Name: Jen Laceda
Blog: Tartine and Apron Strings
Location: Toronto, Canada
If you had to blog about one ingredient every day for a year, what food it be?
Butter! I’m sure I’ll be 20 pounds heavier by the end of the year, but there are so many things you can do with butter, whether sweet or savory. I’m keen on experimenting with different kinds of butter from around the world, too, especially the European ones!
What’s your go-to quick and easy dinner?
Pasta aglio e olio. What’s more simple than pasta tossed in garlic, olive oil, red chili flakes, and wine or broth? It’s so delicious that my kids actually prefer this to “fast food.”
What is the first meal you ever cooked?
The first meal I ever cooked was steamed Jasmine rice and boiled eggs. I was 12. Although I have been watching my grandmother cook since I was 5 or 6 years old, I was not allowed to be in our (outdoor) kitchen by myself because we cooked with grills and clay pots on charcoal and woks on propane gas fire. When my grandmother finally allowed me to venture out on my own, she made sure I first mastered making perfect rice and eggs!
I will never eat:
The head or brains of animals (cow, pig, goat, lamb, fish, etc.). And pigeon (I have a pigeon phobia and it’s quite debilitating).
Is there a food you used to hate, but now love?
I can’t think of any particular food, but I can say that I used to hate sweet in my savory dishes. For example, Hawaiian pizza with pineapples was a big no-no; raisins in my empanadas were always discarded; sweet and sour pork was regarded as a crime. But now, I have accepted, even come to love, a bit of sweetness in my savory dishes as long as the flavor combination works.
What is your favorite restaurant and what do you order there?
Per Se in New York City is my favorite restaurant, and I’d order the Oysters and Pearls and Cornet of Salmon Tartare over and over again! But on a more practical level, I frequent this tiny sushi place called Sushi 67 in Toronto’s Roncesvalles Village. For $11.95, you get a 10-sushi, 6-makimono combo. The chef there really knows how to pick unbelievably fresh fish that he slices to perfection. Let’s just say I ate sushi made by him (and only him) throughout my pregnancy, yet not one sushi-related illness occurred.
Who would you love to have over for dinner?
The answer to this question is ever changing for me. But right now, my pick is Michael Pollan, so I can get more inside scoop on state of our food nation. If he’s not available, my next choice is Aran Goyoaga of the Cannelle et Vanille blog, so I can learn food styling and photography from her.