1. Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking. In Serbia, where I was born, the most important event for a family is “Slava” (which means “celebration”) -- it's the day the family honors its patron saint. Slava is celebrated with an elaborate feast. One of my earliest childhood memories is the preparation for it; my grandmother, great aunts and aunts would gather in the kitchen to cook and bake. The ladies wore aprons with lace and embroidery, they sang, gossiped, and sipped Turkish coffee during breaks. And there was always a tiny apron, a tiny rolling pin, and plenty of dough leftovers reserved for me. I was four, and from then on, I was hooked.
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2. What's your least favorite kitchen task? Washing dishes. Washing dishes. Washing dishes.
3. Your favorite kitchen tool? I have a collection of red Le Creuset pots, and they are accompanied by a selection of red kitchen gadgets. Just looking at them so nicely stacked up in their own special drawers makes me feel all warm and cozy. But if I were to be honest here and name one thing that really matters, at the end of the day, it’s a good knife.
4. What is your idea of comfort food? Eating bony meats with my fingers! Wings, ribs, Thanksgiving leftovers, sometimes the entire chicken. This is never my most elegant moment, it's not something I would attempt in a restaurant or at a party, and it's not something my husband approves of. So I occasionally send him for a guys’ night out, roast some chicken, and cherish the moment.
5. What is your greatest kitchen disaster? I’ve been known to start a fire or two. It always happens the same way: I sort of wander away from the stove to check my email, read a post, take a photo -- sometimes I go and wash my hair. (If you had spare 15 minutes before your dish is done, wouldn’t you do the same? Time is precious.) Then I get a little bit carried away with the new activity, and poof!