1. Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking. When I was about six, my best friend's godfather was a maître d' at a fancy French restaurant. For our birthdays, our moms would dress us up and deposit us at the top of the stairs where we would walk down by ourselves, hand in hand. We were seated at the best table and were allowed to order whatever we wanted. This is where we learned to try new and strange foods (one of my favorite dishes was escargot), appreciate that eating good food was a privilege, and that sharing a good meal with friends was something to be celebrated and treasured.
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2. What's your least favorite food? It would have to be celery because for me it's potentially lethal! That seemingly innocuous vegetable has sent me to the hospital twice (once in the form of celery root puree) for anaphylactic reactions. It's amazing how pervasive it really is so now I have to be a lot more careful and avoid it.
3. What is the best thing you've made so far this year? Early in the year I was on a tea egg kick. One night we made smoked tea, black bean braised country style pork ribs and tea eggs with shiitake mayo, roasted sweet potatoes and kale with a brown rice, sesame dressing. That meal was a perfect balance of all of my favorite flavors and the next day I made canapes with the sliced pork topped with egg salad made from the tea eggs and mushroom mayo. It was ridiculously good.
4. Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster. I think the worst thing I have done in the kitchen (more than once) is to leave some fabulous leftovers (or a cooling, long simmering stock) out overnight only to see it first thing in the morning. Heart breaking.
5. What is your idea of comfort food? A pile of lentils, sauteed kale, a soft poached egg and really good crusty bread.
6. Apron or no apron? Usually not unless I am already dressed for whatever occasion I'm cooking for or frying something.
7. What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie? I would have to say Tampopo - which is more a food-related movie than just a scene - but the ramen close-ups are true food porn.....and Like Water for Chocolate has some pretty fabulous cooking and eating scenes as well.
8. If you could make a show-stopping dinner for one person, living or dead, who would it be? I would probably pick my dad's dad, who I never met. Great things can be learned around the dinner table.
9. You prefer to cook: a) alone; b) with others; c) it depends on your mood With others -- especially my husband and my daughter.
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. My husband is great at cleaning each thing when he's done and I am more of a tornado, but I am actively working on keeping a clean workspace.