It's 2 a.m. and you're hungry -- what do you reach for? If it involves a dippy egg yolk or melty cheese, I'm all over it.
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Describe an early food experience that shaped the way you cook and eat. We have a few high bush blueberries growing behind my family's house in Maine. As a child I was fascinated by the growing season and would keep a close eye on the evolution from blossom to berry and, ultimately, from berry to muffin. Given the northern island climate, this process always felt agonizingly drawn out and, at times, uncertain. Would the blueberries ever ripen? Would there be muffins? My grandfather determined that as long as you could gather at least one berry per muffin, blueberry muffins were in order. This approach was readily embraced by my family and has become a tradition ever since. Even in years with a slim harvest we still eke out a few batches each summer -- perfect, sugar crusted muffins, always somehow with just the right allotment of berries. To this day I am fascinated by the transformation that can turn a seed into an ingredient. The most mundane recipe instantly becomes a celebration of the enormous radish, the knotty carrot, or the perfectly blushing apple.
What's your go-to winter comfort food? Tartiflette -- it's impossible to resist. Take a bacon studded potato gratin and split an entire wheel of reblochon cheese over the top. Bake until awesome.
What cookbook can you not live without? This is tough. I am a cookbook sieve. Take Pok Pok, for example. My husband and I recently bought this and cooked our way through it with happy abandon (and a $250 trip to the Thai grocery). While we don't pull it out nearly as often anymore, it has brought a completely new perspective on how we approach and cook with certain ingredients. Somehow each book we come across -- classic or contemporary -- has this effect, but it is impossible to commit to one above all.
What has been your greatest kitchen disaster? In retrospect, attempting a giant batch of hot borscht in my college dorm's tiny blender was a poor decision. You live, you learn, you scrub beet bits off the ceiling.
You won a $500 gift credit to Provisions as part of your giveaway prize. What's on the top of your shopping list? My first thought was "How many knit egg cosies will this buy?!?" I have been eyeing those darling woolly hats and ceramic cups for some time. After realizing that I probably didn't need more than, oh, I don't know, four egg cosy/cup combos, I have decided that the first and most urgent need is a Baratza Virtuouso Coffee Grinder. My husband and I are fond of doing things the hard way and love our Hario Skerton, but somehow the "hard way" at 5:30 a.m. has lost its appeal.
I've been a baker, math tutor, webmaster, camp counselor, social media manager, research analyst, editor, and recipe tester -- not necessarily in that order. But if you find me without a book on food or cooking, then you've got the wrong gal.