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Congratulations to ENunn whose Matilda, Maple & Garlic Pork Shoulder with Crispy Skin won this week's contest for Your Best Maple Recipe!
1. Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
Growing up in a tiny town in southwest Virginia, I always hung out in the kitchen when my mother was cooking for me and my four siblings--and she was a great cook. We had very few restaurants, but in the summer we had lots of fresh corn and tomatoes and green beans and cucumbers. And, she would make cornbread all year round--heaven. I didn't eat in a fancy restaurant until my parents took me to the Hotel Roanoke, 90 miles away, where I had my first spoonbread, which, of course, is a more sumptuous, souffle-like version of cornbread. I think the moment I realized that the same plain ingredients that go into making cornbread (cornmeal, eggs, butter, milk) could also result in spoonbread was a pretty powerful one for me: Magic. They still have spoonbread on the menu at the Hotel Roanoke.
2. What's your least favorite food?
Chicken livers. You want me to eat them? You have to chloroform me first.
3. What is the best thing you've made so far this year?
Michael Ruhlman's Perfect Roast Chicken, from his book "Twenty." I don't even really care about roast chicken much, but I made this version for my Aunt Mariah and Uncle John, and we were seriously bowled over. It really is perfect. And simple. It's very mysterious.
4. Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
I recently made my own Splendid and Simple Salmon Vegetable Couscous, from Food52, for my sister Allison and her husband, Richard. Allison loves this dish, but I accidentally added way too much coriander--I think a tablespoon rather than a teaspoon. They ate first. I had mine later, after it had cooled, and realized that it was really, really bitter. They had eaten it all, and never mentioned that it was practically inedible. So sweet.
5. What is your idea of comfort food?
Chicago Chef Bill Kim's Asian Pork Meatball Sandwich Stuffed with Somen Noodles, Korean Chili Paste, and Mint, at Belly Shack. He uses this crazy-good pocket/flat bread that he gets at a local Iranian bakery. It's worth a trip to Chicago.
6. Apron or no apron?
No apron. It wouldn't help. I am so messy; I should probably cook in my bathing suit.
7. What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?
8. If you could make a show-stopping dinner for one person, living or dead, who would it be?
Suzanne Goin. I worship her.
9. You prefer to cook: a) alone; b) with others; c) it depends on your mood
Probably C. I love cooking when people are around, unless they try to "help" too much.
10. 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.
A., at least, as much as possible. I'm looking for a spouse to clean up after me, if anyone knows a nice single man, who also happens to own a Wolf Endurance Series stove.