I have lived in different parts of the U.S., as well as Spain, Germany, and Sicily and lived with people from every continent but Australia, learning a lot about their cuisines. I have over 100 cookbooks and am somewhat addicted to the Food Network but I get lazy about cooking and often make quick stir fries or omelets, grill meats Argentine style, or end up ordering in from the many cuisines of my diverse neighborhood.
My favorite things to cook
I love to try new recipes for all kinds of food.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I really enjoy the German food of my heritage, but I also love the Mexican dishes I learned to enjoy in California and in traveling in Mexico. I spent years cooking Persian food with my first husband. All of these cuisines are underrated and misunderstood.
My cooking triumphs
There have been many. In Madrid, my friends requested my carrot cake with such frequency that I used to put them in an assembly line to grate carrots and chop nuts and pineapple since it was a lot of work — but worth it. Lately, I found a recipe for pumpkin cheesecake that a young Chinese boy and a Nepali man dreamt about that night.
My cooking tragedies
Two memorable ones:
When I first went to Spain I got a recipe off a matchbook for a cod and garbanzo stew. Unfortunately, the matchbook assumed that one would know to soak the salt cod first.
When I was first married, I made an elaborate West African peanut stew from a Time-Life cookbook. We hated the taste of the sauce. Since we were poor, we washed off the chicken and hard-boiled eggs and tried to eat them but ended up just eating the plantains, peanuts, and avocado side dishes. I will never live this down.