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We're always excited to bring you the latest and the greatest in Provisions news, but it's an extra special occasion when we get to talk about someone who's already very involved with our community. Enter Emiko Davies, blogger, food illustrator, photographer, and weekly columnist for Food52's Regional Italian Food. Half Japanese, half Australian, Emiko brings a global view of cooking to the table, and she has a hand in almost every aspect of the food world.
Amanda once called her the "Renaissance woman for the internet era," and we can think of no better way to describe her. Not only does she write for us, but her custom-made prints can also be found in Provisions. Her simple yet beautiful illustrations show that she knows just how to let a good dish speak for itself.
Recently, we got to talk with Emiko about her favorite utensils and what's she's planning for the holiday season -- read on to learn more about what goes on in her kitchen:
How would you describe your personal style when it comes to furnishing your kitchen?
Moving often, living between continents, and always working in small kitchens means my kitchen needs to be functional, first and foremost! I try to keep things essential: For years living in tiny apartments in Florence, I didn't even have electric beaters, so meringues were whipped fluffy with a good old whisk and a bit of elbow grease! At one point I remember rolling out a pie crust with a wine bottle as I didn't have a rolling pin. I have those things now, but I usually try to keep kitchen items that have more than one use. After reading Elizabeth David's fairly passionate view on the uselessness of garlic crushers, I realized I can live without one and just crush garlic with a knife instead!
What item in your kitchen can you simply not do without?
I have a couple. First, the kettle. The very first thing I do when I walk into the kitchen in the morning is turn it on to make a cup of tea. Then it's probably the Japanese knife that I bought in Tokyo's famous Kappabashi-dori (“kitchen town”). It's the sharpest knife in the kitchen and is a great all-rounder for everyday cooking. Using it always makes me think of my Japanese grandmother in her kitchen.
What item in your kitchen do you reserve only for special occasions?
The pasta-rolling machine. Although I'd love to make fresh pasta more often for everyday cooking, I tend to do it just for special occasions -- usually filled pasta like ravioli or tortellini, which need a little bit more time to prepare. The machine is a must for stretching the pasta thin enough to see your fingers through the other side, which is just what you need for filled pasta.
What are your holiday food traditions?
Being an Australian/Japanese/Italian household we don't celebrate Thanksgiving, but we're already thinking about Christmas! We usually do something with seafood, like a simple, whole baked salmon. The pasta machine will definitely come out too -- everyone requests my husband's black squid ink ravioli filled with shrimp and crayfish; it's become a bit of a tradition.
More: Learn how to make your own squid ink pasta.
If you had to choose one thing from Provisions to put on your holiday wishlist, what would it be and why?
Since I have a relatively simple kitchen, I quite like an excuse to ogle over pretty things to adorn the table. I have a soft spot for things like pretty linens, wooden boards, and ceramics of all kinds. If I had to choose just one thing, it would perhaps be one of these clay pots. They're functional and good looking -- I love that they go straight from stovetop to table. Plus, food cooked in terra cotta just tastes better.
Print photos by James Ransom; kitchen photos by Emiko Davies