Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking. I grew up in a food-centered, large Italian family. My earliest recollections are of my Mom and Aunts standing together in the kitchen making the homemade pasta, and my Grandfather proudly showing his barrels of homemade wine. I guess my family -- but especialy my Mother -- was the biggest influence on me and my cooking and kitchen ethics. Everything was homemade, and that's still the way I like to cook today.
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What's your least favorite kitchen task? My least favorite kitchen task is unloading the dishwasher, but I'm not sure why. I wish I had a kitchen helper who would do that for me, as my pugs are no help.
Your favorite kitchen tool? My favorite kitchen tool is a tie between my stand mixer and my hand held mixer -- both, for me, are absolutely indispensible.
What is your idea of comfort food? I have many favorites but right now I would like braised short ribs, mashed potatoes, vegetables, and apple pie.
What is your greatest kitchen disaster? I have recounted this horrible disaster before here but it still is in first place for my biggest kitchen disaster. Once, I left a pot of stock on the stove that I thought was on a low simmer. I had just moved into a new house and had a new stove, so I must have set it wrong. I left to pick up my daughter from soccer practice and run a few errands, and I came home to the fire dept at my house, my pot with a blackened chicken on my front lawn, the door broken down, and the kitchen saturated with water and blackened with soot. And I have never left my house again with the stove or oven on.