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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.
There are quite a few. I've pretty much always loved eating, and then my mother provided me with some really great illustrated children's cookbooks when I was young. I found them so inspiring and would sit imagining what it would be like to eat the foods in them. It didn't take long to decide that I was going to go ahead and just make them and find out (though usually it was the sweets I really wanted to make, and those were the ones I wasn't allowed to make except on special occasions). I first cooked a dinner for my family when I was in grade school, and that feeling of feeding others and seeing them enjoy it together around the table, well apparently it was addictive.
What's your least favorite food?
I still don't like oysters. And I'd be lying if I said I loved turnips.
What is the best thing you've made so far this year?
Oh goodness, that's a hard question. Well, besides the recipes I've contributed here :)... I often find the things that I cook that I like best are fairly simple weeknight meals that are all about the ingredients. One that comes to mind was an evening a little while ago when I made pan roasted steak with a red wine sauce, molasses glazed brussels sprouts, and some roasted kabocha squash sprinkled with preserved lemon and olive oil. Simple and really delicious. Oh, and also, my husband and I went to Italy this fall for our honeymoon and got to take a cooking class with a hilarious nonna who spoke no English. But, with her we made mind-blowing bagna cauda, wonderful ravioli, and a stunning hazelnut cake with zabaglione (and that was only about 1/3 of the courses. It was a really good evening).
Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
Well, I think the only major fire I've caused was when the cake I was baking for my youngest brother's confirmation set ablaze. That was bad. And actually, come to think of it, that's a lie. I've started other fires. Memorably, my mother accidentally gave our electric krumkake iron (for a particular Norwegian cookie) to Goodwill a couple of years ago. Urgently needing to make the cookies before Christmas and without time to get a new iron, we borrowed the neighbor's which you use stovetop, the old fashioned way. Being totally unused to this we overfilled the iron. This led to unstoppable batter overflow which promptly exploded into flames on the stove. We managed to put out the fire relatively easily. But, I think we only got about a half dozen cookies made total.
What is your idea of comfort food?
Norwegian food. Meatballs and gravy or fishcakes. I'm also a sucker for grilled cheese if I'm having a rough day.
Apron or no apron?
I try to remember to wear an apron because if I don't, I can guarantee that I'll spill something on myself within seconds.
What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?
I love Babette's Feast. But, I also really love the scene in Chocolat where they discover the mayor in the chocolate shop covered with melted candy. That actually happened (sort of) to an acquaintance of mine, a vegan raw-foodist who also didn't eat any sugar. He was working for a catering company with some close friends of mine, and they had a disaster where the chocolate fountain exploded. My friends went to get someone to help fix it, and when they came back this other guy had gone semi-crazy in the face of all that chocolate and was shoveling it into his mouth and smearing it on his body!
If you could make a show-stopping dinner for one person, living or dead, who would it be?
My answer to this is different every day, I think. But, one person I'd always have liked to eat with is Oscar Wilde, clever and an appreciator of good food.
You prefer to cook: a. alone, b. with others, c. it depends on your mood
Usually alone, unless there's the time and relaxed atmosphere for orchestrating other people and how they can best pitch in. And, then there are some people who work similarly to me and we can just cook together easily with a minimum of instructing or consultation or anything and it turns out well.
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 clean as I cook, but even so I usually leave a fairly decent disaster for my husband to clean up.