hard to keep up with great meals, but the honey-whole wheat rolls I made for Thanksgiving this year were pretty killer.

Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
I'd have to say the most dramatic disaster involved an overripe avocado, a misplaced knife, and and unfortunate hand placement. I ended up in the ER with 6 or 7 stitches, and a finger whose nerves will never be the same. You probably don't need the details.

What is your idea of comfort food?
Braised kale, cornbread, and hoppin' john served on New Year's Day with a hefty dose of Pickapeppa hot sauce.

Apron or no apron?
I have a cute little apron I bought on sale from Anthropologie that hangs in my closet. I only remember I own it when I've already spilled flour or olive oil all over my shirt.

What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?
It's a close tie between the second half of Big Night or the opening scene of Waitress. The former captures all of the toil and joy of extravagant cooking and eating. The latter perfectly depicts the meditative calm that I find when baking. And those pies are awesome.

If you could make a show-stopping dinner for one person, living or dead, who would it be?
MFK Fisher. She's a brilliant writer, willing to eat anything, so I would kill to spend an evening with her. 

You prefer to cook: a. alone, b. with others, c. it depends on your mood
It totally depends on my mood. On tired weeknights, I prefer to cook alone, but when I've got energy to spare, cooking with others can be the best kind of fun.

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.
Clean as I cook, or as best as I can.


See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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    Ms. T
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Helen's A. December 5, 2011
Congratulation, Kate!
hardlikearmour December 5, 2011
Congratulations, Kate! We made your punch on Thanksgiving, and it was a big hit.
Kitchen B. December 5, 2011
Many congratulations Kate, thanks for sahring your Mom's tips with us - as a mother of three, I'm always looking to learn about childhood culinary inspirations which have yielded food-loving adults! Thanks and well done. Plus the 3 colour rule rocks!
Ms. T. December 2, 2011
Congrats! Great Q&A. I love the Anthropologie apron comment, and reading this made me want to watch Big Night again...
Panfusine December 2, 2011
Congratualtions Kate on the well deserved win. Love the idea of having the kids cook, this is definitely something I'd love to implement at home.. Thanks for the inspiring idea
Midge December 2, 2011
A great Q&A, Kate. Hate bananas too, loved Waitress.
inpatskitchen December 2, 2011
Congratulations Kate on a very well deserved win! I think I'd like your mom..wish I would have made my kids cook a meal a week when I went back to work full time ( I did make them clean however LOL)
mrslarkin December 2, 2011
Congrats, Kate!
aargersi December 2, 2011
Congratulations! It's great to see you here and get to know you.
gingerroot December 2, 2011
Congratulations, kate! Loved reading your Q & A, especially about your mom's "three colors" rule. I'm going to adapt that to dinner time with my picky four year old. I also love a spicy bowl of hoppin' john on New Year's day!