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Elly, over at Elly Says Opa! has interviewed me about food! This was really fun and I went with my instincts when answering, because if I think too long about food related questions my mind just starts going in too many directions! So here it is! I guess the deal is, if you want me to interview you, leave me a comment below and ask me to interview you! :) Thanks Elly!

1. When did you first start cooking, or realize how much you loved to cook?

I started cooking as far back as I can remember. I was always in the kitchen helping my Nana and my mom. My mom worked and so I remember by the time I was 12 or so, I was sharing the cooking load with her and made full meal creations on my own. I was always trying to bake, which was always a problem for me! But I have always loved being in the kitchen, playing with food!

2. What would your perfect meal be? Don’t forget to include appetizers, sides and dessert!

I really love small plates – whether it is Mezze, Tapas, Antipasti, Sushi or whatever, I love bite sized pieces of food with really robust flavors and honestly I would love for the food in this perfect meal to be a surprise, cooked for me by my choice of chefs – my Nana, my mom, Anthony Bourdain, Michael Chiarello and for fun Nigella Lawson.
For dessert, a nice gelato alla nocciola – Hazelnut gelato.
Ah screw it, how about a nice big bowl of garlic mashed red-skinned potatoes! ;)

3. What cooking trend do you love right now? Which do you hate?

I am so happy that Tapas is so in right now. I love being able to go to a restaurant and order a bunch of small plates. I used to go to restaurants and just order appetizers. What can I say, I love the variety.

I am personally sick of all the hype around using pre-packaged ingredients. That is not to say I don’t think it has its value at times, as I use store bought ingredients in my recipes too sometimes, but people, it is really easy and much tastier to make your own tomato sauce or polenta, or whatever else.

4. What food/ingredient do you love and are shocked to hear others admit they don’t like it?

What food/ingredient do you hate, and can’t fathom how anyone could like it?

Cilantro. I didn’t try it for years because my dad told me it tastes like dirt. But when I realized it is in Latin and lots of Thai and Indian cooking, all of which I love, I realized how wonderful it is –however, for some people it tastes disgusting.

There is not any food that I hate… so this is tough, but I am not really attracted to asparagus or rhubarb, and some people really love them. I will eat them, but if either went extinct tomorrow I wouldn’t miss it.

That to me is the beauty of food – people have such varied tastes!

5. Which city would you love to visit for the food?

Buenos Aires. It sounds like such a varied place in terms of food. I love that it has both Latin and Mediterranean/ European influence, both of which I love! There are also lots of Italian immigrant families there – I would be curious to see how Italian food evolved in Argentina as opposed to North America.