In the first part of our interview with Dorie Greenspan, the cookbook author, food blogger, and expert baker talked about her new book, Around My French Table, due out in October. It will be Greenspan's 10th book, and about, as you can surmise from the title, the dishes that have come about during her considerable time spent in France.
Turn the page for the second part of our interview — airplane food! M&M's! — and be sure to check back later for Greenspan's recipe for La Palette's Strawberry Tart. No, it's not from the new book, although we did ask nicely. You're just going to have to wait five months for one of the 300 or so recipes from that one. In the meantime, check out Greenspan's excellent blog or read one of her previous nine (yes, nine) cookbooks. You'll probably find something wonderful to cook while you're waiting.
Squid Ink: You travel between many kitchens. What do you bring with you, kitchen-wise? Anything? A spoon?
Dorie Greenspan: I'm incredibly lucky because not only do I have three kitchens, I have three really well-equipped kitchens, so I rarely bring gear from one place to the other. But while I always have the pots and pans I need, I'm not so organized, so I never know which kitchen has enough vanilla or whether or not there are chickpeas or sardines or stuff like that wherever I'm headed. The one thing I never worry about is chocolate – all my kitchens are always well stocked.
SI: Have you ever got caught with any contraband on a plane? Didn't Colman Andrews get arrested for suspicious honey once? That might not be true, of course; maybe that's an urban legend.
DG: I'd never heard the Colman Andrews story, but it sounds like it could have happened. Me? Here's what happened to me a few years ago when I was flying from France to New York with a huge sausage. I mean a really big one, a round, ham-shaped sausage that had been made in a pig's stomach. It was a coveted sausage because, after all, a pig only has one belly. And, on top of its covet worthiness, it had been a gift. Daniel Boulud bought it for me when we were together in the market in Lyon, his hometown, and he had the sausage man vacuum-pack it and wrap it in a million layers of bubble wrap. Everything would have been alright had I not, in my groggy-after-an-8-hour-flight state, put my bag down near the luggage carousel so I could ooh and aah over an adorable dog: Daisy, the sausage-sniffing drug-searching beagle! When the customs guys tossed the sausage into the trash, it thumped and rumbled and shook the bin. In the cab home I wondered if, had this happened in France, the guys would have waited until quitting time then retrieved the treasure, sliced it up with their handy pocket knives and broken out a bottle of red. My money's on them.
SI: You must fly a lot. Can you eat airplane food or do you pack your own baguettes and whatnot?
DG: Whenever I'm flying from Paris to NYC, I pack a picnic – it helps keep the flavor of France going a little longer. When I'm flying from NYC to Paris, I try to take a really late flight, so that all I'll need to have before I fall asleep is red wine and the mix of almonds and raisins I pack as my go-along. And no matter where I go or when, I never leave home without dark chocolate M&Ms – lots of them.
SI: If you had to ditch every book in your kitchen but one, what would it be?
DG: This question is not just too hard to answer, it's too painful to even contemplate. Sorry.
SI: What do you think of the new world order of food trucks and pop up restaurants? Didn't you and your son do a pop-up cookie restaurant recently?
DG: I love that you call the food trucks and pop-ups 'the new world order.” It's true that our son, Joshua, and I did a pop-up store this year. We're putting together an all-cookie business, CookieBar, and popping up for six days was exhausting, exciting and really interesting for us. It was a terrific way to test-market our concept, our cookies and our commitment. It was also a great way to meet hundreds of people who love cookies as much as we do.
SI: Maybe you could do one of those in L.A.? It's nice here. Warm. We really like cookies.
DG: You wouldn't have to ask twice.