IÂ first Â got a chance to read Erin Ergenbright’s writing when I got my hands on this delightful read.Â Her voice was an instant hit with me. A while later, I was able to get hold of her ‘The Ex-Boyfriend Cookbook’, a fun book with recipes gathered from, you guessed right, ex-boyfriends!Â I simply couldn’t pass up a chance for a tete-a-tete with her, and just had to take a peek into her kitchen habits.
What did you eat today?
Scrambled farm eggs with spinach and garlic, a banana, a tuna sandwich, part of a lemon bar from the Farmerâ€™s Market (they never taste quite as good as they look, but Iâ€™m always tempted), a lovely caprese salad made by my friend Natalie, and, Iâ€™m more slightly ashamed to admit this because itâ€™s a rare event (honestly) but it was late and I was hungry and there wasnâ€™t much else in the cupboard: Annieâ€™s macaroni and cheese (made with fresh, creamy milk from a local farm, pepper and ketchup).
What do most enjoy cooking?
I love making my motherâ€™s picadillo recipeâ€”itâ€™s actually in The Ex-Boyfriend Cookbook, and attributed to someone named Phil, who, in reality, didnâ€™t cook for me. He would have, maybe, but we lived in a dormitory. And we were eighteen. Anyway, the picadillo tastes amazing, and it somehow soothes me to prepare it: it has the perfect amount of chopping and mixing and savory smells.
In your fridge, we can always findâ€¦
Farm eggs, milk, spinach, peanut butter, a variety of soft and hard cheeses, and Castelvetrano olivesâ€”these buttery olives are nearly round and the most gorgeous shade of green imaginable.
Your most cherished kitchen tool?
Not counting the coffee maker, Iâ€™d say my melon baller. Not the most used instrument in the drawer, but the most cherished, as it was my grandmaâ€™s.
The last cookbook you enjoyed?
Mangoes and Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels through the Great Subcontinent, by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. Itâ€™s part coffee table book, cookbook and travel journal, and is completely riveting.
Where does your love for food come from?
My mom is a wonderful cookâ€”growing up we ate dinner together every night, so good food has always seemed both important and, well, “normal.”
When was the last time you cooked for a loved one? What did you make?
Apparently it wasnâ€™t recently, since Iâ€™m having struggling to remember–ah yes: it was a sort of a summer salad medley. Curried chicken and rice salad; cucumber, red onions, tomatoes and rice wine vinegar salad, and spinach salad with strawberries and balsamic.
What is your guilty food pleasure?
Peanut butter. I eat far, far too much peanut butter.
What according to you is the one dish that everyone must try at least once?
Brussel sprouts prepared with a lot of butter and coarse ground mustard. I thought I hated brussel sprouts, but Iâ€™d like to do my part to redeem this much maligned vegetable.