Congratulations to savorthis, whose Bulgogi Jerky won the contest for Your Best Road Trip Snack.
1. Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
My parents moved us to Denver from New York City when I was three. A few years later they helped an amazing Chinese chef they'd met in New York relocate to Denver to open a restaurant. While he was an incredibly talented chef, he was a terrible business man and eventually left his restaurant(s) and our lives. But while he was around, I remember him preparing great feasts for my parents and their friends and teaching my dad all sorts of wonderful recipes and techniques. I grew up with ducks drying in front of fans, pantries full of (then) exotic condiments, weird dried vegetables and assembly lines at the kitchen counter where I was tasked with rolling out thin pancakes for Peking duck or stuffing BBQ pork buns. I have since inherited my dad's well-seasoned wok and utensils, a giant triple decker steamer, several cleavers, and many of the recipes my dad made while I was growing up. It gave me a love not only of Asian cuisines, but also of planning and hosting magnificent feasts for friends.
2. What's your least favorite kitchen task?
I have only had to skin a cow's tongue once, but it was a pretty disturbing task that I'd like to not do again.
3. Your favorite kitchen tool?
Many things come to mind, but I have an old, weathered flat wooden spoon that is tapered just right and has a perfectly smooth round handle. I have yet to find another anywhere that's nearly as nice to hold on to.
4. What is your idea of comfort food?
I really love a good bowl of brothy, noodly soup, especially with a perfectly cooked poached egg.
5. What is your greatest kitchen disaster?
Years ago I tried to make my husband a German chocolate cake for his birthday. I used an old cookbook of my grandmother's which involved some method of heating the sweetened condensed milk in the can. It must have cooked way too long because when I went to stir it together wit the coconut and pecans, it got harder and harder to stir. I briefly tried to rescue the situation by molding the dense mixture into two roundish shapes to put between my cake layers, but it hardened like giant hockey pucks. I gave my husband the cake for laughs, but it was completely inedible. I have since sourced professional and delicious german chocolate cake for him elsewhere.
See what other Food52 readers are saying.