Our latest volume, dedicated to the amazing eggplant, is now out and we’ve already seen how you’ve put it to use, making Eggplant Pork Larb, Baba Ghanouj, and Nacho Mama’s Eggplant Parm.
So we decided it was time to introduce the lady behind these magical recipes, Raquel Pelzel. We first met Raquel back when she was the senior food editor at Tasting Table. But we knew her by reputation well before then: Raquel has co-authored dozens of cookbooks with chefs and food personalities, and last year published a cookbook dedicated to toast.
We put her in the hot seat to get to know her better, from cookbook covets to secret food cravings.
Short Stack: Which cookbook(s) couldn't you live without?
Raquel: The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden and The Foods of Israel Today by Joan Nathan. They are the most turned to and worn out books I own.
SS: What was the biggest surprise in working on Eggplant?
R: How much fun it is to use the eggplant emoji.
SS: Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
R: My dad. I really miss cooking for him and fielding his opinions.
SS: What's your weirdest food craving?
R: Lipton's French onion soup mix onion dip and Ruffles potato chips.
SS: How do you start a typical day?
R: Coffee and contemplation. I've been using the same French press for a decade--the ritual of grinding the beans, steeping them, breaking the top crust, pouring the first cup...bliss. I'm about to make a big switch to a stovetop Bialetti Moka. I'm steadying myself for big changes.
SS: What's your favorite thing to cook?
R: I love baking. Whether its making a summer fruit crisp, chocolate chip cookies with my boys, cornbread for chili, pita bread, traditional New Year's Eve homemade pizza, a birthday cake...just love it. Seeing how sweets and fresh baked treats bring so much joy and pleasure to the people you're feeding...making people feel special and honored--whether you know them or not--it's the best feeling in the world.
You can purchase Raquel’s volume, Eggplant, here.