I’m please to host Michelle Mitton for today’s interview. Michelle blogs at Scribbit, listed by the Wall Street Journal as one of the top five motherhood blogs. When she’s not rushing around the kitchen to feed her husband and four children (two are teens), Michelle reads and writes and keeps an eye on her garden in Anchorage, Alaska.
- What do you remember about family meals and your mother’s cooking style when you were growing up? I’m the oldest of six so I made it through my mom’s full range of cooking abilities, starting in the early days with fried pork chops, creamed corn, that icky green bean/canned mushroom soup casserole and stuffed green peppers (all things I abhor to this day). Living in Alaska we also ate fish all summer long–mostly salmon and halibut with a bit of rainbow trout thrown in during our camping trips–and I never liked fish either.
My poor mother tolerated my picky eating habits (though she didn’t let me get away with it) and as they could afford nicer meals and finer fare she became a fabulous cook. I’d definitely say she’s a gourmet by now, after 40 years of marriage and millions of meals.
I’m not nearly so picky now and have grown to appreciate all that fresh salmon. My mom always made cakes and bread from scratch and one of my favorite things was to come home from school and smell her bread baking. She’d usually save a bit of the dough for us to fry up as scones for after-school snacks. I felt betrayed when I once ordered a scone in a bakery and found out it was an entirely different thing than what I’d grown to call a “scone.”
- How is your cooking style different from your mother’s? Very much the same, actually. We share recipes all the time and we both love soups, salads and sandwiches as our favorite meals.
- What is your favorite gadget? OH! I just bought one of those enamel dutch oven casserole dishes. You know, the kind that Le Creuset makes? I’ve wanted one for ages but couldn’t pay $300 for one. I found a version Lodge makes for $50 and snatched it up and I love it. Don’t know how I cooked without one for so long. For smaller gadgets I love my pastry scraper and tiny spatula/turner.
- Do you entertain, and in what circumstances? What is the biggest party or meal you have hosted to date?
Hmmm. . . well I’ve done a lot of Thanksgiving dinners with 25+ for family though I prefer the 6-8 people range. I’m also pretty involved in my local church congregation and have been in charge of putting on dinners for 300+ if you count that. I do love entertaining and one of our favorite entertaining dinners is to eat raclette. I’ve written about it here:
- Can you share a typical daily menu? Weekly menu?
This week we’re having: Steak and cheese sandwiches with curly fries and passionfruit cheesecake (my son’s birthday menu)
Chicken dijon stew (my favorite chicken soup ever)
Greek gyro pizza that I’ve copied from my favorite local pizzaria (Moose’s Tooth)
I tend to make the same thing two days in a row to save money/time.
For breakfast we’ll be having blueberry soup, one of my recipes that we love and which has been reprinted in a couple health magazines.
- How has your cooking style evolved over the years? I try a lot more new recipes now than I did when we were first married. We also do fun things like taste tests, most recently with varieties of apples. Every week I buy a different cheese and we taste it at dinner. The last few weeks we’ve sampled Beemster, St. Claire and Mahon.
- Can you recommend any cookbooks, TV shows or websites that have inspired you? I know I don’t like Martha’s recipes, they are always overly complicated and hoity-toity but I do love Cooking Light. They’re one of the few places that can really have great, light dishes. I also am a sucker for old fashioned pies. I’ll pick up those magazines for pies they put out every once in a while at the grocery store. Pies are my favorite dessert.
I did just finish My Life in France by Julia Child and while it’s not a cook book it’s a wonderful read for anyone who loves food and cooking.
- What is the most unusual dish you’ve ever made? I just did a post about a pinto bean pie I attempted. Big mistake.
- What is the oldest item in your kitchen? The newest? Oldest is my silverware. The only thing I registered for when we were married 18 years ago and I love it. Dansk’s Torun design and I love it as much today as I did 18 years ago.
The newest would be that Lodge dish I just bought.
- What would you like to change about your cooking style in the coming year? I’m still trying to incorporate more fish recipes. It’s so healthy for you.
- Please share a favorite recipe and cooking tips.
This is my favorite recipe for halibut, guaranteed to convert even the toughest fish-hater. Everyone I’ve given it to raves.
Thank you, Michelle, I enjoyed reading about your culinary life.
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