Sound Bites

A quick Q&A about me and food...

What is your first memory of baking/cooking on your own?
I was eight years old. Armed with my brand new Betty Crocker Boys & Girls Cookbook purchased with my own money from Haslems’ Book Store, (which I still have, by the way) I announced one day that I would like to make dinner for the family. The menu was Jell-O, macaroni and cheese and for dessert, a cake from the Easy Bake Oven Santa had brought the Christmas before. From what I remember, I did most of the cooking myself – Daddy helped with the macaroni prep (back in those days, macaroni was just that – no fancy terms like ‘pasta’ were thrown around), but other than that, it was all me. Even set the table too – even at that age, I knew my way around a place setting. And a passion was born.

Who had the most influence on your cooking?
It starts and ends with Julia Child. No joke. Any Saturday in the mid-70s, I could be found sitting in my bean bag chair on the floor of the bedroom, watching “The French Chef” in glorious black and white on our PBS station. My first grown-up cookbook was the companion to this series – and I still cook out of it often. Her technique was fascinating – but it was her sheer joy of the craft -- no, the art -- that made the biggest impression on me. Even to this day.

Do you have an old photo as "evidence" of an early exposure to the culinary world?
Somewhere, in the iPhotos file on my other computer that I can’t access at the moment (don’t ask) I do indeed. But in lieu of that, I offer a photo of me, circa 1982 or ’83, in my childhood kitchen. And yes, that’s a bottle of tonic water I’m opening – the bottle of vodka was just out of camera range.

Mageiricophobia - do you suffer from any cooking phobia, a dish that makes your palms sweat?
Pie crust from scratch. Can’t do it. No matter how hard I try. I think I have a mental block about this particular item, as I have friends who are much less accomplished cooks than I (yeah, I know that sounds uppity, but if the apron fits…) who can make a great crust. Maybe someday…

What would be your most valued or used kitchen gadgets and/or what was the biggest letdown?
Most valued: My W├╝sthof knives. The Cuisinart. The Kitchen-Aid mixer. And my first Le Cruset dutch oven.
Biggest letdown: any garlic prep gadget other than a mincer – all a big waste of coin and time. Pfffft.

Name some funny or weird food combinations/dishes you really like - and probably no one else!
One of my favorite salads: cottage cheese, cantaloupe, grapes and bananas, poppy seed salad dressing and raisin bran.
Shut up. It’s delish.

I also love to dip potato chips into ketchup, but have come to learn that this isn't all that unusual. So much for me being a trendsetter. Pffffffft.

What are the three eatables or dishes you simply don't want to live without?
High quality parmesan-reggiano; high quality balsamic vinegar; milk (I LOVE milk and drink at least a gallon of skim a week.)

Three quickies:
Your favorite ice-cream...
Pistachio, pralines and cream, cinnamon, Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby

You will probably never eat...

Your own signature dish(es)...
French Onion Soup; BBQ (pork, please) and all the accompaniments; Sun-dried Tomato & Pesto Torta


  1. You are missing out on one of the great delights of life, well prepared sweetbreads!

  2. Funny you should mention that, dear Kat. One of the things I'm going to do with this project is try new-to-me foods in an attempt to broaden my foodie palette. I'm adding sweatbreads to the list now...

  3. I'm so excited about your new project! I can't wait to see what you come up with. I will be stealing all recipes for my own books!