Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, founders of the popular culinary website Food52, talk with Symphony Space’s Director of Literary Programs, Jennifer Brennan, about their cooking inspirations and burnt toast.
Jennifer Brennan: Where did the name Food52 come from?
Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs: We’re with you in the kitchen 52 weeks a year.
JB: In your opinion, why is the kitchen the heart of a home?
MS: Humans have been drawn to the kitchen since we first started constructing dwellings. It’s the toastiest room in the house when it’s chilly outside, and it’s the sensory center of the home—full of provocative smells, sounds, and often sights.
JB: What's your favorite recipe to cook?
AH: I love making my mother-in-law’s almond cake, which has a satisfyingly dense batter perfumed with almond, vanilla, and butter.
MS: I’ve recently started a Sunday pancake tradition with my family, and I almost always use The Kitchn’s buttermilk pancake recipe (with chocolate chips or blueberries for the kids). I love how the batter comes together in stages, and then of course, there’s the satisfaction of watching each batch of pancakes crisp and puff perfectly in the pan.
JB: Which author has had a lasting effect on you?
AH: Maida Heatter, not because she’s a particularly lyrical writer but because she wrote such thorough yet succinct recipes that were sensitive to cooks’ nerves.
MS: Laurie Colwin was the first food writer I ever read, and in some ways, she is the one I still measure all others against. Like many others, I was charmed by her wonderful quirkiness, her lack of pretension, and her endearing habit of taking the reader into her confidence.
JB: Favorite guilty pleasure?
AH: We don’t feel guilty about pleasure, so none!
JB: What would most people be surprised to learn about you?
MS: That we burn toast literally all the time.
Join Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs on May 23rd for a mouthwatering evening of food stories worth devouring.