I think I mentioned awhile back that I'm participating in The Great Interview Experiment hosted by Niel over at Citizen of the Month. I got to interview Robyn from Pocket Aces and it was fun to find a new blog to read (like, um, I NEED more blogs to read) and to learn about someone I would otherwise never have met. The idea is to go back through the interviewee's archcives to learn enough about them to formulate questions that they'll have fun answering. So, without further ado, meet Robyn:
1. You mentioned that you read cookbooks as if they were novels. If you had to chose, which 3 cookbooks could you not live without?
This was really hard. I have many books, and I love most of them for different reasons. "Joy of Cooking", because it's an icon and the epitome of usefulness and classic styling. I have my new version, and also my grandmother's crumbling, yellowed copy. Guess which one I love more? "Commander's Kitchen", because I get to read about New Orleans and awesome food at the same time. And loath as I am to admit it, "Rachael Ray's 365: No Repeats". I do NOT like to read that one like a novel, because her "voice" grates, but it's an extensive and quite diverse idea book for me, and possibly the most "workhorse" cookbook I have. I never follow a recipe exactly - just find ideas she threw together and substitute what's in my fridge that night.
2. What is the worst thing you've ever cooked? The best?
I can't think of any one recipe or particular meal that turned out godawful. I can say that I have overcooked chicken, turning it dry, which is one of the worst things on the planet. Also one time I was making some garlicky shrimp pasta with cream cheese as a component of the sauce, and it turned out a big, glue-thick pasta-cream cheese ball. Tasted ok enough, but the texture was just too much to overlook. I had made the same thing successfully once before, so to this day I cannot figure what went wrong with that one. Obviously it still bothers me.
I'm having a VERY hard time coming up with the best all time thing I've cooked. I make excellent: pot roast, Caesar salad, guacamole, enchiladas, and hamburgers (yes, basic hamburgers!). And a grilled cheese, bacon and tomato sandwich that is to die for, but only in the summer, of course.
3. You have, um, very diverse taste in music...everything from Wilco and Hole to Hall and Oats and J Geils Band. Tell me which band/performer, from any era of your life, you would most love to see live?
4. Fiction or non-fiction?
I have always been a fiction girl, until recently. The current pile on the floor by my bed consists of: Nigella Lawson's "Nigella Bites", Jamie Oliver's "Jamie's Dinners", Photoshop Elements 6: The Missing Manual, Anthony Bourdain's "The Nasty Bits". Also a big pile of magazines - Simple Scrapbooks, Cooking Light, Popular Photography. Not one page of fiction in the bunch. Hemingways "A Movable Feast"is sitting on my bedside table, but I haven't read it in 15 years and have no current plans to reread it, so I really can't explain that one. Perhaps it has been sitting there waiting for me to mention it in this interview so I can seem cool.
5. What clique were you part of in high school? If you were in high school now, knowing what you know, would you be part of the same one, or a different one?
Luckily, the clique situation in my school wasn't too bad, at least the way I saw it. That said, I was what you might consider a popular girl. I did cheerleading my first 2 years, until I realized it interfered with my party schedule. So that might explain a lot, right there. And I know everyone says this, but I really was friends with a wide range of people in school, from different "groups". But I know there are people I ignored who it probably would have been nice to get to know. If I had to go back now, I don't necessarily think I'd change my clique, but not because I think we were the coolest - because we weren't. It's just that I don't think it made any difference in how things turned out for me.
6. How did you meet your husband? How soon did you know you'd spend your life with him?
We met on America Online in 1995 in a Parrothead chat room - before hooking up on the internet was the cool thing to do. Everyone thought we were crazy. I knew I'd spend my life with him pretty quickly - I moved from Colorado to Pennsylvania (for grad school) by 1996 and found myself engaged by the start of 1997, at the age of 22.
