Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking. First, making the perfect matzoh ball was sort of a test in my home. We beat egg whites by hand with an old-fashioned springy wire beater until stiff peaks formed. When I was about 12 or 13, my grandmother jokingly pronounced that I "could get married" as my matzoh balls were just as she liked them -- light and fluffy. (Weirdest compliment for a budding feminist.) When I was not much older, maybe 15 or so, my sister took me to Woodstock, New York, where I ate spaghetti with broccoli aglio olio and I started experimenting with fresh vegetables after that. She also gave me the Moosewood Cookbook when I went to college.
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What's your least favorite kitchen task? Definitely unloading the dishwasher. I can't stand the repetitiveness.
Your favorite kitchen tool? I love my large Le Creuset Dutch oven. I use it often and the color always makes me happy.
What is your idea of comfort food? Pasta and soups. Eggs.
What is your greatest kitchen disaster? When I was in grade school I tried to age a map of Columbus' voyage. I wanted to burn the edges a little but my parents weren't home so I couldn't use matches. I was allowed to use the oven, though. Using the broiler was not the best idea. My parents missed the flames, but came home to the miasma of burnt oaktag and crayon.
On Black & Highly Flavored, co-hosts Derek Kirk and Tamara Celeste shine a light on the need-to-know movers and shakers of our food & beverage industry.