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.