7. Tell me (ok and the world) a secret talent that you have. What talent would you most LIKE to have?
I wish I only needed 3 hours of sleep a night. It seems so... utilitarian to think of not needing sleep as a talent, but I guess that just clearly illustrates what's most important to me right now.
As far as a secret talent that I have, I have to say that I spent way too long trying to think of what to say for this, and that usually means I am making something way harder than it has to be. But the truth is I don't have some quirky, useful or unique little thing to share with you. So since I knew I needed to find a way to answer the question, I did what I usually do when I am stumped - I asked my husband what he thought my secret talent was. After a few moments of thought and after I explained that I didn't consider my ability to not only touch my toes but place my entire palms flat on the floor a secret talent, he completely surprised me by saying, "I think your secret talent is writing.". He then very sweetly stumbled about trying not to make me feel bad because what he meant was not that I am the best writer he's ever known, but that I am a decent writer who has done my best to keep it a secret. And he's right. I used to think I wanted to be a writer in high school, but changed my mind and became a speech therapist instead. I've never kept a diary, wrote a journal, slipped love sonnets in his lunchbag or tried to write a novel. I don't even write much in birthday cards. So here I am with a blog, and some of the things I write don't completely suck. Who knew?
After I get my t-shirt printed that says "Best Writer Ever (Marc Said So!)", I'm pretty sure he will never pay me another compliment ever again.
8. If there were a movie made of your life, who would play you?
Oh, this is tricky, tricky, tricky. How about Kate Winslet? She'd have to go brunette, but it would be such a juicy part that I'm sure she wouldn't mind.
9. I see that you have two kids under the age of 3. If you could have an entire week to yourself (no kids, no husband) what would you spend your time doing?
Oh my God, the thought makes my head spin. I would like to do some projects that I always put on the back burner - some scrapbooking and photography stuff that I can never really devote a lot of time to. I'd watch all my favorite dance movies, and probably read a lot too. I wouldn't leave the house much - I'd get take-out food until I got tired of it and wanted to cook again. Then I'd cook whatever I wanted at whatever time I wanted without worrying about what everyone else is going to eat. I'd stay up late every night and sleep in every day. I'd play my music loud, and probably spend more time than even I would like reading blogs and such. And about halfway through, I'd probably miss my husband and kids too much and beg them to come home, thus ending the freedom.
10. Have you ever blogged about something you've regretted?
Not yet. I feel like I should eventually, just to get the full experience of blogging. But we'll see if I'm ever brave enough.
11. Tell me some of your favorites: food, beverage, book, movie, smell, city, article of clothing.
Food: This is just not fair. I cannot decide between bacon or Little Debbie's Nutty Bars.
beverage: Coke (Alcoholic beverage - Mojito)
book: You are a cruel, cruel woman, Kate. I will give you 3 - "The Mists of Avalon" by Marion Zimmer Bradley, "The Witching Hour" by Anne Rice, and "Beach Music" by Pat Conroy.
movie: I don't have a favorite of all time. I can tell you that the best movie I have seen in the past 6 months is "Deja Vu" with Denzel Washington. I LOVED this movie.
smell: Lilacs (Alternate answer: bacon. I am a bit embarrassed about all the bacon love, really.)
city: New Orleans
clothing: I love skirts, and don't wear them enough.
12. I see that you've recently acquired a passport. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and with whom?
I'd really like to go to Europe. First Italy, then France, England, Ireland, Spain. Then Egypt (I realize that's not Europe. I really do.). I'd go with my husband so we could cause trouble in as many bars as possible.
13. Tell the truth: when you go to other people's houses, do you look in their medicine cabinet?
No, but not because I'm not nosy. I just don't find medicine cabinets interesting. I'd rather check out the music collection, book collection, and pantry (in that order).
14. Is there anything you wish I'd asked you?
"Robyn, how do you write such funny things and take such excellent pictures? Also, how do you get your hair so bouncy and shiny?" If that seems over the top, I would settle for, "Robyn, what is the air-speed velocity of an unladen