Last week, Maple Syrup went out into the world and has already begun showing up in the mailboxes of subscribers. We’re already in love with the maple-glazed potato doughnuts, and the maple-miso chicken wings—this week we’ll be making the maple baked beans to keep us warm during this cold snap.
The author behind this incredible little collection is Casey Elsass, founder of Bushwick Kitchen, a line of absolutely delicious syrups and sauces. We caught up with Casey to ask him a few questions about his favorite recipes, his dream dinner party, and more.
SE: Which cookbook(s) couldn't you live without?
Casey: I'm embarrassed to say that I don't own many cookbooks. I skim recipes for inspiration or how-to info, but I almost never cook by them. But I love my copy of The Flavor Bible. Sometimes, I just flip through it for fun and that gives me meal ideas more than any cookbook could.
SSE: What's your favorite snow day recipe?
Casey: Well, a Sugar on Snow Supper is the ultimate snow day finale. That's not even up for debate. But I also love a really gooey grilled cheese with caramelized shallots when it's a cold stay-home day.
SSE: List the guests of your dream dinner party. Casey: My table can fit ten guests, so in no particular order:
- Keith Haring
- Marion Cotillard
- Cecile McLorin Salvant
- James Franco
- Baby Dee
- Louis C.K.
- Sigmar Polke
- Elaine Stritch
- Latrice Royale
- Paul Newman (circa The Long, Hot Summer, and he's staying to "wash dishes")
SSE: What's your favorite city to dine in?
Casey: Portland, Maine. The food and drink are insane. Palace Diner, Holy Donut, Tandem, Eventide, Central Provisions, Hunt & Alpine, Bearded Lady's Jewel Box. I get so giddy every time I visit (which is often).
SSE: What's your first food memory?
Casey: Climbing up on the kitchen counter to pour a little of everything from the spice cabinet into a Scooby-Doo cup of warm water. I don't know why the water, I would ultimately just pour it down the drain, but I would do it at least once a week, sniffing every single jar and taking little tastes.
SSE: Do you have a kitchen hero? If so, who?
Casey: Ina Garten. There is no one cooler.
SSE: What's the weirdest job you've ever had?
Casey: I put myself through college in New York, so I worked a lot of very weird jobs to scrape by. My favorite was the year I spent as a personal assistant to a celebrity psychic. I painted her apartment, put together furniture, installed appliances, and ran errands, but sometimes we would just sit on the couch and watch VHS tapes of "Are You Being Served?" or flip through photo albums from her travels. I remember one afternoon my friend wanted to go to the beach, so I called out "sick." It was absolutely nerve-wracking lying to a psychic. The whole day, I was like, "She knows." You can purchase Casey's edition, Maple Syrup, here.