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Solmstea is a self-described policy wonk (aka a doctoral fellow studying water management in Central Asia) living in Santa Monica who started uploading recipes to food52 just over a month ago. She quickly blew our minds when both of the breads she posted to our savory yeast bread contest (with far-flung places of origin -- Tashkent Non from Uzbekistan and Kummelweck from West New York) received rave reviews from our Editors' Pick testers.


In lieu of a blog on her food52 profile, she has posted a link to her flickr account, which we recommend you spend a good deal of time perusing. There you'll find pictures of her travels to places like Uzbekistan, Death Valley and Tasmania; of cool things she's made (a functioning sundial, Ikea furniture upgrades, a Robot Chicken Halloween costume); and her Opa's old family photos, beautifully and hauntingly detailed. Through her twitter account, we also stumbled on this website documenting her road trip from England to Mongolia last summer with three friends, together named the Creeping Blandness Prevention Group.

Solmstea also plays the Turkish fiddle, has a Master's in Physics and is fixing up a motorcycle she calls "Old Smokey," so she might officially be coolest person we've ever (virtually) met. See her profile page and fan her here.

Read solmstea's profile Q&A below:


  • What is the strangest food you have ever eaten?
  • What do you cook when home alone?
    Quinoa and pea shoots, or whatever's lying around
  • Your most treasured kitchen possession:
    My hacked kitchen cart:
  • Your ideal meal:
    Something I don't have to think too much about.
  • The ideal number of guests for a dinner party is:
    6 - 8, though if it's going to be bigger, I'd rather it be way bigger, like 20 - 30
  • Kitchen pet peeve:
    It's not so much a kitchen pet peeve as a recipe pet peeve: The needless dirtying of excessive numbers of dishware. I boycott recipes that call for dirtying more than one or two bowls for a single dish and tend to look for shortcuts to avoid using multiple dishes (like, does the egg REALLY need to be whisked before adding? Do you really have to transfer this dough to a clean bowl? etc.). I find usually the recipes do not suffer.
  • Your favorite cookbook:
    Anything by Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford (particularly Seductions of Rice), or else my South African cookbook, Rainbow Cuisine by Lannice Snyman and Andrzej Sawa