It was inspired by a recipe I clipped in The New York Times. I’ve made it a lot and it’s evolved over time.
Do you cook often?
I cook all the time. I usually cook a large amount of something over the weekend and eat it throughout the week—usually some kind of curry. During the summer we use the grill a lot.
Do you draw any connection between the food you like to make and the kind of design you do? Is your approach to one similar at all to your approach to the other?
I haven’t really thought about it, but I’m sure there are similarities. I love trying new dishes and tend to obsessively clip recipes for new ideas. Since the kids were born, I haven’t been able to travel much, so cooking is kind of a way of going somewhere else. Right now I’m big on East Asian cooking.
One of these days I’m going to go to Thailand. I’ve been eating Thai food as long as I can remember.
Are there certain types of dishware you favor?
My grandmother recently moved to a smaller apartment, so she gave me a bunch of really cool vintage cookware from the 60’s and 70’s. I’ve been having fun using it.
Do you listen to music while you cook? If so, what’s your preferred cooking soundtrack?
I wish! I haven’t managed to hook up a stereo in the kitchen so it’s mostly NPR. I like catching up on the news while I cook.
When and how did you first learn to cook? Who taught you?
This is kind of an embarrassing story. Growing up both of my parents were amazing cooks, so I think because I was always surrounded by good food, I really wasn’t motivated to enter the kitchen.
When I moved to New York I was working 10-plus hour days so it was primarily take-out. I was one of those people who thought of the stove as extra storage. When I got married people gave us all this really nice cookware. I felt totally unworthy of it, so I decided I would learn to cook for real. I asked my mom for some starter advice and she sent me Julia Child, Marcella Hazan, and Deborah Madison. I totally fell in love with cooking. It was during this time that I discovered the Union Square farmer’s market. I’ve been hooked ever since.
Do you think your relationship with food has changed much over the years? In what ways?
I think I’m a lot more aware of healthy food than I used to be. Also, it’s hard not to be affected by the recent focus on the politics of food. The biggest change for me, though, was having kids. I have to tailor what I make for them. I want them to develop a broad palette, but they can’t eat spicy foods yet. I also don’t have the lazy Saturdays to food shop and cook anymore. It’s lot more “all business.” I’ve been trying to get the kids into cooking with me. So far, they like it.
I think design and food have always been connected. Whether it’s the packaging, restaurant design or food presentation. I’m not sure any of that has changed.
After you prepared this meal for our photo shoot, did you share it with guests or anyone else? If so, what were their reactions to the dish?
After I finished we all sat down with the photographer for a big lunch. I’m guessing he liked it because he went back for thirds. People are always surprised by this dish. It sounds kind of weird, but it’s really amazing. It’s a nice mix of sweet and spicy.