This week's Foodista Five interview is from Foodista staff contributor Amy Jeanroy, a master gardener and expert in all things herbs. Amy is the author of the second edition of "Canning and Preserving for Dummies" and is the About.com Herb Gardens Guide. Amy works from her 60-acre family-run farm, where she makes goodies from scratch every day with the bounty of the earth. Read on to learn more about Amy's culinary inspirations.
1. How did you get involved in cooking/baking? What's your food background?
From being around my grandparents as a very small child. I have such wonderful memories of my grandmother always cooking and my grandfather always hunting, fishing or gardening. The treats they gave us just seemed so delicious. I don't remember anything fancy being served, just simple food from the land.
I have been cooking and experimenting in the kitchen all my life. With five children in the family, there was always someone who needed a snack. Since my parents both worked, I could try out new things without knowing the rules of cooking. My fearlessness with food came from that experience.
2. What inspires you to create?
I truly do love to play with food. Rules are meant to be tested and broken. The less food we have, the more inspired I become to create something surprising.
3. What is your favorite thing to prepare?
In early spring, I like to go out with my kitchen bowl and pick all the little things that have started growing in the garden. I sauté all of it together to make a sort of spring stir-fry. My family loves it, and we are so excited to finally have fresh food again, after a long winter.
4. What's your fondest food memory?
Sitting on my grandparents' screened-in porch, watching my grandfather clean a bag full of Bullhead fish, while I ate my Cheerios. Another one is that when the noon whistle would blow, my grandmother would bring me a cheese and mustard sandwich. That sandwich was as reliable as the noon whistle.
5. Everyone's got a handful of favorite ingredients. What are yours?
Flour, yeast, lard, salt, butter for making just about anything. Any vegetable on earth, except beets.