Are you a trained chef?
If, by chef, you mean someone who has toiled in a commercial kitchen for years, chopping and peeling her fingers to the bone while a less polite version of Gordon Ramsay chips away at her will to live, then no. I never aspired to be a restaurant chef. I always wanted to be a writer, just not a starving one. What I do have is a degree from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, and many hours clocked in the test kitchen of Cook’s Illustrated magazine and the related PBS cooking show America’s Test Kitchen, where I made some of the dishes they show at the beginning of each episode that they ridicule before demonstrating how it’s supposed to be done. I even shook Julia Child's hand once, lingering a bit longer than was polite while I tried to siphon off some of her culinary brilliance like a shameless parasite. (It didn't work.) Nevertheless, I enjoy letting my classical training and naturally lazy ways duke it out in my home kitchen on a daily basis.
Are you a trained journalist?
My diploma from Tufts University says I majored in Spanish, though you wouldn't know it if you airdropped me into Latin America right now. The closest thing I have to a writing degree is a creative writing award I received in high school during an afternoon assembly. It did not make me popular. But I did work as an editor for Boston Magazine for three years. Since then, I've written dozens of articles for print publications and the web, including Yankee Magazine, Tufts Magazine, Cape Cod Life, Elegant Wedding, New England Travel & Life, Culinate, BlogHer, and Serious Eats.
Aren't you writing a book? Where can I buy it and when?
Why, yes! I just finished! My first cookbook, a collection of seasonal winter dessert recipes, is due out Fall 2013 by Running Press, a division of Perseus Books. It will be available across the English-speaking world wherever fine books are sold. Follow Food on the Food on Facebook or subscribe by email to stay abreast of the release date.
Is there a way to be notified of new posts without having to come back to your blog over and over?
Sure! E-mail subscriptions are finally here! Just click here to have the latest posts delivered directly to your email. No spam ever. You can also follow Food on the Food on Facebook or through your favorite feed reader.
What kind of a camera do you use?
Actually, nobody ever asks me this. But if anyone were to ask, I would say I use a Canon Digital Rebel XT that I bought off of Craig's List from an Indian student at MIT (the neck strap still smells like curry!). My photo studio is a picnic table on my porch. My lighting set-up consists of "the sun." I don't spend more than five minutes taking a photo, and it shows. What can I say? If my photos were worth a thousand words, then the writer in me would be out of a job!
Can I send you free stuff?
I appreciate the offer, but probably not. I don't like to have a lot of extra stuff lying around. Plus, my love cannot be bought. You're welcome to send me an e-mail about your stuff. If I'm interested, I'll buy it myself. (My interest is easily gauged by how willing I am to spend money on something.) I apologize in advance, but the volume is such that I can't respond to marketing emails.
What's your review process?
I don't write reviews per se. To me, the word "review" implies an objective, unbiased assessment of a product or service. If you read my blog at all, then you know I am neither objective nor unbiased. I'm highly emotional and revel in my own subjectivity. I like to share my opinions, but let's not confuse that with a review. As for my subject selection process, I write about whatever makes a lasting impression on me. If I'm still thinking about something hours or days later, I know I should write about it. That goes for a particular recipe, a book, a restaurant, a cheese. I always pay for my own meals and products, with the exception of the occasional free book. Why are books different? Because I can get them for free at the public library, too. Hounding me relentlessly about your product or service will only make me hate you and lead me to avoid your product at all costs, so I don't recommend it. I only write about the things I feel passionate about—I don't have any control over it and neither does anyone else.
Do you sell ad space?
Nope. My personal life experiences are not for sale. Some things I'm not interested in seeing in my sidebars are: penis enlargement products, one simple wrinkle/weight-loss trick that has angered doctors, and anything involving Monsanto. As you can see, this eliminates the vast majority of the Internet's paying advertisers. I have no interest in selling my readers anything they don't want, except for books I've personally authored!
What’s your recipe for upside-down chicken?
Okay, Husband, if you’re going to keep sending me this question. First you take a whole chicken and place it UPSIDE-DOWN in a roasting pan. Then, you cook it. As if it were right-side-up. Okay? It could happen to anyone. And, actually, it keeps the breast meat nice and tender, which I’m sure you can appreciate.